Mass-murderer, tyrant and all-round historical bad-boy Genghis Khan prepared for his sweeping attacks on medieval Eurasian populations by playing the popular computer game "Civilization", according to new research.
"Civilization, or 'Civ' as we call it, contains many graphic scenes of invasion, genocide and diplomatic aggression" said Dr. John Packman-Dunnett, lecturer in Digital Perversions at Whitehouse College, Durham. "Its online communities are the perfect breeding-ground for would-be dictators and violent revolutionaries to hone their skills."
New evidence unearthed by Dr Packman-Dunnett's team of researchers strongly suggests that an early version of Sid Meier's classic turn-based strategy game was played by young Genghis with his friends on the steppes of Mongolia in the 12th Century. Written parchments apparently show references to Civilization gameplay; one hastily-scribbled line of heiroglyphs appears to say "...Give us more swords, noble leader" and later, "We laugh at your puny threats!"
"This material is clearly inflammatory, and would have had a formative influence on the mind of a young peasant in such turbulent times" said junior researcher Mario Zeeval, "playing this game gave Khan the tools to sweep across Asia in a frenzied killing spree."
Lawyers for MicroProse, original makers of Civilization, have denied that early "beta" test versions of the game were released to the medieval Asian market without proper safeguards and age-restrictions. But this rings hollow to critics, who will see this as another example of the dangers of an unregulated video games industry.
"Where do we think the next Genghis Khan is coming from?" asks Packman-Dunnett with barely-concealed horror. "Is he upstairs in your own home, right now, selling his libraries to build catapults...?"
This post is a satirical response to this story in "The Guardian"... Shame on them.