Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sid Meier, Baby Seal, and Moose

And on the 8th Day of (Gaming) Christmas My True Love Gave To Me: Sid Meier

If you don’t already know then please, allow me to inform you that Sid Meier is the greatest game designer who ever lived. That’s it. Post over.

Well, okay, maybe I’ll elaborate and clarify since I’ve recently become aware (through the gentle but insistent instruction of She Who Will Be Named Later) that other people have their very own opinions which they may be disinclined to change- even though I’m likely correct (we may have to work on this new thing called empathy mod). So, as far as I’m concerned, he is the greatest programmer who ever lived. Plus he’s a fellow Canadian, so Huzzah!                     

I struggled with this particular sequence of my gaming history. There have been plenty of games that I have found extremely addictive over the years to be sure. As I contemplated assigning Pirates! to Day 7 and Civilization to Day 8, I was doing a bit of research and  realized how many games of Meier’s I had played including: 

F15 Srike Eagle
Silent Service
F19 Stealth Fighter

And those are just the ones I didn’t know he was responsible for! I've played almost all of his games at some point so I realized that this day would have to belong to Sid. All of his games were massive- both for me and gaming as a whole. I’ve don’t pretend to be very technical, or ‘theory-based’ in my posts so I tend to brush past the technical merits and industry-influence of the games and go straight to: Game good, Gank play! And play I did.

Pirates! What a game. I've even bought and played Pirates! Gold and after so many years it still stands up as a class game. Now I truly understand why there was an exclamation mark in the title. I remember first playing this game during one of those Dungeons & Dragons weekends I mentioned last post (though many years later). My friend had two computers at the time and we had agreed (very gentleman-like) to switch off every hour. He’d play Pirates for an hour, and then I’d play. Eye of the Beholder was loaded on the other computer to give us our D & D fix and so it went.....all weekend with very, very little sleep.

Civilization. This is one of the greatest franchises I have ever played. It is one of the few games that I have anticipated, and purchased, without having to think. A ‘no-brainer’ as they say. I am going to ignore the fact that Civ 5 (and Steam) have completely ruined all of this and just cry silently in the corner over the downfall of one of the greatest gaming franchises ever. It’s kind of like watching Wales pay rugby. So much potential....so much history.....so much disappointment.

The Good.

The Bad

The Ugly

If you have ever played Civ I’m wasting my time talking about it. If you haven’t played it then........ditto. All I will say is that Civilization holds my very own personal record for amount of time played without a break: 26 hours. Straight. Save for biological needs and bowls of whatever was handy stuffed into my face for sustenance....probably not at the same time, but who can remember after 26 hours?

Now Civilization sleeps with the fishes and the series is no more. “You're dead to me Fredo.....er Civilization......you broke my heart."

And on the 9th Day Of (Gaming) Christmas My True Love Gave To Me: PBM.

Not to be confused with “PMG” which has become short for the most uttered phrase from my lips to She Who Will Be Named Later (as in: “I’m going to Play My Game”). Uttered with such frequency, in fact, that PMG has been invented to prevent millions of pointlessly uttered words between us. God bless marriage and the silence it may bring.

Play By Mail gaming is, by now most likely, considered quite quaint and very old fashioned. I became involved in PBM gaming in the late 1980's and actually went on to run my own small business with a game I had designed with my gaming friend (makes sense). In case you haven’t followed the link, and are struggling to make sense of it, play by mail gaming was just as it sounds. Games played through the mail. You would submit a turn sheet to the Game Master (GM) and he would put it into his computer and the results sent to you via post.

It was my first taste of multi-player gaming and I loved it. Frames per second? I LOL at you- no, better yet, I LMAO at you! We were lucky to get one turn a month. And we were grateful for it because we had to walk to the post-box in the snow.....uphill.....both ways.....with wolves trailing us....while dodging vicious Moose attacks in rutting season....... (well I did say I was Canadian so maybe some of that will be believable for those living elsewhere). But at least there was maple syrup. And seals. Clubbed baby seals. Mmmmm syrupy baby seal. Too far there? Was that a little offensive? Maybe, but in fairness they knew Canada was an open world pvp server when they rolled here. L2P Noobs.

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