Sid Meier is known to some as the godfather of modern computer gaming, and it’s a title he’s certainly deserving of – as shown in a delightful mini-documentary where he enters a 48-hour game design challenge at his old alma mater.
Sid Meier is a man who certainly belongs in the pantheon of video game forefathers alongside other names like Shigeru Miyamoto, Will Wright, Nolan Bushnell and John Carmack. The father of Civilization and the Tycoon series, Meier’s works have helped inspire hundreds if not thousands of would-be game designers – and that influence (and talent) is the subject of the mini-documentary you see above.
In the 23:37-long film, Meier returns to his old alma mater, the University of Michigan – where he was once almost kicked out of the computer science program for programming a Tic-Tac-Toe game on the giant punch-card-based mainframe – to enter the “7th Annual Wolverine Soft 48 Hour Game Design Contest.”
Despite what the name may indicate, there are no mutants with a healing factor and metal claws involved. Instead, it’s a two-day competition where aspiring coders and designers compete to make a game as quickly as possible, similar to the Worldwide Game Jam. Meier enters the contest both as a judge and honorary contestant – one of the students remarks how cool it is to have Sid Meier playing his game instead of the other way around – to test his skills, as he’s never made a game in just two days before.
The documentary is directed by Juan Carlos Pineiro Escoriaza – the man behind the superb MMOG documentary Second Skin – which should give you a hint that it’s well worth watching if you have half an hour to spare. Not only does Meier give us all a great look into the early days of the industry and what inspired him to make games, but it’s just a really neat 48-hour story and worth a watch.