Wednesday, 18 December 2019

'Civilization' and Strategy Games' Progress Delusion

quote [ How strategy games have held on to one of colonialism's most toxic narratives, and how they might finally be letting it go. ]

The world needs more Hex games
[SFW] [games] [+4 Underrated]
[by satanspenis666@2:23pmGMT]

Comments

LacheChance said @ 1:45am GMT on 19th Dec [Score:1 Underrated]
Progress has only been a steady climb since the Renaissance. Before that it was more of a stock market with ups and downs.
Paracetamol said @ 4:45am GMT on 20th Dec
This depends on the definition of progress though.
cb361 said @ 5:05pm GMT on 19th Dec [Score:1 Interesting]
snowfox said @ 3:33am GMT on 20th Dec [Score:1 Underrated]
Fun fact! In response to Hitler, fascists in the south of Europe said the Mediterraneans were that master (caucasian sub-)race. Their reasoning? Rome, Egypt, the fertile crescent (ancient Middle East) were the foundations of western civilization and were well-developed in a time when northern tribes were still considered barbarians.
Racism! One of the subjects details not only don't clarify, but in fact make more illogical and confusing.
steele said @ 4:38pm GMT on 18th Dec
I can't find the link that covered it, but there's a book out there that discusses how much of the "agricultural revolution" that brought an end to nomadic lifestyles came via the use of force to keep people farming for the powerful rather than as some form of voluntary societal progress.
Paracetamol said @ 8:14pm GMT on 18th Dec
Cool! Adding links some older articles that had a similar narrative concerning game systems and their real world inspiration:

All rise and no fall: how Civilization reinforces a dangerous myth and
Model Metropolis.
5th Earth said @ 8:20pm GMT on 18th Dec
I suspect the issue is partly that, because these are games, they have to have a "win" condition, and "eliminate everyone else" is an easy-to-define win condition. When playing Civ games I usually go for the technology win personally, but not all games provide that type of option, whether through laziness, budget, or design.

Contrast with Sim City and derivatives, which have no defined win condition and do not rely on the elimination of others. But every game design course I'm familiar with also says they aren't technically games (more akin to toys), partly *because* there is no defined win condition. "self improvement and cooperation" can be fun, but is hard to fit in classic game design.
mechanical contrivance said @ 9:44pm GMT on 18th Dec
Arcade games (with few exceptions) don't have a win condition because they go on forever until you lose your last life. Does that mean they aren't games?
5th Earth said[1] @ 10:21pm GMT on 18th Dec [Score:1 Underrated]
Well, it comes down to what your definition of "game" is. According to many definitions, a game has to have a defined "win" condition, which many arcade games don't obviously have, in isolation. But if you think about it, they can have one: scoring more points than anyone else in a defined context (i.e. a high score board) can count as "winning", just like in most sports. The fact that the competition takes place asynchronously is a little unusual, but it's easy to measure success (earning points) and compare that to other people.

Now, whether that counts is a philosophical question. Personally I think it does. And the whole question is not meant to imply that "games" like Sim City don't have value, because SC is awesome. But when you are talking about games from a design and theory standpoint, concepts like what it means to "win" are useful things to think about. It's a fundamental design parameter for any game, and failure to think about it critically can lead to problems like what this article points out: many 4X games assume that the only meaningful way to win is to eliminate all your opponents, and the design of the games forces you to execute that goal.
Paracetamol said @ 5:21am GMT on 19th Dec
"Similarly, a popular description of gameplay, coined by Sid Meier, is as a ‘series of interesting choices’. This is broader and, in general, I have less direct criticism of it – my issue is more with what we regard to be ‘interesting’ and what we regard to be ‘choices’."


Problem Machine Blog
arrowhen said @ 8:30am GMT on 19th Dec
When you lose your last life, that's the win condition for the computer.

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