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Colonization Retro AAR

March 25th, 2008 by Troy Goodfellow · 7 Comments · Blogs

The best thing about Rock, Paper, Shotgun is the comfort in finally having some serious PC gaming peers in a blogosphere dominated by console gaming.

The second best thing RPS is that the team is full of great writers, each of whom has a unique voice. Some of us soldier on alone.

The third best thing is that they’re not afraid to spend thousands of words on seriously long retro stuff, like Alec Meer’s new post about rediscovering Sid Meier’s Colonization.

[I]ts approach was not Civ-but-bigger, but rather Civ-but-smaller – focusing in on and expanding a very specific part of the game. Establishing remote colonies and trading were only minor parts of Civ, mere footnotes to its tale of global conquest and technological progress. Colonize zooms into and fills in this sketchy back-story. It could be said to born of the same quiet-the-mewling-fanbase thinking as the Star Wars prequels, only rather than simply filling in all the gaps on Wookieepedia it genuinely has its own purpose.

Meer admits that sometimes it is hard to be completely objective about games that you grew up with, and I think he cuts Colonization quite a bit of slack. I have a lot of design qualms about Colonization, especially regarding how you deal with foreign powers. But I grudge no one their nostalgia, so long as they are aware of it.


7 Comments so far ↓

  • James Allen

    Yeah! PC Gaming Blogs Rock!

  • roberton

    Great article, wonderfully written, and some good comments too.

    I’ve never played Colonization; I’d love to know how people here (including Troy) rank it in the pantheon of 4X and/or other Meier games. I’ve played all the Civs and most other Sid Meier-branded games since Pirates (and a few of this earlier games too) but Colonization never grabbed me.

    I will claim that the reason for not playing Colonization is that I never bored of Civ; why give up x hours of that to play something probably not as good? However I wonder if me being British had an influence. The appeal of the setting may be greater for North Americans (just as I’ve never played an American Independence war game!). As the comments by Troy state, kicking the Europeans out is the aim…


  • JonathanStrange

    I played this game “back in the day!” Loved it. Would not play it again. It would depress me to realize that the game was no longer fun or fresh and that current strategy gaming wasn’t more advanced. Nostalgia’s great, I suppose, but I wouldn’t want to play there.

  • tatertot18

    This is one game I’d love to see Sid remake. I still pick it up on occasion when I’m on a Colonial America kick.

  • JonathanStrange

    I should’ve mentioned that I enjoyed the article/post on Colonization: it was a great read! I still have no desire to go back to the game but I one of those gamers who enjoys reading a well-written AAR. Thanks for directing our attention to Rock, Paper, Shotgun.

  • Jason Lutes

    Colonization is one of the greats, imo. Coincidentally, I got it to work on DosBox recently, and was in the middle of a game when the RPS piece went up. I was surprised to find that it remains an utterly compelling play — all of the recent AAA games on my desk have been sidelined for the past week as I find myself re-addicted to Colonization and Master of Magic. The resource/job system in Colonization is awesome, and it does a fantastic job of abstracting key concepts (the national and founding father special abilities, etc.).
    As I play MoM concurrently, I find myself wishing for a fantasy 4x that includes a simple/robust trade model along Col’s lines. Or a remake of the ultimately disappointing Trade Empires that uses Col’s mechanics.

  • Krupo

    Yeah, I don’t know if you share this feeling too, but my big qualm as a Canadian was the whole “independence or bust” America-centric aspect of the game.

    Canada shows there are other perfectly valid (if slower) ways of gaining independence too. But I could ignore it long enough to have fun with that game.