Born (1954-02-24) February 24, 1954
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
Sidney K. "Sid" Meier (born February 24, 1954 in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada) is a Canadian-American programmer, designer and producer of several popular strategy video games and simulation video games, most notably Civilization. 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. He has won several prestigious accolades for his contributions to the video game industry.
Life and career
Sid Meier was born in the Canadian city of Sarnia to parents of Dutch descent. He later moved to Michigan and studied history and computer science, graduating with a degree in computer science from the University of Michigan. Meier lives in Hunt Valley, Maryland, with his wife, Susan. He met his wife at Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cockeysville, where he plays organs and they both sing in the choir.
Meier founded MicroProse together with Bill Stealey in 1982, and by 1986 the company used his name and face in advertisements for its games. MicroProse initially developed mostly simulation video games, such as Silent Service and F-19 Stealth Fighter. 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. Meier 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 this 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." 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, while Jeff Briggs designed Sid Meier's Civilization III, Soren Johnson led Sid Meier's Civilization IV, and Jon Shafer led Sid Meier's Civilization V.
After the release of F-19 Stealth Fighter, Meier decided to focus on developing strategy games. He later said, "Everything I thought was cool about a flight simulator had gone into that game." Inspired by SimCity and Empire!, Meier created Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon and later the game series for which he is most widely recognized, Sid Meier's Civilization, although he designed only the first installment. Meier eventually left MicroProse and in 1996 founded Firaxis Games along with veteran designer and gaming executive Jeff Briggs. Today Firaxis makes strategy games, many of which are follow-ups to Sid Meier's early 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. In 2011, the people search company PeekYou claimed that Meier has the largest digital footprint of any video game designer.
- 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".
- That same year, Computer Gaming World ranked him as eight 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.
- 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.
- In 1999, he became the second person to be inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' Hall of Fame. (The first to receive that honor was Shigeru Miyamoto from Nintendo.)
- In 2008, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2008 Game Developer's Conference.
- In 2009, he came fifth in a Develop survey that asked some 9,000 game makers about their "ultimate development hero".
- In 2009, he was ranked second in IGN's list of "Top Game Creators of All Time", called "the ideal role model for any aspiring game designer."
The games developed, co-developed and/or produced by Sid Meier:
1980sGame Release Notes
Spitfire Ace 1982 The first project in which Meier played a major role in the game creation stage.
Hellcat Ace 1982
Floyd of the Jungle 1982
NATO Commander 1984
Solo Flight 1984
Kennedy Approach 1985
F-15 Strike Eagle 1985
Silent Service 1985 A World War II submarine simulation game, and Meier's first foray out of flight sims.
Crusade in Europe 1985
Decision in the Desert 1985
Conflict in Vietnam 1986
Sid Meier's Pirates! 1987
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
1990sGame Release year Notes
Covert Action 1990
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 megahit turn-based strategy game, sparking Meier's most successful game franchise to date that sold over 8 million copies as of 2008.
Pirates! Gold 1993
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.
2000sGame Release Notes
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.
2010sGame Release Notes
Sid Meier's Civilization V 2010 Headed by Jon Shafer, new features include Social Policy (which replaces "Civics" system), unit stacking change, City-States, fully animated leaders and replacing the squares on the board with hexagons.
Sid Meier's CivWorld 2011 A massively multiplayer online game that runs on Adobe Flash, and was released on Facebook.
Ace Patrol 2013 A flight strategy game published by 2K Games.
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." Meier worked with a team on a dinosaur-themed game starting 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." In 2010, Meier said he wished he made Tetris as well as Guitar Hero, adding: "I think music games are really cool, and if I had a great idea I'd probably be working on it."