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[2007-04-18]

Breaking news: Virginia Tech shooter played Sid Meier's Civilization!

After the recent massacre in the United States of America, there has been a lot of discussion as to which video game was responsible for this horrible tragedy.

Most experts blame Grand Theft Auto, Counter-Strike or even Doom, although these games are definitely out of the question: even a little child is sensible enough to understand that the real world works differently from these games. However, some of the more complex games, called "simulations", can be extremely dangerous because their players are far more likely to consider them as representations of the real world and therefore base their view of the real world on them.

A horrible example of such a delusional and dangerous game is Sid Meier's "classic" game Civilization, which claims to "simulate" the whole course of human history. This game promotes an extremely militaristic view of the world and regards violence as an acceptable and obvious means of problem-solving.

The ultimate goal of Civilization is to conquer all the other civilizations of the planet. For this, one needs a strong army, a lot of powerful cities with factories that produce weapons, and, naturally, a sufficiently advanced level of technology that facilitates all this. The players of Civilization therefore tend to think about the real world as a battleground where the so-called "best" nation must hold on its superior status at any cost, even when it requires conquering minor nations.

Although Civilization involves some peaceful activity, such as city-building, it is war that is considered to be the most "fascinating" aspect of the game. People who play Civilization-like games are therefore quite likely to regard war as an "interesting" thing and peaceful times as something "boring". Also, since there's no blood and gore visible in the game, the players are very likely to think about battles as mere strategy and numbers rather than as regrettable and painful losses of human lives.

Because of their twisted view of the world, players of Civilization tend to elect real-world leaders who are likely to make real-world events "interesting": the candidates who would be flagged by the game as "expansionist, militarist" are considered the best ones. These politicians are also likely to support a wide, uncontrolled availability of firearms, which makes it easier for Civilization fanatics to take strategic steps in their lives by decreasing the number of their potential opponents.

It is therefore undeniable that the Virginia Tech shooter was a victim of Sid Meier's Civilization.