Gaming Gods
Gaming Gods: Sid Meier

For this instalment of Gaming Gods we’re talking about someone particularly special: Sid Meier. He is famous for his very popular Civilization series, and is often said to be the father of the Strategy Genre.

Not much is known about Meier’s life. We do know that he was born in Ontario, Canada on February 24th 1954. He also graduated from the University of Michigan.

Meier founded MicroProse with Bill Stealey in 1982. MicroProse initially created flight simulator games, like F-15 Eagle Strike and F-19 Stealth Fighter. In 1987 he released Sid Meier’s pirates, which also started a trend of placing Meier’s name in the title of his games. Meier Later explained that the inclusion of his name was due to the dramatic departure in the design of Pirates compared to the company’s earlier games. Stealey decided it would improve the company’s branding, making people who bought the flight simulators more likely to buy Pirates. After the release of F-19 Stealth Fighter, Meier decided to concentrate on developing strategy games. Inspired by SimCity and Empire, meier created RailRoad Tycoon, and later developed Civilization.

Pirates! Game Play

Meier eventually left MicroProse, and in 1996 founded Firaxis with veteran designer and gaming executive Jeff Briggs. Today, Firaxis makes strategy games, many of which are follow ups to Meier titles, such as Civilization V and Pirates.

Meier is not always the main designer behind games that carry his name. For example, Brian Reynolds was attributed as the primary designer behind Sid Meier’s Civilization II, Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri and Sid Meier’s Colonization, While Jeff Briggs designed Sid Meier’s Civilization III, Soren Johnson Led Sid Meier’s Civilization IV and Jon Shafer Sid Meier’s Civilization V. Currently, Meier’s role appears to be more along the lines of creative director, simultaneously contributing to multiple projects.

Meier worked with a team to create a Dinosaur themed game starting in early 2000, but announced in an online development diary, in January 2001, that the game had been shelved. Despite trying various different approaches, including turn-based and real-time gameplay, he said he couldn’t find a way to make the concept fun enough. In August 2005, Meier said ‘We’ve been Non-stop busy making other games over the past several years, so the dinosaur game remains on the shelf. However, I do love the idea of a dinosaur game and would like to revisit in when I have some time.’

Railroad Tycoon Game Play

Meier has received many awards in his time. In 1999 he was inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Science Hall of Fame, the second person to be inducted into it (after Shigeru Miyamoto). In 2008 he was given a lifetime achievement award at the 2008 Game Developers Conference. He has also been put on IGNs Top 100 game creators of all time, placed in the number 2 spot (again losing out to Shigeru Miyamoto). He now lives in Maryland with his wife and his son.

So, Meier has accomplished a fair amount his life. His Civilization series has become one of the best selling Strategy games of all time. It is an immensely popular series, and this is why he deserves a place on the Gaming God Throne.

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