Fanfic inspired by the apocalyptic state of a ten-year-old Civilization II game

Lycerius's post on Reddit last week by caused enormous, worldwide interest as he revealed that he had been playing a single game of Civilization II for a decade, and that in that time, thousands of years had gone by, and the world had been nearly destroyed by centuries of war and rampant climate change ("a hellish nightmare of suffering and devastation"). It was a detailed, apocalyptic vision of a world where war and unlimited resource exploitation leads to a long, possibly eternal dark ages for the unlucky survivors.

Redditors were so captivated by this nightmare world that they have begun to write short stories set in Lycerius's wasteland, little first-person narratives from the miserable simulated people caught in the meat-grinder.

IO9's George Dvorsky has rounded up some of the choicest morsels, but, as he points out, you really owe it to yourself to have a look at the whole thread.

It seemed like just another day in this never-ending war. The last few historians left (who needs history now, really) agree that it has been going on for at least 1500 years, but their estimates vary. Why does it matter, anyway. The leaders of the remaining superpowers are locked in this pointless struggle, with no breakthrough. I have no idea how the Vikings keep being so consistent over such a long time, but the Communists have had the same family (and principles) in power ever since the war began and over here in America we've hooked up our president to a computer so he could rule forever. What a brilliant plan that was... Each nation is powerful just enough so neither can fall. Every time a city is captured, it is taken the next day. When roads are build in order to help dry up the swamps, they are immediately destroyed. The only way to rebuild our Earth is for someone to win, but that won't happen. At least, that's what I thought until now.

Our forces took another city by dawn. Nothing was special about it, apart from the fact that it was the first time it has been under American control since the war began. It's not that it was heavily guarded, only it was never deemed important enough for capture. As a part of our new military "strategy", we had to capture it for the slight chance that an inhabitant over there could have any sort of solution to the famines. We didn't find a man, but we got the solution alright.

I've been playing the same game of Civilization II for almost 10 years. This is the result. (self.gaming)


    1.  The mechanic of the game will make the one who gives up (the human), allow itself to be invaded, and at a certain moment, the victor will – again – declare war, thus invading all cities and eliminating that side.  On the other side, the mechanic of the game will never allow the computer team to give up.

  1. “When roads are build in order to help dry up the swamps, they are immediately destroyed.”

    “This bridge… we build it every night. Charlie blows it right back up again. Just so the generals can say the road’s open.”

    1. So it’s all about Keynesian economics in this brave new world, then?

      Hire someone to build a bridge, then somebody else hires somebody else to blow it up, blow it up real good!

  2. When I first read Lycerius’s description of the game I thought it sounded a lot like a Warhammer 40k background story.

  3. You really owe it to yourself to have a look at the whole thread.

    Good luck with that, I find Reddit to be very unwieldy and tiring when a thread gets big, gotta click on “load more comments” in sub-threads and and sub-sub-threads over and over again. Also, in this particular case, a whole lot of people repeat variations of the same four comments:

    – This is awesome.
    – Orwell/1984/Eurasia namecheck.
    – Joshua/War Games quote – “The only winning move is not to play”.
    – Holy shit dude, you’ve made (HuffPo) (Rock Paper Shotgun) (Daily Telegraph).

    1. You prefer endless repetitive variations of these?

      – Orwell/1984/Eurasia namecheck.
      – Correlation is not causation/The plural of anecdote is not data
      – Deregulation/Invisible hand of the market
      – Apple fanboi rant/Anti-Apple fanboi rant

      1. Apple fanboi rant/Anti-Apple fanboi rant

        The thing about this particular Reddit post (and I don’t know if it’s the norm or not) is that it makes apparent the design flaws of that site.  The avalanche of comments (over 5000 so far), coupled with the comment structure, lends itself for many people to post a repetitive comment for the nth time, thinking they’re the first to do so.  I guess.

        Let’s say I like it much better here.  A bit of noise is a good thing, taken in moderation, of course.

        1. IMHO, Reddit has become a real-world realization of Monty Python’s Argument clinic: things are segmented, controlled, and it’s the same wrote texts over and over.  The only difference is that Reddit doesn’t cost 5 quid, and Thompson’s Flying Squad doesn’t bop you on the head.

  4. One interesting development is that w/ the save game distributed, you can play it for yourself (see the subreddit sidebar). Another fun thing is that its made its way to some hardcore Civ players. It’s now been submitted as a “Game of the Month” challenge in one of the forums, so it looks like there will be some interesting solutions soon:

  5. i was a civ fiend and i always found the games to be weirdly prophetic. And also annoying. the AI would ALWAYS declare war instead of collaborate in any way and in the end … even a 10 hour game looks like this one. 10 years …. talk about nothing to do with one’s se;f

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