Disclosure: I play tested for the last part of Civilization III patches as well as the two expansion packs and Civilization IV.
I saw this recently on The New Yorker – Sid Meier and the Meaning of “Civilization”: https://www.newyorker.com/books/under-review/sid-meier-and-the-meaning-of-civilization. Longer article.
By Neima Jahromi September 22, 2021
Sid Meier is famous for creating the video game Civilization. He’s also known for having his name on the box. Meier released Civilization thirty years ago this month, after developing it with Bruce Shelley, a veteran board-game designer. The pair were inspired by the illustrated history books you might find on a middle-school library shelf, and by titles like Seven Cities of Gold (1984), a video game of Spanish conquest created by the designer Danielle Berry. In Civilization, you start with a covered wagon on a map that is largely obscured. You found a city. You learn metalwork, horse riding, feudalism, democracy, and diplomatic relations. Eventually, the rest of the world is revealed—a patchwork of nations. You can dominate your neighbors or strive to outshine them. History rolls on.
Civilization didn’t mark the first time Meier’s name appeared on a box. In 1987, we got Sid Meier’s Pirates!, in which you sail your way across the Caribbean, evolving from a winsome privateer to a peg-legged Blackbeard. In 1990, Meier’s earlier collaboration with Shelley resulted in Sid Meier’s Railroad Tycoon, a construction simulator that spawned a slew of copycats. And then, in 1991, with little marketing fanfare, Civilization appeared. Players realized that they had found a gem. The Sid Meier stamp exploded, popping up on Sid Meier’s Gettysburg!, Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, and Sid Meier’s SimGolf. There were sequels to Civilization, which Meier had little to do with. We’re now on Sid Meier’s Civilization VI. His name is still on the box.