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Video Game Predicts a Long, Dystopian Nightmare for Us All

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Prince once said, “…I’ve seen the future and, boy, it’s rough.” He wasn’t referring to the very long game of Civilization II one man has been playing, but his words were spot on nonetheless.  

Reddit user Lycerius posted on Tuesday about his ten year old game of Civilization II. He played on and off over the course of the past decade, but what he found in its future is equal parts amazing and terrifying.  

The Civilization series was created by video game legend Sid Meier in 1991 for the PC. Civilization II was released by MicroProse in 1996 and is available for Windows (MSFT), Mac (AAPL), and PlayStation (SNE). The series is currently developed by Firaxis and published by 2K Games (TTWO).

The series is known for being detailed, turn-based strategy games that simulate the world at the beginning of civilization. They follow the player’s chosen nation throughout history.  

In the game, Lycerius’s world has reached the year 3991 AD. According to his timeline, mankind will see a lot of warfare. Almost two thousand years of it.

Lycerius’s game had three main nations emerge: the Celts, the Vikings, and the Americans. They’ve all developed technologically as far as the game will let them, making each nation thermonuclear capable. None of the warring parties can keep a treaty long enough to stay peaceful. Cities are often attacked and destroyed by spies with nuclear devices. The ice caps have melted twenty times from near constant nuclear fallout.

The result is copious, irradiated, unfarmable swamp lands.

The front line of the three way war hasn’t moved in 1,000 (in-game) years. Tanks can’t make any progress, as they’re liable to be nuked once they break a line of defense. The government, army, and engineers can only funnel their resources toward an eternal war. Consequently, the people of the world starve as the three superpowers focus everything on fighting over swiftly depleting resources.  

The one silver lining of this nightmare future seems to be a ravenous need for qualified engineers to repair infrastructure, if only to allow for troop movement.

Lycerius says he wants to end the war within the next few (real world) years and focus on rebuilding. This scenario has captivated the Reddit community so much, Lycerius was asked to put his saved game online to crowd-source a solution to the stalemate. A separate subreddit has been dedicated to finding an answer.

Perhaps we can look forward to a brighter prediction of the future in 2020 when the series latest game, Civilization V, is ten years old. Maybe then it’ll help us figure out all our current problems.

(See also: New SimCity Set to Destroy Your Free Time on Facebook)
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