Sunday, September 25, 2005

Strategy Games . . . are you serious?

I love history, reading the books and stuff. Once my father and grandfather had a ten minute long argument about a house in some backroad in virginia . . . whether it was before this particular hill or after it. I was blown away. The detail-orientedness and spatial memory these guys have is phenomenal . . . my older brother got it, but not me. . . anyway . . . These were the two minds that got me interested in History

The problem with books is that they're static. The wonderful thing about strategy games is that they're dynamic. Strategy games are the war games that are on the computer and not PS2's and so forth. In strategy games you wage wars on multiple fronts. In addition to that, you build up the civilization that creates the warriors. What this has me realize is that 'war' cannot happen without an economy. In the preface to The Art of War (i think the Cleary translation) there's a admonition that says the great doctor heals a patient before the patient know he is sick. In terms of war and economy, you must undermine another country's economy to beat it militarily. Think America vs. USSR (inherent weakeness of socialism aside).

So I think all people should have to become expert strategy-games players. Why? Because they're the best way to learn how history and the current world operates. Imagine wanting to change a light-buld and knowing nothing of electricity running through circuts. How much success do you think you'll have? Not much, right. Imagine trying to change the world, and not knowing how it works . . . get the point?

Strategy Games are the way to go. They show you, metaphorically of course, in entertainment-time/density how the world works. What's entertainment time and entertainment density? Great question. Entertainment time is the pace by which a person is comfortable ingesting information. Any faster its a blur, any slower its a bore. Entertainment density is kinda the same, they delete some of the not-so-important variables and nuances enough so you're not overloaded with information, but retain enough important to keep it realistic and interesting.

What strategy games do i recommend? I say start of with the old Age of Empires, and upgrade to Rise of Nations. I have both of those, and haven't played any others. Of course if i had more free time i'd get to thrash-level at RON but i don't. I would also suggest Sim City and perhaps one of those 'tycoon' games. Why those? Because it's cool to understand the whole civilization/nation view, but we also need an awareness of local economy, issues and politics, which Sim City provides. Why a Tycoon game? Because you gotta know how to run a business.

Rise Of Nations
One of the Tycoon Games
Sim City (new versions)
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