What will the world be like in 2000 years?
According to one visionary using a computer simulation, the distant future will be a "hellish nightmare of suffering and devastation", largely uninhabitable, flooded and beset by in-fighting, nuclear war and periodic annihilation.
Admittedly this "simulation" isn't anything complex... In fact it's Civilisation 2, an infamous turn-based strategy game - which one Reddit user revealed on Tuesday he has been playing for more than 10 years.
The Civilisation series allows users to make nations, develop new technology and battle for territory and the hearts and minds of computer citizens.
The chap in question, named Lycerius, told Reddit that he's been playing the same game of Civ II in fits and spurts for over a decade.
"I thought that it might be interesting to see just how far into the future I could get and see what the ramifications would be," he said.
The game world is now approaching the year 4000AD and, Lycerius explains, is dominated by just three remaining super powers "each competing for the scant resources left on the planet after dozens of nuclear wars have rendered vast swaths of the world uninhabitable wastelands".
In Lycerius's world, the polar ice caps have melted 20 times due to nuclear wars and all of the big cities have crumbled.
"Roughly 90% of the worlds population (at it's peak 2000 years ago) has died either from nuclear annihilation or famine caused by the global warming that has left absolutely zero arable land to farm," he said.
All of the three powers left - the Celts, the Vikings and the Americans -have been engaged constant war for about 1700 years, he said.
He added that he wanted to stay a democracy but was beset by internal politics which forced him to create a communist state.
"I was forced to do away with democracy roughly a thousand years ago because it was endangering my empire. But of course the people hate me now and every few years since then, there are massive guerrilla uprisings in the heart of my empire that I have to deal with which saps resources from the war effort."
"Peace seems to be impossible. Every time a cease fire is signed, the Vikings will surprise attack me or the Americans the very next turn, often with nuclear weapons," he said.
According to the intrepid gamer, the military stalemate is so tight and balanced that no other action is possible except the construction of more tanks.
"This also means that cities are not only tiny towns full of starving people, but that you can never improve the city. "So you want a granary so you can eat? Sorry; I have to build another tank instead. Maybe next time."
Lycerius says that he wants to rebuild his game world - but in an echo of actual international politics "he isn't sure how".
"My goal for the next few years is to try and end the war and thus use the engineers to clear swamps and fallout so that farming may resume. I want to rebuild the world. But I'm not sure how. If any of you old Civ II players have any advice, I'm listening."
Reddit's users immediately took to the tale - with many pointing out the similarities to George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984:
"The parallels to 1984 are oddly chilling," one wrote. "Apparently George Orwell was a time traveler, and spent all his time in the future playing Civ II."
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