As many players have learned over the last 30 years, Civilization is famous for the “one more turn” phenomenon – where you sit down to play a quick game, and then suddenly look up at your clock to discover it’s already 2 A.M. Over the years, people have asked why “one more turn” has such an impact on players. The game designer’s answer here is that we give the player short-term goals, medium-term goals, and long-term goals that are all juggled at once in the player’s mind. You identify a place to settle a city, then figure out what technology or building or means of production you should pursue, and of course you’d have a grand vision of how big your civ would be or what type of victory condition you would try to achieve. Civilization is designed to keep pushing you forward – a new technology to discover, a new continent to explore, and you always have things to do.
But good game design doesn’t necessarily explain how we managed to reach 30 years of Civilization. To understand this, I think we need to dive deeper. At its core, what do players enjoy about Civilization? What differentiates the Civ player? It could be a love of culture or history, but there are other historical games out there. It could be that players appreciate the careful game design, but there are plenty of other well-designed games too.
In my opinion, it is all about what I think is a deeply human trait – the desire to create, shape, and nurture the path of humanity for the better. To have the grand vision and the tools to make that vision a reality. All games are some form of power wish fulfillment, enabling you to do something you can’t do in real life. Some are more fantastical, where you can use your magical powers to defeat dragons. Others simulate real life, but take the risk of bodily injury away – why not attempt to take a corner at excess speeds when racing?
In Civilization, you can lead your people to prosperity by waging peace, not war. Or you can create a civilization that values art and culture above everything. You can found a religion and spread it around the world, and you can take actions to slow and even prevent climate change.
And it’s really with you at the center that we wanted to celebrate this amazing milestone. For 30 years, you, the player, have been at the center of this franchise – taking that power to shape humanity, to create a better or worse world, to be the ruler of your very own empire to stand the test of time. You have reenacted history, roleplayed as leaders, rewritten the script completely and built better worlds for your people. In Civilization, you made cities that surpass reality in their efficiency. You’ve become the master diplomat and the scourge to your enemies.
We want to shine the spotlight on you and the unique way you become truly great in Civilization. Just as much as this is an incredible moment for Civilization, this is really your moment.
Some of the coverage you find on Cultured Vultures contains affiliate links, which provide us with small commissions based on purchases made from visiting our site. We cover gaming news, movie reviews, wrestling and much more.
Gamezeen is a Zeen theme demo site. Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.