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Sid Meier's Civilization V

4 weeks ago

Feature: Farming XP

Will It Harvest Moon? – a beginner’s field guide to rehabilitating inferior games

To this day, the jaunty static of the opening jingle to Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town brings me back to a simpler time. Summer evenings spent hunched over my Game Boy SP, a pane of glass between me and nature’s suburban bounty as I tilled my little squares of land, pet my happy little chickens, and bribed a town’s worth of reticent heartthrobs…

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2 months ago

Feature: Listen now, it's only 60 minutes

Podcast: What game is the biggest “time sink”?

 Your time is important. And you know what? So is mine. Here’s this week’s podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show. It’s about how your life is dripping away every second you play Stardew Valley.

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Civilization 6 artist mods it to look more like Civ 5

Ah, 2010! Lady Gaga and Beyoncé were tearing up the dancefloor with Telephone, Inception was fuelling one million drunk 'philosophical' conversations, Jackass had gone 3D, and Civilization V had yet to reach that point in every Civ game's lifespan where it's declared superior to its successor. If you wish to party like it's 2010, you might enjoy a new Civilization VI mod made by actual…

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11 months ago

Feature: We can rebuild you

The best Civilization games are these total overhaul mods

I’ve been playing Civilization long enough to remember building gaudy palaces that combined Arabic minarets with Ionic columns, and the sight of pixel-drawn Stalin grimacing at me with his retinue of Asiatic advisers. But after 20-something years and untold in-game millennia, I’ve finally begun to feel its insatiable fantasy of empire-building subside. Luckily, total overhaul mods exist.

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12 months ago

The 100 best-selling games on Steam in 2018 so far

We've just passed the half-way point of 2018, so Ian Gatekeeper and all his fabulously wealthy chums over at Valve have revealed which hundred games have sold best on Steam over the past six months. It's a list dominated by pre-2018 names, to be frank, a great many of which you'll be expected, but there are a few surprises in there. 2018 releases Jurassic World…

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1 year ago

Feature: Changing history

Soren Johnson on challenging the norms of 4X games

“Sid [Meier] didn’t know he was inventing a genre back in ’91 - if he had he might have been a lot more careful. He was just making it up as he went along.” That’s how genres begin. By mistake. Somebody creates a set of rules and systems for the needs of a particular game, and then either people adopt and adapt those rules. Soren…

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Feature: AI-mageddon

How the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk’s Civ V mod should make us fear superintelligent AI

What do you reckon is the greatest threat to the future of humanity? Climate change? Nuclear war? A global epidemic? They’re all causes for concern, but it’s my belief that one of the greatest risks is actually posed by superintelligent AI. You might need some convincing of that, which is why researchers at the University of Cambridge’s Centre for the Study of Existential Risk have…

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Feature: Going beyond evil robots

The creator of the Civilization V superintelligence mod on AI safety

Last month, the University of Cambridge’s Centre for the Study of Existential Risk released a mod for Civ V that introduced superintelligent AI to the game - not in the form of AI opponents, but as a technology that can end the game for every player if it's left unchecked. It's a novel overhaul to the science system, as well as an attempt to teach…

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Civ VI: Rise and Fall’s new features explained

I get knocked down, but I get up again, you're never gonna keep me down. That's what I'll be singing when I play Civilization VI's upcoming Rise and Fall expansion. There are loads of new features but the unifying theme is, as the title suggests, success, failure and recovery. That means dark ages that come with hardships but also bring about the possibility of a…

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Feature: Culture and colonisation

Cree concerns hammer home why Civ needs to reject its own traditions

In Civilization, civilization is a competition. Land and resources are limited, and even those nations that don't expand through military might are attempting to climb to the top of the league table in other ways. Geography, technology, culture, religion, diplomacy – they're all, to some extent, weapons to be deployed, or at least arenas where an advantage can be gained. Culture and history are the…

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The Centre For The Study Of Existential Risk have made a Civ V mod about apocalyptic AI

Researchers at the University of Cambridge's Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (an actual real institution) have released a Civilization V mod exploring the hot new apocalypse everyone's talking about: unchecked AI casually wiping out humanity in the name of efficiency. If you've already clicked through the universe as a single-minded AI in Frank Lantz's ace Paperclips, you might fancy this mod. Trapping a…

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Feature: The biggest hits of the past 12 months

These are the top 100 Steam games of 2017

Another year over, a new one just begun, which means, impossibly, even more games. But what about last year? Which were the games that most people were buying and, more importantly, playing? As is now something of a tradition, Valve have let slip a big ol' breakdown of the most successful titles released on Steam over the past twelve months. Below is the full, hundred-strong…

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2 years ago

Civ V designer Jon Shafer parts with Paradox, “creative differences” blamed

Jon Shafer, the lead designer of Firaxis's Civilization V and his own strategy game At the Gates, is gone from strategy specialists Paradox only six months after joining. Paradox say neither that he ditched the company nor that they fired him, rather that they have all "decided to part ways due to creative differences." How enigmatic! We didn't even know what he was working on.

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Feature: Master of maps

Jon Shafer on designing Civilization 5, joining Paradox and making strategy games better

Jon Shafer was 21 years old when he became lead designer of Civilization V. Now working at Paradox on an unannounced project and on his own historical strategy game At The Gates in his spare time, he says he's learning from the likes of Spelunky along with the more obvious strategic influences. We spoke about how the second half of every Civ sucks, the part…

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Feature: And how they can do it better

How historical games integrate or ignore slavery

Video games always come with an expectation that the player will suspend disbelief to some extent. Genetically engineered super-soldier clones don’t exist, radiation has never and will never work like that, and overweight Italian plumbers could never make that jump. In most cases, if we are unwilling or unable to suspend our disbelief, we may well struggle to enjoy the game and our questioning of…

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3 years ago

Feature: One million more turns

Civilization VI Brings The Series Back To Its Best

A month ahead of its release, I’ve spent a week with Civilization VI [official site]. The build of the game is near-complete, though only ten of the twenty civs are playable and there are some limits on startup settings. When I heard that I’d be able to play so much of the game so long before release, I hoped that was evidence of 2K’s confidence…

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Feature: Deep and revolutionary

Civilization VI: Four Hours Of Wars And Wonders

Last month I spent four hours playing Civilization VI on a very hot day in central London. I came away wishing I could play for another four hundred hours, and also wishing that I had an ice cream. Mint and choc chip preferably. Since then, I've spent a lot of time thinking about what Civ VI is doing and how its many systems create a…

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Civilization VI Egypt Vid Is Comin’ Atcha

I made a silent promise to myself that I wouldn't post every single new leader/civ reveal for Civilization VI [official site] because, really, do you need a video to tell you that France is likely to have some big cultural advantages based around museums, and that Japan might have its own warrior code, and cities that enjoy the benefits that come from island life and…

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Feature: Not as good as Civ IV

Have You Played… Sid Meier’s Civilization V?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time. Sid Meier is famous for his line that games are "a series of interesting decisions." Which makes it interesting that Sid Meier's Civilization V is a game about telling people to stand still over and over again.

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Steam Charts: Demons And Souls

I say top ten, but there are actually only seven different games in the past week's Steam charts, once pre-orders and deluxe editions are filtered out. It seems like a lifetime ago that Stardew Valley and Factorio were doing a little indie rampage around the charts, as Steam's best-sellers have now very much reverted to big-brand type. Also: pre-ordering sure doesn't seem to be going…

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