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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Thu Feb 18, 2016 8:01 pm

The creators of the unbelievably successful game franchise Civilization met at the DICE conference today to discuss the overall impact of Civ on games and culture these past 25 years.
At the time the game came out, Sim City and Populous had already debuted in the “god games” genre. But Civ was still unique in how it tried to simulate all of human history.
I love Populous 2.

I know it isn't as deep as Civ, but I think that's also part of its charm. The theme of Greek gods (the players) acting cruelly for narcissistic reasons is simply perfect. Ah, if only I could have at some point released the Kraken against that dunce Epimethius. To think: we all could have called Perseus (already a part of the game) to protect us if it was called upon our own followers! A missed opportunity, perhaps.

That being said, Civ is a cultural "god" for a reason. Congrats to that team.

User avatar
Detroit, MI, USA

Posted Sat Mar 19, 2016 5:12 am

Always a favorite of both mine as well as my father. I can still vividly remember him starting a new game game on the Amiga. The Amiga version featured outstanding intro music, some of the most iconic stuff you'd ever hear... It makes you want to weep for the fools stuck with Adlib in DOS (though the MT-32 version is also nice, Amiga is way more in your face though and I prefer it) . The intro on an Amiga 500 could never be skipped (though sometimes you'd get lucky on say the 3rd or 2nd to last screen by mashing button) so what we have here is the first ever computer based 20 minute cut scene...hahhaha.... I can still hear the music right now, just thinking about the different wonderfully drawn artwork with that simple God like text on each screen. You always knew when he was starting a new game because my dad would crank up the volume on the stereo so he could hear it from the basement while doing other crap upstairs.

The Amiga version was a superb port from the original DOS version. Microprose always knew how to treat the Amiga right, even when the games came from DOS. So many companies could have learned sooooo much from them. I've played Civilization on DOS and the Amiga... I know there's an "AGA" version, I don't care... The original OCS version looks better in my eyes than the 256 color DOS version. Absolutely. Microprose could do that. Sometimes more obvious than others, like Railroad Tycoon (an earlier often overlooked Sid Meier masterpiece), but there simply was never an Amiga version of a Microprose game that was not at least every bit as good as the original and most of the time it kicked the originals ass. Mad respect for those awesome people who gave anyone with an Amiga great reasons to stick with it in the days of VGA. I will say I often read about how the AGA version is so awesome..

I'm sorry guys, but AGA was never special to me. I tinkered around with it quite a bit in my emulator days, I played the AGA Civ game and many other AGA games... The only people that ever made use of it were the demoscene people. Civ OCS is something special to behold. Even if you don't think the graphics are better than VGA like me (I can understand that) everyone should at least agree that the OCS version is by far more "impressive" given the hardware. I guess that's why my love keeps going backward in times with the Amiga.

I was soooo into the newer workbench stuff when I got into emulation. I had 3.1 hard drive set ups, I had Amiga In A Box, which was like Amiga Forever, which pretty much gave you a (then) modern OS to play around in. I had a lot of fun... But then the more I learned about the original Amiga stuff, how long it was able to not only last but continue to make stuff that DOS couldn't touch. I mean well into the early 90's there were original Amiga games (Lemmings, example) that VGA could not quite get right. I don't think I ever saw a DOS port of an Amiga game get ANYTHING better, at best it could only replicate, at worst it was a terrible experience, but it could never make an Amiga game better. AGA, regardless of what you think it was capable of, received few original games and was mostly playing a game of catch up with porting previously released DOS stuff in 256 colors. There is nothing special about playing the DOS version of Civilization on your Amiga in my opinion. That's basically what we have for any port on AGA.

I've seen Wing Commander on the CD32, there are people that call it the best version because the graphics are "the same" as the PC but you get the kick ass Amiga music. I mean maybe back then that meant something. I mean there were certainly quite a few DOS ports to OCS that were straight EGA conversions from DOS, offering up NOTHING other than better music... Sierra... Looking at you fuckers... hahaha... So I can understand how it's nice to have that one thing, music, being better than the PC. But in terms of today... I mean I have a DOS machine.... I imagine most people emulating an Amiga are not unfamiliar with DOSBox... If you "truly" love a game, I really believe you can come to appreciate all of the "good" ports. Sid Meier's Pirates! is one of my favorite games of all time. Originally written in Basic on the C64, ported to DOS, the NES even, and of course the Amiga... Graphically, the Amiga version simply kicks butt. So great looking some magazines reported it as an EHB 64 color game. Based on my screenshots it's only 32 though (although the title screen with the purple background and ship would never screenshot correctly, meaning they may have used hardware tricks to show more colors in that case). But that's how awesome they were done. I loved watching my dad play Pirates so much that I would go up and down the basement stairs pretending that it was a ship. I'd swordfight, I'd shoot cannons... Just looking in on my dad play the Amiga it brought me into a complete other world to play in. I never got to play our original Amiga version though, as it got a dreaded "read write error - (A whole topic deserves to be written on that) and my dad could no longer play it. He was pretty pissed... My first experience playing Pirates was with the Gold update that came around 1994. Now that was an original Amiga AGA game. It was ported to DOS (which I also had, terrible version) and the Genesis. I had the Genesis version, which both my dad and I played the death out of. I knew the Caribbean so well I would only need one piece of any map to pinpoint where it was. This allowed for some SUPER high scores from both my dad and I (my dad also used my ability to know where anything on a map was for his benefit, sometimes waking me up at night for my insights) and I simply can not tell you how many hours we both sunk into the Genesis version. But later on I went back to the Amiga version... Fell in love again... It's just so beautiful on the Amiga... Then I tried the C64 version... AMAZING on an NTSC CRT. I don't know why but emulators never do the C64 justice, it always comes out looking so much more vibrant on a real TV/monitor from back then. I mean I know all about the benifits of having the period spesfic CRT displays and their benifits over modern widescreen LCDs, but what I mean you can still emulate an Amiga game or Genesis game or DOS game and get a good to great experience. Yes, having the real deal on a CRT would be an extra icing. In fact, having a CRT for the Genesis made the SNES/Genesis color differences practicly non existant for anyone playing them both back in the day. It's only when you play the Genesis emulated that you see all the dithering that would go on. But the C64, and the NES too, I swear to you emulation simply gets everything wrong! I can't say how many times I saw a C64 or NES game on an emulator, thought it was dull or blah, then I played it on the actual hardware and thought it was great. I could never go back to the C64 or NES emulated at this point. These days I tend to feel the original Pirates C64 version is the best of them all in terms of gameplay. Even the DOS and NES versions all deserve to be played. That's how much I love that game, I have it on all the systems I could get it for and I play them all!

When you get to the point you could simply choose what the world defines as the best or the original version and just play that, then there really is no reason, other than loyalty to the machine, to play anything but the best version. There is no real reason to play most DOS ports to AGA because all they give you is what DOS gave you, why not just do it in DOS? But when you have a game like Pirates, which never got a port that looked like another... You HAVE reason to play all the versions. The C64 is the original, it is one of the most impressive games ever made for that system. It's a simple joy to play and nobody would regret spending time with it. All the ports had their own unique look and all featured great gameplay. It's awesome to spend a little time with the NES or DOS versions. And of course there's the Amiga, what a beauty. The differences is what makes a person who loves a game today want to try out another system and experience it just a little differently this time. That's what the original Amiga chipset continues to offer everyone. It came on the scene in 1985, destroying anything before it to those willing to harness its potential. 5 years later it was still the best looking computer around, money well spent. After 1990, DOS surpasses its graphics and speed but there were still brilliant programmers who could make a DOS game not only look good on an Amiga, but sometimes better! It's 1994 and people can still think of reasons to hold onto their 1985 machine. That machine is impressive to me.

What Microprose did to the Amiga version... Number one they took their time... Sierra was still doing straight ports, looking more and more terrible on the Amiga once VGA came to DOS... But Microprose and several other companies would take the original DOS port, think about how to best utilize 32 colors from a pallet of 4096, and you know what? I think sometimes just by thinking they managed to do better than the original programmers. To me the original OCS version of Civ is the only one worth playing, as at the very least it offers you a great and unique experience to the DOS version while giving you kick ass music where it exists. The AGA version is really only for those that loathe the thought of DOS and refuse to even play original DOS games there. Hell, even an obviously color deprived port from DOS like Wing Commander offers incredible charm in its OCS version. It's only showing 16 colors on screen, but it's actually a 64 color game. I guess it kind of chooses a 16 color pallet on the fly out of those 64. It's very strange how Wing Commander was done, it's worth a read if you can find the articles. All done by just one person on the Amiga end. Anyway, it may only be 16 colors but it's not your typical 16 color EGA puke fest. There was an EGA version of DOS, it's terrible looking. The Amiga version with heavy use of dithering and that weird color mode actually makes Wing Commander more than acceptable. It was my favorite gave ever when I saw it. In all seriousness, having never seen the DOS version, when I first saw and continued to watch and play the Amiga version, as slow as it was, there was NOTHING that impressed me more. It looked gerorgious to me and slowdown (at least on an NTSC Amiga) was nothing that made you want to stop playing. When I finally did get the DOS versions I was convinced not only did the Amiga music sound better, I thought it looked better too! Side by side - ummm - I admit that's not the case. haha. But it's not bad looking at all. In fact, if you get into the universe a little, thinking you're aboard this old beat up space carrier, the Amiga version, because of it's dithering, ends up unintentionally making everything look a little aged. Everything is a little more beat up. The ships, the beds, the people's faces, it's all just a show of how terrible this war has been on everything and everyone. The Amiga version of Wing Commander is a MUST PLAY for any Wing Commander fan, and I would say without a doubt they should play the OCS version. They know what Wing Commander looks like, why would anyone recommend them a straight graphical port? That's not going to impress anyone... They ported Wing to the SNES and Genesis too... Both vastly different looking things... and of all those ports, the Amiga version is by far the most impressive. It kicks the ass out of the SNES and Genesis, both technically superior hardware in many senses. Gah! Yes, the original Amiga hardware NEVER failed to impress me during its entire run. AGA was sadly never impressive.

Got waaaaay off on a tangent when I simply wanted to just commend Microprose for their awesome work on the Amiga. If every company was like them, not only would most EGA 16 color DOS ports look BETTER on the Amiga, but there would have most certainly been more original Amiga games made by all kinds of companies who ended up seeing what could be done with existing games, and wanted to try themselves to make a custom game. They are perhaps the single best company to release Amiga games. Won't see that on YouTube, nobody talks about them... Sure, we'll get someone doing 30 minutes on Ocean.... A budget European company that got lots of movie/tv licensed stuff.... But Microprose, which was giving die hard Amiga users in America reasons to not jump to a PC... They don't get nearly enough credit if you ask me.

Anyway... My dad LOOOOOOOVVVVVEEEED Civilization. From 1991 or 1992 , when it came out on the Amiga, my dad was playing games on that until 1995 when he got a new PC. Then he got Civilization II. We both played the hell out of CIV II, he even got two "fake CIV II" games (something weird with Sid Meier leaving Microprose and them getting bought out too) and I kind of remember sinking even more time into one of those fake/but sort of official Civ games. Civ III was the last one I played for some reason. I know the rest are great too... But Civ III changed soooo much, I got used to all of it and I adored the game... But I was never interested in the newer ones after that.

They're all basically the same. You can still pick up the original game and you will have a never ending addictive experience. So many teenage hours wasted at the hands of that game. I didn't play "too" much of the original Civ on our Amiga, though I certainly remember giving it a few shots now and then. I actually have strong memories of my failures. I still remember the city placements, how amped I was when I was able to to make airplanes... how it was taken away with the swipe of a nuke... I love that as a kid I got to experience that. Far too many my age never grew to appreciate these super detailed games. The Civ manual was enormous! All Microprose games had huge manuals. The only ones that were bigger were Maxis! When most American kids were busy playing Super Mario 3 on the NES and most Europeans were playing some of the most rage educing terrible games you could ever imagine... I was playing pure dinner. They were playing breakfast and lunch. I had dinner. Correction, I did not have dinner, I had dessert :P I feel so lucky to have been able to have a nerd for a father who adored these super games. I'm so happy I had a great attention span and I could have almost as much fun watching him as I could playing it. I got that first exposure through my dad, and to this day I still love these super detailed simulations/god/builder/you name it. Not that others couldn't grow to appreciate that... But the numbers don't lie... Both America and Europe were dominated by consoles during that time period. Another often lied about fact from European Amiga users who want to think there was an Amiga in every household...No way... I'd be bold enough to say the number of Amiga's in America sales wise was very close to England, maybe tied, maybe England slightly on top, Germany sold the most... But overall total Amiga sales of all models combined ever? Like 4 and half million. Something like 40-60 million NES's sold in America. In Europe, where on YouTube you'd swear the NES meant NOTHING to them, they didn't care about that piece of junk coming out in 1988 there and not even looking as good as a C64... Yeah... like 17 million sold in Europe... That's not even talking about Master System or SNES or Mega Drive... Huge numbers in Europe. Consoles blew away computers everywhere for all of time. The large majority of gamers, which I think even to this day is people my age, not younger people. They're into mindless fun, maybe some twitch reflexes, stuff not really too far off from the NES stuff if you ask me. Sure the graphics look better, but you're still shooting stuff. Civilization is not around to this day because of people who had an NES and grew up to appreciate bigger games... It's still around because of all the people that loved it from back in the day still wanting to play it, and the lucky others that gave it a try.

You might have to get used to these long posts going all over the place... Now you understand how much I end up editing out of a video.... hahhaa.... If you think 40 something minutes for Part1 of NTSC/PAL was long, Part 2 is an hour... I cut out another hour from the both of them combined, dead truth. Oh well... I don't write to reach the largest number of people and hit them with a message they will all quickly understand. I write (and make videos for that matter) for a very small number of people who might not understand why they're wasting their time with my stuff, but after it might just feel a tiny bit connected to me, they might just feel it was worth it in the end...

Or they might just think it's crap. 150 views on Part 1 to 20 on Part 2! Numbers don't lie! hahahaha... At least I can make fun of myself!

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