Many young kids and teenagers have developed deep passions for those hugely popular computer games that offer non-stop action and adventure, fantasy and magic, and the chance to assume different personalities and travel to diverse imaginary worlds. On the other hand, adults have developed their own fascination with computer games as well, mostly involving the so-called strategy games.
Unlike action and adventure games that usually require fast reflexes and a quick trigger finger, strategy games call for a cool hand and good analytical or decision-making skills The best strategy game players know how to maximize their time and manage their resources as well as how to apply these resources and when to attack.
Perhaps the first great strategy game was Hammurabi (or Kingdom) which made a big splash in the 1970s. The objective was to seize the throne of a feudal lord and plan out economic and agricultural strategies for the continued survival of his kingdom. Success was measured in terms of positive growth in population and food supply as well as in vanquishing all security threats against your kingdom..
These days, strategy games generally fall into two categories: turn-based games and real-time strategy games. Hammurabi was a turn-based strategy game where competing players take turns making a move and with breaks in between. In real time strategy games, all players were in motion at the same time. Throughout the seventies and eighties, turn-based games were the dominant strategy game, particularly war games and its hybrids.
In 1987, the sophisticated action sequences and character-oriented narrative that were introduced in Defender of the Crown (Cinemaware) brought the genre to an entirely new level. It spawned a slew of similar games, including the hugely popular Pirates (Microprose) in 1988. With the introduction of Populous (Bullfrog) in 1989, the genre took another step further. Populous was the first game that allowed continuous play since it did not pause between turns. It also allowed players to virtually take on the role of gods, wielding total power and control over warring nations.
Today’s most popular strategy games still follow the Populous mold but are vastly improved in terms of graphics, sound effects and characterizations.