civilization v

Farewell, Civilization V

The Civilization series of games moves in cycles. On October 30, 2001, Civilization III was released; October 25, 2005 brought Civilization IV; the latest incarnation of the series was released September 21, 2010; and now Civilization VI arrives on October 21. There is a wistful sense of loss in this pattern—after a spring and summer five years long, the massive canopy of the previous Civilization game fades away to make room for the next, bigger, and hopefully better incarnation. But this is the wrong metaphor. The Civilization series is concerned with civilization: with cities, with growth, with increasing cultural and…


Civilization is coming to classrooms, and that’s a bad idea

If you wanted to find a small, distilled encapsulation of the Civilization series of grand-scale strategy games, you need go no farther than the musical trailer for Civilization IV’s (2005) original game and its theme song, “Baba Yetu.” The trailer depicts—as only Civilization can—the vast scope of human history, from the construction of the pyramids to the eventual exploration of Alpha Centauri. The song itself was the first piece of videogame music to win a Grammy. But even as the video portrays Civilization’s ambitions, it also demonstrates the series’ handicaps—namely, a kind of Western parochialism through which the series understands…


Pretty much everyone ever owns and plays Dota 2 (apparently)

The dark fantasy esport Dota 2 is undeniably Steam’s killer app, according to the number-crunching-smiths at Ars Technica, who found that over 25 million copies have been downloaded and played on Valve’s popular digital download service. We shouldn’t be shocked that such a hardcore, complex game—even one that takes months of practice to achieve anything close to competence—would be the game that everyone owns and plays, considering that Dota 2 is a worldwide phenomena, and that Steam is the only way to play it.  Ars’ numbers are dominated by hardcore, competitive games. With the exception of Portal, the top ten…


This artist is playing Civilization 24/7. You know, for art

You can find the artist Diego Leclery at a makeshift desk outside the Whitney Museum, staring at a monitor displaying Civilization, hand clutching a mouse. He has previously dressed up as a polar bear and allowed people to be photographed with him as art. His new piece is called Me Playing Civilization. His reasoning? “Since I moved to New York, I haven’t really made any art. I play a lot of Civilization. I got asked to be in the Biennial, and what am I gonna do? Make some shit? No. I’m going to transform the activity of the last year and…


Some awesome modder created Papers Please’s totalitarian regime in Civ 5

Despite being the locale for one of our favorite games of last year, traveling to Arstotzka is probably not advised. However, it’s a fine place to go to war, now that a modder has created the fictional state in the Brave New World expansion of Civilization 5.  The beautiful thing here, aside from the fact that the modder goes by Snakeeater337 (Snakeeater 336 was taken, apparently), is that he has taken great pains to remain true to the details of the fiction of Lucas Pope’s game. The artwork is in line, and he even creating a march from the game’s…