Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Collapse of Civilization

Jimmy Carr may or may not be your cup of tea, but on an episode of QI he once told a joke about wondering why Germans were so fastidious, so he googled “German anal.” And when he finally emerged, no doubt caked in a crusty filth, it had been a week. He’d lost a week! And that’s how I feel about Civilization V.

This is going to take so. Much. TIME.
Recently available via the glorious Sid Meier Humble Bundle, I went ahead and paid my $15 (I always go between $15 and $25 on the Humbles) and added Civilization V (and its subsequent DLCs, as well as Civilization IV) to the purgatory of my Steam account, not expecting to get around to it any time especially soon. However, due to unforeseen severe boredom and the fresh memory of having just purchased it, I installed it and gave it a try. That was at noon last Wednesday, and from then to the same time the next day, I’d logged 15 hours of play.

Oh, baby, you know I ain't goin' nowhere.
Now, there were times as a teenager where I literally didn’t leave my bedroom but for bathroom breaks or to make a bowl of cereal because I was engrossed in something - in those days (and for that long) I was probably playing Xenogears or Final Fantasy Tactics, or even possibly one of those ludicrous 12-hour Gran Turismo races that forever soured me on realistic car racing (I fell asleep somewhere near the last 5 to 10 laps of one of those races and was much too discouraged to bother trying, again) - but that was a time of life where I actually had that much free time to spend as worthlessly. Since then, possibly with the exception of a few group, all-night, alcohol-fueled gaming sessions of Guitar Hero/Rockband, either in one sitting or one general period of time, I simply haven’t sat and played a single game for so long. Until now.

Civ V is ridiculous. I’m not much of a board gamer – this kind, anyway – and I think that’s where this caught me off guard. If this were a normal board game, everyone would quickly lose interest: it moves too slowly, it would require an insane amount of attention to keep track of all of the moves (not to mention attention span), and any war would be fought likely both on the board and in real life. But in Civ Vit’s always your turn.

And that’s seductive.

You should have accepted my trade proposal, baby.
Oh, I can just get a few more roads built! I can wait two more turns for that Seaport to finish! I just want to conquer France before I go to bed! And before you know it, it’s 4 am. I can’t think of another game off the top of my head that is as much of a time sink that isn’t an MMORPG (I never played World of Warcraft in any of its iterations, but I know that one falls into the same category). I began my civilization on Wednesday afternoon, and I completed my first game on Sunday evening, and I did practically nothing else (besides work and eat) in the time between. It’s easily the quickest I’ve ever put 40 hours into a game and while I had a great amount of fun with it, I’m glad the game’s over. Having been an adult these last ten years or so, playing these long-ass games is fun, but taxing.

I’m going to go read 1Q84 for a while. Or go buy a bookshelf to put together. Or take a drive. I just need to get off the computer. 

Hmm, actually, maybe just one more turn...

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