An Open Letter to Sid Meier
Hope this letter finds you well. First off, some congratulations are in order: You’ve got a new game coming out today for iOS, Ace Patrol, and it looks awesome. World War I! Fighter planes! Rich, turn-based strategy that also incorporates collectible card game mechanics! And am I right in guessing that it’s inspired by Wings of War, a classic board game? What’s not to love?
Just one thing, actually: I can’t play it on my PC. I know, I know — mobile gaming is the way of the future. It’s good for turn-based gameplay. You’ve even said that you like zooming around the battlefield using the touchscreen. But I’ll be honest: Playing the first Civilization on PC turned me into a gamer. I wore out several trackball mice. Even my dad became addicted. It’s the reason I have this job. And I wish you would come back.
Not that you’ve ever really been away. You haven’t always been the lead designer, but there’s a long list of great games that have prospered thanks to your name above the title and your guiding influence as creative director behind the scenes. They need no introduction. I’ve spent hundreds of hours playing them.
Even when you wandered in the past, I followed. Civilization Revolution never really got its due. I even played a lot of CivWorld, the only Facebook game I ever really bothered with. Still, I can’t help but feel a little envious today — envious of the iPhone-clutching people who are playing Ace Patrol and enjoying code that you yourself programmed.
I’m patient, though. I’m confident that you’ve got something big in store for us — something so big that only a mouse and a price and a team of 50 working for a year will do. Instead of a game that we can play on the way to work, a game that we spend all our time at work thinking about, and all weekend playing. Maybe it’s your idea about dinosaurs that never quite got going. Maybe it’s something I can’t even conceive of.
The stewards of Firaxis have defended the Gondor of strategy long enough. It’s time for the Return of the King. I’ve got a brain between my ears, and a PC under my desk. They’re both at your disposal.