I’ll be rambling on about a computer game, Sid Meier’s Civilization IV to be more specific, for a couple of minutes now. So if man’s greatest invention – computer games – is not your cup of tea, this entry will probably just make you sleepy. Unless you plan to sleep soon, Unless you are me, you can probably find something that’s more interesting for you here.

Every now and then I get the urge to play certain games. During a power failure at work I watched Stian play the remake of Sid Meier’s Colonization, Civilization IV: Colonization, on his laptop and after that I’ve really, really wanted to play Civilization IV. But I don’t want to buy the game without testing it first. Even though I don’t condone software piracy, I like to try a game before I buy it, so I don’t really see any harm in finding a pirated game (or CD or movie or whatever) on the interweb to be able to test it properly before I buy it.

No, I wouldn’t steal a car, but I wouldn’t buy it before taking the car for a test drive either.

I know there is a demo of Civilization IV available, but it’s limited to 100 turns. Come on! Finding a pirated version of the game wasn’t very hard, I used the best torrent search engine available: Google. I first tried the Mac version, but for some reason the game failed to start properly and complained about some missing XML files or whatnot.

Since a PC version with a lot more expansions is also available, I decided to download that one instead and install everything on Windows XP running in VirtualBox. No luck there either, the game complained about the poor quality of the virtual graphics card. Turning on 3D acceleration didn’t help.

Next option: Try to install it on my work laptop, which runs Windows XP. Instead of moving around 4GB of ISO files, patches and cracks using a USB stick, I burned everything to four DVDs and CDs. To be perfectly honest with you, I’m not sure exactly why I did this, since moving everything over and using an application like DAEMON Tools to mount the ISO files would have been much easier. Especially when I noticed the laptop’s DVD ROM was busted. It was available in the device manager, but with a warning about driver errors, and it wasn’t showing in Windows Explorer. A new challenge!

Plugging in an external DVD ROM revealed that the problem probably wasn’t the internal DVD ROM per se. The external drive had the same problems as the internal one, so the it was more likely an OS problem. I’ve also seen this before, some software that I’ve installed has hijacked the DVD ROM drivers. I uninstalled a lot of crap I didn’t really need and at some point, the DVD ROM suddenly popped up in Windows Explorer again.

Excellent! Now it was only a matter of installing the game from the DVDs and launch it. And realize that my work laptop isn’t powerful enough to play a turned based game from 2005.

My final option now was to download the official demo and give it a go, even if it has the 100 turn limit. I did that tonight, but I’m unable to launch the game because it fails to initialize Python.

It’s a little bit frustrating.

I’ve realized that it’s obvious that I’m not supposed to play Civilization IV. As you can probably imagine I want to play the game even more now that I’m not able to.

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  1. My target audience is people who will promptly send me lots and lots of money as soon as you tell them I sponsored your computer.