Sid Meier is a game designer of legendary proportions, often referenced as the "Father of Computer Gaming". His radiant personality and creative brilliance (primarily the latter) have brought him to incredible success over the past decades, and with his current projects at Firaxis Games, it appears that even the sky is no longer a limit.

The career of Sid Meier began when he co-founded MicroProse Software in 1982, and created F-15 Strike Eagle, one of the first ever combat flight simulators. Other similar games followed, including Hellcat Ace (1984) and F-19 Stealth Fighter (1988), as well as the WWII subsim Silent Service (1985), numerous wargames (in 1985), and Tom Clancy license Red Storm Rising(1987).

From then on, classic titles began to pour from the mind of Meier. (NOTE: Many of his titles are prefaced by his name.) These titles, all under the MicroProse banner, include Pirates! (1987), Railroad Tycoon (1990), Civilization (1991), Covert Action (1991), Colonization (1994), CivNet (1995), Civilization II(1996), and Magic: The Gathering (1997). He then moved from the plummeting MicroProse to Firaxis Games, and created Gettysburg! (1997), Antietam! (1998), and Alpha Centauri (1999).

Sid Meier and his games have received innumerable awards over the ages. Perhaps the most important of all is his 1999 induction into the Hall of Fame of the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences. He is the second person to receive this honor, following only console god Shigeru Miyamoto.

Strategy gamers worldwide rejoiced at the 2001 release of Meier's next game: Civilization III, another chapter in this, the greatest of sagas.
For those who didn't know, there is an Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences. It has a Hall of Fame, as well. Last year's entrant to the Hall of Fame was Mr. John Carmack. The second inductee was Sid Meier. His name rests with some of the biggest in gaming history - names like Hironobu Sakaguchi (for Final Fantasy) and Shigeru Miyamoto (for Nintendo). If this is not a sign of Sid Meier's effect on the gaming industry, consider this: Meier and his games have won virtually every gaming-related award there is. He's been at it a long time, too: in 1982, he co-founded MicroProse software, and created one of the very first flight simulators, F-15 Strike Eagle, which sold over a million units worldwide. One last point: he was voted by Gamespot.com as the most influential game designer of all time.

Sid Meier's Games

It's very true, about the Sid Meier legacy. According to Gamespot: "But it's the rare gamer indeed who doesn't own one - or more likely several - of Sid Meier's games." Sid Meier is a brand name, as one can see from such titles as Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, or Sid Meier's Civilization, but he's a fairly unobtrusive fellow. There are no rumours of strange behaviour, yelling at staff members, or anything else, associated with him. Bearing a small resemblance to Jason Alexander, he is 46 years old, and shows no sign of quitting the gaming business. Even though he's been in the business for twenty years. In 1982, MicroProse was formed with Bill Stealey, and the company quickly produced a number of flight simulators. They sold very well, but they are not the hallmark that the Civilization franchise is. From 1984 to 1988, MicroProse released a number of action-sim games, like Pirates!, on PC, Macintosh and Commodore 64 platforms. They all sold fairly well, but Sid's focus has always been fun over graphics and realism, and such a concept today would surely cause prospective title to flounder.

Simulation-style games are Sid Meier's strength, and the majority of them can be categorized as classics: the "Tycoon" idea? That was Sid Meier, before anyone else tried to get their hands on it. 1990's Railroad Tycoon's emphasis, was playability and enjoyment of the game, but that didn't stop people from buying it. Sid had hit on something: people like fun. Though Railroad Tycoon more closely resembles a strategy than a simulation in the strictest sense, Meier had proven one thing: the genre of the game is irrelevant, too. Fun is what matters.

1991's Civilization is perhaps the game that is most widely associated with Sid Meier. Even though he's been involved with games of all genres, he is most commonly typecast as a creator of sim/turn-based games, like Will Wright. But what Meier ended up created was a game so addictive and so fun that everyone was thinking, "Come on, just one more turn, then I'll go to bed!" This sort of typecase, Meier is only too happy to call his own. But the turn-based genre has its fans as well; Sid Meier was also involved in the creation of Magic: The Gathering computer game, which also had tremendous sales. Just the same, games like CivNet and Magic: The Gathering had seemed to solidify and bring to the fore a steady problem of MicroProse: patches were needed, many times, which was at least a small part of why Sid Meier left the company.

Sid Meier Today

This is not a node to talk about Sid Meier's games in great detail. Chances are, if you've been around a computer in your life, you've seen a game that Sid Meier has been involved in. It's that simple. Sid Meier left Microprose to pursue other projects, starting a new company called Firaxis Software. Even today, he behaves much like a true star of the gaming industry: his name comes on all his games, and he demands (it is rumoured) 50% of all sales profits for games he is involved in. Sure, he may not be John Carmack or John Romero, but with Sid Meier, you're virtually guaranteed a great game.

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