September 10, 2002
How Sid Meier drives kids to war...

Brad DeLong's kids put world politics in a nutshell in: "Democracy Is Way Too Hard!"

"In democracy, when you move one military unit out of its home city two people become unhappy," says the nine-year-old.

"And if you don't spend a complete and total fortune on entertainment and luxuries, your people riot," says [the] twelve-year-old. [...]

"But aren't your people much more productive? Aren't people richer? isn't scientific progress faster? Isn't total production much, much higher?" I ask.

"Yes. But what good is that if I want to conquer the world?" asks the nine-year-old.

"Remember. Civilization is not just a war game. It's a peace game too. You can win by creating a great and peaceful civilization," I say.

"Not if another civilization on earth happens to be led by Genghis Khan and possesses nuclear weapons," says the twelve-year-old.

I played Civ I and Colonization a lot back in my school days (although I was probably 16-17, not 9...) Hands-down, it does influence some of your views on how the world works (and hence gives the games' creators' quite some power) but I like to believe that I'm grown up now, and no longer have the need to build "Wonders of the World" (Civ-series) or fight the Indians (Colonization) to keep people happy...? ;-)

(Source: Metafilter)

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Haha. I used to play civ1 and civ2 24/7 when I was around 15 years oid. My grades went down but oh, what a feeling! Conquering the world, be the first to Alpha Centauri. Anyway, I managed to "shake" it off (and I live a normal happy life now). Warmongering with democracy was no problem in civ2 but civ3 is much harder...but I don't think the games has any negative influence on youngsters, on the contrary, you learn strategy and you need to think about cause-and-effect, something that is very important to understand. You don't get this in first person shooters...


Posted by: Odegard on September 11, 2002 10:44 AM
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