All rise and no fall: how Civilization reinforces a dangerous myth –Article from Rock Paper Shotgun — One of the things I’ve been consistently wondering about the direction the franchise has taken is “what is the true cost of my actions?” The negative penalties tied to pollution, global warming and limits to growth  that made older games kind of frustrating have mostly been replaced in newer itterations with choosing just one of several buffs best fit for your playstyle and merely missing out on all the other ones. The world doesn’t work that way.

“It’s just a game,” you might say, “and it doesn’t have to model the world precisely.” I disagree. What we choose to model in games is what we want, or don’t want, our fun to signify—which is why games like Rapelay, Postal etc. get shunned, which is not because they’re not fun to play.

Navigating “the 8th Era” and steering your civilization into deindustrialization after, while, or hopefully before it’s converted the planet into a hollow, lifeless, plastic-ridden husk sounds like tons of fun to me, and even I and my zero hours of experience in game design have thought of great ways sustainability could be added into Civilization, e.g. by turning the late-game into reverse 4X and a kind of survival game. Now THAT would be the breath of fresh air into the franchise Firaxis has been desperately trying to puff out.

No; all this is not about keeping the game fun: it’s about keeping the fantasy intact. Make no mistake: it is clearly political. Just imagine how many Trump supporters and climate change denialists (who are very vocal about it in the comment section in the article above) would just boycott the game if it implented ecology and you’re closer to the real heart of the issue here.

The Story of H What’s up with the letter H? Here’s a very interesting article. Bonus points if you’re a linguist.

This man knows a language spoken by the Sephardite Jews who were kicked out from Spain the same year Colombus (‘Colόn’, who I always like pronouncing in my head as ‘colon’) set out to discover an alternative sea road to the Indies. These Jews settled in the same Ottoman Empire we Greeks have learned to think as ‘intolerant’. As the saying goes, Spain grew poorer and Turkey became richer — and I’m not (just) referring to the financial social niches Jews would occupy historically.

This man is a descendant of those Jews who first settled in Thessaloniki. His family escaped being sent to Auschwitz. He speaks Ladino, a language that’s just like 15th century Castillian Spanish, just without the purifications that it went through over the centuries and with some Hebrew and Turkish words thrown in.

This is what history looks and sounds like.

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