74. Just one more turn – Flashback, tracks from the past

The ERICADE Radio Network 2022-02-05

“Just one more turn” has been the bane of students, people with work in the morning and anyone looking for some sleep. DJ Daemon tells you the story of Sid Meiers Civilization 1 and the stories of a brutal and violent Gandhi, how the game seemed hard to learn for the first seconds and then was impossible to stop playing and exactly where the famous slogan comes from.

Correction: the game was released in 1991, not 1990.
00:00 ericade.radio – Time for another episode of Flashback – Tracks from the past
00:06 DJ Daemon: Nearly didn’t have time to create this show as the Babylonians keep stealing my wonders and Gandhi tries to nuke me all the time. Heck, the Americans are better at research and now Napoleon and the French are eyeing my capital. Right, just one more turn, and I will get back to telling you the story of Civilization 1 – the most influential game ever made in my opinion.

00:33 Blasa – Tropical Infestation
05:40 DJ Daemon: Released in 1990, Sid Meier’s legendary nation builder may be one of the most famous game series ever made. And weirdly enough, it came from Microprose, a company mostly making flight simulators. The genre is called 4X, as in “Explore – Expand – Exploit – Exterminate”. You start as one of up to seven other Civilization vying for the same humble goals: gobbling everything up, ruling the world and the finally launching a ship to the stars. You know, basic stuff. But we all start out small: in 4000 BCE, you’re just a small tribe of men and women looking for a place to call home. And then you go from there.

06:40 Gammis – Beneath the sun
12:15 DJ Daemon: “I have no idea how any of this works”. That was my first words as I loaded my pirate copy of Civilization I for the Amiga. Many hours later, my chief concern was how to not be forced by my father to bed. I just had to play one more turn of this magnificent game! Yeah, about the term. The game creator himself, Sid Meier, got this from the first feedback the development team got from the players: they couldn’t stop playing. “Just one more turn” means, more like “It’s 3 am and I need to get to work in the morning. Oh no! But I need to fix this in the game first.”

13:05 Epoch – Secret of the stone
15:26 DJ Daemon: The first game came out, as I said, in 1990. And to this day, the most recent game in the series is “Civilization 6”. But let’s talk about the first game and more specifically, the Amiga version. It came on four diskettes and had all the bells and whistles of the PC-game. But the intro was horrible slow and had to be watched every time you started the game. It went on for several dreary minutes. It showed how earth was formed and, in the end, there were us. This is a bit weird, as it’s well known that if earth’s whole existence was compressed to just one day, humans would have come along the last two seconds.

16:16 Gammis – Golden garden
19:17 DJ Daemon: The game is played with a few important tasks to consider: · Building your empire. · Defending or attacking. · Researching science. · Directing your cities. Among the other Civilizations you must deal with are the English, the French, the Americans, Chinese, the Babylonians, and the Indians. You can trade with them, fight and even exterminate them and you must beat them in scientific research. You see, the goal is to either crush all the other civilizations or to launch an expedition to Alpha Centaury before anyone else does. They have different levels of agendas, modus operandi, and aggression levels. When we speak of aggression levels and Gandhi, I have a funny story for you.

20:16 Qumran – Camel Ride
25:07 DJ Daemon: Gandhi is the kindest and most peaceful opponent, if I even should call him that, the game has to offer. Always choosing the nice way out, except when he goes totally ballistic and nukes everyone else for no apparent reason. This is the game’s most famous bug. All civilizations have an aggression counter that goes from 0 to 255, where 255 is a total war monger maniac and 0 is pacifist to the core. Gandhi’s India is pegged at 1 and is sugar and spice and everything nice. At a about the same time nukes come available most civilizations switch to democracy. This subtracts 2 from the aggression level of that civilization. India is at 1 and you subtract 2. Does not compute! The game then mistakenly interprets that as 255 and so Gandhi basically becomes the lovechild between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.

26:21 Psirius – On the cliff
31:37 DJ Daemon: I got to admit something here: the Gandhi story is true, but vastly overblown. You may be forgiven for never seeing Gandhi at all as India will only be available if you select 6 other opponents. Also, democracies cannot start wars, meaning Gandhi will be ok to deal with if you didn’t start a war with him before Indian became a democracy. Oh, and India’s passive stance on war often gets them wiped out before the nuclear age. But still, it’s a good story!

32:15 K. Jose – Sit Back
34:18 DJ Daemon: Sid Meier and Bruce Shelley, who is a board game designer played around with the idea that would later become Civilization. The inspiration were games as “Empire”, “Railroad Tycoon” and “Sim City”. They wondered what would be bigger as a concept than Sid’s earlier game “Railroad Tycoon”. The answer was Civilization, and it was an instant success coming first to the PC for MS Dos. When the Amiga-version came out in 1992, the Swedish computer Magazine “Datormagazin” reviewed it and gave it among the highest scores that they ever awarded: 99% and reviewer Johan Burén took off his hat for the game. It was called “The best game ever” by them.

35:16 LittleElk – Vivid Imagination
40:35 DJ Daemon: Graphics, sound, and music were good but not spectacular. Everything was up to the magic game play. You tried to manage the economy, setting up goals for your research, building the wonders of the world, keeping tabs on the opponents, and beefing up your military. All at the same time. Later games become more policy driven and put in planning as a central part of the game. One of the most interesting parts of the game is how it always require you to pay attention. But if you start winning so much that you are superior to the other, it can become a bit tedious. Thankfully the difficulty of the game can be adjuster.

41:25 Ivory – Horizon
46:53 DJ Daemon: Just to sum it up: the game series has become a staple of strategy gaming and later games did massive improvements and fixed many of Civilization 1s shortcoming. My father loves the council you have in Civilization II, which was when Full Motion Video was all the rage. The ministers shout, bicker with each other, complains and makes cheesy Elvis Presley references. The later games added religions, culture pressure, spy craft, better diplomacy, and several different new victory conditions. My favorite later date Civilization is the fifth installment. I don’t really like Civilization VI, for reasons I’m not entirely clear of.

47:51 Eagle – A Moment Together
50:16 DJ Daemon thanks you for listening.

50:48 Bottlehead of 7ynivf – Japan 2140ad
54:48 DJ Daemon leads you into the good night.

55:22 5pr1n6 – China Earrape
58:07 ericade.radio – stuck in our mother’s basement since the 80s
58:14 Greg Szydlowski and Proboscis – 1st Noel (Tribal Love Mix)

Podcast: Flashback – tracks from the past

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