Last Updated on June 5, 2023
Fans of the Civilization series will no doubt know about the “bug” that resulted in the peace loving Gandhi throwing nuclear bombs around in the original game. Sid Meier has finally come clean in his new book, declaring that Gandhi was no more nuke-happy than any other leader…
The theory goes that some sort of overflow error causes the otherwise peaceful Gandhi to turn nuke-happy once India discovers the Democracy government type, assuming the Manhattan Project has been completed. The result is the sight of the well-known peaceful revolutionary devastating his enemies with nuclear missiles.
But is it true? Certainly previous explorations to find the truth have resulted in vague responses (not least that given by Meier to the People Make Games YouTube channel, above).
In the new book, Sid Meier’s Memoir!, the lead designer on Civilization has declared that the bug is little more than a myth. He writes:
“It’s not the countless callbacks and references that make the nuclear Gandhi story so funny to me… It’s the fact that none of it is true. The overflow error never happened at all.”
So, while Gandhi would almost certainly have opened diplomatic communications with phrases like: “Greetings from M. Gandhi, ruler and King of the Indians. Our words are backed with NUCLEAR WEAPONS!” and indeed used them at some point, this wasn’t any more unusual than any other leader.
Of course, that won’t square with your memory of the game. Nor will it sit well with the Gandhi that appears in every instalment of Civilization since. He’s a nuke-happy megalomaniac, let’s be honest. Inspired by a myth? Perhaps.
(Via The Gamer)
Gaming since 1984, retro gaming since 2004. Contributes to Linux Format magazine and MakeUseOf.com.