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The life and career of the legendary developer celebrated as the “godfather of computer gaming,” and creator of Civilization. Over his four-decade career, Sid Meier has produced some of the world’s most popular video games, including Sid Meier’s Civilization, which has sold more than 51 million units worldwide and accumulated more than one billion hours of play. Sid Meier’s The life and career of the legendary developer celebrated as the “godfather of computer gaming,” and creator of Civilization. Over his four-decade career, Sid Meier has produced some of the world’s most popular video games, including Sid Meier’s Civilization, which has sold more than 51 million units worldwide and accumulated more than one billion hours of play. Sid Meier’s Memoir! is the story of an obsessive young computer enthusiast who helped launch a multibilliondollar industry. Writing with warmth and ironic humor, Meier describes the genesis of his influential studio, MicroProse, founded in 1982 after a trip to a Las Vegas arcade, and recounts the development of landmark games, from vintage classics like Pirates! and Railroad Tycoon, to Civilization and beyond. Articulating his philosophy that a videogame should be “a series of interesting decisions,” Meier also shares his perspective on the history of the industry, the psychology of gamers, and fascinating insights into the creative process, including his ten rules of good game design.


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The life and career of the legendary developer celebrated as the “godfather of computer gaming,” and creator of Civilization. Over his four-decade career, Sid Meier has produced some of the world’s most popular video games, including Sid Meier’s Civilization, which has sold more than 51 million units worldwide and accumulated more than one billion hours of play. Sid Meier’s The life and career of the legendary developer celebrated as the “godfather of computer gaming,” and creator of Civilization. Over his four-decade career, Sid Meier has produced some of the world’s most popular video games, including Sid Meier’s Civilization, which has sold more than 51 million units worldwide and accumulated more than one billion hours of play. Sid Meier’s Memoir! is the story of an obsessive young computer enthusiast who helped launch a multibilliondollar industry. Writing with warmth and ironic humor, Meier describes the genesis of his influential studio, MicroProse, founded in 1982 after a trip to a Las Vegas arcade, and recounts the development of landmark games, from vintage classics like Pirates! and Railroad Tycoon, to Civilization and beyond. Articulating his philosophy that a videogame should be “a series of interesting decisions,” Meier also shares his perspective on the history of the industry, the psychology of gamers, and fascinating insights into the creative process, including his ten rules of good game design.

30 review for Sid Meier's Memoir!: A Life in Computer Games

  1. 5 out of 5

    Vedran Karlić

    Sid Meier's Civilization series is one that shaped my life. I've spent so much time on every game in that series, so I was intrigued to find out what Sid himself is saying in these memoirs. If you are into the video games, I think you'll find it quite interesting. "Oh I know that name, didn't know that's how he started." or "Interesting inspiration for this project." It's all about his journey through the pioneer years of the video game industry. But the book is also quite factual that it can dra Sid Meier's Civilization series is one that shaped my life. I've spent so much time on every game in that series, so I was intrigued to find out what Sid himself is saying in these memoirs. If you are into the video games, I think you'll find it quite interesting. "Oh I know that name, didn't know that's how he started." or "Interesting inspiration for this project." It's all about his journey through the pioneer years of the video game industry. But the book is also quite factual that it can drag a bit, and if you are not into video games I think you should skip it. I enjoyed it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Sid Meier's Memoir!: A Life in Computer Games, by Sid Meier, is an autobiography written by famous video game designer Sid Meier, creator of the Civilization, Railroad Tycoon, and other famous video game series. The book chronicles Meier's career in video games from his hobbyist pursuit of the medium in its earliest days in the 1980's, to it becoming a career in the 1990's, and the release of Civilization (and its subsequent five official sequels and numerous spin-offs) that would make his name Sid Meier's Memoir!: A Life in Computer Games, by Sid Meier, is an autobiography written by famous video game designer Sid Meier, creator of the Civilization, Railroad Tycoon, and other famous video game series. The book chronicles Meier's career in video games from his hobbyist pursuit of the medium in its earliest days in the 1980's, to it becoming a career in the 1990's, and the release of Civilization (and its subsequent five official sequels and numerous spin-offs) that would make his name a household name in the industry. Meier began his career in programming in its early days, with room spanning computers spitting out ticker tape, and learned about programming and its iterations from this point up. Meier seems to be an individual who gets intensely focused on subjects - possibly to the point of compulsion. He acknowledges this when discussing a game he made called SimGolf - a golfing green management simulator. This compulsion has allowed him the opportunity to become intensely focused on his area of current interest. The design and programming in the original Civ game allowed for the creation of one of the best games series ever made - and to this day still a series that is an absolute blast to play. Meier looks at much of the industry from behind the lens. Although his name is featured on his products, he says he was never really invested in this idea, and only agreed to it at the behest of others. His main passion is designing and programming games, and shies away from both the limelight and the controversies inherent in the gaming industry to this day. He acknowledges much of the corporate stuff here - the buy outs, the copyright issues and so forth, but really it seems he is not so keen on these things. Instead he talks about the principles and ideas behind the games he has made, some of it wistfully philosophical, and some of it deeply pragmatic. His love of Civil War history helped with his Gettysburg! title, his passion for management simulators went into Civilization and Railroad Tycoon, and his belief in low violence games and putting the player first when developing new ideas comes through in how he discusses his working life. This book was really interesting as someone who grew up playing the Civilization series, and indeed has just finally acquired the sixth title in the franchise. These games were extremely appealing to me, and I credit much of my voracious reading habits in history, politics and economics to the influence this series (and others like it, such as SimCity, Europa Universalis and Total War etc.) to this title. Reading about the design decisions, programming background, and underlying artistic philosophies behind this title and Sid Meier's other works was fascinating. The biography itself is even keeled, interesting and discusses the wider industry as a whole, while also focusing with nuance on the life of the writer. This was a very interesting book, and one I would easily recommend to fans of Sid Meier's and the video games series he created.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Geoff

    The first time I played a Sid Meier game it was the day after my last final in my first semester of my freshman year of college, My neighbor, an engineering student, had the still relatively rare luxury of a personal computer, and showed me his new computer game: "Civilization" a game where you explore, build cities, research science and technology, trade, and negotiate and fight other civilizations. I played it for the next 12 hours. This is an breezy personal history of the video game industry, The first time I played a Sid Meier game it was the day after my last final in my first semester of my freshman year of college, My neighbor, an engineering student, had the still relatively rare luxury of a personal computer, and showed me his new computer game: "Civilization" a game where you explore, build cities, research science and technology, trade, and negotiate and fight other civilizations. I played it for the next 12 hours. This is an breezy personal history of the video game industry, told by the man who has made some of the most fun and addicting games out there. It's most interesting for its look into his general design philosophy ("find the fun"), his discussion of game prototypes, the way he approached different genres, and his candidness in describing both his successes and the sheer number of things he got wrong about game trends and technology ("3D and multiplayer are a flash in the pan"). I liked how the book was structured by game rather than by year, but I would have loved to learn more about the design choices and processes he and his teams went through to make the games. While he does include some high level insights ("find the fun" & "good games are a series of interesting choices") he doesn't go very deep into specific games, the industry, or frankly himself. It was a fun memoir, but it was more like reminiscing with an old friend over a beer about good times past. I'm not sure that those who haven't invested countless hours in his games will enjoy it as much as I did. **Thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jason Bergman

    Two things I should get out of the way: 1) I worked with Sid Meier for several years, and have credits in a handful of the games mentioned in this book. 2) Sid Meier is the single greatest designer in the history of video games. This should not be seen a terribly controversial statement, as it's an indisputable fact, like gravity. Anyway. Working with Sid (even at the level I did) was an honor, yes, but it was also an education. You can't intersect with him in any way without coming away with a b Two things I should get out of the way: 1) I worked with Sid Meier for several years, and have credits in a handful of the games mentioned in this book. 2) Sid Meier is the single greatest designer in the history of video games. This should not be seen a terribly controversial statement, as it's an indisputable fact, like gravity. Anyway. Working with Sid (even at the level I did) was an honor, yes, but it was also an education. You can't intersect with him in any way without coming away with a better knowledge of game design. I quote Sid, his rules, or lessons I've learned from him, constantly (enough so that I'm sure my coworkers, family members, and random people at parties are all sick of hearing them). Thanks to this book, you can too. Many of those rules are in here, albeit in expanded form. Things like the Covert Action rule (never make two mediocre games instead of one good one), or when balancing, always half or double, never increment. Like Sid himself, these are legendary. What you won't get in this book, is a whole lot about his life. He goes into some of the key moments, but usually only through the lens of how it impacted the games they inspired. Sid's had tragedy and loss, but those are brushed aside. The subtitle is a "Life in Computer Games," and that's exactly what this is. A title-by-title look at his career and what he learned from each one. Unsurprisingly, it's pretty great, because even his failures imparted valuable lessons. If you have even a passing interest in the craft of game design, I highly, highly recommend this book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    A great look at the career of one of the most influential developers in video games. Sid takes us on a journey through not only his games, but how he grew as a person over the years, and how this personal growth then fed back into his career. There are ton of interesting anecdotes, like I had always wondered how Avalon Hill went from king of strategy board games to a Hasbro subsidiary, or how there's more (or less) to the infamous nuclear warlord Gandhi glitch than the story that routinely makes A great look at the career of one of the most influential developers in video games. Sid takes us on a journey through not only his games, but how he grew as a person over the years, and how this personal growth then fed back into his career. There are ton of interesting anecdotes, like I had always wondered how Avalon Hill went from king of strategy board games to a Hasbro subsidiary, or how there's more (or less) to the infamous nuclear warlord Gandhi glitch than the story that routinely makes the rounds online. This was a wonderful read and I highly recommend it not only to the gamers of the world, but to anyone with even the slightest interest in computing history.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Pete

    Sid Meier’s Memoir!: A Life in Computer Games (2020) by Sid Meier is an account of Meier’s life and his work creating computer games. It’s a very worthy addition to the growing number of books about game creators and their games. It is a ‘just one more chapter’ kind of book. Meier recounts how he started making games at University and went on to start making games he could sell. He then met “Wild” Bill Stealey and the two formed Microprose. They made various games and made the Flight Simulators t Sid Meier’s Memoir!: A Life in Computer Games (2020) by Sid Meier is an account of Meier’s life and his work creating computer games. It’s a very worthy addition to the growing number of books about game creators and their games. It is a ‘just one more chapter’ kind of book. Meier recounts how he started making games at University and went on to start making games he could sell. He then met “Wild” Bill Stealey and the two formed Microprose. They made various games and made the Flight Simulators that Microprose became well known for. Meier programmed and designed the games will Stealey sold them. Throughout the book Meier writes about his life and how he came to the ideas that inspired his games. The chapters in the book mostly describe a game or two that Meier was making at the time. The surprising and much loved Pirates! from 1987 is described as are the turns toward strategy first with Railroad Tycoon and then the superlative Civilization. Meier writes about how the various versions of Civilization have changed and how different people, with his advice, have changed each version of the game. There are also some chapters on some little known creations of Meier’s such as CPU Bach that few but the most hardcore of fans would know about. There are also some fascinating insights into what players expect from random number generators and the odds they face. Sid Meier’s Memoir is very satisfying for anyone who has played much of any of the Civilization games. It would also be well worth reading for anyone who is interesting in creating their own games. It’s a highly enjoyable read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Samarth Mediratta

    Take the time to appreciate the possibilities, and make sure all of your decisions are interesting ones.

  8. 5 out of 5

    SandyKay

    As a fan of history and memoirs, I found this book interesting. As a hobby reader, I found this book a bit dry and tedious. For anyone who is a big fan of Sid Meier and any of his many video games, this is a great book to pick up. Achievement Unlocked: Write book review!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jimmy

    Often funny, often wise, always a valuable look into a life of creative endeavor. No matter your art, there are lessons here for you.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Claudia

    First, thank you to W.W. Norton for providing copies of Mr. Meier's book for a GoodRead giveaway that I was fortunate enough to win a copy. When you mention Sid Meier, automatically the game of Civilization comes to mind. But Mr. Meier has created many more games that have been played over the decades of his career and he goes into not only his creative process but how computer technology and graphics have changed over the years as well. From Pong through the Sims through The Legend of Zelda to D First, thank you to W.W. Norton for providing copies of Mr. Meier's book for a GoodRead giveaway that I was fortunate enough to win a copy. When you mention Sid Meier, automatically the game of Civilization comes to mind. But Mr. Meier has created many more games that have been played over the decades of his career and he goes into not only his creative process but how computer technology and graphics have changed over the years as well. From Pong through the Sims through The Legend of Zelda to Doom. From arcade games to PC games to console games. Flight simulators and multi-players and learning how to create a golf course. Sid Meier was an enthusiastic computer game designer that has near-mystical status among game designers and this book goes into his thoughts and the mechanics of game development. And he makes it look easy. Well, as easy as the limited computer memory and RAM that was available on the earliest personal computers. It was his early partner that was an avid pilot that got him into many of the flight simulators but it was his own curiosity that led to releases on railroads, pirates, music, golf and taking our civilization to other worlds. It's also an insight into how internet/game intellectual property has grown, the every widening consolidation and merger of the once-independent designing companies, gaming addiction, the possibility of burnout and letting go of an idea that really, really doesn't work. Throughout the book are little "Achievement Unlocked" notices. Most are amusing while others will make you think for a moment. - "Everybody But the Biker - Visit the YMCA with a soldier, a railroad worker, a police captain, Pocatello, and Blazing Saddles" (connected with a memory of his youth and Star Trek). - "To Infinity and Beyond - Collect a piggy bank, toy soldiers, T. Rex, and Mr. Potato Head" (when talking about his failed dinosaur game) - "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - gather four moustaches" (pirate-land villains had twirlable moustaches) - "Life is Short - Finish a chapter in less than one page" (no explanation necessary) But it's the human connection that he feels is the most important. To find the fun in everything one does. To discover the joy, to appreciate possibilities and - as he said at the end of the book - "make sure all of your decisions are interesting ones." 2020-246

  11. 5 out of 5

    Brent Woo

    Unexpectedly solid. Civilization is probably the game franchise I've played the most after the Sims and Simcity-type games; I've been an "avid casual" player since Civ 4. This was a great read to get to know the personal life of the guy responsible for me spending hundreds of hours after midnight, building empires and usually going for Culture Victories. Sid seems like a nice guy. I say "unexpected", because there were several very pleasantly surprising chapters in the memoir. I didn't know much Unexpectedly solid. Civilization is probably the game franchise I've played the most after the Sims and Simcity-type games; I've been an "avid casual" player since Civ 4. This was a great read to get to know the personal life of the guy responsible for me spending hundreds of hours after midnight, building empires and usually going for Culture Victories. Sid seems like a nice guy. I say "unexpected", because there were several very pleasantly surprising chapters in the memoir. I didn't know much about the guy at all, so everything was going to be news to me, but i didn't expect, for example, his discussion on gamer culture and gender issues. He talks about how game and gamer culture is at once toxically regressive—at the male-dominated conventions and competitions—but also weirdly progressive—with legendary female lead characters like Lara Croft of Tomb Raider and Samus of Metroid. He also had a trans colleague early on (so, what, the 90s?) and he recalls among the professionals the colleague was accepted just like anyone else. The really big surprise was chapter 13: a chapter on BACH! Invertible counterpoint! Temperament! Apparently Sid Meier is a huge Bach fan and created "C. P. U. Bach", a music generator game. This is awesome. I have a side interest in the idea of A.I. mimicking human music composition. And this was a super early example of that idea, a video game that would perform some music you generated given certain parameters. It turned out to be a flop, but I loved the passion he had in this "side project". Aside from that, lots of nice life lessons from a life well-lived. As in most things, there is a lot of annoying politics and business in his industry, and he tells a lot of stories of buyouts and copyright lawsuits. Just because games are "fun" doesn't mean they're exempt from all that adult stuff. He doesn't like committees, for business or design. "Separately is how I work best with people". He encourages wannabe game designers to have interests outside of games, for you never know where inspiration will come from and its useful to draw on wide experience (e.g. his story was figuring out a good sound for plunking down tiles in one of his games -- a generic plunk sound would be repetitive and boring, so he had the tiles sound out Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring with every tile placed, and players loved it.)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jake

    I've been a fan of Civ since sometime in the mid 90s, when I decided the computer games I was playing were too simple for a third grader of my caliber and asked my dad to teach me how to play the one about world history that he would play into the night. Since then, I've played Civ 1, II, and IV extensively. When I saw that Sid Meier, the mind behind the series, was writing a book it intrigued me. When I saw that the cover was a direct reference to the intro scene of Civ, I knew I had to read it I've been a fan of Civ since sometime in the mid 90s, when I decided the computer games I was playing were too simple for a third grader of my caliber and asked my dad to teach me how to play the one about world history that he would play into the night. Since then, I've played Civ 1, II, and IV extensively. When I saw that Sid Meier, the mind behind the series, was writing a book it intrigued me. When I saw that the cover was a direct reference to the intro scene of Civ, I knew I had to read it. Reading about the early days of computer game design is very fun. I liked reading about the potential that different groups of people saw in the growing industry of computers. I also liked reading about the many, many non-Civ games Meier was involved with. I'm going to be spending a lot of time on the MS-DOS archive over the next couple weeks, I'm sure. Also, the book has "achievements." How cool is that?! Assigning a grade to this book can be tricky. First, I'm just gonna say, if you aren't into video games (especially strategy games) there isn't much in this book for you. But an interest in gaming isn't enough, you have to be interested in old games. If your idea of "retro gaming" involves Modern Warfare on the XBox 360, I don't think you're going to be interested in ancient history of transistors and ASCII art that Sid describes. Secondly, this book is extremely light on non-game content. For comparison: I just read Bruce Springsteen's book. He talks so much about his family and growing up, and with a really well-developed prose style, that I could recommend the book (or at least the first half of it) to someone who doesn't care for his music. Sid, on the other hand, is extremely light on personal details. Maybe that's how he wanted it. But I would have been interested in hearing more about growing up in Michigan as the child of immigrants, or getting a job in the tech industry during its infancy, or what Wild Bill and Bruce Shelley are up to these days. So I'm gonna rate it 4 stars. Turns out this really is a book you can judge by its cover. If you see it and "get" it, read it now and you won't be sorry. Anyone else can skip it. I read an ARC, which may differ from the final version.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Yuning

    Interesting video game related stories throughout from one of the most talented game designer in the world. As one who grew up playing computer games and got quite addicted to Civ…this is definitely very worth reading! The titles mentioned in the book are somewhat dated. Many pre-date the time I ever touched a computer. Also Sid Meier himself is probably best known for Civilization franchise - this is a turn-based strategy game. This book would be more relatable for those who have experienced the Interesting video game related stories throughout from one of the most talented game designer in the world. As one who grew up playing computer games and got quite addicted to Civ…this is definitely very worth reading! The titles mentioned in the book are somewhat dated. Many pre-date the time I ever touched a computer. Also Sid Meier himself is probably best known for Civilization franchise - this is a turn-based strategy game. This book would be more relatable for those who have experienced the early age of video games more or less, or those who are particularly fond of strategy games. Also, mildly disappointed to learn the widespread Nuclear Ghandi story was made up :P

  14. 4 out of 5

    Colin

    Boom! There are some books you give away because you want extra space on your bookshelves, and some you give away because you want someone else to enjoy them as much as you did. This is absolutely in camp number 2; I grew up on Colonization and Alpha Centauri, and reading some of the thinking behind such games gave me a buzz. Meier comes across as really likeable and thoughtful. Very strong recommend.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    I'm sure every review says this but.... One more page, one more page, one more page As a developer, I *loved* the insight into the history of how Sid got started. These stories painted such a great picture of the gaming industry that I grew up in. I remember as a small child having to look through manuals to find the 12th word on the 87th page to unlock my games. It was a blast from the past and awesome insight into the games that I love. I can't see what's in store next for Sid! I'm sure every review says this but.... One more page, one more page, one more page As a developer, I *loved* the insight into the history of how Sid got started. These stories painted such a great picture of the gaming industry that I grew up in. I remember as a small child having to look through manuals to find the 12th word on the 87th page to unlock my games. It was a blast from the past and awesome insight into the games that I love. I can't see what's in store next for Sid!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Erik T

    A great mix of his thought process as he designed the games, personal life experiences, and examination of how his brain works and the way it's shaped his work A great mix of his thought process as he designed the games, personal life experiences, and examination of how his brain works and the way it's shaped his work

  17. 5 out of 5

    Paul Kautz

    "I think that in life, as in game design, you have to find the fun. There is joy out there waiting to be discovered, but it might not be where you expected. You can’t decide what something’s going to be before you embark on it, and you shouldn’t stick with a bad idea just because you’re fond of it. Take action as quickly and repeatedly as possible, take advantage of what you already know, and take liberties with tradition. But most importantly, take the time to appreciate the possibilities, and "I think that in life, as in game design, you have to find the fun. There is joy out there waiting to be discovered, but it might not be where you expected. You can’t decide what something’s going to be before you embark on it, and you shouldn’t stick with a bad idea just because you’re fond of it. Take action as quickly and repeatedly as possible, take advantage of what you already know, and take liberties with tradition. But most importantly, take the time to appreciate the possibilities, and make sure all of your decisions are interesting ones." That was wonderful. The thing is: I‘m not even much of a fan of Sid Meier‘s work in general - but his influence on the video game industry as a whole goes way beyond his own games. And this book shows that in bright and beautiful colors. A truly great read, and obviously a good decision.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mike Arvela

    A nice read, if somewhat shallow. Would’ve gladly read a lot more on the details and anecdotes, but there really weren’t many.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Great nostalgia trip. And a reminder that those producing great work are ordinary people, just generally a bit obsessed with whatever it is they're doing. Great nostalgia trip. And a reminder that those producing great work are ordinary people, just generally a bit obsessed with whatever it is they're doing.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Fun read if you’re into the subject matter. Meier comes off as a pretty humble and down-to-earth guy, especially given his successes and influence. Even within single chapters the narrative seems to bounce around a lot, but this is an entertaining mix of a memoir and a chronicle of his career as a game designer.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Javier Recuenco

    Superb stuff.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ville Ilvonen

    Enjoyable story for people grown up with Sid Meier’s games Really enjoyed learning the story of Sid Meier and in particular the road to the best game series ever, the Civilization. Book so enjoyable that I read it in fairly short time, like one more page. Sid Meier’s memoir is open, honest, civilized, analytical, critical (mainly towards himself) and makes you learn interesting things about game design and life. A great read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Al Berry

    It’s Sid Meier’s memoir with interesting insight and anecdotes so it gets at least 3 stars... but this book is seriously lacking the depth that I was hoping for, for instance there is more time devoted to a game he designed for a local bank in the 70s than Civ 3. I was hoping for more insight into various features and choices made, the classic throne room and its eventual removal from the series is never as an example. Book needed to be 600+ pages instead of the 270 pages it was.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin Pierce

    A little light on the design philosophy and on the technical implementations of each game -- was hoping for a bit of a deeper dive on the development side of things.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    This was such an awesome geekgasm. I have been a Civilization fan since my late teens and I was very excited to dive into this book. This memoir was so approachable, even for someone like me who doesn’t play a lot of computer games and has only checked out Meier’s Civilization games. This book has the right balance of humor, reflection, interesting anecdotes, and nerdy references. The book is laid out along a historical timeline, going all the way back to when Meier first started tinkering around This was such an awesome geekgasm. I have been a Civilization fan since my late teens and I was very excited to dive into this book. This memoir was so approachable, even for someone like me who doesn’t play a lot of computer games and has only checked out Meier’s Civilization games. This book has the right balance of humor, reflection, interesting anecdotes, and nerdy references. The book is laid out along a historical timeline, going all the way back to when Meier first started tinkering around with computer programming. Now, I’m not a computer programmer nor do I have any interest in it and yet Meier made this aspect of the story interesting. I never felt lost or bored; rather he gives enough info for knowledgeable folks to nod their heads in agreement and the rest of us to understand the implications of whatever this bit of code does or why that language or platform is important. This memoir is so well balanced in this aspect, keeping an eye on the bigger picture while giving us enough details to make it interesting. It was pretty cool hearing about Meier’s personal life, from his childhood, to his first marriage, the birth of his firstborn, and then on to his second marriage. I liked the small bits he did share even as he kept the focus on the computer games. I loved the tales about his first business partner – Bill. He had all the salesman’s tricks down; for instance, his trick of calling local game shops pretending to be a potential customer wondering if they have a certain game only to later call as himself asking if he can come by to talk to them about selling their latest computer game. I know it’s a dated gimmick but I bet it could work today with burner phones. The business evolution was an interesting part of the tale as well. I appreciated hearing about all the pitfalls just as much as the victories. To me, having enjoyed so many hours of Civilization (mostly Civ IV), I was surprised to learn that it was a hard sell at first. I was not aware that Civ was one of the forerunners of strategy computer games, but put into the context of computer limitations at the time, it really makes sense. While I have no interest in flight simulator games or Meier’s golf game, I am curious about his railroad game now. Also, I’m was a little sad to hear about the abandoned dinosaur game. All around, an excellent memoir about one of the Lords of Geekdom. 5/5 stars. The Narration: Charles Constant was a good pick for this narration. While I was a little sad at first to see Meier wasn’t narrating his own memoir, sometimes that’s for the best. Narration is a skill and an art and not everyone has that ability. Constant made everything sound interesting and I especially appreciated his hints of emotion at all the right points. I especially liked his Bill the Enthusiastic Pilot voice. The pacing was perfect and there were no technical issues. 5/5 stars. I received a free copy via NetGalley. My opinions are 100% my own.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michael Scott

    I've spent many an afternoon leading the Romans towards Alpha Centauri, while Nuclear Ghandi chased Barbarossa on the fringes of my empire. If you find the previous sentence reasonable, you can also understand how happy I was to discover Sid Meier published a memoir, and how eagerly I spent another afternoon reading it. Civ-like (so groundbreaking) this isn't, but still a good bio and a feeling of well-being at the end. To close the other path of the binary choice: since the first sentence of thi I've spent many an afternoon leading the Romans towards Alpha Centauri, while Nuclear Ghandi chased Barbarossa on the fringes of my empire. If you find the previous sentence reasonable, you can also understand how happy I was to discover Sid Meier published a memoir, and how eagerly I spent another afternoon reading it. Civ-like (so groundbreaking) this isn't, but still a good bio and a feeling of well-being at the end. To close the other path of the binary choice: since the first sentence of this review does not make sense to you, it should be good to know that Sid Meier is one of the most famous game-designers, author of outstanding strategy and simulation games. Or simply the author of Civilization, a game whose fifth sequel accumulated over 1 billion hours of gameplay on the common PC platform (and more if you include others). Overall, this is a great but short story about the design and making of amazing games. There's some of Sid Meier!, the prossional persona, and even a little bit of Sid Meier, the real person. Recommended, but also read at least Jordan Mechner's [series:Mechner's Journals] (Karateka and Prince of Persia), which seem to me deeper. A few considerations: 1. Sid Meier analyzes an amazing array of games, including Civ, Pirates!, and Railroad Tycoon. I've played pretty much all the games he has developed, and even the community-made FreeCiv and Open Transport Tycoon Deluxe. There's a feeling of good when reading about these games, and of course cherished memories that spring to surface. Wonderful! 2. Sid Meier on game design. There's a designer at work here, opinionated, independent, drawing from personal experiences, and thus idiosyncratic. This is not entirely positive, because the unique ideas alternate with the trivial, so there is not that much an aspiring game designer can learn from this. 3. Sid Meier on pc and sjw topics. There are several such important topics addressed in this material, from increased equal-gender representation, to representing contentious topics in games, to responding to complaints. Sid's view is one should be considerate, take action when cautioned about things, and understand there is no universally acceptable position on any of these topics. Ultimately, many topics, little progress. 4. Sid Meier, Sid Meier, Sid Meier!, despite the short length of this book. Well, this is a book by Sid Meier.

  27. 4 out of 5

    David

    I haven't played many of Sid Meier's games, but like anyone who's touched a computer game since the 1980s, I know who he is. My favorite game bearing his name, Civilization Revolution, was panned by PC snobs as being a dumbed-down Civ designed to pander to console players. In SID MEIER'S MEMOIR!, Sid disputes that, explaining that he believes everyone should have access to games. That explanation, worded kindly and intelligently, sums up what I took from MEMOIR: Sid Meier may just be the kindest, I haven't played many of Sid Meier's games, but like anyone who's touched a computer game since the 1980s, I know who he is. My favorite game bearing his name, Civilization Revolution, was panned by PC snobs as being a dumbed-down Civ designed to pander to console players. In SID MEIER'S MEMOIR!, Sid disputes that, explaining that he believes everyone should have access to games. That explanation, worded kindly and intelligently, sums up what I took from MEMOIR: Sid Meier may just be the kindest, most thoughtful, most intelligent game designer in the industry. He loves making and playing games, and encourages everyone else to love playing and creating them, too. For instance, he points out that his fans likely project different versions of himself based on the games he's made that they enjoy. Meier is comfortable with that; he wants everyone to "find the fun" in games and in life, and that comes through on every page. MEMOIR's creative structure exemplifies the author's passion for creation. He plants "achievements" on certain words, a fun way to keep track of what he's discussed so far, and creates an inside-joke bond between reader and author. Every chapter covers one or more of his games, but instead of giving technical explanation after technical explanation, he focuses more on the mindset and philosophy he adopted at the time of each game's development. While some may leave the book wanting more nitty-gritty details on particular games (although I would argue he dishes out plenty when and where it counts), I much preferred Meier's chosen style. Think of each chapter as a door that leads into a different room in Meier's head. He's your tour guide, and he's delighted to show you around. I found that a much more interesting take than digging into the minutia of why one Civ's change from square to hexagonal tiles on the map opened up X, Y, and Z strategies. I can learn that stuff from anyone who's played the games. The details Meier provides for each game feel more personal because of how he contextualizes them in his ongoing journey as a designer. I got so caught up, I highlighted dozens of passages to re-read when I need a jolt of creativity, or motivation, or a pick-me-up. That's Sid Meier: Someone wise, kind, and patient enough to speak to anyone about anything, and enjoy doing it. I highly recommend this book, not only for fans of Meier's games and current or aspiring game designers, but anyone curious about how curiosity leads to inventions that have brought joy to so many, all through one guiding philosophy: Find the fun. In games, in life, in everything. What a fantastic book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Greg Chatham

    "TOM CLANCY HAD WARNED ME..." - Sid Meier, on getting life advice from Tom Clancy This was fun! Coming to this book solely as a Civ fan, there's less detail about the making of later installments than I would have liked. But it's Sid Meier's Memoir! It's right there in the title. So if he wants to write about other accomplishments in his life, like making a golf sim or a son... FINE. Also, after a certain point, what's left to say? "And then we made five more Civilizations." For the most part, each "TOM CLANCY HAD WARNED ME..." - Sid Meier, on getting life advice from Tom Clancy This was fun! Coming to this book solely as a Civ fan, there's less detail about the making of later installments than I would have liked. But it's Sid Meier's Memoir! It's right there in the title. So if he wants to write about other accomplishments in his life, like making a golf sim or a son... FINE. Also, after a certain point, what's left to say? "And then we made five more Civilizations." For the most part, each chapter covers a game or two from Meier's career in chronological order. So given the niche, nerdy nature of the various projects he's worked on, your mileage per chapter is going to vary. Meier is less explicit about what players do in each of his games than how they were made, and while this is probably the right decision, it can be a bit confusing if you weren't aware of each game at the time of its release. For example, I somehow never played Sid Meier's Pirates! as a kid. But I remember seeing ads for it in Computer Gaming World. I probably played similar games from that same generation. So I can wrap my head around what Meier is talking about when he describes how they subverted technical limitations to make some of the fancier graphics work. On the other hand, I still don't understand what kind of game Covert Action is, so his description of how they developed the story randomizer might as well exist in a void. But there's always the next chapter, and there's always the next fun anecdote. I was particularly taken with his description of why the classic exploration game Seven Cities Of Gold works, as he sums up something I still p[ay games for today. And while experienced Civ players may already know about the warmongering Gandhi legend, Meier's explanation of how they had to continually revise the success percentages in Civilization Revolution to satisfy players' sense of fairness was new to me, and it speaks to something people are still arguing about in strategy games today. ("What do you mean I missed? I had a 97% chance to hit!") Skimming through the book again in preparation for this review, I was struck by just how many cool little stories there are throughout. It's also almost relentlessly optimistic in tone, which, while not normally my thing, was certainly a nice change of pace this summer. The lightly deprecating inclusion of classic ads throughout, presented without comment, was also a nice touch. "Sid Meier's Latest Memoir Is Just Like All His Others... Terrific!"

  29. 4 out of 5

    Akshay Oommen

    I mean - as if I did not admire this man and his work enough already. And then this book came along... Video games have played an extremely central role in my life. My first memory of a video game probably dates back to playing 'New Super Mario Bros' at an uncle's place in the late 90's. Fast forward to 2020, and video games are still very much an integral part of my day to day life. I distinctly remember playing the OG 'Sid Meier's Civilization' on an emulator on my PC in 2002 at the tender age o I mean - as if I did not admire this man and his work enough already. And then this book came along... Video games have played an extremely central role in my life. My first memory of a video game probably dates back to playing 'New Super Mario Bros' at an uncle's place in the late 90's. Fast forward to 2020, and video games are still very much an integral part of my day to day life. I distinctly remember playing the OG 'Sid Meier's Civilization' on an emulator on my PC in 2002 at the tender age of 10 and instantly falling in love with it. 20 years later, and with a cumulative total of 1320 hours spent on both Civilization V and Civilization VI according to Steam (with my last game being just a week ago), it's safe to say that the impact of Sid Meier's earliest and greatest creation still lingers in me. This memoir served as a much needed insight into the man behind the genius, the human being behind the acclaimed game designer and the journey behind the success. Over the course of 40 years or so, it was fascinating to learn of the plethora of games developed by the man who, either favorably or unfavorably, cannot escape the 'Creator of Civilization' tag. I would be lying if I said that I have spent a significant chunk of my gaming time on his non-Civilization works - but after reading this book, I have most certainly decided to pick up and play 'Sid Meier's Pirates' as soon as I can. As a person, Sid Meier strikes me as a very positive and upbeat person who focuses on the good rather than the bad. He does touch upon a few tragic and somber moments in his life in this book, but in no way does he dwell upon them, neither did they deter his eventual path to success in his life journey. Sid Meier is a shining example of how being passionate about what you do for a living can change the course of your field entirely, and how it is sometimes good to make offbeat decisions and life choices if you really want to succeed in life. Let me make this clear - I am thoroughly biased when it comes to Sid Meier thanks in large part to the profound impact his works have had on my life. Much like a game of Civilization, every chapter in this book reined my interest in like a moth to a flame and I could not put it down, telling myself - "Just one more page..." Thank you, Sid Meier, for everything you have done for the industry and most importantly, for everything you are about to do. You are a living legend and a rockstar in my eyes and the eyes of millions.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Josh Stoiber

    This is an advanced review of the audiobook edition from HighBridge Audio. Thanks to HighBridge and NetGalley for the advanced copy! I grew up seeing his name on dozens of game boxes, but I never knew much about who Sid Meier was or what he did to get his name on so many boxes. "Sid Meier's Memoir!" is an enjoyable, though slightly surface-level, memoir that serves as a broad overview of computer gaming history. It's ideally suited to casual tech history enthusiasts (like myself!) and keeps a gre This is an advanced review of the audiobook edition from HighBridge Audio. Thanks to HighBridge and NetGalley for the advanced copy! I grew up seeing his name on dozens of game boxes, but I never knew much about who Sid Meier was or what he did to get his name on so many boxes. "Sid Meier's Memoir!" is an enjoyable, though slightly surface-level, memoir that serves as a broad overview of computer gaming history. It's ideally suited to casual tech history enthusiasts (like myself!) and keeps a great pace throughout. The audiobook is narrated very well. Even though it’s written in first person, Sid doesn’t read it himself. However, the narrator reads it so dynamically and confidently that you’d never know it wasn’t Sid. This reading, combined with the casual, conversational tone of the book and its brisk pace led to a great audio experience that feels almost like a really engaging podcast. Each chapter features one or two games that Sid worked on (or that his company published), and discusses the inspirations that went into them and the events, both personal and professional, that surrounded them. Sid is clearly more interested in talking about his games and inspirations than he is about himself, and that leaves the book feeling a little shallow at times. At the same time, this penchant for humility is part of what makes Sid, Sid, so maybe there’s some depth in that after all. The only hiccup in the listening experience was an odd formatting quirk in the book itself. There are these cheeky little sidebars scattered throughout that are titled “Achievement Unlocked” followed by a sentence poking fun at the current subject matter. The problem is that at first they sound like section headers, and they left me confused as to what they were referring to. Once I wrapped my mind around what they were trying to accomplish, they were less distracting, but they feel like something that is much better suited to the printed book. Overall this memoir was a fascinating and breezy listen, and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone with a passing interest in recent technology history.

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