Alpha Centauri 2

News out of PAX: Firaxis is working on a new Civilization game… in space.

Honestly, Alpha Centauri is basically one of those infinite-nostalgia games for me. My prior exposure to the Civilization games was actually Civ 2 for the SNES (yes, really), so you can imagine how blown away I was after installing those Alpha Centauri discs back in high school. Hell, I haven’t even played a Civ game since then – I have Civ 5 in my Steam library, but I was always a bit leery of getting sucked back in.

The thing that impressed me the most in Alpha Centauri though were the quotes that came with every technological advancement. You can read the big list of them if you’d like, but here are a few of my favorites:

Resources exist to be consumed. And consumed they will be, if not by this generation then by some future. By what right does this forgotten future seek to deny us our birthright? None I say! Let us take what is ours, chew and eat our fill.

  • CEO Nwabudike Morgan “The Ethics of Greed”

This was one of the first times I encountered a thought turned on its ear.

We are all aware that the senses can be deceived, the eyes fooled. But how can we be sure our senses are not being deceived at any particular time, or even all the time? Might I just be a brain in a tank somewhere, tricked all my life into believing in the events of this world by some insane computer? And does my life gain or lose meaning based on my reaction to such solipsism?

  • Project PYRRHO, Specimen 46, Vat 7. Activity recorded M.Y. 2302.22467. (TERMINATION OF SPECIMEN ADVISED)

I laughed. And still do at the meta-humor.

Man’s unfailing capacity to believe what he prefers to be true rather than what the evidence shows to be likely and possible has always astounded me. We long for a caring Universe which will save us from our childish mistakes, and in the face of mountains of evidence to the contrary we will pin all our hopes on the slimmest of doubts. God has not been proven not to exist, therefore he must exist.

  • Academician Prokhor Zakharov

(Heard after researching Intellectual Integrity)

This was likely my first formal introduction to the Just-world hypothesis/fallacy. From a videogame! And beyond the above quotes, Alpha Centauri fielded a lot of more classical, real-world quotes from Plato and Aristotle which, combined with the coolness of the game itself, instilled a sense of wonder and wanting to know more. I definitely doubt I would have read The Republic without having played Alpha Centauri.

I don’t have any great expectations that Civ: BE will be better than my crystallized childhood memories of AC, but I remained cautiously optimistic nonetheless.

So far, it looks like the tentative release date is Fall 2014.

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Posted on April 16, 2014, in Commentary and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. The strength of Alpha Centauri was truly in its writing and its capacity to form narrative.

    Each tech discovered and encyclopedia was a delight to be read through and savored, rather than skipping through with “yea, yea” like how I usually treated Civilization technology discoveries (chariot wheels, riding, great whatever, can I has knights now?)

    The factions and leader personalities were distinctive and made a great deal of narrative sense. Both science and religion taken to extremes were bound to clash. Democracy and dictatorship are natural enemies. Military mercenary survivalists versus harmony-seeking psychic Greenpeace hippies, while corporate economic greed sits around wondering how it can make the most $$$.

    Yet, everything taken together still paints a grand picture of humanity and progress, through cooperation and conflict.

    Let’s hope Civ: BE at least tries to recreate some of that. The faction names aren’t that promising though, they sound a bit generic. How is an American Reclamation Corporation different from Panasian Cooperative beyond race, for example?

    The three themed technology web sounds promising, but I hope that’s not going to be the main distinction only or narrative-wise it’ll be a little simplistic. Supremacy versus harmony versus purity is only three sided, whereas Alpha Centauri’s beauty was in its seven-factional system.

    • Yeah, it’s funny about the narrative because it absolutely added to the experience in a way few other games in this genre could pull off. I mean, how many other games give an explanation for how your character can live for thousands of years?

      It’s the little things. Like how The Hive was a sort of socialistic dictatorship with underground cities as a faction perk. Okay, maybe that’s not exactly subtle, but it’s still cool. Way cooler than +5 to horses or whatever.

  2. Best news ever!

    “Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master.”