This article ran in two parts across PC Gamer issues 324 and 325. For more quality articles about all things PC gaming, you can subscribe now in the UK and the US. The history of computer strategy games begins on tables and boards, crammed inside cupboards alongside that knackered old box of Risk that every home seems to possess. The moment strategy made the leap to consoles and computers, it was already familiar. These weren’t just inspired by the games people were playing, in many cases they were direct copies that had been squeezed, sometimes awkwardly, onto a new platform. In 1972, Invasion was released for the Magnavox Odyssey. It was Risk, essentially, but with Pong-like battles that were fought on top of overlays that had to be slapped on the front of the television. Aside from the battles, Invasion was mostly played on a physical board, so the actual strategy game didn’t really take place on the console at all. The Odyssey’s limited capabilities … [Read more...] about The history of the strategy game
Best real time strategy games
Just between you and me, I'm not a big fan of the base-building side of most real-time strategy games. What's the point of spending so much time and effort manicuring a mighty stronghold when racing over to the other guy's base and defeating them there as soon as possible is the best tactic? In some real-time strategy games it feels like the actual game is supposed to take place on your opponent's territory, and when it isn't you're playing it wrong. But man, do I love it when a strategy game lets me play defensively.Everything changes. Let me put three rows of Tesla coils next to my base and suddenly it’s my favorite place to be. Call it turtling if you like, but if it means I get to have little gates that open and close I am chelonia as fuck. When it's a viable tactic to create high walls and siege defences, to hunker in a bunker with all your biggest guns, suddenly base-building stops being the tedious thing you're obliged to repeat at the beginning of every match. If the … [Read more...] about The forgotten joys of turtling in strategy games
At E3, EA announced the “next generation” of Command and Conquer as Command and Conquer Rivals: A F2P version of the beloved franchise. As they, and many supporters on Twitter, were quick to point out, this is the evolution of the real time strategy genre and mobile strategy games. As a fan of RTS games, and obviously the CnC series, this is incorrect, and it’s time to talk about how mobile has failed to learn the lessons of RTS design. RTS Basics: There’s a lot more to RTS design that we’re going to talk about here, but for the sake of keeping things on track, I’m going to focus on some of core tenets of the genre. Real Time Strategy games have always been one side of the strategy coin; with the other being turn-based. The RTS foundation is built on the following aspects: 1: Base Building/Management Whether we’re talking about micro or macro-styled strategy games, base building has been an essential part of the design. One part progression, … [Read more...] about How Mobile Has Ruined Strategy Game Design
Turn-based strategy titles can suffer from a lack of heart. What little narrative players are given is, more often than not, just a pretense to get a bunch of units on screen and make stuff blow up. Not so with BattleTech, the latest title from Harebrained Schemes. That game, out today for Windows and Mac, is a step forward in terms of storytelling. Shakespeare it ain’t, but BattleTech is nonetheless a surprisingly emotional journey, a tale filled with betrayal, revenge and redemption. It’s the kind of story that could only be told from inside the 30-year-old BattleTech universe, and it has the gameplay chops to back it up. First, a bit of clarification. This isn’t the only video game set in the BattleTech universe that’s coming out this year. The other is called MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, which is being built by Piranha Games. It’s a first-person, simulation-style experience that will put players at the controls of the universe’s iconic … [Read more...] about BattleTech raises the bar for storytelling in a turn-based strategy game
Here at PC Gamer we try to love all game genres equally. First person, third person, turn-based, realtime, MMO, MOBA, adventure, card game—all genres have given us classics that have come to define PC gaming. Some of them are rubbish though, right? As individuals there are genres we can't face playing. Let's explore that bitter seam and have a nice wholesome argument along the way in this week's edition of the PCG weekend Q&A. You'll find the rest here. Jarred Walton: I hate sports games Oh, this is easy. I hate sports games. I don't care if it's NFL, NHL, NBA, FIFA, cricket, or curling, I have no interest in playing a digital sport. I think it stems back to my youth, where I spent all of my free time cultivating my computer skills instead of worrying about sports--much to my mom's chagrin, I might add. But if I don't care much for playing a sport in the real world, why would I want to play it as a computer game? Answer: I wouldn't. Okay, so I wouldn't want to run around a … [Read more...] about Which game genre do you dislike the most, and why?