Alas, Babylon
By Dwip July 21, 2005, 1:45 pm Comments Off on Alas, Babylon RSS Feed for this post

So, being bored with all other forms of entertainment lately, I have returned to that old standby, Civ 3. I’ve been playing this same game pretty much every day since the 12th, and oh what a game it is. Emperor, World map, 10 civs, historical starting locations. I’m America, and I own pretty much the pre-Mexican War boundries of the US, plus California, plus all of Canada except BC and Ontario. Aztecs have Mexico, Central America, the Pacific Northwest, BC, Alaska, and Ontario. Maya owns all of South America. There are assorted other civs over in Eurasia/Africa, including the Vikings, Babylon, the Hittites, the Mongols, and Spain. The Dutch are OCCing it off the coast of Africa, and the Romans got ate way back in the day.

So pretty much the whole world except the Aztecs and Maya are fighting me, and every so often each other. By the Industrial Age, I’m pretty much the only Republic left in the world. For some reason I am the only one driving the tech pace forward, to the result that I’m fighting Napoleonic/Civil War tech with WWII tech. My navy of destroyers and cruisers in particular is blowing up entire fleets of wooden frigates at a time, and they just keep coming.

So the Aztecs wind up declaring on me at some point. So I roll into action. Enormous stacks of arty blow up their city defenders, and my cavalry sweeps in for the kill. I’m rolling over the Aztecs with speeds unmatched in history. But my citizens are angry, very angry at me.

So, for some reason, this whole experience is feeling very…cinematic to me. I’m imagining these scenes that my troops and my people might be going through, sort of this bizzare mix of Saving Private Ryan, Platoon, and Born on the Fourth of July.

So imagine, if you will, sort of a black screen intro, with text on it describing the situation, with a voiceover by Abe Lincoln doing a speech that’s some combo of “Four score and seven years ago…” “Yesterday, December 7th, 1941…” and “We will pay any price, bear any burden…”

Cut away to what looks like a World War I battlefield. Trenches, moonscape of craters in no-man’s land, etc. From one trench, a bunch of guys in Civil War-esque uniforms, except in dark green, start going over the top and charging, only to get cut down by the other side, who look more like your average WWII GIs.

Cut away to a group of GIs in jungle camo moving into an Aztec town. Lots of thatch cottages, a big stone pyramid in the middle of town. The GIs are torching the place, tossing grenades in huts, such as that. An Aztec kid, early teens, goes running down a street. A GI lifts his rifle and shoots him. Atop the temple, amidst the bodies of what look like Aztec priests, stand two American GIs, covered in grime, fatigue jackets open, smoking and watching all this impassively.

“They hate us Frank. They really hate us. That kid? Probably turn into one of those guys that straps gunpowder to himself and suicide bombs us. It’s a messed up war, Frank. A messed up war. Sometimes I wish I was in the Navy like my brother. They’ve got it easy.”

Cut away to a sea battle in progress. Steel, WWII-looking ships are engaging wooden frigates that look like they’re straight out of Master and Commander. Each shot from the US ships blows up a frigate, but there dozens of the wooden ships, and eventually it turns into hand to hand combat with cutlasses and pistols on the decks of the US ships.

Cut away to a scene of GIs, some in white winter camo, others not, in an Alaskan snowstorm in the mountains. A few try to ride horses, most are on foot. A couple horses are towing artillery pieces.

Cut away to an anti-war protest in Washington, with Abe Lincoln looking out at them from the White House. Girls in 1940s-style getup are chanting this world’s equivilent of “Hey, hey, LBJ! How many kids did you kill today?” and the like. A nervous but hard-looking group of soldiers stands in a line around the White House.


It has been, shall we say, a hard war. A long war. I took down the last Aztecs in Central America in 1776. Sometimes I feel more like the Nazis than like the only representative government in the world. But we must protect our shores from the invader! Fukoku kyohei! Ein volk, ein Reich, ein President!


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