For the last week or so I've been indulging myself and my nerdly tendencies. I suspect not too many of my readers are big gamers, so you'll have to take my word for it when I say I'm not either. I am what those in the industry designate a "casual gamer." I only buy a new game once every year or two. The last game I played with any persistence was Children of the Nile, and that was released in 2004.
With the exception of Tetris, which is all about nostalgia anyway, I avoid console games, and stick to the computer. First person shooters and sports games of all varieties bore me to tears. The Sims never interested me. I've tried racing games and always get lapped repeatedly as I bobble around in the shrubbery. It is the historical city-building games that captivate me, games with complex economies: agriculture, raw materials, manufacturing, trade, diplomacy.
Especially in the honeymoon period after first acquiring a new game, I can spend hours at a time completely engrossed, immune to the passage of time. My current obsession is the new Caesar IV, released just last week. This specific game is particularly exciting for me, because of the whole Caesar thing. Computer gaming all started for me with Caesar III, and I have played with enthusiasm every subsequent incarnation Sierra Studios put out, from Zeus to Pharaoh to Emperor, and all expansions, too. I also played the Age of Empires lineage of games. But I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Caesar: he was my first.
And so I while away my hours, building reservoirs and aqueducts, city walls and gate houses, theaters and actors guilds. Providing goods to the citizens is quite a process. Producing olive oil, for example, requires an olive farm, olive groves, and an olive oil factory. And then the distribution network: warehouses and markets. I had quite a shock last night when I abruptly realized at 1:30 am that I'd been playing for hours without even checking my watch. I quickly took this screen shot, and closed up shop. I might need to take the day off today. Otherwise I'll be dreaming of my miniature Roman empire. Plus SodaBoy might want to play.