When Sid Meier finished the first Civilization I have to wonder, did he ever entertain the thought of porting it to the Commodore 64? No matter, as developer Fabian Hertel is doing just that, well close anyhow, with 8-Bit Civilizations. This is one of those head scratching releases that you think simply won’t work. The thing is, it does.
While the Commodore 64 is quite the workhorse of computers, it was never home to Civilization. As with a lot of titles that we cover here on Retro Gaming Magazine, fans are fixing that little missing piece of gaming history. 8-Bit computers like the Commodore 64 were once thought not powerful enough to run something like Civilization. Fans disagree.
8-Bit Civilizations is scaled back. Just a little bit. I mean, this is the Commodore 64 and while it is an amazing computer, even it has limitations. The way that Fabian Hertel is getting around these limitations is quite interesting.
We all know the Commodore 64 is quite limited in the memory department. Rather than attempting to keep everything in memory at once, when switching screens (such as entering/exiting city level views) there is a short loading screen. This allows the Commodore 64 to do a lot more than it could had everything been stored in memory at the same time. Very cool work around there.
The viewpoint chosen is based on Civilization II. This isometric viewpoint is familiar to long time fans. 8-Bit Civilizations will feature five difficulty levels, barbarians can be activated/deactivated, and up to three computer enemies at once pulled from 15 civilizations. You will also be able to choose game worlds based on certain criteria or just play the world. You can also choose the gender of your chosen civilizations leader.
There are plenty of things not yet implemented. Little things really, such as eventually being able to build a space shuttle, but not launch. Diplomacy is quite limited. Also, there is no in-game sound and informational screens are limited, or not included at all yet.
Still sound good? Remember 8-Bit Civilizations is still a work in progress. If you find an error, send it in to the developer so it can be evaluated and maybe fixed–improving the overall game. Oh yeah, there is a playable demo available at the link below.