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The Father of Civilization: Profile of Sid Meier 208

An anonymous reader writes with a link to Kotaku's recent profile of Civilization creator Sid Meier, and includes this snippet: "One year, as [coworker John] Stealey recalls, the two men went to an electronics trade conference. On the second night of the show, they stumbled upon a bunch of arcade games in a basement. One by one, Meier beat Stealey at each of them. Then they found Atari's Red Baron, a squiggly flight game in which you'd steer a biplane through abstract outlines of terrain and obstacles. Stealey, the Air Force man, knew he could win at this one. He sat down at the machine and shot his way to 75,000 points, ranking number three on the arcade's leaderboard. Not bad. Then Meier went up. He scored 150,000 points. 'I was really torqued,' Stealey says today. This guy outflew an Air Force pilot? He turned to the programmer. 'Sid, how did you do that?' 'Well,' Meier said. 'While you were playing, I memorized the algorithms.'"
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The Father of Civilization: Profile of Sid Meier

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 30, 2013 @05:43AM (#44146371)
    4. The person whining about this on a Sunday morning is a virgin
  • by munch117 ( 214551 ) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @05:47AM (#44146383)
    In 1980, a 'pattern' was something your wallpaper had. The word had no computer connotations. You're judging the man on how well he used 21st century lingo back in the 1980's.
  • Re:Hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @06:51AM (#44146523) Homepage Journal

    This is what Red Baron looks like: []

    I don't think being a Air Force pilot would help a lot. The reason Sid won was because he was better (or more used to) playing computer games, including seeing patterns how the enemies arrives (from left or right etc).

    back then for most people it was a foreign idea how a plane is controlled, you know, diving, climbing... reflexes. so for the guy who didn't think of them as machines, quite limited machines, it made sense for him to think that he would be better in it.

  • Re:Meh.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MalachiK ( 1944624 ) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @08:19AM (#44146697)

    Most literature no older than 100 years looks now dated and plain boring (yes, even golden classics). Music from 2 decades ago is mostly stuff that nobody listens anymore

    No. You have it backwards. Most recent literature is crap. Then again, most of the stuff that's ever been written is also crap. The difference between the works in the canon and the stuff that's getting published today is that over time it tends to be only the worthwhile material that endures. Mainly for this reason, if you pick up a book that's still in print after a long time then it's likely to be a lot better than a random contemporary book.

    The idea that nobody listens to music over twenty years old is about a dumb as it's possible to get in a syntactically valid sentence.

  • Re:Meh.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrHanky ( 141717 ) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @08:28AM (#44146715) Homepage Journal

    He's still right, though. You and your friends listen to 3 decades old music because you've stagnated, but even you won't listen to just any 30 years old record. I mean, even though it was a #1 hit close to 30 years ago, "Never Gonna Give You Up" is mostly remembered due to Rickrolling. Most music, most literature, most films and most art has always been shit; contemporary shit is just more acceptable due to being part of the zeitgeist. Old crap is forgotten, and people forget that they forget, and thus you get the popular delusion that there used to be some golden age.

  • Re:Meh.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @08:58AM (#44146839)

    I wonder if the music executives pick the music that made superhits some 30 or 40 years ago, dress it up using modern arrangements, and disguise it well

    Its all the same 4 chords. []

  • by pezpunk ( 205653 ) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @10:17AM (#44147149) Homepage

    From the childish notion that immense intellect would manifest as gaming skill to the baffling assumption that being a real-life fighter pilot would have any bearing whatsoever on playing a 2d side scroller. Sounds like the perfect kind of imbecile to be impressed with Sid Meier hype.

  • Re:Meh.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @12:46PM (#44147889) Journal

    No, I despise Madonna too. Competitive with Let It Be? Competitive with Dark Side Of The Moon? Competitive with Born In The USA? Goodbye Yellow Brick Road? Elton John had the same gimmick-- dress outrageously, but he makes good music. Lady HaHa is nothing BUT an image. The music is only incidental, and it's all Autotuned.

    OOOH I want to join the condescending display of knowledge. When did Pink Floyd ever write a modal melody that blossomed into florid counterpoint, or discovered a way to make the D triad follow the C# triad, through a harmonic intensification of a melodic element? (see Beethoven op 18 no 3, for example, first movement). Or when do you see anything even remotely close to the technique of taking a tune or theme and successively chipping it away to motivic nothings? Even a minor composer from 18th century Bohemia, Zdenek Fibich, showed more harmonic creativity than Bruce Springsteen. I mean, have you actually listened to "Born in the USA?" The monotonous repetitions are so tiring.

    What's really tiring is people who are condescending about music, especially when the stuff they prefer is just as much trash. Lady Gaga is fun to listen to, that's why people listen to her.

  • Re:Meh.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Sunday June 30, 2013 @01:54PM (#44148211) Journal

    I think a lot of it depends on your definition of "dated". Doyle's Sherlock Holmes and Shakespeare are dated in that the language and some of the situations are anachronistic, and yet either because they're ripping good stories (like many of Doyle's Holmes stories are) or deal with universal themes (as Shakespeare's greatest plays do), the anachronisms almost fade away.

    At the same time, it's true that there are no lack of out and out dated works. I watched some old Spitting Image episodes from the 1980s, and while I had a good laugh at Margaret Thatcher and Jeffrey Archer being brutally mocked, I realized that my 20 year old daughter wouldn't find it very funny at all. The humor was firmly planted in that period, so that even 25 years later, at best it's funny in a manic and nostalgic way.

    There is a lot of unreadable Victorian pulp, to be sure. It was the first great age of mass market consumer publishing, when literacy levels in Europe and the Americas reached the level that one could make a living publishing trash. At the same time, once I get over the jarring hump of 19th century idiosyncrasies, I can still enjoy Austen or Dickens, and even see in their marvelous and often excruciating characters people I know today. Thus they transcend the period in which they are written and set, and become universal works.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982