The Civil War Enthusiast’s Pink Bunny Suit

27 12 2006


We’ve all experienced it – a gift from a well meaning spouse, relative or friend that is meant to appeal to our particular interest but falls short for whatever reason.  For most of us CW minded folks, it’s usually a book that we either already have or one which we would never buy for ourselves.  The fact is, if it was any good (in our opinion) we would already have it.

My wife got the hint long ago, at least as far as books are concerned.  It was awkward because it’s hard for a gift giver to separate appreciation for the thought and appreciation for the gift.  While I always appreciated her thought, I could never bring myself to appreciate Webb Garrison.

I have an eight-year-old son who, like most eight-year-old boys these days, loves PlayStation.  Santa always gets him a couple of games for Christmas.  This year, while looking for some version of football or hockey or basketball that my son didn’t already have (and you know, with each year last year’s game becomes “obsolete” somehow), my wife came across a Civil War PlayStation game and went out on a limb and bought it for me.  Honey, if you’re reading this understand that I appreciate your thoughtfulness!!!

Now, I’m no CW gamer; not computer, not miniature, not board.  I have nothing against war gaming and can even see how it can be a valuable tool, but as Austin Powers might say “That kind of thing’s not my bag, baby”.  The game in question here is Civil War – A Nation Divided.  It’s produced under the banner of The History Channel.  I have yet to insert the disk into the PS2, so I can’t tell you if it’s interesting or even fun to play.  But some things on the cover and in the manual have me wondering.

First there is the illustration on the cover showing Confederates armed with what look like Henry repeating carbines fighting off a Union attack.  Well, it is possible that this is late in the war and that these particular rebels have captured Henrys with which they were lucky enough to capture ammunition.

Then there are illustrations of “screen shots” from the game.  One of them shows the current status of armaments for the individual soldier playing the game.  These armaments of course include grenades.  Maybe this particular screen shot comes from the battle of Knoxville.  Yeah, that’s the ticket!  Later the manual lists available weapons including the Spencer carbine, which is described as having been “most notably used by the North in the Battle of Gettysburg”.  Maybe the action at East Cavalry Field has become notable to these folks, but I kinda doubt it…

There is also a listing of icons representing items to be found on a battlefield.  In addition to “Cannon”, these include “Gatling Gun” and “Powder Barrel (with fuse)”.  Maybe, umm…maybe…

My favorites though are the battle summaries.  I’ll let two speak for themselves, with my emphasis added:

Bull Run – July 21, 1861

The South attempted an attack on the North’s capital, but Northern forces decided to cut them off before they reached Washington D.C.

Antietam – September 17, 1862

After success at Second Bull Run, General Lee prepared to invade Maryland.  Forces that President Lincoln sent for defense were bested by the South, mainly due to poor communication and lack of leadership.

OK, so I’m a stickler.  I am going to try playing this game, though Galaga and Tapper are more my speed.  If any of you have already played this (not Galaga or Tapper, but Civil War – A Nation Divided), I’d love to hear your thoughts.



5 responses

27 12 2006
Steve Basic


Ahh, the Webb Garrison syndrome. :) Know it all too well, and think I have finally convinced my family here to give gift cards instead of books.

Would type more, but I think I just shot my eye out:)

BTW, The house used in the movie is now open to the public in Cleveland, OH. There was an article here in one of the papers relating the story of a fan of the movie who bought the house and restored it to look just as it did in the flick. IIRC, it is on 11th street in Cleveland.

Hope all is well.



28 12 2006
Brett S.


This particular game is a stinker, and that opinion comes from quite a few sources. I’ve never personally played it, but the idea of a Civil War FPS (first person shooter) is ludicrous given loading times that result in maybe three shots per minute if you are lucky. Looks like the game developers “spiced it up” with hand grenades and who knows what else. Now if they throw in General Sherman riding in his namesake tank, I might decide to give it a go. This particular game is far different from most Civil War games on the market. If this is a child’s introduction to the Civil War, look out…

In all seriousness, I would recommend MadMinute Games’ Take Command: Second Manassas as a good game for those Civil War buffs who enjoy attempts at historical accuracy, rather than the fluff this game represents.

Oh, and if your wife reads this, tell her I’m sorry! ;-)



29 12 2006
Justin Felux

I too have had the awkward experience of getting a bad book for Christmas. In my case, a family member knew I was interested in politics, and thus got me David Horowitz’s “The Politics of Bad Faith.” Right subject — completely wrong end of the political spectrum.

I saw the Civil War game you mentioned at the store the other day and I thought it looked kind of fun, regardless of how accurate or inaccurate it was.


29 12 2006
Joshua Blair


I usually receive gift cards from Borders instead of books. I then use the gift card to purchase books from Amazon. However, sometimes my wife wants to actually buy me a book and I give her a list of books I am interested in.

Sometimes gift cards aren’t the greatest gift to give to someone. My wife is a prime example. A new Japanese restaurant opened up close to our house recently. My wife enjoyed it the time she went and I thought it would be a good idea to purchase a gift card from there for her for Christmas.

My wife is in the early stages of pregnancy, when everything makes her sick. About five days after I bought the gift card my wife told me, “The thought of Japanese food makes me want to puke!” I gave her the gift card anyway! Oh well.

Harry, my nephew received that game for Christmas. He does not seem too impressed. He is supposed to bring it over in a couple of days so I can play it. I will let you know how it is after I play it. Oh yeah, awesome picture. That is a classic.



23 12 2011
Jared Frederick

Bought this for PC and it never worked. Enough said.


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