Populous is a computer game developed by Bullfrog in 1989 and is regarded by many as being the seminal god game. In 1991, Populous won the Origins Award for Best Military or Strategy Computer Game of 1990 as well as 1990 Computer Game of the Year in American video game magazine Video Games & Computer Entertainment. It was the first game in the Populous series, preceding Populous II and Populous: The Beginning.
In this game, first developed for the Amiga
, Atari ST
, the player adopts the role of a deity
and assumes the responsibility to shepherd people by direction, manipulation, and divine intervention
. The player has the ability to shape the landscape and grow their civilization with the overall aim of having it conquer an enemy force, which is led by an opposing deity.
As the game progresses, the player rules over a variety of different civilizations, including Prehistoric, Ancient, and Medieval.
was extremely successful and spawned a number of sequels of increasing complexity. It was also released on the PC Engine
(as both a HuCard
and a CD-ROM), SNES
, Nintendo Game Boy
, the Sega Mega Drive/Sega Genesis
, the Sega Master System
, Sharp's X68000
computer and the Acorn Archimedes
An expansion pack
called Populous: The Promised Lands
was made available, which added five new types of landscape. In addition, another expansion disk called Populous: The Final Frontier
added a single new landscape-type and was released as a cover disk
for The One
led development and mentioned in an interview that the reason the player could manipulate terrain was that he was too lazy to design the many pre-defined maps that would have otherwise been required. The 2001
game Black & White
, also led by Molyneux (but this time at his company Lionhead Studios
), has been called the "spiritual descendant of Populous
Peter Molyneux actually got motion sickness from the isometric view. At the time, he decided the isometric was necessary, but he could not play his own game. Bullfrog created a special cartridge for him to play top down only.
Bullfrog offered Powermonger
, a combat-oriented game, based upon the Populous
The game Spore
, produced by Electronic Arts, also shares elements with Populous.
A new version of the game for the Nintendo DS has a release date of October 14, 2008. The game allows the user to shape the in-game landscape using the DS's stylus. It also features a multiplayer mode allowing 4 players to play over a wireless connection.