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Firaxis responds to my Colonization post

I invited someone from 2K or Firaxis to respond to my post about the problems I have with "Civilization IV: Colonization" and I just received this from Steve Martin, president of developer Firaxis Games:

For seventeen years the Civilization series has given people the opportunity to create their own history of the world. Colonization deals with a specific time in global history, and treats the events of that time with respect and care. As with all previous versions of Civilization, the game does not endorse any particular position or strategy - players can and should make their own moral judgments. Firaxis keeps the player at the center of the game providing them with interesting choices and decisions to make, which has proven to be a fun experience for millions of people around the world.


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Surely the realm problem here wasn't that it was about colonizing as such, but rather that the game completely abstracts the slave trade?

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Random guy

Condemning one of the most innovative game designs simply because it brings up colonization is idiotic. Man has been colonizing for centuries. What else would you call expansion, then? The Greeks did it with Alexander, to everything between macedonia to india. The Romans lived for it, just look at the saminites and all their 35 tribes. Is it even possible to list all the injustices, both accidental or intentional, that ever occured throughout history due to colonization, of all things? I don't think so.


lol what a stupid thing to say, mabey they shouldn't make films about the period as well. Hell why stop there how about banning any action games set in the middle east?

but seriously the stupid things people will say just to get a little publicity


My My my...
It must be very nice to be so protected from the realities of the world that you can get upset about events that happened 300 years ago. What glorious ignorance to be so free from the lessons of history. I wish I could be you, but I cannot. I have seen the accounts of the events and I have played the game for a long time. The game's framework allows for exploration of these events in ways that reading mere books cannot. You can try several different strategies and you can learn from the consequences.
Okay, so this isnt a pinball game. If that was what you were expecting then maybe you should not buy the game or play it. But if you want to learn something and truly appreciate some of the finer choices that had been made, then you ought to pick up this game.

BTW...for all the bleeding hearts out there, My ancestors once inhabited northern italy. We were systematically assimilated and conquered by the romans. We were colonized in the same way. But you dont hear us whining about "oh poor us".
A stronger culture came along and we felt it best to join them. Some of us moved and some stayed. But you wont see any of us building casinos and ressurecting hackneyed versions of our traditions to make a buck.

Histroy happens.
Get over it.

If any part of your culture endures, then you should consider your culture lucky and get on with your life.

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I'm not surprised, really. We are talking about a country where many people actually believe that watching Tom&Jerry (the mouse cutting up the cat which is then resurrected etc) will actually cause kids to go on hacking up their fellows.

I've grown up on Doom and Duke Nukem 3D, blasting my friends with rocket blasters, but in real life I couldn't/wouldn't punch them seriously. (Oh yes, and we don't have school shootings here, even though there's no censorship. Take that, and think about it.)

I've played the original Civ series (seeing the editors young face, his parents haven't even bought the movie ticket when that game came out), what, even played Panzer General 1-2 and had conquered the world with the Nazis! Whoa, I must be a f* rascist. (What a surprise then, that when I visited NY, an afro lady with a child asked me for directions and she told me that noone had helped her before me - I thought americans were raised in the spirit of equality and helpfulness - needed a european tourist to help her).

a guy from Europe, home of rascism, nazism, communism (you can have them in Civ!) whatever stupid idea you get out of your textbooks.

ps. not being able to play with natives is a serious lack, I agree - but knowing Civ4 moddability, it'll be fixed by fans :-)

Lolling at Ben Fritz

People keep agreeing that "colonization was the most destructive force in history". What are you smoking? It has destroyed the civil liberties of thousands of minority groups, and those technologically inferior to the aggressor. But we're talking about thousands of people compared to the millions taken by warfare; hell, taken by motor vehicles.

I would be willing to bet that more people have died from the use of atomic weapons than colonization has its years of existence. Especially not the colonization of the New World XD

Sid Meier

I played a game of Civilization 4.
I relished the fact that I WAS Pericles. I was able to promote a better earth, by trading technology to lesser civilizations, in exchange for theirs. I created a democratic society. Tell me that is evil, and I will show you a man who is a Satanist.

However, I was also able to destroy the Romans, and lead other nations on my crusade. And I funded warfaring countries. And nobody died. What is the consequence of that? Learning politics and military tactics without IRL deaths is a good thing, IMHO.


It is unfortunate that as a game blog you didn't know the original Colonization... But then, if you hoped on to the gaming band-wagon in the early 00's to profit from it all, I understand the why.

I'm repeating what others have said, but colonization was the game that actually got me interested in history, foreign peoples, trade and questions of war. I'm now a grad student in conflict resolution and international diplomacy.

Colonization gave me the option of massively killing peoples, and then reflecting on what that meant. It Gave me the option of attempting peace at all costs, and being wiped off the face of the game map.

The process of colonization, in the Americas, Africa, Oceania, Asia, is the single most destructive process in the History of Man. It did however favor the emergence of modern democracy, freedom, liberalism and the fastest most prosperous period in the History of Man. All things cut both ways, nothing is ever perfect, and one thing cannot excuse another, but giving the opportunity to learn about all of this through entertainment cannot be all bad.

ps response to earlier commenter on the possibility to play the natives and convert europeans : play Civilization IV, you'll be able to do exactly that.

Captain Popop

I can understand anyone has his own feelings about movies and games. You've got yours.

But I still can't figure out what kind of games we'd be playing without killing stealing destroying or whatever you deem bad.
"Hello Kitty and the New World: Dance with the pinky bears"

Games are fun material made to create virtual sensations. And they are the perfect tool to do things we can't IRL. Using violence, killing people, and even colonizing things...

I really enjoyed the original Colonization and look forward being able to play it's updated version.

Harri Kivistö

I'm sorry, but I must agree with the other posters in that your recent (at least) blog posts show little, of any, intellectual quality or actual relevance to the phenomena they are meant to concern.

Nisha Garg

Whatever!! Guys try this one out -


your blog sucks indeed. I'm only here because of bluesnews, and I'll be sure to not come back ever.
I guess you must also be a kid if you had never heard of the original colonization game from sid meier. Oh yeah, guess what, there quite a few other games that are about colonization. Why don't you cry about them as well?

Stuart Hoffman

Ben Fritz needs to be fired.

Why? He can no longer perform his position with any success due to alienating the entire gaming community with his illogical ramblings.

Even those who are not fans of Sid Meier or Colonization arn't going to take him seriously at this point, his viewpoints fly in the face of everything the gaming community is about.

If he wanted to attack a game series like GTA or something he would at least have some sympathy from some people somewhere as it's a political hotbutton.

But instead you choose to attack one of the most innovative, creative, non-offensive game series made by a legend in the industry. The Civilization series and all it's games border on being educational they are fun to play and generally non-violent compared to anything else on the market.


Congrats have having the most out of touch, moronic gaming related blog ever created. Keep attention whoring, you will need it to generate any hits here to this worthless crap. The sheer fact that you call yourself a gaming reporter and have never played Colonization says everything I need to know. When did you start gaming, 2004? Worthless tool.


Looks like your response came from Steve's 'whining nutbag with a blog' template.

Seems appropriate.


Your original post protesting against the game Colonization is either a bald-faced troll-post designed to stir up flase controversy and generate hits, or you are just one of the brainwashed PC zombies who would like to rewrite or censor history in some truly misguided attempt to further brainwash young people into somehow being ashamed of their European heritage.

Guess what? There have already been a million-and-one board games and computer games that allow you to do things like play out the Civil War as either the Confederacy or the Union, play out WWII as either the Axis or Allies, or try to achieve victory through either nuking your opponents or making peace with them and achieving victory through technological advancement or cultural domination.

You are attempting to create a tempest in a teapot, and just end up looking like an idiot to anybody who has a firm grip on their own sanity.

No one that you know

Your Blog sucks.

Grinning Iguana

"As with all previous versions of Civilization, the game does not endorse any particular position or strategy - players can and should make their own moral judgments."
Not all positions and moral judgments are possible. The player cannot play as the Native Tribes to create the "United Tribes of America". Christianity is the only religion and all Native Religions have been sidelined.

Firaxis should give players the opportunity to play as American Tribes and propagate the Shaman/Native religions. Converting settlers to the shaman religion would be nice for a change.


gee wow, an online blog desperate for attention calls some random game out for being 'shocking' just so they can get some hits.

the worse bit is you choose a game that is probably the least offensive of all time. but then that just shows you dont actually follow video-games. just press releases. *yawn*


Flaming with blog plug, Accusations of disingenousness, followed by more flaming with plug.

I do think that blog do get filled with fake outrage and snark, your post *was* raising valid points, with only mild levels of fake outrage. Civ games do have a tendency towards open endedness, although they also do have a somewhat linear progression, Civ IV points you down a western-centric path unless you try very hard. But it's hard to seperate what is actual 'human progress' and a western culture bias.

But as far as bias, there's plenty more menacing windmills to tilt at than Civ games, despite the colonization moniker.


That's a response that is considerably more respectful than was deserved.

Mine, on the other hand ....

Rob Beschizza

Your disingenuous stirring — consider the fact that every second game ever is about stealing, killing, abuse, exploitation and other sources of human conflict — is sad.

That you're so ignorant of your own beat as to be shocked by the existence of one of PC gaming's most revered classics is a tragedy.

Batting this attention-whoring escapade into play with "this post is based entirely on a marketing blurb" — Now *that's* comedy.

OMG a rational response.... Looks like 2K and Sid Meier's band of Immoral Racists are actually decent people with brains. Imagine that. It's a shame you couldn't see this for yourself before condemning the game sight unseen...
Here is a link to my response, for what it's worth:

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Chris Morris reports on the business and culture of video games and offers analysis of recent events and industry trends.
Tips and feedback are encouraged at chris.r.morris-at-gmail-com

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