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Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Game

by Ty Mc about a year ago in product review · updated 8 months ago
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One of the best sci fi games of all time...

Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri Game
Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash

There are plenty of games that are in the 4x games and one of the best is also one of the best bits of interactive science fiction that have ever been created in the history of video gaming history. It is a little game called Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri and it is probably one of the most enlightening works of science fiction up there with Star Trek and the works of Isaac Asimov. I know that sounds like a bold game, but it is the truth and I will fight anyone who disagrees with this claim with any kind of sincerity. It will also open your mind to the beliefs of others and help you understand how the morality of various different human beings can be so different in the world we live in. This may sound like a bold claim to make about a single videogame, but believe me. Alpha Centauri is the kind of life changing game that can truly open your sense of perspective and act more like a mature adult when thinking about the beliefs of others instead of like an edgy know-it-all pretentious teenager like how most people tend to treat differing beliefs or any kind of criticism of their ideals nowadays.

So what is the plot of Alpha Centauri? Well, the plot is that a series of disasters lead to the end of the planet Earth and in a desperate attempt to save mankind, a rocket containing some of humanity’s brightest minds of various ideologies and their followers are sent to a distant planet in Alpha Centauri, hence the name of the video game itself. The pods from the rocket reach the planet and once there, one of the main leaders who held the survivors together dies, causing the leaders and their followers to scatter. Thus, everyone is divided based on ideology. You play as one of the faction leaders who is establishing their own ideology-based nation on the surface of the planet. You get to run the nation and try to dominate others with victories based around military, economy, discovery, or a special ‘transcendence’ victory that causes everyone in your nation to achieve a higher stage of being. Will you run a peaceful nation that tries to coexist with all of the other factions or warmongers? There is some choice up to you, however that choice will be limited and depend on the ideology of the faction leader, so choose wisely!

The leaders here include:

Lady Deirdre Skye of the Gaia's Stepdaughters. See is someone who has a PhD in Biology and Genetics. See believes in environmentalism and wishes to coexist with the planet. To her, “Free Market” economics and not caring about the planet was what led to the end of Earth.

Colonel Corazon Santiago (Spartan Federation). See was a member of the UN Security Force and believes that militaristic survival of the fittest mentalities and not being ‘soft’ are what is needed to survive on the harsh environment of the planet. To her, humans becoming too soft and reliant on comforts are what led to humanity’s downfall.

Chairman Sheng-Ji Yang (Human Hive). Chinese scholar who believes collectivism and working together for the greater good is what is needed from humanity since, to him, hyperindividualism is what led to the downfall of man.

CEO Nwabudike Morgan (Morgan Industries). African royalty and a man who helped to build his nation to greatness, he believes that free market capitalism can lead to prosperity (though unlike how many ruthless businessmen, he and his residents almost always honor their contracts and deals even if it hurts their bottom line). To him, restricting mankind’s economic behavior to an extreme degree and inefficiency are what led to the fall.

Academician Prokhor Zakharov (University of Planet). One of the leaders I find most fascinating. He got a Masters’ in engineering at the University of Moscow and believes that humans ignoring science and allowing stupidity and anti-intellectualism to run rampant led to the end of Earth.

Sister Miriam Godwinson (Lord's Believers). She has a Ph.D. in psychology from Yale University. Her believers believe a lack of faith in God and a rise in nihilism led to humanity’s fall.

Commissioner Pravin Lal (UN Peacekeeping Forces). Degree in Philosophy and Medicine, Oxford University. He believes that ‘peacekeeping’ and maintaining peace at all cost is what is necessary for humanity to thrive and that a lack of a unifying bureaucracy similar to the United Nations is what divided mankind.

These characters are shown as complex people with quotes to explain why their ideologies might actually be the salvation for mankind instead of just crazy nonsense. As TvTropes points out, these leaders and the gameplay frequently lead to blue-and-orange morality where each of the factions can develop a morality very different than most Western cultures around today and show how a lot of beliefs we have on Earth between various humans can be seen a very extreme in today's society:

"Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri dips into this trope with the Future Societies social choices, which represent how centuries of living on Planet and being transformed through practically every Transhumanism trope in the book has changed society. Thought Control is a massively hierarchical system driven by the Will to Power of a permanently entrenched overclass, Cybernetic is a society that willfully turns all its agency over to massive AIs to maximize efficiency, and Eudaimonia is a society intended to maximize the individual's agency and happiness to the point of practically abolishing all hierarchies or state control over the individual. None of these future societies are incompatible with any Social Engineering options you have already picked, allowing for the creation of (for example) a Fundamentalist Cybernetic society with a Free Market, a Police State Eudaimonia with a Green-focused economy that minimizes waste (and also values Power) or a Thought Control Democracy where the elections are essentially rigged to keep electing the same Overmen over and over again, and is also a soviet-style Planned Economy."

Basically, you can create various government types that pretty much defy what kind of common logical-seeming kinds of governance we have seen on the planet Earth. This is the kind of interaction in a video game that gets you to see the perspective of others and even play as a faction based around and ideology you probably would not have even considered if real-life until you played. It is truly a form of gaming that can expand the mind and pretty much every review of the game on YouTube pretty much agrees. You can watch others play on Youtube or you can play the game on your own by buying it from GOG.com. Either way, you will not be disappointed.

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About the author

Ty Mc

I love to write fictional stories, articles about history, and blog about practically any topic that pops in my head. Hopefully, you can read some of my stories and find something that interests you!

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