Ah, sweet memories. I'm in the middle of my school holidays so I'm spending most of my time reading, sleeping, resting, or on the computer. The post about WoW yesterday got me thinking. I said that it was the first mmorpg that I played and the experience was completely new, well then I thought of the first ever game that I played. It was called Sid Meirs Colonization, and it was a brilliant. It was the kind of game that you can play like crazy for a few weeks, then lay off for a few weeks, then go just as crazy again and again and again.
Of course as a young kid, this being my first game I would only play it on the easiest level, as anything above that would result in a quick loss. There is not a whole lot I can remember about the actual gameplay but it basically involved starting a new colony in a new land, from a variety of nations, each of these nations had a specific tactical advantage such as faster or stronger ships. (Don't choose Spain because they suck)
You gain various convicts from your home city who can perform tasks for you such as gathering furs or corn which you would then sell. The productivity of these item depended on where you built your town. Theoretically you could explore the entire map searching for the perfect spot but this would take too long and let the neutral Indians and Incas build up their troops. Also, your colony could produce more if you had a specific specialist like a tanner or something who would enable you to produce more furs. These specialists were rare and often came from capturing or destroying enemy ships.
You could only return to your home city my exiting the map from the east so it was time-wasting and unproductive to build your new colony far away from the eastern edge. As you gain more convicts you could then build another colony build a little road between the two and begin making troops. These troops were convicts who had been trained in a barracks which you would have to build in your colony. Combat was simply based on the skill and strength of your troops and their terrain. Naval battles were also vital in preventing other nations from trading with their home city.
The game was extremely fun and quite tactical. Looking back now I begin to notice how much other games gathered from Colonization, and how remarkable it was when it was released in 1994. The final thing you had to do in order to pass the game was declare your independence and then an massive army of enemies would appear around your cities and you would have to beat them off. Even though it was a simple game I still got an incredible thrill from gaining my independence. And that was the first game I ever played.