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Reminiscing of Virtual Generals

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Like anime, the genres of video games which I play vary immensely. I have my preferences, of course, but I tend to be able to enjoy most types of games and am capable of performing passably in them. (This of course excludes sports and exclusively racing games – ew)

To this day, however, I still accredit my love of gaming to a single genre. As a child, I was somewhat of an elitist when it came to video games. I had never tried any genre other than the one I played and I of course believed it was the only good genre on the market. I have since graduated from that era of ignorance, but I never stopped loving this genre.

Real-Time Strategy was the first genre of games that I ever encountered. My dad’s friend had installed the Age of Empires demo on his computer and I would play it repeatedly. Admittedly, I was not that good – but I enjoyed it anyway.

These days I play a lot of games and a lot of strategies which could be said to be much more advanced. I tend to do quite well in first person shooters and passably in roleplaying games but my skill in regards to Strategy is never quite apparent.

That is the beauty of the Strategy genre. You are not ‘Good’ at a Strategy game. You have your good days and your bad days. There are too many factors involved in being good and being able to quick-scope doesn’t help. Sure, you can memorize tactics and practice a lot but everything goes down to what type of player you are playing against and the power of your units.

Shooters rely purely on the skill of the player, and to a large degree that is a good thing – but we must remember what games are supposed to be. Video games are escapism and we do not want our real inadequacies invading our virtual world. This is where RPGs come in and allow us to live in a world where we are justifiably perfect.

Roleplaying games are arguably above RTSs in my preferences, but they have one problem – and that is the lack of skill usually involved. Both FPSs and RPGs swing too far away from each other, but that is where strategy comes in.

Strategy is a mix of both worlds. It allows one to stretch the skills of one’s mind while relying on the strength of virtual troops. This blend makes sure that if someone is willing to learn and train, they can truly live like the great generals of old.

Sadly, Strategy is not what it once was. The games are still good, but as has been mentioned in many articles around the web and in magazines, Strategy is dying as a genre.

Ensemble – the creators of Age of Empires – died years ago and many companies known for making beloved titles are now pleading poverty. We cannot blame anyone for this, but it is sad that a generation of gaming history may very well eventually vanish into obscurity.

The traditional RTS may die as we know it, but many genres have started taking portions of what we know and love. MOBA games in gameplay act very much like the RTSs we know and many RTSs are still going strong. New releases are little, but Strategy will not go away forever. Things come and go and the Golden Age of Strategy will return.

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