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From Civilization to Big Brother: how a game recreated Orwell’s 1984 | Books | guardian.co.uk

June 14, 2012 1 comment

If you happen to have touched a computer some time within the last 20 years, the chances are you may well have spent a regrettably long time playing on one of the many instalments of Sid Meier’s Civilization franchise. I doubt, however, that you will have devoted quite as much of your life to it as a contributor to the Reddit forums going by the name of Lycerius. He it must be a he! posted the following extraordinary statement:

“I’ve been playing the same game of Civ II for 10 years. Though long outdated, I grew fascinated with this particular game because by the time Civ III was released, I was already well into the distant future. I then thought that it might be interesting to see just how far into the future I could get and see what the ramifications would be.”

Just in case you are one of the few people not to have played Civilization, and are therefore unaware of the planet-shifting magnetism of Lycerius’ post, Here’s a quick primer.

Civilization is a game that – true to its name – enables you to build your own civilisation. You start in 4000BC in a small village, which you gradually expand by farming, building things like libraries so that you can develop technologies, and producing armies to conquer other territories. It’s addictive, vaguely educational and most sane people stopped playing some time around 1997 both in real and game years, once they’d built a spaceship and reached Alpha Centauri.

Not so Lycerius. He has carried on for an extra 2,000 years – although he is at pains to point out he doesn’t just play Civilization II non-stop “Naturally, I play other games and have a life…”. Yet, as quickly becomes apparent when you read through the rest of his post as I urge you to do, even if Lycerius had dedicated all of his time to playing Civilization, it wouldn’t have been wasted. The results are fascinating. He summarises them thus:

• The world is a hellish nightmare of suffering and devastation.

• There are three remaining super nations in the year AD3991, each competing for the scant resources left on the planet after dozens of nuclear wars have rendered vast swaths of the world uninhabitable wastelands.

The competition between Lycerius’ civilisation the Celts and his two rivals, the Vikings and the Americans, has resulted in endless warfare:

“You’ve heard of the 100-year war? Try the 1,700-year war. The three remaining nations have been locked in an eternal death struggle for almost 2,000 years. Peace seems to be impossible. Every time a ceasefire is signed, the Vikings will surprise attack me or the Americans the very next turn, often with nuclear weapons.”

via From Civilization to Big Brother: how a game recreated Orwell’s 1984 | Books | guardian.co.uk.

Strange Random 1984 Quote:

“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” ― George Orwell, 1984

Island in recovery after Up Helly Aa celebrations | Aberdeen and North | STV News

February 1, 2012 1 comment

Quiet has settled over the island of Shetland in the aftermath of the annual Up Helly Aa festival.

Thousands took part in the raucous festivities which ended in a fiery climax with the burning of a Viking longship on Tuesday night.

Europe‘s biggest fire festival has been hailed as a success after nearly 1000 costumed “guizers” carried flaming torches which would set the 30ft Viking galley alight.

via Island in recovery after Up Helly Aa celebrations | Aberdeen and North | STV News.

Don’t miss the video report on the same page! Meanwhile, here are some pictures of this stunning event.

Official Website

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Strange Random Viking Quote:

Go you must.
No guest shall stay
in one place for ever.
Love will be lost
if you sit too long
at a friend’s fire.

- The Havamal or Book of Viking Wisdom

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It’s a new Viking invasion of Britain – but this time it’s cultural | Television & radio | The Observer

October 23, 2011 Leave a comment
Cover of "The Vikings"

Cover of The Vikings

Longboats, funeral pyres, glinting helmets and drinking horns: the discovery of a buried Viking boat in the west Highlands a few days ago has given an extra fillip to a burgeoning cultural fascination with all things Norse.

A succession of Viking literary sagas, films and television series, pieces of poetry and avant-garde art, not to mention preparations for a major British Museum show, are now all on the slipway.

More than 50 years after actors Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis donned their woollen tunics for Hollywood blockbuster The Vikings, a television series of the same name and a TV version of British writer Neil Gaiman‘s Nordic gods-inspired bestseller, American Gods, are both in development. The Vikings, which picks up on interest aroused by Kenneth Branagh‘s recent action film Thor, is being produced and written by the team behind BBC2 series The Tudors, and will tell the story of Ragnar, the great Viking leader and his two wives and four sons, who travelled to Ireland, England and France. The semi-mythological figures of Ragnar and his sons were also at the centre of the Curtis and Douglas epic, but this 10-part drama will chart their conquests while aiming to correct misconceptions about Viking society.

via It’s a new Viking invasion of Britain – but this time it’s cultural | Television & radio | The Observer.

Strange Random Viking Quote:

Wake early if you want
another man’s life or land.
No lamb for the lazy wolf.
No battle’s won in bed.

- The Havamal (Book of Viking Wisdom)

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Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig – Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Top Ten things to do on St. Patrick’s Day:

1. Wear something green (obligatory in some places, good practice in most others)

2. Find out why the Irish and Irish-at-heart are celebrating and see a biography of the Saint

3. Find out what a leprechaun is and see if you can spot one on the webcam

The Ireland cricket teams represent whole of I...

Ireland from space

4. Find out about traditional Irish music and listen to Canadian-Irish band Enter The Haggis

5. Find out what Gaelic Football is all about

6. Read about famous Irish writers

7. Make a Guinness fondue

8. Learn some Gaelic phrases

9.  Find out about cultural events in Ireland and London

10. Relax with a pint of Guinness – you deserve it!

sláinte!

Strange Random Irish Quote:
“We have always found the Irish a bit odd. They refuse to be English.” – Winston Churchill

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