The VICE Channels

    Oral History of Gaming: Game Godfather Sid Meier and the 48-Hour Game

    Written by


    The master behind Civilization I through IV, Pirates!, Railroad Tycoon, and dozens of other titles, Sid Meier is one of the most acclaimed game designers of all time. Always a true believer in the idea that games will someday rule the world, Meier wants to inspire a new generation of game designers. Namely, the ones from his alma mater at Michigan, where he returns in this episode of Motherboard, in order to judge and of course participate in the “7th Annual Wolverine Soft 48 Hour Game Design Contest,” which pits coders and designers against each other in a race to create a game in two days.

    Sid first used a computer as an undergrad at Michigan, when punch cards and time-sharing meant that one mistake cost hours of time. It was on that early IBM mainframe that Sid designed the first tic-tac‐toe game, a use for which he was chastised and nearly kicked out.

    After college Sid met Ace pilot Bill Stealey, challenged him to a game of the flight simulator “Red Baron,” and beat him hands down. When Bill asked Sid how he won, Sid said, “I could see the algorithm the computer was using.” Bill asked him if he wanted to start a company devoted to gaming, and in 1982, MicroProse was born. In 1996 Sid founded Firaxis Games along with veteran designer and gaming executive Jeff Briggs.

    By 1999 Sid became the second person ever to be inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Science’s “Hall of Fame” for Lifetime Achievement, and he was honored with an induction into the Computer Museum of America’s Hall of Fame in 2002. Given his passion for innovation, gameplay and inspiring new echelons of game makers, it’s hard to dispute Sid’s more unofficial title: the “Father of Computer Gaming.”


    Topics: videos, gaming