Civilization (Series)

Emerging Technologies and Edtech June 03, 2014

Country of Origin: US
Languages: English, voiced in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Text in Japanese, Korean, Russian
Developer: Firaxis
Publisher: 2K games
Year Published: 2010
Platforms: OSX, Windows (large download)
Genre: Strategy (Turn based), simulation
Barriers to Entry: Requires moderately high performance PC/Mac, large download, requires a great deal of reading.
Age range:  Middle School, High School
Subjects: Civics, Social Studies

Civilization 5 is the fifth in one of the longest-running and most successful franchises in computer games. The Civilization games place the player in control of an entire civilization, and the player’s task is to advance that civilization from a primitive state all the way up through a modern, space-faring civilization. This task revolves primarily around the establishment and maintenance of Cities (it might have been called ‘City-State’), which can then be linked into a larger civilization over time.

The player encounters a number of other computer-controlled civilizations along the way, and makes decisions around war or peace, economic cooperation or competition, and so on. Meanwhile, the player also invests resources to advance his or her civilization in areas like science, the arts, culture, and governance. Good decisions help a civilization grow and advance smoothly; poor or inconsistent decisions doom a civilization to barbarianism.

The span of time is what makes Civilization so unique. The game also tends to bring in genuine figures from history (like Genghis Khan) as opponents, accentuating the sense of the scope of history. Play occurs in turns, on a board -game -like environment (Civilization 5 uses hexagonal board tiles). It’s never a high-pressure or high dexterity game; it’s more thoughtful and deliberate. It is also generally a single-player game, though recent versions do include multiplayer play. The game also allows user modding.