Sid Meier

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Sid Meier
Sid Meier - Game Developers Conference 2010 - Day 4 (3).jpg
Sid Meier at the 2010 Game Developers Conference
Born (1954-02-24) February 24, 1954 (age 64)
Sarnia, Ontario, Canada
Alma mater University of Michigan
Occupation Game programmer, video game designer, video game producer
Years active 1982–present
Employer 2K Games
Known for MicroProse, Firaxis Games, Civilization series
Spouse(s) Susan Meier
Children Ryan Meier
Awards AIAS Hall of Fame Award (1999)[1]

Sidney K. Meier (born February 24, 1954) is a Canadian-American programmer, designer, and producer of several strategy video games and simulation video games, including the Civilization series. Meier co-founded MicroProse in 1982 with Bill Stealey and is the Director of Creative Development of Firaxis Games, which he co-founded with Jeff Briggs and Brian Reynolds in 1996. For his contributions to the video game industry, Meier was inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame.

Early life and education[edit]

Meier was born in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, to parents of Dutch and Swiss descent, giving him both Canadian and Swiss citizenship.[2] A few years later the family moved to Michigan, where Sid Meier grew up and studied history and computer science, graduating with a degree in computer science[3] from the University of Michigan.[4]


Following college, Meier worked in developing cash register systems for department stores. During this period, Meier purchased an Atari 800 circa 1981, which helped him realize that computer programming could be used to make video games. He found a co-worker, Bill Stealey, who had a similar interest in developing games, and shared the games that Meier had developed. The two decided to launch a new company for computer game development.[5]

Meier founded MicroProse with Stealey in 1982,[7] and by 1986 the company was using his name and face in advertisements for its games.[8] After a few initial 2D action games, such as Meier's platformer Floyd of the Jungle,[9] MicroProse settled into a run of flight simulation titles such as Hellcat Ace (1982), Solo Flight (1983), and F-15 Strike Eagle, all designed and programmed by Meier.

In 1987, the company released Sid Meier's Pirates!, which also began a trend of placing Meier's name in the titles of his games. He later explained that the inclusion of his name was because of the dramatic departure in the design of Pirates! compared to the company's earlier titles. Stealey decided that it would improve the company's branding, believing that it would make those who purchased the flight simulators more likely to play the game. Stealey recalled: "We were at dinner at a Software Publishers Association meeting, and Robin Williams was there. And he kept us in stitches for two hours. And he turns to me and says 'Bill, you should put Sid's name on a couple of these boxes, and promote him as the star.' And that's how Sid's name got on Pirates, and Civilization."[5][10]

The idea was successful; by 1992 an entry in Computer Gaming World's poetry contest praised Meier's name as "a guarantee they got it right".[11] Meier is not always the main designer on titles that carry his name. For instance, Brian Reynolds has been credited as the primary designer behind Sid Meier's Civilization II, Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, and Sid Meier's Colonization,[12][13] while Jeff Briggs designed Sid Meier's Civilization III, Soren Johnson led Sid Meier's Civilization IV, Jon Shafer led Sid Meier's Civilization V and Will Miller and David McDonough were the designers of Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth.

After the release of F-19 Stealth Fighter, Meier focused on strategy games, later saying "Everything I thought was cool about a flight simulator had gone into that game."[14] Inspired by SimCity and Empire, he created Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon and later the game series for which he is most widely recognized, Sid Meier's Civilization,[13] although he designed only the first installment. Meier eventually left MicroProse and in 1996 founded Firaxis Games[15] along with veteran designer and gaming executive Jeff Briggs. The company makes strategy games, many of which are follow-ups to Meier's titles, such as the new Civilization games and Sid Meier's Pirates! (2004). In 1996, he invented a "System for Real-Time Music Composition and Synthesis" used in C.P.U. Bach.[16] Next Generation listed him in their "75 Most Important People in the Games Industry of 1995", calling him "a prolific developer of some of the best games in [MicroProse]'s catalog."[17]

Personal life[edit]

Meier lives in Hunt Valley, Maryland, with his wife Susan, whom he met at Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cockeysville, where he plays the organ. The couple sing in the church choir.[3][18][19]


The star for Sid Meier at the Walk of Game in the Metreon, San Francisco
  • In 1996, GameSpot put Meier at the top of their listing of the "Most Influential People in Computer Gaming of All Time", calling him "our Hitchcock, our Spielberg, our Ellington".[20]
  • That same year, Computer Gaming World ranked him as eighth on the list of the "Most Influential Industry Players of All Time", noting that no game designer has had as many CGW Hall of Fame games as Sid Meier.[21]
  • In 1997, Computer Gaming World ranked him as number one on the list of the "Most Influential People of All Time in Computer Gaming", for game design.[22]
  • In 1999, he became the second person to be inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' Hall of Fame.[23]
  • In 2008, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2008 Game Developer's Conference.[24]
  • In 2009, he came fifth in a Develop survey that asked some 9,000 game makers about their "ultimate development hero".[3]
  • In 2009, he was ranked second in IGN's list of "Top Game Creators of All Time", and was called "the ideal role model for any aspiring game designer."[25]
  • In 2017, he was awarded the Life Achievement by the Golden Joystick Awards.[26]


The games developed, co-developed and/or produced by Sid Meier:[27][28]

Game Release Notes
Formula 1 Racing 1982 The first commercial game by Sid Meier, published by Acorn Software Products Inc.[29][30]
Hellcat Ace 1982 Sid Meier's first project for MicroProse according to Bill Stealey.[31]
Chopper Rescue 1982 Sid Meier said in 2007 that this was his first project for MicroProse.[32]
Spitfire Ace 1982
Floyd of the Jungle[9] 1982
NATO Commander 1983
Wingman 1983 By MicroProse.[33]
Solo Flight 1984
Kennedy Approach 1985
F-15 Strike Eagle 1985
Silent Service 1985 A World War II submarine simulation game.
Crusade in Europe 1985
Decision in the Desert 1985
Conflict in Vietnam 1986 Last Sid Meier game released for the Atari 8-bit family.[34]
Gunship 1986
Sid Meier's Pirates! 1987 A pirate simulation game based around life of a pirate, a privateer, or a pirate hunter in the 16th-18th centuries. The first game to have Sid Meier's name included in its title.
Red Storm Rising 1988 Nuclear submarine simulation game, based on the novel by Tom Clancy.
F-19 Stealth Fighter 1988
F-15 Strike Eagle II 1989
Sword of the Samurai 1989
Covert Action 1990 An espionage game offering a range of arcade-style game modes.
Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon 1990 A business simulation game that paints the early development of railroads in the United States and Europe. With the release of Sid Meier's Railroads!, this series now has four installments.
Sid Meier's Civilization 1991 A vastly successful turn-based strategy game, that has now run to a franchise (see below). This is Meier's most successful game franchise to date, having sold over 35 million copies as of August 2016.[35]
Nighthawk F-117A Stealth Fighter 2.0 1991 Sequel/remake of F-19 Stealth Fighter.
Pirates! Gold 1993 Remake of 1987's Pirates! game that included several new features, such as extra missions.
Sid Meier's Colonization 1994 A turn-based strategy game themed on the early European colonization of the New World.
Sid Meier's Civilization II 1996 Follow-up to Sid Meier's successful Civilization; Brian Reynolds was lead designer on the game.
Magic: The Gathering 1997 This would be the last game that Sid Meier worked on for MicroProse.
Sid Meier's Gettysburg! 1997 Sid Meier's first real-time tactical game.
Sid Meier's Antietam! 1998 Sid Meier's Gettysburg and Antietam are part of his Civil War set.
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri 1999 Brian Reynolds was lead designer on this adaptation of Civilization to an outer space theme.
Sid Meier's Civilization III 2001 Jeff Briggs designed the third installment of the series, with more complex rules, graphics and gameplay.
Sid Meier's SimGolf 2002 A golfing simulation in which the player built their own golf course and played it against computer players, co-created by Maxis. (Not to be confused with Maxis' 1996 title SimGolf.)
Sid Meier's Pirates! 2004 Follow-up to the acclaimed Pirates! game from 1987, updating the graphics and featuring some entirely new gameplay elements.
Sid Meier's Civilization IV 2005 Designed by Soren Johnson. A full 3D engine replaces the isometric maps of Civilization II and III.
Sid Meier's Railroads! 2006 When Take 2 shut down PopTop Software and folded it into Firaxis, Meier once again became responsible for the Railroad Tycoon series, and this is billed as the sequel to Railroad Tycoon 3.
Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution 2008 A seventh generation console edition of Civilization.
Sid Meier's Pirates! Mobile 2008 The game was developed and published by Oasys Mobile and was led by one of the original programmers for Pirates! Gold.
Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon Mobile Developed by Blue Heat and published by Oasys Mobile. This mobile version allows players to build their own transportation empire.
Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization 2008 A 2008 remake of the 1994 Colonization, and a standalone game based on the Civilization IV engine.
Sid Meier's Civilization V 2010 Headed by Jon Shafer with new features.
Sid Meier's CivWorld 2011 A massively multiplayer online game released on Facebook. Game closed down on May 29, 2013.[36]
Sid Meier's Ace Patrol 2013 A World War I flight strategy game published by 2K Games.[37]
Sid Meier's Ace Patrol: Pacific Skies 2013 A World War II flight strategy game published by 2K Games.
Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution 2 2014 A mobile sequel to Sid Meier's Civilization Revolution.
Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth 2014 A spiritual successor to Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri built atop the Civilization V engine
Sid Meier's Starships 2015 Follows on from Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth
Sid Meier's Civilization VI 2016 Sixth main title in the Civilization series.

Computer Gaming World reported in 1994 that "Sid Meier has stated on numerous occasions that he emphasizes the "fun parts" of a simulation and throws out the rest".[6] "Meier insisted", the magazine reported that year, "that discovering the elusive quality of fun is the toughest part of design".[38] According to PC Gamer, "Though his games are frequently about violent times and places, there is never any blood or gore shown. He designs and creates his games by playing them, over and over, until they are fun."[10]

Meier worked with a team on a dinosaur-themed game starting in early 2000, but announced in an online development diary in 2001 that the game had been shelved. Despite trying various approaches, including turn-based and real-time gameplay, he said he found no way to make the concept fun enough. In 2005, he said, "We've been nonstop busy making other games over the past several years, so the dinosaur game remains on the shelf. However, I do love the idea of a dinosaur game and would like to revisit it when I have some time."[39]


  1. ^ "D.I.C.E Special Awards". Retrieved 22 January 2017. 
  2. ^ Sid Meier's Civilization (8 October 2014). "Firaxicon: An Evening with Sid Meier and Jake Solomon of Firaxis Games" – via YouTube. 
  3. ^ a b c "Sid Meier: The Father of Civilization". Retrieved 2013-08-25. 
  4. ^ "Sid Meier's Game Design Boot Camp at the University of Michigan". Retrieved 2013-08-25. 
  5. ^ a b Sullentrop, Chris (May 8, 2017). "'Civilization' Creator Sid Meier: "I Didn't Really Expect to be a Game Designer"". Glixel. Retrieved May 8, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b Brooks, M. Evan (May 1994). "Pachyderm Platoon". Computer Gaming World. pp. 166,168. 
  7. ^ Plunkett, Luke (August 31, 2011). "Remembering The House That Civilization Built". Kotaku. Gawker Media. 
  8. ^ "Another Great Simulation from Sid Meier - Author of F-15 Strike Eagle (advertisement)". Run. February 1986. p. 48. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "Floyd of the Jungle". Atari Mania. 
  10. ^ a b "How Sid Meier became one of the most recognizable names in gaming | News". PC Gamer. 2013-06-28. Retrieved 2013-08-25. 
  11. ^ "CGW's Last Annual Game Poetry Contest". Computer Gaming World. 1 December 1992. p. 48. Retrieved 5 July 2014. 
  12. ^ "GameSpy: PC Games, Reviews, News, Previews, Demos, Mods & Patches". Archived from the original on 17 October 2008. Retrieved 26 November 2014. 
  13. ^ a b "GameSpot Presents: The Sid Meier Legacy". GameSpot. Archived from the original on August 12, 2013. 
  14. ^ Rouse III, Richard (2005). Game Design: Theory & Practice Second Edition. Wordware Publishing. pp. 20-39. ISBN 1-55622-912-7. 
  15. ^ "Sid Meier Leaves Microprose". Next Generation. No. 20. Imagine Media. August 1996. p. 25. 
  16. ^ US A system for automatically generating musical compositions on demand one after another without duplication ... in a variety of genres and forms so that concerts based on generated compositions will have a varied mix of pieces incorporated therein. 5496962, Meier, Sidney K. & Jeffery L. Briggs, "System for Real-Time Music Composition and Synthesis", issued 5 March 1996 
  17. ^ "75 Power Players". Next Generation. Imagine Media (11): 51. November 1995. 
  18. ^ "Game Boy". Retrieved 26 November 2014. 
  19. ^ "Game Boy Magazine : Sid Meier article" (PDF). Retrieved 26 November 2014. 
  20. ^ "GameSpot". 2005-05-17. Archived from the original on August 12, 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-25. 
  21. ^ CGW 148: The 15 Most Influential Industry Players of All Time
  22. ^ CGW 159: The Most Influential People in Computer Gaming
  23. ^ "Special Awards - Sid Meier, Firaxis Games". Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. Retrieved September 9, 2011. 
  24. ^ "Game Developer's Choice Online Awards – Sid Meier". Game Developers Conference. UBM TechWeb. Retrieved September 9, 2011. 
  25. ^ "IGN - 2. Sid Meier". IGN. News Corporation. Retrieved August 27, 2011. 
  26. ^ [1], The 2017 Golden Joystick Award winners.
  27. ^ "Biographies: Sid Meier". Firaxis. Archived from the original on January 20, 2013. 
  28. ^ "Firaxis Games". Retrieved 2017-08-29. 
  29. ^ ROM MAGAZINE 3 — December 1983/January 1984 p 12, Peter Ellison
  30. ^ "Sid Meier's First(?) Game and an Early Look at MicroProse - How They Got Game". 
  31. ^ Gamers at Work: Stories Behind the Games People Play, by Morgan Ramsay, p 40
  32. ^ The History of Civilization, Benj Edwards, July 18th 2007
  33. ^ "Atari 400 800 XL XE Wingman : scans, dump, download, screenshots, ads, videos, catalog, instructions, roms". 
  34. ^ "List of Atari 400 800 XL XE Games : Meier, Sid, page 1,". Retrieved 2017-08-28. 
  35. ^ "Civilization Series' Sales Cross 35 Million Copies « Video Game News, Reviews, Previews and Blog". Retrieved 2017-08-28. 
  36. ^ "CIVWORLD SHUTDOWN: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS". Retrieved 26 November 2014. 
  37. ^ "Sid Meier's Ace Patrol launches on Steam". 27 August 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2014. 
  38. ^ Wilson, Johnny L.; Brown, Ken; Lombardi, Chris; Weksler, Mike; Coleman, Terry (July 1994). "The Designer's Dilemma: The Eighth Computer Game Developers Conference". Computer Gaming World. pp. 26–31. 
  39. ^ "Ask Sid". Firaxis. Archived from the original on April 3, 2012. 

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