The Power of Ideas: Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri is on GOG.COM

Here's just a quick reminder that by far the most atmospheric, philosophically compelling and narratively fulfilling Civilization-esque game ever released is now available for the paltry sum of $5,99 from Good Old Games. Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri has been high on my GOG wishlist for years now, primarily because it has always been little tricky (though by no means impossible) to get the original disc-based version to work properly on XP and later Windows versions. Thus SMAC is one of those titles which benefits a lot from having been given GOG's usual compatibility treatment, and now the only thing which could conceivably scare newcomers away is the game's hideously dull art design (who'd ever want to colonize that dirt-brown piece of crap anyway?).

Buy the game here:

http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/sid_meiers_alpha_centauri

7 Comments
8 Comments
Posted by Egge

Here's just a quick reminder that by far the most atmospheric, philosophically compelling and narratively fulfilling Civilization-esque game ever released is now available for the paltry sum of $5,99 from Good Old Games. Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri has been high on my GOG wishlist for years now, primarily because it has always been little tricky (though by no means impossible) to get the original disc-based version to work properly on XP and later Windows versions. Thus SMAC is one of those titles which benefits a lot from having been given GOG's usual compatibility treatment, and now the only thing which could conceivably scare newcomers away is the game's hideously dull art design (who'd ever want to colonize that dirt-brown piece of crap anyway?).

Buy the game here:

http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/sid_meiers_alpha_centauri

Posted by ahoodedfigure

I didn't have any problems installing or running the base game on our XP machine, using this version (which is 3 pounds 79 p when I write this on the UK version of the site) that I heard about via Rock Paper Shotgun. Runs brilliantly as far as I recall. And while I haven't installed the expansion yet, I got the expansion in that package. Not meaning to undercut GOG here, but there are other alternatives if you're into ordering physical copies.
 
I was surprised how long ago this game was made. Sure, the 3D models date it a bit, but it feels relatively fresh even now.
 
You manage to catch that Irrational Games podcasted interview with one of the designers?

Posted by Egge

@ahoodedfigure: I've heard a lot of people complain about SMAC and had to use a few unofficial patches myself to get it to work properly on my XP machine. Nothing really serious, but mildly annoying to have to do that everytime I decided to reinstall the game. I still got my physical copy of the Planetary Pack edition (which I've been relying on for all these years now), but I'm almost entirely anti-physical when it comes to PC games these days so I for one gladly payed to get an additional, digital version of the game.

Posted by TwoLines

Bought it, played it, and was suprised how addictive it is.

Posted by FancySoapsMan

I managed to install it using XP a few months ago with no issues at all.
 
I should really take the time to learn to play AC, but I have too many games that I haven't really bothered to :\

Posted by ahoodedfigure
@Egge: I wonder if the version I have was tested on XP machines.I don't really know. I saw that they put up some compatibility patches on the Firaxis page for AC, but maybe people already used those to no effect.
Posted by ArbitraryWater

Unlike Dungeon Keeper or Privateer, where I could honestly care less about the inclusion of more content, I'm less than cool with the lack of Alien Crossfire in this particular package. Then again, some people on the GOG forums swear that all the additions in that game are broken anyways (basically, Aliens and Pirates are overpowered or something to that effect). Nonetheless, if this ends with them not adding in any of this expansion content for free down the line like they have otherwise or (even worse) charging an extra 5.99 for it, I'll be kind of pissed.
 
Despite all that, yeah. Alpha Centauri is pretty great. It's not the most visually... enticing game in the world, nor does it have the benefits of interface and mechanical streamlining that later Civ games have (which in the case of Civ IV is mostly canceled out by all the unneeded mechanics that almost go as far as to bloat the entire experience. I'm sure no one who is a veteran of that game considers getting a religious victory "fun"), but it has personality and depth, and much like Civ IV it has people reading some sort of quote from either a historical text or one of the game's fictional leaders whenever you research a technology. They're not Leonard Nimoy, but I still somewhat unduly really like that part.

Posted by Egge

@ArbitraryWater: I agree that not having Alien Crossfire in the GOG release (for now) is unfortunate, though, and a bigger than the lack of Deeper Dungeons for DK1 (although DD was a very nice add-on, too). The Crossfire factions are mostly silly and unbalanced, but the expansion supposedly added a lot of balance tweaks which admittedly are too subtle for such a superficial casual Civ player like myself to discern, but should nonetheless be part of any re-release of the game. Hopefully GOG upgrades its SMAC to the Planetary Pack edition, which is the one I got a retail copy of.

As for the tech quotes, I always felt that Leonard Nimoy's rather one-dimensional delivery and the terse platitudes he was forced to recite constituted a massive step down from Alpha Centauri's philosophically complex and engaging (not to mention *long*) quotes by Augustine, Plato, Machiavelli etc.