Can the fate of humanity be predicted by a video game?
Tuesday morning, Reddit user Lycerius wrote a post in r/gaming asking for help with his 10-year-long Civilization II game. He described the world of 3991 AD as a "hellish nightmare of suffering and devastation".
According to Lycerius, the ice caps have melted 20 times because of nuclear fallout. The only three remaining countries - the Celts, the Vikings and the Americans - are locked in an endless war over dwindling resources. Lycerius said he tried destroying or allying with the two remaining countries, but it hasn't helped. Apparently, most of the world's population has died due to lack of usable land, and the engineers and military forces can't make any improvements because they are working on supporting the war efforts.
Civilization II was released in 1996 by MicroProse. It's a very detailed simulation and turn-based strategy game that begins at the dawn of the world's civilisation, and continues throughout history. Players have to fight wars, develop technology and forge peace treaties with other nations. While the game ends in 2020 AD, you can continue playing into the future indefinitely.
Lycerius said he has been transferring his save file from computer to computer and continuing the old game off and on for 10 years. Reddit was so captivated by his story that they asked him to upload his save file so the community could try to crowdsource a solution. A new subreddit has even been dedicated to this research.
Interestingly, some Redditors discussed the comparison between this game and George Orwell's dystopian 1984, which also features three nations locked in an eternal war that no one can remember the beginning or end of, where borders always change during minor power grabs.
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