The August '08 Blogs of the Round Table is up, with the subject being what positive lessons writers have learned from video games. It's a diverse crop as usual, and Chris Bateman at Only a Game looks at what he learned by not playing a game: Civilization in this case, or any Sid Meier game, for that matter. And what did Bateman learn from not playing? Well, a few lessons on the audience for games in general:
Not playing Civ taught me some important lessons about the audience for games. Yes, I may want to screw around with history and make bizarre alternate timelines but most players want to be authentic to their perception of history, not to their boundless imaginations, at least in the context of nation-building games. I may feel constrained by a tech tree which encodes certain preconceptions about history, but most players of Civ find in the technology tree a vibrant advancement mechanic that they enjoy exploring and min-maxing to their benefit.
Not playing Civ taught me that I am not the audience for games, even though I have spent my life playing them. And that, I suppose, helped push me into further exploring just who the audience for games really were...
The whole Round Table set is worth a read, as always. There are twelve entries thus far, which is more than enough to while away an hour or two with.
What I Learned From Not Playing Civ [Only a Game]