Tuesday, July 27, 2010


The goal is simple. Build a civilization that will stand the test of time. Your tribe is your heart and your cities, your children. You nurture them like a mother does to her child, and defend them with your soldiers should invaders decide to posses your precious lands.

It was fifteen years ago when I first learned of a computer game that hones one's logic skills. The name is Civilization and to journey back into the fringes of stone age only to twist the plot of humanity's common story is the selling point of the game.

So there I was in front of the computer screen, with my first city and my first soldier exploring the terrain. I could have gone and raise an army that would invade an AI's defenseless city but I chose not to. Instead, I decided to build a settler that would improve the land around my capital.

Such choice would be my guiding principle as I played the game over and over, and with each new reincarnation, the doctrine never fails. While others prefer invading lands belonging to another people, I build roads and irrigation tiles for my tribe to grow. Instead of legions and chariots, I construct libraries and temples for my cities to bloom. I go to war in the name of peace, and when strife happens, expect the cause being an AI doing a sneak attack on one of my unsuspecting cities.

You may find my pacifist tendencies a little too Utopian for a reality driven simulation. But let us not forget, Civilizations grow because of technology and to acquire a new science - especially from a rival - is worth a thousand spears. I may not be the conqueror type, but expect my technologies to be the envy of my enemies. While foes employ catapults to knock down walls, I use cannons to blast fortifications back to dust. And while propeller planes are used to bombard my cities, expect a nuclear missile or two to be used to destroy an enemy capital.

In the end, world domination was never my calling. I could leave the other tribes killing one another. While in the cradle of my civilization, components to be used for the first starship to leave the planet for its first journey to Alpha Centauri are being assembled in orbit.

It was mere a computer game for many: A crafty device for self distraction when nothing else could be done to kill time. But in a span of years and countless hours of playtime, lessons learned from nurturing a tribe shaped an entire personality. I may define space as domain more than anyone else, but when I close my eyes and lift a page in history to reveal an event in time, that is where the game proved most useful.

From Sumeria of the Fertile Crescent to last month's World Cup in South Africa, I know where to find the human connection.

But I wonder still, if Civilization is a multiplayer game and I found your city just beyond the next hill several tiles away from my capital, would I make peace? Would I trade my Alphabet for your Masonry and exchange diplomats the moment I discover Writing? Would I let you live in peace, or put my chariots outside your domain in preparation for a sneak attack?

I have a hidden desire for allegiances and I would rather keep your cities as a buffer should rival tribes appear past our realms. But knowing how much we have in common - in how we grew up and develop our civilizations - and maybe even in our very way of life, perhaps I would have done more to ensure the growth of your nation.

In our world, it is hard to find someone like you.

Belated maybe our first contact, but who knows, if we have met a long long time ago in a virtual world that shaped our lives, I might have placed my chariots at the edge of your border to guard against the hordes galloping from the north and make sentry, as you attend to the affairs of your tribe.


PILYO said...

havent tried this game or maybe i was stuck on DOTA for a long time.

heyoshua said...

"I would have placed my chariots at the edge of your borders to guard against the hordes galloping from the north and make sentry, as you attend to the affairs of your tribe." I will talk to his majesty my father the king to palce your chariots in our borders and I want you to be the chief of the guards. Paak! Galing!I like how you relate the game on your life. I am really excited sa pagbabali kng encantadia. :)

orallyours said...

im such a noob in computer/video games thats why im amazed by writers like you who could make me plow through topics that are greek to me like follett did in pillars with masonry naman.

red the mod said...

Though cities are built by societies, it is by the action of contact with other cities that civilizations blossom. Whether it be antagonistic or protagonistic, symbiotic and nurturing, or assimilative and defensive, interactions between societies always lead to change. From village, to burgs, from citadels to cities. Be brave, it is in the reaching out that we discover others worthy of welcome into our fortifications.

And thusly, discover ourselves.

Alterjon said...

finally, the protective and nurturing side of the Spartan.

drew said...

Lupit mo talaga Mugen, pati Civ ginagawang metaphor!

Cio said...

na try ko na ang game na kapareho ang theme. natawa lang ako kasi gusto ko gumawa agad ng madaming babies. haha. hirap kasi ako sa pag-iisip. mahina ako dun. hehe

gayunpaman, oo nga tama ka kasi kailangan magampanan mo ng tama ang tungkulin for you to build a strong community. sa game, ikaw ang magmamando. sa tunay na buhay, kailangan both ways.

Désolé Boy said...

ikaw na ang sinasamba ko!!! =)
nakakainis ka..ang galing galing mo..i love u na..hahaha

dale_cebu said...

Im following ur blog, though im not a blogger like most of your followers here, I enjoy reading ur blog, let say it is full of 'sense'. Feeling ko nga close tayo, feeling lang, hope ma meet kita pero im from cebu, dalaw ka dito minsan.

Yas Jayson said...

splendidly imagined and metaphorized.

again, hands down.

gauxves said...

i miss Civ... and i miss your blog...