The Nuclear Gandhi meme has been a hallmark among Civilization 6 fans for some time. Supposedly, developers created the Nuclear Gandhi bug via an overflow error. This caused the AI portraying Gandhi to behave a bit out of character.
Every leader in Civilization 6 was assigned an aggression rating between 1 and 12, and Gandhi’s was set to 1. However, a country adopting democracy meant that its aggression rating went down 2 points. So, when India adopted democracy, the game tried to set Gandhi’s aggression rating at -1 but wound up going backward and setting it to the maximum: 255.
The bug was eventually discredited by Sid Meier, Civilization 6’s creator, in his autobiography. Gandhi is just one of many leaders — all of whom are meant to inevitably turn on the player. Regardless, it has remained in the collective gamer subconscious; these 10 memes prove it.
10 Magic the Gathering Card Gandhi
Is there any evidence that the Civilization 6 Apocalypse game mode wasn’t started by a Nuclear Gandhi? He is savage and dangerous enough to release global nukes, so who is to say where his reign of terror ends?
In this meme, Gandhi has been made into a Magic the Gathering card. If it were ever printed, it would surely be among the most expensive Magic the Gathering cards. Gandhi is signified with three colours – red (representing chaos, fury, warfare, and freedom), green (representing life, evolution, and nature), and black (representing power, death, and corruption).
9 Misattributed, Misquoted Quote
Learning to use nukes in Civilization 6 isn’t easy, but Gandhi makes it look like nothing in a lot of his memes. Nukes = winning. It’s that simple as long as fans ignore the haters, or at least, that’s Nuclear Gandhi’s wisdom claims.
The quote “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win” is often attributed to Gandhi, but there’s no real evidence he ever said it. Here, the misattribution is taken a step farther to allude to the character’s supposed tendency for nuclear weapons.
8 Fanart Of A Happy Gandhi….With A Nuke
If Civilization 6 players get to the point of founding their own religion, they’ll need to pick from among the beliefs that the game provides. Gandhi didn’t found Hindusim, but apparently, he brought the love of nuclear weapons into the faith.
In this artwork by Oliwia Kozlowska, Gandhi is seen warmly embracing a bomb. With a gleeful smile on his face, surrounded by warm light and nature’s creatures, a new player would never anticipate that the bomb Gandhi holds might soon crash upon their empire.
7 A New Logo For The Game
Civilization 6’s title card and case art usually portray a larger-than-life statue of Atlas, the legendary Greek hero who held up the world. In this brilliant use of photoshop, a fan from Reddit has replaced Atlas with Gandhi, holding a stereotypical nuke up over the land below.
Most people agree – nothing is more intimidating than the threat of a nuclear bomb over your head at all times. The Cold War has not faded from humanity’s memory quite so easily. Humanity just never expected Gandhi to be doing the threatening.
6 India’s Nuclear Policy
Gandhi was born and raised in India with strong familial Hindu values. He studied in London for three years to become a lawyer before moving to South Africa. By the time he did move back to India, he was 45 and had been campaigning for civil rights for years.
However, he is intrinsically connected with many Westerner’s understanding of India as a country. This inevitably leads to memes such as this one. India’s potential new doctrine on nuclear weapons, as the meme posits, is considered to be the dramatic change that players saw in Civilization 6 where peace-loving Gandhi became a horrible dictator by force.
5 The Sacred Cows
Many people are familiar with the concept that Hinduism considers cows to be sacred – though, in reality, the topic is much more nuanced. Therefore, this meme about Gandhi’s refusal to release his nukes on cows is easily understood by most gamers.
Rather than trying to earn a religious victory for Hinduism, Gandhi here prefers to spread chaos and destruction in his wake. Civilization 6 is not short on ways to win the game, but there is only one that Nuclear Gandhi recognizes.
4 Gandhi First Blood
Sylvester Stallone is well known for many roles — especially his portrayal of John Rambo in First Blood. As a military veteran, Rambo rails against the abusive law enforcement in a small American town.
Gandhi famously used non-violent civil protest to send his message, but this meme asks – how far might have been too far? Many civil rights activists feel that to change the system, one cannot work from within the system. Nuclear Gandhi may have simply been a portrayal of the final straw that broke the camel’s back.
3 If Aladdin’s Genie Worked Like Gandhi
Robin William’s stellar performance as the Genie in Disney’s Aladdin will not soon be forgotten. Seeing the character in this meme is practically enough to start hearing his goofy voice. Here, the meme plays on how most people who earn wishes try to attain more than 3.
The Nuclear Gandhi bug supposedly came about when Gandhi’s character, whose aggression is set low, supposedly can be pushed low enough that his meter resets to the maximum aggression – 255. The Genie’s perplexed face in this meme certainly mimics the expression on players’ faces the first time peace-loving Gandhi releases nukes on them.
2 Keep Calm and Nuke
The “Keep Calm and Carry On” meme was especially popular a few years ago, and it continues to appear on merchandise today. The catchphrase originated from a World War II-era British public safety poster. There’s an added layer to this meme since Gandhi studied law, coincidentally, in London.
This meme stands apart from others by encouraging the player to retaliate against Gandhi – perhaps even before he has a chance to attack at all. After all, why give him the opportunity? Nuclear Gandhi is a societal menace that must be stopped at all costs.
1 History Class Is In Session
There’s no doubt that video games expand players’ understandings of the world around them. Gamers need not look further than the Assassin’s Creed series for proof of this. The series hires a team of researchers and specialists for their games to ensure the smallest details – like paint on the Greek statues in Odyssey – are correct.
However, if players learned world history from Civilization 6, they might get a slightly skewed version of reality. Nuclear Gandhi is one of many possible misunderstandings. It might be amusing dinner party conversation, but certainly not a passable understanding of a civil rights leader.
NEXT: Civilization 6: 10 Ways To Become The Richest Empire
- civilization 6
Gabrielle “Belle” Huston is a writer and long-time game-player based in Ottawa, Canada. She’s played video games for at least as long as she could write, and vice versa, which has led her to work for nerddom sites like The Gamer and the International Geek Girl Pen Pal Club. As a current undergraduate student of journalism, she’s seldom away from her computer. Belle uses what little free time she has to play Battlefront 2 with her partner, work toward that 5-star rating in Animal Crossing, and wonder when the new Dragon Age installment is coming out.
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