«RTS Galore!» is a series of posts where I arbitrarily overthink real-time strategy games. My definition of the real-time strategy game and some sort of a methodological vector for the series have been explained here.
Previously we saw examples of how RTS games simplify various existential issues for the sake of creating addictive and unapologetically fun gameplay. Populous, for instance, gamified religious conflicts without making any meaningful theological statements, while Mega-Lo-Mania basically gamified the nationalistic total war concept and presented it as a natural in-game order of things without delving much into its problematics.
In this article we’re going to see what happens when RTS games are based on other works of fiction, specifically lengthy books filled with thematic intricacies and ideological complexities. Tough to find a better example for this than Westwood’s Dune series. Also, with a new Villeneuve’s version of Herbert’s story hitting the theaters in a couple of days, it’s a great time to write something about Dune. Good for the clicks, y’know.
Continue reading “RTS Galore! Episode 4: Spice Must Flow”
After trying its design philosophy in an entirely atheistic setting, Bullfrog returned to its god-game roots with a sequel to Populous, making the gamification of the ‘holy war’ concept more fun and ideologically safe. A couple of months earlier, another British developer, Sensible Software, also released a game about gods and their bloody conflicts. But Mega-Lo-Mania’s focus was more human-centered—even almost political, I’d say.
Continue reading “RTS Galore! Episode 3: Mega-Lo-Mania & Populous II”
In the previous episode of RTS Galore! I’ve talked about Populous and its gamification of the conflict between two selfish and cruel deities. In the second episode, I’m going to talk about another game developed by Bullfrog—PowerMonger (1990). This time, we’ll witness the conflict devoid of any divine presence.
Continue reading “RTS Galore! Episode 2: PowerMonger”
The first episode of my «RTS Galore!» series got some feedback that I wish to address. Commenters on Reddit and Raddle (I’m not registered on the latter and can’t answer directly) pointed out two main problematic aspects in the piece that, if not dealt with, can become systematic in my other writing on the subject. I haven’t intended this urge to play and write about as many RTS games as possible to be serious academic research. All in all, it’s just for pure fun with a bit of frivolous textual analysis to spice things up.
Still, I feel the need to establish a more solid framework to avoid misunderstandings and make the series less arbitrary and more focused. Sorry that I haven’t thought about that earlier, well, alas.
Continue reading “RTS Galore! Episode 0: Framework”
It was an early December morning. The streets were still engulfed in darkness when I took a sip of fresh coffee. Clouds were gathering above the horizon, and lightning flashes in the distance heralded a coming storm. Then it hit me! I have to play as many RTS games as I possibly can! Because of reasons, you know. It seemed a perfectly logical decision for me at the moment; why the hell haven’t I thought about it earlier?
Edit: There is another thing I should’ve thought about earlier: the need to establish a more solid framework to avoid misunderstandings and make the series less arbitrary and more. Here it is.
So join me on this lengthy, turbulent, and perilous journey through those worlds filled with violence, warfare, moral bankruptcy, and intense mouse-clicking! We’ll start with Populous.
Continue reading “RTS Galore! Episode 1: Populous”
1999 was one of the wealthiest years for gaming history. Legendary titles spawned one shortly after another, leaving gamers—exhausted but happy—no time for rest. Just think about it: Age of Wonders, Homeworld, Sid Meyer’s Alpha Centauri, SimCity 3000, Planescape: Torment, Dungeon Keeper 2, Quake 3, Jagged Alliance 2, Age of Empires 2, etc. They all saw the light of day in the glorious 1999. Like dozens of smaller suns, those masterpieces rose to the skies, making them brighter and brighter.
One of the first titles in this pantheon of ‘99 was the game eagerly awaited by hundreds of thousands of people. In late February 1999, New World Computing released Heroes of Might & Magic III: The Restoration of Erathia—the game condemned to greatness.
Continue reading “Heroes of Might & Magic: The Rise and Fall”
Since the second half of the ‘80s, Might & Magic series have been accumulating the love and appreciation of the masses. World of Xeen, the role-playing behemoth born from the fusion of Might & Magic IV and V, crowned the series with a luxurious quality cap. New World Computing needed new ideas and technologies to continue the series without the risk of becoming repetitive. Thus it was decided to let the role-playing Might & Magic rest a bit. In the meantime, the studio has made its old ideas work for the sake of its leading franchise.
It was probably the best decision they could have made. For it has led to the birth of the new series in the Might & Magic universe, which arguably became even more popular and beloved than the role-playing one.
Continue reading “Heroes of Might & Magic: The Classical Era”