CaesarIA… After the Break…


I have a certain amount of respect for computer games that require thick manuals. This is entertainment for hardcore gamers. The barrier of entry to enjoy these games is high. They are “anti-casual” games by their very nature.

We do not live in an era that is conducive to producing computer games that require thick manuals anymore. “Big Box cardboard” computer games gave way to “small box cardboard” computer games. “Small box cardboard” computer games gave way to “Plastic DVD case” computer games. “Plastic DVD case” computer games now live uncomfortably next to “Digital download” computer games. In this evolution of computer game delivery systems, the thick game manuals quickly became a casualty. Less box = Less manual. Certainly, there was nothing to prevent developers from including a thick game manual in electronic PDF format on the CD or DVD of the computer game itself. However, who wants to print out or read on a screen a 400+ page manual? How many publishers are willing to finance such a game? The evolution of games has been “smaller, prettier, easier.”

This is why games like “Caesar III” impress me.

It’s game manual effectively ends at page 212. There’s a few additional pages beyond page 212 for an index and game development credits.

So it makes me glad when the present generation takes the time and effort to keep an older game like “Caesar III” from falling into the dustbin of computer gaming history. Older games are written for the operating systems of their time and the developers of newer operating systems often care not one bit whether those games are compatible with them or not. It is not like the English language where a book written in the year 1800 is still fairly understandable today; A game written just ten years ago may already be unplayable on modern operating systems because of a variety of issues: Graphics card incompatibility, multi-core CPU incompatibility, copy protection incompatibility… And the list extends seemingly forever.

CaesarIA is not, technically, a “game”: You need a full copy of “Caesar III” in order to use CaesarIA. And CaesarIA is not “feature-complete” but is still, apparently, being worked on. Yet the purpose of CaesarIA is that a person with a modern computer may be able to fully enjoy “Caesar III” without performing an increasingly amount of computer trickery in order to play the game as it was intended.

It speaks to the growing amount of respect that the present generation of gamers have for it’s past, to sacrifice their time and effort to ensure that present and future gamers may enjoy the games that entertained previous generations.

It is hard being a classic PC gamer in an age where everything is “Steam” or “Digital Download” or “DLC.” Projects like CaesarIA gives hope that our efforts in the past will not be forgotten in the future. Ask yourself… Will “Call of Duty: Black Ops” get this same kind of treatment fifteen years from now?

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