Tagged in: Civilization

Top 10 PC Games Of The 1990’s

This era saw the rise of the internet and the world of games along with it. We look at the top ten titles that gamers of the 90’s were obsessed with. Get ready for the ride into 90’s nostalgia!

Number 10 — Star Wars: TIE Fighter – 1994

This awesome space flight simulator can be played for hours on end. Wing Commander is a close tie for this spot but nothing could beat the fun foray into the virtual sky that is TIE Fighters is, you fight for the evil Galactic Empire. The scenario is innovative and engaging and has gameplay to match. Fast paced and exciting, this game could have you battling it out into space for hours.

Number 9 — Civilization – 1991

Designed by Sid Meier’s turn-based strategy game went on to become the most beloved franchises in all of PC gaming, it all started out with the first title. The player takes charge of a small civilization, which you need to build into an empire, all the while competing with other civilizations. You used diplomacy and warfare to forge your way ahead. It is both addictive and fun.

Number 8 — Quake 2 – 1991

The most seminal titles in FPs. You can play as single-player mode or multi-player mode. The multi-player mode was so popular that it went on to become the first official e-sport.

Number 7 — System Shock 2 – 1991

Designed by the acclaimed designer of the modern Bioshock series, this game had a suspenseful story line that had an amazing way to keep you immersed in its world. You play as a lone soldier exploring a starship where something seems eerily wrong. The gameplay combines FPS and RPG elements and a sense of foreboding. All this make the game an excellent precursor to modern RPGs we all love.

Number 6 — Grim Fandango – 1998

Considered by many as the funniest game ever made, Grim Fandango is compared to other titles such as Lucas Arts Monkey Island series. You play as the protagonist, a death travel agent called Manny Calvera, who has to travel throughout the land of the dead hoping to save a few souls. The game includes a cast of extremely wacky characters. The dialogue is clever and witty and the game is full of brain-teasers and puzzles that will challenge your mind. A modern remake of this game is also in the making, so Grim Fandango will enjoy the love of another generation of gamers.

Number 5 — Myst – 1993

This is a puzzle-filled adventure game. You journey through an island called Myst, trying to figure out what is going on; in the process you encounter a ton of puzzles that challenge your skills. Be prepared to spend hours trying to figure out how to get through, this is definitely not an easy game.

Number 4 — Diablo – 1993

An RPG focused on two things, hacking and slashing. It stepped away from turn-based combat; Diablo allows the violence to unfold in real-time. Explore dungeons and defeat monsters, you can pick up the items that spawn randomly, so multiple play-through can be rewarding.

Number 3 — Doom – 1991

Doom was an FPS that came onto the scene as a technical milestone. The gameplay was amazingly fast for that era and had a hyper-violent gameplay. Doom became synonymous with FPS. The FPS games that came later on were often called Doom-clones.

Number 2 — Half-Life – 1998

This proved to be a revolution in FPS gaming. It featured an amazing storyline, told innovatively. It features a remarkable variety of weapons and environments that could be enjoyed for hours and hours.

Number 1 — StarCraft – 1998

The best of any RTS or any other genre in PC games of the 90’s era, StarCraft involved three factions that played independently and were equal in the hands of skilled player. It is a military science fiction RTS. The game makes you play in three different roles. The mission briefings are detailed and the story is incredibly captivating.



It’s Not Sid Meiers Spaceships… It’s Sid Meiers Starships, Man.

Civilization: Beyond Earth obviously took the strategy-based franchise in a whole new direction – towards space, that is. Now, a recently-announced downloadable game will be made available on iOS, iPad and PC this spring. Titled Sid Meier’s Starships, the game will be a stand alone title. However, gamers that have been playing Civilization: Beyond Earth will be able to enjoy various cross-connectivity features, though the details are still vague.
The game takes its focus off of managing various colonies and instead putting the player at the helm of an epic fleet of ships, which can be customized and configured to the player’s delight, hence the title. Sid Meier, the iconic game designer of the Civilization franchise and other games, presented Starships himself during a PAX South panel, showing off how players can jump into the action right away, building ships and sending them into battle against opposing forces.
Battlefields are shaped in a hexagon grid, where turn-based combat gives players the option to move their ships and attack their enemies how they wish. The ships run on energy, though, so there’s a limit to how much a player can do at one time – something akin to the “action points” of classic RPGs. And in terms of combat, there are numerous strategies to try out. Depending on how the starships are configured, players can sneak through the grid with stealth technology or perhaps anchor in the backfield, suppressing the enemy with hordes of torpedoes.
Of course, other interesting elements come into play. Dangerous asteroids can block the line of fire. Jump gates can enable a player to instantly traverse the map – much like the wormholes of old-school sci-fi novels. These features vary depending on the planet where the objective takes place, and since the grids aren’t static, strategies can shift from one moment to the next, as a giant asteroid blocks the line of fire or serves as an impromptu shield.
The whole purpose of Starships is winning battles, gaining influence in the universe and building an immensely powerful fleet of ships. Customization will be a huge component. Right off the bat, players get a couple ships to configure how they like, choosing their canon, engine, sensors, etc. Researching new technologies unlocks even more possibilities, making ships faster, stealthier and far more deadly than how they started out.
Every planet that the player has visited will be accessible, and each planet has its own objectives, which are completed on these grid-based battle sequences. Once the player completes the missions, they get various rewards to use as they wish. Success also brings about the opening of a new trade route with the respective planet, meaning more resources for the player’s Federation. With enough influence points, whole planets join the Federation, but beware: there are other formidable forces in the galaxy. Players will have to fight to spread their empire and clash with those who wish to cede their own sovereignty of the planets.


Civilization: Beyond Earth

Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth was released on October 24, 2014, and the game itself brings a lot of changes to a familiar system. Because of the amount of the new content expected, we’ll be focusing on two aspects in particular (in relation to the last release, Civilization V): the tech web and affinities.

In the last Civilization, technology was viewed on a linear scale. One thing led to another and, while you and your opponents may take different focuses on the types of technologies you researched, by the end of the game everyone had discovered nearly every technology available to them. You knew what to expect, you knew how each civilization would progress, and you knew where you would end up. In short, it got boring fairly fast. Thankfully, that’s all going to change.
In the new game, technology is viewed as a vast, interconnecting network of knowledge. While everyone may start with the same, basic technology, that quickly changes. Each major technology has two minor techs attached to it that can be researched at will and the further you go out on the web, the more exotic the techs become. Better yet, not all of the technologies can be researched in a single gameplay. That means every time you play, you are left to tweak your gameplay to best adapt to the current situation. Never again will we be forced to pick up a technology that is vaguely pertinent to the conflicts at hand! No, from now on, we will make every turn spent on development something worthwhile.
And that’s just the technologies in the game. With the new affinities system, there are no preset AI personalities (though, because of that, we have lost the vicious, warmongering Gandhi – may his rageful artificial intelligence rest in peace). Instead, the affinities take on a role akin to the social policies in Civilization V and allow for varied play styles – isolationist, diplomatic, war-like, etc. Also, the affinities modify the appearance of your buildings and units, resources available to you, and special win conditions. The current ones are: Harmony, Supremacy, and Purity.

Harmony focuses on adapting humanity to the new planet. That means gene-splicing and alien domestication. This makes for an interesting play style as the Harmony approach allows for players to turn terrain modifiers that would normally harm their units into potential boons. Along with that, the inclusion of the indigenous species makes for some fascinating late-game units.

Supremacy hones in on a much more futuristic feel with the use of robots and nano technology. With giant death robots (ones much cooler in appearance than those in the previous game) roaming the map, how can one not feel superior to the hippie, native-loving scum and fleshy human lovers?

Finally, we have Purity. Purity puts a major emphasis on the innate awesomeness of humanity. We will not conform to the new world, nor will we desecrate our lovely, fleshy exteriors with technological modifications. Instead, we will change this new world for the better (of the human race). We will conquer the new world with old world culture and history.

If you’re itching to leave this world and all of its history behind for a fresh start, then get ready for Civilization: Beyond Earth.



A Look into the Developers: Firaxis Games

Firaxis Games are most noted for their development of the Civilization series, but what is it that makes this development team such a powerhouse in the gaming industry?

Firaxis was formed in 1996, named with a combination of the words ‘fiery’ and ‘axis’ in hopes of conveying a message of a team that took a dynamic approach to game creation. Now, it wasn’t the most creative way to name their company, nor their somewhat overused motto to “build games that stand the test of time” that really made the company what it was and is. That honor goes to a man by the man of Sid Meier.
Most gamers out there probably have no idea who Sid Meier is, in fact, when people talk about some of his games, they rarely say Sid Meier’s Civilization, but just simply Civilization or Civ. However, this man has done more for Firaxis Games and the strategy game genre in general than more than people know.
Sid Meier began his career in game development with Microprose Software way back in 1982. While there, he created the games Silent Service, F-15 Strike Eagle, Civilization, Pirates!, and Railroad Tycoon – that’s two major series (Civilization and Tycoon) coming from one man alone. It’s because of games like this early on in gaming history that strategy is one of the cornerstones of the modern day culture. Luckily, while most of today’s gamers don’t know him except from the fine print before the title of a game, he has not gone unnoticed by the industry at large. To date, Sid Meier has received nine major awards – Lifetime Achievement Award, Game Developer’s Conference (2008), Computer Museum of America’s Hall of Fame (2002), and Computer Gaming World’s Most Influential Person of all Time in Computer Gaming (1997) to list off just a few. It’s no wonder that the man has been dubbed the “Godfather of Computer Gaming.”

Still, all of the credit cannot go solely to Sid Meier (though he does get the lion’s share of it). There have been several developments within the Firaxis company that helped shape it into what it has become. Most notably may be its acquisition by Take-Two Interactive Software that joined their 2K Games publishing title in 2005.
Let’s take a look at the lengthy series of releases that have put Firaxis Games on the map:

Sid Meier’s Gettysburg! (1997)

Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri (1999)

Sid Meier’s Civilization III (2001)

Sid Meier’s Civilization IV (2005) [with Warlords, Beyond the Sword, and Colonization expansions]

Sid Meier’s Civilization V (2010) [Gods & Kings, and Brave New World]

XCOM: Enemy Unknown (2012)

XCOM: Enemy Within (2013)

And their newest title, to be released later this month, Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth

For most companies, a quarter of games with as much status as those would do enough credit for a lifetime; yet, Firaxis Games keeps cranking them out (much to everyone’s satisfaction).
So, if this company interests you, show some appreciation by checking out some of their older titles. Or, if you’re interested in finding out more about this prestigious company, head on over to their site (Firaxis.com) and check out some of the wealth of content they provide. They have a thriving online community to help both new and old players to the series alike improve their game. Also, they have a stellar developer’s blog that deals with both general questions regarding the company and in depth analysis/commentary of things going on concerning some of their recent titles.