What is this Gaming Genre? | RTS

Within Gaming, there are genres much like films,TV, Books etc..and over the years they have grown as games themselves have grown and gotten better, these include FPS, RTS, RPG, MMO, Tactical shooter, SIM, Turn base Sim, among others. This time we focus on RTS, the Real real-time strategy Genre in which is one of the oldest Genre in Gaming and even though a mainstay on PC gaming, has ventured on Consoles…sometimes, but in modern days its become a specialist game as its popularity has decreased, but why? what about its history? let’s look.



RTS has felt like its been around forever on PC, through the years and the rise of PC gaming it has always been near the forefront, with some big franchises in history, but as we head into modern times its sunk back into a more specialist Genre, maybe not the mainstream any more but it’s arguably one of the most loyal followers and Gamers.

Long Serving

For me, its always been there, and for most gamers, they will have at least a couple of games that will always give them happy memories, and you can also argue that some of these games are ageless, and just as good now as they have ever been. Consoles may have left it to the side now with very few available, more simulations are available on them now, and due to the power needed for those games, mobile devices often can’t run these, they have created different types of Strategies but that’s a story for another day.

Different Strategy Games

Strategy games have come in different styles over the years, but the Term RTS focuses on the strategy game but in real-time, which means the game is constantly going, there’s no turns, no time to think, plan, pause, come away for a while…the game is on, whether it be with AI or Human players, the game is going.

The often includes gathering resources, building a variety of buildings like military or tech, and getting units, with multiple win conditions including the traditional annihilation (kill the other team/faction). Depending on the game the level of detail in Tech, or military strength can differ a lot, but essentially across the franchises, this is essentially the same formula.

As I mentioned earlier the genre seems to have been around forever, with certain franchises standing the test of time, in the late 90’s with the progression of PC gaming in particular we began to see the bases of RTY games that we know now, a couple of big brands were launched, Age of Empires was arguably of those big ones, alongside Command and Conquer, which had also found good success on the plantation consoles at the same time.

But these two big brands were the standard and now the benchmark of future RTS. C&C focused on more future tech, aliens and due to its success over the years almost fell like a film-type story within the franchise, very unusual for these type of games. Age of Empires focused on more historic nations but both had similar concepts.

Through the Years

As we turned into the 2000’s though they were not alone, Warcraft started as a RTS, Warcraft 1,2,3 were a good game, especially number 3 with its expansion, it had done so well that there next game was a certain World of Warcraft, unfortunately, though the focus went onto that and not the RTS. Starcraft 1 and 2 was another big title for many gamers to enjoy, all four of these franchises spawn sequels and are still massively loved today, and they are still arguably the best representations of RTS there’s ever been.

But as time has gone on those 4 are not the only big games to have done well, Company of Heroes in which is a more War and slightly different type of RTS has also done very well, number 2 for me is fantastic. Total War franchise is another that seems to have been around forever, but also sees a slightly different Spin on the play style of the RTS, with more of a focus on how you use your troops once you have them. Space was always a favourite with Sins of the Solar, Supreme Commander, and Total Annihilation all popular and have done well.

More Titles

Rise of Nations, Iron Harvest, Desperadoes, Northguard, Halo Wars, and Stronghold are more games that have all had the time in the sun, many of these though are extensions of the feel from either Age of Empires or Command and Conquer, for me Age of Empires 2, and Command and Conquer Generals reached its peak.

Some would say red alert… Lord of the Rings Battle for Middle Earth which was also a huge success for consoles was essentially a direct gameplay port from Command and Conquer generals, but that’s not a bad thing, they applied the Lord of the Rings franchise on it fantastically and I could write a post on just this… its brilliant full of cut scenes from the film, and excellent references.

The future of the Genre?

RTS games are great, and there have been other strategy games that have spawned, too many to mention, but if we look into the RTS future these are now specialists, and with their popularity perhaps lower than in the past, these games are still worth picking up, their different to many other genres and offer a different play style. Patience, skill, mental, and strategy are all techniques needed, kids these days might not be as interested as they are often longer paced but they provide something different in the gaming world.


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