172: In The Beginning, There Was Populous

In The Beginning, There Was Populous

"I was only 10 years old when I ascended the stairs to the upstairs den of my friend Jon's house. There was the common altar you'd find at all my friends' houses: a Super Nintendo and a television. Jon was furiously working to manage the tiny figures walking about and occasionally warring against each other. I asked what they were accomplishing, and he explained he was trying to increase the population of his faithful.

"As I looked on, the truth sank in. He was playing god."

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Ah populus! I never played the 1993 original but i did play through Populous:the beginning. I haven't heard anything about it in years, definitely one of my favourite games ever! I agree with your points about god games having gone downhill. I never really warmed to Black & White and such, they could never really match up to previous games which really set the standard. God games really are a dying breed, and none really give me any interest anymore, which is a shame because as populous showed us they can be so good.

My father actually played Populous and loved it, although I never got a chance to. I enjoyed the original Black & White, even though I could never figure out how to get past the first level. Nowadays, god games are toning back the power of the player to increase the challenge, which really defeats the purpose if you ask me. I think the Sandbox mode in god games is really the best way to give full power while allowing the game to have challenge.

Then you have games like Spore, which was touted over and over as the next great god game, but you only controlled one person, not a god. This is another case of the public classifying a game into a category that it really doesn't belong in.

Kudos for the Act Raiser reference. There was no better way to spend a rainy afternoon than save a few souls from the evil demons and then beat an insanely hard platforming level. I always liked the fact that the game required you to descend from your lofty godlike realm, take on mortal form, and do battle with evil for the sake of your followers.

Not a bad game design metaphor for Christ, if you think about it.

Act Raiser was pretty great until your people decide they don't need you anymore. "God's in his Heaven - All's right with the world!"

Human Bomb:
Act Raiser was pretty great until your people decide they don't need you anymore. "God's in his Heaven - All's right with the world!"

best ending ever IMO

I too enjoyed the original black and white, though it did grow tiresome after a while. and the sims was decent but got boring fast. Populous as you said is the best god sim evar.

Did I miss something? This article didn't seem to have much of a message, aside from the author believing that Populous was the first and last great god game. The intro touches on how god games slipped past the video-games-are-evil crusades, but that seems to be only a footnote in this story. The ending also seemed to trail off, basically stating that the author hasn't liked god games since and, even with the reintroduction of that game, isn't taking an interest in it.

Through all of this, the author doesn't seem to make much of a point. Is he saying that god games suck compared to how they used to be? Is he saying that he has just lost interest in the genre (without giving reasons why, in which case, why should this interest us)? The entire article reads like an idle musing with no point.

Not every article has to be a controversial proverb shouted from atop a soapbox, but please Escapist, make sure your authors have something to say before allowing them to say it.

Is it God week?

Is it God week?

This week it is "The Great and the Powerful"

Did I miss something?

Yes. Yes you did. Perhaps the point was too simple and flew under your radar. This is a piece explaining "God games", and the joy they brought to one individual. It is a piece lamenting the fall of "God games", from not quite-so-great games, to the current crappy ones. It ends with hope, however, as the DS port of the classic, the quintessential God game, has been released, creating the hope that the glory days of the genre are back again.

So I'd say the author definitely had something to say. Just because it didn't speak to you personally is no reason for the Escapist to change it's moderation of its writers.

Only played Populous the Beginning, and it's my favorite game ever... I gotta get my hands on the original too =P

I don't think there will be any good "god games" today tho... Most of the games seem to go down in terms of quality while going up in terms of graphics these days. Ah well.

I used to LOVE Populous, I was addicted.

I must say Populous the Beginning is possibly my favourite game of all time, especially as there is a matchmaker service so i can play it online !!!! Its very addictive :)

*wipes away a nostalgic tear* sniff.


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