It’s 1991 all over again

15Sep08

My earliest memories of PC gaming are of sitting in a chilly back corner of our kitchen in front of a home built zombie 286 cobbled together from scraps and handmedown hardware. Games like EGA Trek and Commander Keen were my bread and butter but Civilization was one of the first to really grab me for more than a short period of time.

Screen shot of the awesome visuals!

Screen shot of the awesome visuals!

Before Civ most games had a short shelf life. I’d play for a short time, maybe a couple of weeks, and then move on to whatever the next copy of PC Format was telling me to play or was on it’s cover floppy disk. By contrast Civ games felt like they lasted for weeks. I’d be exploring, building and establishing my own Roman Empire, making scientific discoveries and then excitedly talking about it with friends in school the next day.

“I discovered combustion really early last night. I could attack the greeks with tanks and they only had horses!”

“Cool! How did you get it so early then?”

Seventeen years later and the blazer and shirt and tie have gone but I find myself enthusing to anyone who’ll listen just how good Civilization Revolution for the DS really is. It’s like being 12 all over again! The developers of Civ on DS have done a very smart thing in making this franchise respect its platform and its player. Instead of trying to replicate the full blown PC and console experiences of modern Civilization titles they’ve opted to retain some of the simplicity and charm of that original game so visually it feels very familiar to anyone who’s played Civ or more recently Advance Wars. A campaign is typically a short-ish game out of the way in a couple of hours making it perfect for the adult me who has a bit less time on his hands these days in spite of having no Latin homework to finish before he can play. Research, city management and troop movements can feel a little clumsy to begin with, you’ll most likely need to refer to the manual/ tutorial a couple of times and the controls are at times sluggish but an hour or so in and niggles like that and some small visual glitches faded into the background because part of me was back in the kitchen in the nineties battling to create an empire that could reach the stars and cursing my arrogance at leaving Rome undefended while I tried to crush the Chinese – it was only one turn and those crafty Greeks just stormed in!

Civ had me dust off my DS for the first time in a while and I’m finding my new love for this title has reignited a love for the platform I’m playing it on. No wonder Nintendo sell so many of them every month. I would highly recommend you pick this bad boy up and try it out. You’ll be pleased you did – meet yuo by the tuck shop to swap some tips for half a wagon wheel! πŸ˜‰

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