With the latest news that our beloved Lionhead Studio is about to get disembowelled by the mighty money goliath Microsoft, the idea for a post came to me about a genera of game which seems to have gone missing over the last few years – God Sims.
Before Lionhead Studios was turned into a Fable sweatshop they produced a title which remains one of my all time favourites, Black and White. Black and White was the first title from the studio founded by the worlds best salesman Peter Molyneux, before Lionhead we had Bullfrog which bought us such awesome games as Populous and Dungeon Keeper.
Populous: The beginning along with Black and White sparked an interest within me for being an all powerful God figure with the capability of killing and rewarding my followers as necessary. Something which at the time helped to mold me in to the all powerful being you see today. Praise be to me.
Black and White was a ground breaking game for the time. The graphics where pushing it to the top end with the ability to zoom in and interact with each follower individually. Not to mention all the spells you had to master, which you could gesture into life with a wave of your magical God hand. Storms, fireballs, lightning and thunderstorms, you had total control over your domain. Under pinning it all was a basic moral system which allowed you to become a merciful bounty giver or an easy going, people sacrificing, cow slapping, dick.
Being good was always the harder approach in the game but some what more rewarding, people generally got a bit carried away with your resources and plundered everything they could get their hands on leaving you with a large population of complainers, you know.. like the world today. Being evil meant you didn’t care, people where just fuel for your spell power wok and after a while you where so proficient with fireballs you could burn down the next settlement, kill everyone then drop one of your follower in, and job done town taken over.
The added bonus to being a God is the joy of having a pet to do all your bidding, as time went on the little guy became more self sufficient and started eating people with out your encouragement. You could also teach them spells which almost always ended up with everyone on fire. If the next god over ever got a little bit lemon you could always challenge him to a pet battle, it was a bit like a dog fight but virtual.
Black and White was/still-is a good game, the 2nd game which came out 4 years later was a massive disappointment. Its a shame that after this the franchise disappeared and along with it the God game genera. Being an all powerful being has its appeal and although Fable had hints of this power later on in the games it never truly felt the same.
Populous: The beginning entered my life as a demo disc from a playstation magazine. This was back when game demos where purchased with a magazine for £3 and not released as a £20 intro game *cough* Ground Zero *cough*. That demo was played into the floor I would spend hours building up a massive tribe just to take out 1 shaman and 5 warriors. When the game finally showed up I played the shit out of it, the 15min loading screen and the need to use a whole memory card just to play it didn’t stop me and soon everything was purged for the opportunity just to play some Populous.
As a god blessed Shaman you had powers over the element and could use those powers to achieve a vast array of different spells. From summoning a volcanos to creating more land, you had it all. You could also train your follower as warriors, balloon enthusiast, fire fist bros and preacher. And everything was done just so you could become the one true Deity, by killing everyone who didn’t believe in what you believed in.
God sims seem to have been lost over the years and although some could argue that games like Tropico, Sim City, Rollercoaster Tycoon, etc are similar its not exactly summoning lighting and killing everyone. There is a difference between a game where you manage something and a game where your all powerful. Although some in management like to think they are all powerful, until you key their car in the car park. WHO’S THE BIG MAN NOW SHARON!
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