The question is not whether Civilization belongs as a Classic Game of the Week. The question is, which one do you put on top?
Channeling my inner Jim Croce, for a moment, if I could put time in a bottle, then I'd need a fully functioning bottling plant to fill the containers that hold hours lost to Civilization in its many forms. No series has more consistently mesmerized me during play sessions into a kind of joyful stupor from which I wandered bleary eyed to bed at Unholy-fifteen-in-the-morning. Sid Meier and increasingly Soren Johnson should hold an annual clinic on delivering constant and consistent reward in video games and attendance should be mandatory and compulsory. Releasing a game without hearing Sid and Soren talk at length should be a penalty punishable by banishment or being shot from a canon into the sun.
I'm almost done! Just as soon as I build the Pyramids -- just as soon as I research writing -- just as soon as I capture Corinth -- just as soon as I build this trebuchet -- just as soon as I convert to Hindu -- just as soon as I get riflemen -- just as soon as I ... Oh My God is it really that late?!
I admit that I think Civilization IV, particularly when combined with the absolutely epic Beyond the Sword expansion, is probably one of the most lovingly crafted and perfect games I've ever played. It's a permanent resident of my hard drive and something I will fire up for years to come. At least until Firaxis decides to go back to the old watering hole and eek out the next iteration in the series, but I think Civization II will always hold the soft spot in my heart. It was one of those games that defined me as a gamer, and that I look back upon with great affection, so I give the nostalgic nod to old school Civ.
But, just for the record, if you don't own Civilization IV, then you have made a tragic error in judgment that should be corrected post haste!
*image credit to Gamespot as you can tell from that little G in the corner