Over the years I've seen a bit of Nerd Rage directed at the SNES port of Civilization for being "watered down" and whatnot. Upon playing it for myself I actually find it to be quite a solid port, though diminished just a bit from the original. Considering you're dealing with weaker hardware than a PC and no mouse control, it's really perfectly acceptable.

What you have to understand is that this was part of a greater trend in the 80s and 90s of Japanese developers licensing popular Western RPG and strategy game properties - since the Western PC developers had no experience with consoles at that point - and then tailoring them both to the more modest hardware, and to the Japanese market. This meant giving them a smoother, more self-explanatory interface that worked with a gamepad, primarily. Also usually meant adding relaxing music for some reason, which is also what happens here. Other examples of this phenomenon are the console ports of Uncharted Waters and Ultima 4 for NES, off the top of my head.

Anyway. You'll see the occasional typo and it's not as smooth as controlling with a mouse, but I think this is a great starting point for people new to the series, as you can jump into it with no manual-reading ahead of time whatsoever. Not the best choice for PC vets of the series, but I'd start a Civ newcomer out with this specific port.
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