Civilizing Facebook

1 Jun

Original Civilization video game boxHow did I miss this news?!  Civilization is coming to Facebook!  (And now you’re probably like, what, Facebook is the bane of civilization and is ruining our culture and ability to communicate effectively and to interact with each other.)  No, Civilization with a capital C.  Civilization the video game.  Probably the only game I’ve ever actually loved.  (Although Super Mario 3 for Super Nintendo may be up there.)

We got Civilization for Christmas when I was probably about 12.  (We being my Dad, my brother, and me.)  Seriously, best Christmas present ever.  (Usually when asked what my all time favorite Christmas present was, (What?  We have this discussion every year on Christmas Eve.  Don’t you?) I say Felicity.  But, Civ may actually take the cake.  I remember spending hours with my brother developing strategy and plotting our next moves.  He always liked building up his military and smashing his foes.  I like focusing on culture and urban development to the point that neighboring cities begged to join my empire.  (Hmmm… which one of us grew up to blog about culture?)

Civilization III video game game board screen shotWait, so you don’t know what Civ is?  Think of it as an interactive and addicting cross between Risk and The Sims.  You start off with a band of settlers in the year 5,000 BC and found a city.  Then you explore, found more cities, research scientific advancements, develop superior culture and military technology, and, if you play the game well (or just on an easy enough level – don’t judge, I like to win!), you take over the world.  It’s pretty much the most ego gratifying game ever created.

Civilization IV advertizement featuring Mahatma Gandi

So, now we get to the part of this blog post that relates to social media and culture.  As I said above, Civ is being release for Facebook.  Social Times reported that it was supposed to be launched in 2010, but it’s still in alpha testing.  (Grrr.  I wish I were an alpha tester.  I would tell everyone about it and they’d give me that blank stare of “Oh, you are talking about something so boring.”  Yesterday I was at dinner with a friend and we discussed what has a better mythology: Buffy or True Blood.  (The answer is Buffy, of course.)  I think the waitress might have been making that same face when she came by to drop off the checks.)  The point of all this babbling on about the awesomeness of Civ is because it really is an ideal game for a social media platform.  Civ is all about outsmarting your competition and recruiting others to your side.  Ultimately, no matter what level you’re playing on, you figure out the AI pretty quickly.  (The Romans will always betray you and attack.  Gandhi’s a pacifist pushover.)  Playing with real people will mix that up.  (Yes, there is an online Civ community, but Civ’s so graphic heavy and such a drain on your processor that unless you have a gaming computer, it’s a no go.)  Granted, you’ll probably figure out their strategies over time, too (as I said, my brother always wants to crush everyone with his armies), but with so many Facebook friends to choose from, you’ll have a much steeper learning curve.

Cartoon of Google and Facebook sword-fighting. Probably originally from Slate.

Also, playing Civ mirrors the actions of super productive (or aggressive, depending on how you view it) social networking users.  You’re always trying to convince people to join you (friend you), sending out emissaries to see what you can agree on (checking out who you know and what you like in your common interests), and forming mutually productive (but more productive to you of course!) agreements (promoting each others’ content).  I’ve never been one for Facebook games (I’ve tried to play Scrabble, but always get an error), and have even blocked Farmville from showing up on my newsfeed.  (Seriously, I will not plant pumpkins with you, stop asking.)  But, I’ll be signing up for Civ for Facebook as soon as it comes out.  And you should, too.  (I’m totally going to need people to crush under my armies!)

Question(s) of the day:  Do you play any games on Facebook (or any other social media platforms)?  If so, which ones?  If not, do you find them as annoying as I tend to?  Oh, and will you play Civ with me?  (Don’t worry.  I’ll go easy on you… at first.)

MaggieCakes is a blog about culture, social media, and what’s new on the Internet culture. Every day (okay, I try for every day) I comb blogs and news outlets for the news about Internet culture and social media to bring them to you (with my commentary, of course) here on MaggieCakes. MaggieCakes is hosted by WordPress and often draws upon Slate, Jezebel, The Hair Pin, and SocialTimes for links and inspiration. My post Social Media and the Art of Storytelling was featured on Freshly Pressed, bringing a whole new readership to my blog. Find anything interesting in the worlds of culture or social media that you’d like to see a post on? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail at

2 Responses to “Civilizing Facebook”

  1. inkthistle June 4, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

    Hi Maggie.
    I’ve been playing Echo Bazaar via Facebook since December last year. I’ve never been one for Facebook games either, but I’m hooked on this one. (You can also sign in via Twitter). It’s well-written, creative and has a sense of humour.
    Best wishes and thanks for all the entertaining posts.

    • Maggie June 14, 2011 at 8:26 pm #

      Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll have to check it out!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: