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You might well cheer the demise of GameSpy Technologies, but an awful lot of games will lose official online multiplayer support when the service shuts down on May 31. Publishers scour the battlefield running triage measuring pulses peeling eyelids shining lights flexing smashed bones jabbing fingers in wounds licking blood. “We’ve got a live one here!” they cry occasionally and haul the game up on their shoulder, but all too often stand up, brush themselves down, then step over the grasping bloodied hand as they quietly walk away.
Sid Meier's name is well known in gaming circles for the addicting "just one more turn" mentality associated with his strategy games. Of course, there is never any mistaking what his games are because his name is usually in the game's title.
It can't be because of ego, as colleagues say Meier is a very soft-spoken, unassuming man. "In the  years and all the people I've worked with at Firaxis," said designer Jake Solomon, "there has never been anyone who's had a personality issue with Sid, 'cause it's not possible. He's such a wonderful person."
So just how did it happen that the brilliant strategy designer's games get that title treatment? It started in Meier's days at MicroProse with partner Bill Stealey, as Meier was pitching the idea for a pirate game.
"Bill said, 'When's my next flight simulator coming out?' And I said, 'I'm not doing a flight simulator; I'm doing a pirates game,'" Meier told Kotaku. "He said, 'Well that's crazy, 'cause people want your next flight simulator ... Wait a minute. Put your name on it. Maybe if they liked your flight simulator games, they'll recognize the name and buy this crazy pirates thing.'"
However, Stealey remembered things a bit differently: "We were at dinner at a Software Publishers Association meeting, and [actor] Robin Williams was there. And he kept us in stitches for two hours. And he turns to me and says 'Bill, you should put Sid's name on a couple of these boxes, and promote him as the star.' And that's how Sid's name got on Pirates, and Civilization."
Sid Meier's Pirates! came out in 1987, and since that time, his name has appeared on two railroad games, five Civilization games (plus expansions and a console version), two Civil War games, one space game, a colonization game, and even a golf game. Ironically, Meier and Stealey originally teamed up to make flight sims, but the first airplane game to bear his name was the recently released iOS title Sid Meier's Ace Patrol.
As part of a new deal with 2K Games, GameFly has added the three classic games to its Unlimited PC Play library. Members can play as many games from the Unlimited PC Play library as part of their subscription.
2K's rationale for offering the free games was simple: Introduce gamers to a series they may not have tried, especially with BioShock Infinite, Civilization V: Gods & Kings and XCOM: Enemy Unknown expected to hit shelves this year.
[Disclosure: Shacknews.com is part of GameFly Media, a wholly owned subsidiary of GameFly, Inc.]
In 2008, I took it upon myself to return to and finally finish a game that had hung over me for 14 years – the original Civilization sequel, Sid Meier’s Colonization (the old one, not the underwhelming Civ 4-based remake from a couple of years back). Here’s what happened.>
This one’s about closure. Despite playing it zealously for weeks on end back in 1994, I didn’t ever complete a game of Sid Meier’s Colonization, a sequel of sorts to the first Civilization. Powered by Brian Reynolds as much as it was Meier, it’s a turn-based strategy tale of establishing colonies in the New World or Americas, and eventually winning independence from their avaricious motherland. My copy silently, immediately and cruelly crashed to a DOS prompt whenever I finally bested my imperial oppressors, denying me the ending sequence and sense of victory I so richly deserved. Disheartened, I duly forgot about the game for a decade and a half, but lately it flitted across my brain by chance, and a curious longing awoke within me. I need to win my colonies their independence at last. I need to know what happens. I don’t care how brief or stupid or hilariously low-tech it is. I need to know. (more…)