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What's in a game? (20 Oct 2005)
I would submit that the primary reason for that mental screenburn is this genuinely unsung fact: today's games are exceptionally difficult. They tax the mind in ways that would amaze anyone who last played a game in the age of Pac-Man. In Black & White, for instance, the player must simultaneously track hundreds of shifting and interconnected variables. Some of these are emotional and metabolic in nature: each worshipper - and there can be thousands of them - has a distinct set of needs you must satisfy or risk losing their devotion. Some are militaristic: other villages, worshipping rival gods, may be building armies to attack your strongholds. Some needs are environmental: build too many villas for your population and you will burn through the supply of forests surrounding your growing town.

Crucially, each of these elements connects with the others: protect your forests by building fewer houses, and your villagers won't reproduce at the same clip, thereby limiting the size of the army you can build.
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