Games From My Childhood: Civilization 3

I was recently digging through my desk at home when I came across the badly beaten and scratched but intact case holding Civilization 3, my favorite computer game from when I was younger.  For anyone that hasn’t played Civilization and/or hasn’t read someone’s game poster (shame on you), Civilization begins with you selecting a country (you play as the famous leader of that country–Lincoln, for example, represents the US) and starts with a nearly blank map and a settler.  From here you begin to build an empire, accumulate wealth and culture and wonders, build an army, meet other countries, and eventually destroy those countries.  Each turn advances you further into the future, with the end date at 2050 (Nostradamus?).  As you discover resources and expand your scientific research, you can upgrade your units and even build new ones relative to the time period you’re in.  An example of this is the military units you are allowed; you start with a basic warrior and end producing jet fighters.

Civ 3 was made in 2001, and it shows.  The graphics are extremely dated and simple, and it contains almost none of the modern aspects we now see in video games.  But that didn’t matter to me.  I loved this game because it was brilliant.  I could play for hours and not realize it.  Most of all though, even beyond the pleasure I gained from playing the game, was an affinity for history that I developed because of this game.  In the game as I met characters and discovered their cities, I became curious about the true history of those places and began looking them up on my own.  Without even realizing it, I was playing an educational video game.  And I didn’t care.

Years later, I found that Sid Meier (the game’s producer) is still hard at work, and has now developed Civ 5. Of course, I downloaded it immediately.  The graphics, the gameplay, and the countries are new, but the curious educational aspect is still very strong.  For anyone who has ever wanted to take history into their own hands, to build empires, build armies, wage war and accomplish world domination, this is the game for you.  But if you can find it, and you have a PC that will still run it, find Civ 3 and play it.  I promise you it will be the memory from your childhood you wish you had.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. gabood
    Mar 23, 2011 @ 12:24:31

    I also played a civilization type game that many people know from their childhood. My dad bought me Age of Empires when I was 8 or so and for a while I was pretty into the game. In fact, my cousins and I set up a computer network where we could play against each other from different rooms. In the beginning of Gee’s book, he notes that he had done several studies watching seven year olds playing Age of Empires and then proceeding to check out books in the library to learn more about Greek or Roman mythology, ancient architecture, and the heroes of different cultures. As Gee suggests, this is the best type of learning because it occurs outside the classroom. I really enjoyed learning about ancient history in my middle school years and I think this is partially due to my enjoyment of Age of Empires, which I’m sure you can relate to.


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