If you want to see how we, as a population, might fare into the future, then take a look "back" at Banished. Set in the era of middle ages/horse and cart/pilgrims this is a very pretty game with a very simple to learn playstyle. There are no goals except for achievements and it's what makes this fascinating.
A plodding "city" builder with a balancing act like no other. The skills, the knowledge and the subtle finesse needed to make a city survive past a few hundred is nothing short of a miracle on some maps. Errors in planning are usually not detected until well into a game and are usually the result of something you did a long time ago. You will then either suffer "Aha" moments or pound your keyboard in frustration when you realise what you were *supposed* to do.
From hero to zero in minutes.
The balance in this is superb. Everything suffers cause and effect. Too many sheep creating too much wool that fills the barns that prevents the harvest that causes the people to starve is just one example. SO just build more barns yeah? Then wood becomes scarce and the toolmaker runs out. So no tools are made and you run out and nobody can do anything. Including the toolmaker! Scrambling around grabbing every bit of iron and wood to make tools so you can harvest so the people don't starve. Or freeze to death!
A wicked dev made this and he's a clever one. I've spent a long time looking for those little exploits that circumvents game logic and give me an "I win" button but I can't find one. Even the data that might give you clues to what is going wrong (or right) is cleverly hidden despite appearing to have lots of data at your disposal. After many hours of losing your perfect cities, again and again, you will understand what I mean here.
Not that it matters. There is an evil monster lurking in the background of every game.
Meet "The Cascade".
It's that horrible nagging doubt in the back of your mind that the map you've just spent hours, even days on, is doomed. Death for all is inevitable. You *know* something is not right and you try to overcompensate but you cause supply problems elsewhere and create even more problems.
And your whole town dies. Quickly.
As your cemetary fills up, you madly juggle the myriad of tasks each citizen must undertake until... NO... he/she died too!! After the cascade crash of most of population, you may be left with enough to regrow but be careful now. You need to make the corrections to prevent it happening again. Can you? Will you?
You won't. You will reseed another map and start all over again, ever the wiser. "I'll put the farms over there and the fishing huts here and the market here and the mine there and the church here and.... and.... and....."
You'll die anyway. It's unavoidable. It's inevitable. Unsustainable growth will kill you. Every time.
A lesson for us all perhaps?
PS: A few more hours after writing this review I finally pulled the 900 citizens achievement. As a pundit who cried foul and "it's full of bugs" the first few days of playing, take heart all who play her.
She can be "beaten" but she's a tough queen to satiate.