When it comes to discussing issues in a timely fashion, I'm as topical as a tube of Tiger Balm.
As such, I'm picking up on a thread from GWJCC 397 and ensuing comments: the notion that Europa Universalis IV — People's Choice frontrunner for the "GWJ Bestest Fun-per-Dollar-per-Hour GOTY 2014" award — ruined Civilization V for a lot of folks. The gist of it (I'm paraphrasing here) was that EUIV is the Lego Technic of history simulators while Civ is the Duplo. You may have played Civ first, but EUIV has gears and pneumatics. You can't go back.
The reverse is true for me. I know Civ is chunkier and less versatile than other grand strategy titles, but the colours are vivid and the pieces snap into place with a satisfying click. More importantly, I know how Civ works. I look at the assembly instructions for other titles — many of which start with "Watch 7 hours of Let's Plays so you can learn the basics" — and my brain clenches into a fist of rejection. Why waste all that time (let alone money) on being bad at a new game, when I could try Civ's new Civil War scenario or try a one-city run as Venice? When my brain is looking for excuses to commit to a 20-plus hour campaign, the prospect of honing skills in a familiar playground sets my synapses a-cracklin' more than that of scaling a fresh, steep learning curve.
Being so timely and all, I was JUST about to tweet something about games ruining other games when doubtingthomas396 dropped "Backward Incompatibility". In it, he posits that playing Fallout 3 before Oblivion ruined Oblivion. I played those games in order of their release as Bethesda intended, but I could relate. Once, I had a really nice glass of red wine, from a bottle. After that, I could never drink wine out of a box again. My palate had been pampered and it made me fussier. It's like when you have a really good, well made coffee: You can never drink coffee in America again. (Why no, I've not had coffee in America MYSELF; it's just what everyone on Twitter says. So it's a hearsay zing, whatevs.)
As my gaming palate has refined, some games have ruined entire genres for me, and vice versa.