Civilization and Colonialism and Empire

I just turned in my paper about Colonialism and Empire in the Civilization series. I’m certainly not the first to write about it. However, it did take me a while to hunt down those who have. So in the interests of making it easier for people to find sources about colonialism and empire in Sid Meier’s Civilization series, here is my Works Cited:


Avalon Hill.  “Civilisation.”  1981.
Bako Bitz.  “The Culture of Civilization III.”  Jan. 15, 2002.  Dec. 7, 2004 <>.

“Civilization (board game).”  Wikipedia.  Dec. 7, 2004 <>.
“The Civilization Legacy.”  The Official Civilization III Web Site.  Dec. 7, 2004 <>.
Chick, Tom. “The Teaching Game:  All I Really Need to Know I
Learned in Civilization.”  Jan 2002.   <>. The Official Civilization III Web Site.  Dec. 7, 2004 <>.
Civilization 3 Complete. Atari, 2004.  
Douglas, Christopher.  “‘You Have Unleashed a Horde of
Barbarians!’: Fighting Indians, Playing Games, Forming Disciplines.”
 Post Modern Culture 13.1 (Sep, 2002).  Dec. 7 2004.
Friedman, Ted.  “Civilization and Its Discontents: Simulation,
Subjectivity, and Space.” Nov. 22, 1997.  Personal Site.

 Dec. 7, 2004 <>.
Guha, Ranajit. Introduction.  A Subaltern Studies Reader,
1986-1995. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 1997.
Lammes, Sybille. “On the Border: Pleasures of Exploration and Colonial
Mastery in Civilization III Play the World.” Level Up: Digital Games
Research Conference.   Eds. Copier, Marinka and Joost Raessens.
 Utrecht: Utrecht University, 2003, 120-29
Mehta, Uday Singh.  Liberalism and Empire: A Study in
Nineteenth-Century British Liberal Thought.  Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 1999.

Memmi, Albert.  The Colonizer and the Colonized.  London, Beacon, 1965 (1957).
Meyers, David.  “Bombs, Barbarians, And Backstories:
Meaning-Making Within Sid Meier’s Civilization.”  Forthcoming in
Ludologica: Videogames D’autore: Civilization And Its Discontents.
Vitual History. Real Fantasies. Ed. Matteo Bittanti.  Milan,
Italy: Edizioni Unicopli.  <>.
Moumouni.  “Pretty Historically Correct.” Jan. 20, 2002.  Dec. 7, 2004.  <>.

Poblocki, Kacper.  “Becoming-State. The Bio-Cultural Imperialism
of Sid Meier’s Civilization.”  Focaal — European Journal of
Anthropology 39 (2002): 163-177.  < >.
Sartre, Jean-Paul.  “Introduction.”  The Colonizer and the
Colonized.  By Memmi, Albert.  London, Beacon, 1965 (1957).
Squire, Kurt.  Replaying History: Learning World History Through
Playing Civilization III.  Diss. Indiana University, 2004.

Stephenson, William. The Microserfs are Revolting: Sid Meier’s Civilization II. Bad Subjects 45 (Oct 1999). Dec, 7 2004 < >.
“Wargaming.”  Wikipedia.  Dec. 7, 2004 <>.

Too Busy to Play Games????

Apparently not, even though I’ve got 3 papers due in two weeks and 20+ papers to grade by tomorrow (what do my students think? It’s my job to teach them or something? Kids these days!) I’ve managed to finish Half-Life 2 in less than a week and put in some record length sessions with Civilization 3.
At least the last one is for a paper. I writing about depictions of Imerialism and colonialism in videogames for a class on Empire and colonialism. Funny how you can shove videogames into any class.
My post about videogame girls continues to get comments. It is interesting to see the reaction to it. I got over 1000 hits one day with people reading it. I also got linked to by some porn blog, which caused some interesting reactions from people who came here from that site I would guess.
OK, time to grade. Weeee!!! A grad student’s work is never done…

My (Half-Life) 2 Cents Worth

While I didn’t stay up late for the unocking of Half-Life 2, I did get up a bit early to play and in teh hour and a half I’ve played, I give it thumbs up. I like the consistency of the sounds for things and I find the game to be a much more tense experience than the first one so far. Graphics are pretty but, like Doom 3, I find myself numb to them after a while and just sort of expect things to look that well. OK, back to playing… You know it really is inconsiderate of Valve to release this game right when I am supposed to be writing papers and grading!!!

You Don’t Know Jack… Thompson

There are two old sayings, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than speak and remove all doubt” and “Brevity is the soul of wit.” However, when it comes to certain people, these sayings are fairly contradictory.

Our favorite anti-videogame lawyer, Jack Thompson has been answering some questions and the answers aren’t quite what some were expecting.

Over at Kotaku, when they aren’t busy making witty comments about my purchasing habits, have been having an email conversation with Jack Thompson who has provided some very short, but very telling answers to their questions.

Over at slashdot, the story was posted and some people don’t seem to want to believe it is legit. I feel fairly certain that this is indeed consistent with the Jack we all know and love. I made the following post:

People are saying that this is fake. But based on other email
comments I have seen from Jack Thompson, this is totally keeping in
line with his responses.

In a thread on a videogame forum
there are people who claim that they have
emailed Thompson and got such pithy responses as: “the rubbish is up
your cranium, take it out,” “you’re biased against lawyers. grow a
brain,” “No, actually it’s all about ignorant gamers,” “You don’t know
my motives, so don’t try guessing,” and “children are allowed to buy
them. do your research, junior.”

In another email exchange I’ve found, he basically says, that he would rather sue videogame companies than have laws passed.

Finally, Thompson is also famous for being the lawyer behind
the Two Live Crew obsenity trials, , and most bizarrely, claiming that Janet Reno was unfit for office in Florida
because she was gay and people would blackmail her because
of it (except by making a public deal of it, wouldn’t that make it
impossible to blackmail her). As well as harrassing a local DJ Neil Rogers who had to get a restraining order taken out against against him.

In short, Jack Thompson is certainly 100% capable of the odd
responses stated in the article. There is actually lots more odd things
that this lawyer has done. Do a search for “jack Thompson” and
videogames and tons of stuff will come up about him.

I find the fact that some are hesitant to believe that a lawyer would respond in or act in such a manner to be very interesting. It is because of this that I have decided that Jack Thompson and his anti-videogame violence efforts are in fact NOT real. He is, as U2 said, even better than the real thing. And what better type of layer to have crusading against a virtual entertainment than one that is hyperreal, or simulacra.

He is against a medium that some could argue is composed of simulacra (simulacri?), says things that we don’t believe are true and people don’t believe that he actually said the things people attribute to him.

Jack Thomson: Postmodern Attorney. You don’t have to believe in him because he doesn’t believe in you.

Oops, I did it again…

It seems like my last post has created a tempest in a teapot. Unlike the last time I got into a flamewar, I didn’t think anyone would react so negatively, and I didn’t even imply anyone was an elitist bastard this time!

While some of the comments are reasoned and sound, some sound like they protest too much. Sorry I implied that it was wierd to want to look at half naked videogame characters. And I’m sorry that my parents gave me a name that doesn’t fit in with your normative idea of what a name should be.

I’m glad that Tore over at vesterblog sympathises with me, because from the comments I thought I might be the only one who thinks the whole deal is a little weird.

Seriously though, someone explain the appeal of half naked videogame characters when pictures of real people are so easilly available. Please.

Ashamed to be a Gamer

I was in the local bookstore today looking through the magazines and for the first time in a long while I became ashamed to be a gamer. While looking through the rack of gaming mags I saw the following:

Girls of Gaming Magazines


Now I had heard about the things with videogame characters appearing in Playboy, but a whole magazine devoted to videogame women? That’s just sad. And a gaming mag using a woman to sell their mag? Is the game mag industry that competitive? So is there anyone out there willing to admit they bought either of these without a sense of shame or irony?

Playing to wait and Waiting to play

In anticipation of the release of the big games, Halo 2 and Half-Life 2, I’m going away from the FPS games. I’m preparing to write a paper about depictions of colonialism and empire in gaming and so I am starting to head towards wargaming for the first time. On the way there, I found a cheap copy of Civ3 and I’ve became 100% addicted to it in just the same way I was addicted to Civ2. Not really related to colonialism, but it will do until the “H” games come out.

Of course, if anyone knows of any games that deal with colonialism (apart from the Civ spinoff Colonization, that is), drop off a comment. There is always a lot of talk about “Why can’t games be about broader topics” and yet here we have some games that are about something as complex as colonialism and yet tends to treat the topic in rather black and white terms (with all the racial coding implicit in that statement).

But the Digra proposal deadline is just a couple weeks ago, so I need to get that taken care of first!

I Don’t Really Love Gold(en Eye 2)

I got the chance to play a bit of the new GoldenEye yesterday. Now, I’m not some big hig muckety muck or anything, there was a booth set up on campus and had it, the new prince of persia, and a couple other games that aren’t out yet. Unfortunatly, I was running late for class and was only able to play GoldenEye2 for like 5 minutes.

5 minutes of pure hell! Now this won’t be a real preview or anything, but a mini-rant. I pretty much play FPS games every day. But I play them on computers. You know where this is going, right? IT took me the entire time to figure out how to control the damn game. FPS games simply aren’t made for controlers. I never got the hang of Halo (especially driving the damn vehicals) and I certainly wasn’t able to get the hang of GoldenEye2 in five minutes. I know the first one as well as Halo are insanely popular, but you can put it right up there with the Sims on the list of things about gaming that I don’t get. If you get it, more power to you. I don’t get the appeal of CSI or Law and Order either, so what kind of judge am I?

Other than that, the game pretty much looked like crud as well. It looked like is was using a first generation Lithtech engine. I only saw one level, so it might have been just that level. The rest may be beautiful as any other game on the market, but that level certainly wasn’t.