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Nuclear Gandhi is the nickname given to the Indian historical figure Mahatma Gandhi as portrayed in the turn-based strategy video game series Civilization. Among the fans of the games, Gandhi has gained much notoriety for his obsessive nuclear warmongering, in stark contrast to the pacifist reputation of the real life counterpart.
Gandhi’s obsession with nuclear bombing in the series was first noted in the sequel title Civilization II, wherein India would often evolve into the most hostile civilization during the mid to late stages of a match. Cause of this was a glitch in the artificial intelligence (A.I.) settings for Gandhi’s aggression level. Despite starting with the lowest level of aggression to reflect Gandhi’s historical legacy of pacifism, as the game progresses towards the Modern Era the Indian civilization would often become more hostile and confrontational towards other leaders as a result of a coding error. At that point in the game Gandhi’s already low aggression value would lower into a negative value in the game’s code, at which point the error caused Gandhi’s aggression to underflow into the highest setting just as the level of military aggression begins to wane across the world in the game. With the advents of strategic nuclear weaponry in the Atomic Era, Gandhi’s hyperaggression typically leads to rampant threats and use of nuclear bombs on other civilizations, earning him an odd reputation of being a nuke-obsessive warmonger.
Due to the popularity of the bug, it was later intentionally put into later iterations of the game where Gandhi would intentionally be given the highest level as a producer and user of nukes./br<>
In September 2010, the webcomic site Critical Miss published a comic comparing the real life Gandhi to the fictional counterpart as depicted within the Civilization series. On October 23rd, 2014, a copy of this comic was uploaded to Reddit. On the same day, Redditor Kserge commented on another Reddit post to explain that Gandhi’s obsession with nuclear bombs was initially due to an unintentional glitch, but it later became officially incorporated into the game as a unique feature of the Indian civilization. This comment was later used as a basis for articles from Kotaku and Geek.com.