Best known for his Civilization series, Pirates!, and early flight sims such as F-19 Stealth Fighter, Meier is considered one of the most dynamic and respected designers in PC gaming to this day often credited as the father of God Games. He continues to take a hands-on approach to game development and still programs significant portions of his games himself.
When Sid Meier was a child he was very imaginative which he credits as the main influence that caused him to become a game designer. Whether it was toy soldiers, railroads, or simple blocks, Meier was always building imaginative worlds as a young man.
It was one summer that he spent at his grandparents house that Meier claims was the single biggest influence on his imagination. During that summer, trains constantly went by the house, always on a tight schedule which intrigued the young boy and prompted him to visit the train station every chance that he had. An utter fascination with how the trains were always on time and the history of the railroad system would lead to his creation of the game Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon (1990).
Meier attended college to study computers, which at the time filled an entire room and did not have the ability to play games on them but were only utilized for "serious" work. He studied programming and system design and then got a job installing computer systems in office buildings of large companies. However, with the creation of the personal computer, Meier saw an opportunity to write computer games, something that he had long before deciced that he wanted to do with his life.
His first game was far from the huge productions that his more recent games have been--being programmed directly on to the disc by Meier, printing the manual from his own printer, and then sold in zippable plastic bags. Upon the completion of the first game, he traveled to the computer store and asked the owner if he wanted to buy the computer game. The owner was impressed with the work and bought copies to sell in the store, which allowed Meier to conclude that he could make a comfortable living by following his passion.
MicroProse and Founding Firaxis
In 1982 Meier and Bill Stealey founded MicroProse; during his time there Meier began his now-famous Civilization franchise. However, in 1996 Meier left MicroProse to found Firaxis Games with gaming executive Jeff Briggs. Firaxis' first releases included Sid Meier's Gettysburg! (1997) and Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri (1999). Sid often incorporates himself into his video games, such as being the guide for several Civilization titles and being the leader of the barbarians in Civilization IV.
Gaming Industry Accolades
Sid Meier has been honored with many awards from the gaming community. Among the notable are:
- In 1999, became the second person to be inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' Hall of Fame.
- "Our approach to making games is to find the fun first and then use the technology to enhance the fun."
- "I like some shooters, and I respect games like Doom, but I don't think it's right for me"
- "A game is a series of interesting choices"