'Civilization' Creator: Games Are Taking over the World

By Frum, Larry | St. Joseph News-Press, January 23, 2012 | Go to article overview

'Civilization' Creator: Games Are Taking over the World


Frum, Larry, St. Joseph News-Press


(CNN) -- Sid Meier's "Civilization" is now 20 years old.

But for someone who has been involved in video games since the mid-'80s, one of Meier's early prophesies is just now coming true because of mobile and social gaming technologies, he told CNN.

"I've always said that games will someday take over the world and that seems to be happening," he said.

Meier is considered to be one of the great game designers. He serves as director of creative development for Firaxis Games. He sat down with CNN to reflect on the short history of video games and what he hopes will be their long future.

The following is an edited transcript:

CNN: Congratulations on 20 years of "Civilization." When you were first coming up with the idea, did you imagine that it would stand the test of time?

Meier: I wanted to make a game that was fun to play. Where it is today, I wouldn't have dreamed. We made the first "Civilization" game because it was a game that we wanted to play and hoped that if we liked it, others would, too. Lucky for us, people latched on to the game and our fan community has made the game what it is now.

CNN: Where do you find inspiration?

Meier: The themes for all of my games are inspired by things I've been interested in my whole life: history, pirates, railroads, airplanes, golf, etc. are all things that I enjoy, so I wanted to make games based on these subjects.

For "Civilization" games, we get a lot of our inspiration from our fans and the talented folks who work on the games. While I have my own ideas to contribute, by bringing in designers with a fresh perspective, we're able to continue growing and developing "Civilization" to create a new gameplay experience with each iteration of the game.

I've also been inspired by other developers and games such as Will Wright's "SimCity," the first "God Game," which really set the stage for the first "Civilization." Also, Bruce Shelley, one of my design partners during Microprose's early days, created one of the best RTS games ever made, the "Age of Empires" series. I'm also a big fan of Dani Bunten who created the first open ended adventure game, "The Seven Cities of Gold."

CNN: What is the greatest innovation or idea that has been introduced in the "Civilization" franchise?

Meier: Each "Civ" game is unique because the designer brings their own unique ideas to the game. The biggest changes lately were the hexagonal world tiles, the one-unit-per-tile combat system and the beautiful graphics in "Civ V."

We'd thought about hex tiles all the way back in the original "Civ," but never tried it until "Civ V." The one-unit-per-tile system makes combat much more tactical and fun to play. …

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