Paige FTW: Finding Solace In ‘Civilization’

We all stress out — sometimes life just is overwhelming, you know? I’ve tried lots of things to relax, but I’m too manic to meditate, smelling essential oils has no effect on me and I hate exercising.

But video games help, particularly the all-absorbing ease of Civilization.

It’s strange but I have to admit that I hate having to “win” a game. I much prefer carefully and peacefully building my empire without having to compete with overly aggressive AI who get angry at me for not getting rid of the barbarians that lurk on the boundaries of the map or try to invade me randomly because I built a new city within like, eight tiles of their 13-city mess (I like to slowly dominate my opponents only after I’ve built a nice, lushly developed five-city empire.)

I just like quiet city planning, deciding where to place wonders and establish new districts. It’s deeply absorbing. Time just flies when I play Civ — I’m always looking at the clock and being stunned that three hours have gone by in a blink.

(On that note, let me say that the DLC expansions have deeply improved the original Civ VI, which did not initially — to me — surpass the simple perfection of its predecessor.)

I don’t feel that games often reward you for just wanting the process and not the result. Sure, there are the games like Animal Crossing that are obstinately about just experiencing it without a goal, per say, but anyone who has played such a game knows that inevitably you become fixated on pursuing perfection, which is its own kind of stress.

It boils down, I suppose, to the simple fact that games have to have goals and endgames, or else they wouldn’t be games at all. A pity! Sometimes developers build systems that are so tantalizingly perfect you almost regret having a game around them that forces your attention elsewhere.