Imagine Gandhi (yes, that Gandhi), the man so rigorously dedicated to non-violence and pacifism that he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize a total of five times, last the year he was assassinated(the committee didn’t award anyone that year stating that there were no “suitable living candidates” worthy of the award) as a warmonger, ready to use his stockpile of Nuclear weapons at even the slightest bit of transgression, rightly dubbed by friends and adversaries alike as ‘Nuclear Gandhi’. Sound a bit OOT, right? Not according to Sid Meier’s Civilization.
Civilization series is one the more popular turn-based strategy based out there and has sold over 33 million copies combined, and that’s a 2016 figure. The first iteration of its series in 1991 ‘Sid Meier’s Civilization – Build An Empire To Stand The Test Of Time’, which was specially developed for MS-DOS running on a PC and is considered one of the most influential computer games in history due to its establishment of the 4X genre, which sold over a million copies worldwide; the franchise has garnered a cult-like following in the gaming community.
So back to Nuclear Gandhi.
Civilization is a turn-based game in which a player takes control of a civilization and tries to conquer other civilizations. Each civilization is led by a historical figure like Teddy Roosevelt representing America in Civilization VI, Cleopatra representing Egypt, and, of course, Gandhi representing India.
Each leader has certain unique traits and stats, including a level of ‘aggression’ – from one to ten, indicating the likelihood of a leader declaring war on another civilization. The higher the rating, the more likely the AI-controlled civilization is to attack. Gandhi had a rating of 1 in the 1991 Civilization game.
As the game evolves, the players can choose the form of governance they want their civilization to have. The AI controlling Gandhi tends to choose democracy, and as a result, Gandhi’s aggression drops by 2.
Since his aggression was already 1(the lowest in the game), it dropped to -1 after achieving democracy. But the game in 1991 wasn’t designed to handle integers, so the game reads his aggression as 255(on a scale of 1 to 10), and as a result, he is most likely to drop a nuclear bomb.
Now this bug has obviously been resolved in the later iterations of the game, but ‘Nuclear Gandhi’ has now become an easter egg of sorts for the series. In Civilization V, while Gandhi’s regular diplomatic approach is more peaceful than the other leaders, he is still more likely to drop a nuke on you with a rating of 12, well ahead of other leaders.
So the next time you play Civilization, you know who to look out for.
Civilization series has become one of the best-selling games in history; read it here.
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