Civilization I/II

Sid Meier

28 June 1991

Sid Meier / Microprose, 1991 / USA / Selected by Steve Meretzky

Sid Meier’s ambitious design goals are part of what makes “Civilization I” such a huge achievement: simulate the entirety of human progress from the earliest nomadic foragers up through spaceflight. At first glance a strategy war game, “Civilization I” is actually far more, encompassing building and knowledge simulation as well as exploration in impressively novel ways. Players maneuver military units against forces deployed by rival civilizations, but they also proceed through randomly-generated world maps, which start out hidden and become revealed as the game progresses. In addition, players build and improve cities, and transform the surrounding terrain with roads, farms and mines in the march through history. “Civilization I” vaulted beyond its war-gaming roots to allow non-military paths to victory, making diplomacy key to game play. The secret to its success, however, is how it perfectly balances challenge and reward, so that rewards are always dangling just ahead, leading the player ever forward.