[My first game review, but not really. Just something personal about an old game I miss.]
Age of Empires (AoE) was three things to me: Lego, chessboard, and friend.
When other friends were playing with building blocks in their free time, I was playing Age of Empires. I was six or seven-ish when i was first exposed to it. Considering that the game came out when I was two, that’s not bad. Sure, I grew up with Lego too. Sure, I played like any other kid. Still, I was different. More different than I wanted to be.
I played around with the map creator for hours. I liked putting units where I wanted them to go. I liked having control. I felt important even when I didn’t anywhere else. It was a nice feeling and I remember it well. I remember it well.
Chessboard. AoE was logic. Pure logic and strategy. One wrong attack and you were screwed. No way out of it. My favourite units? Elephants. They were so darn cute and not to mention strong. I loved the Persians. They were my second favourite race – next to the Huns of course. Oh no, I can’t forget about the Huns. I loved those horses so much to the point where I started drawing them. I can still manage a decent horse today. If you asked me to draw one.
AoE was my friend. Not that kind of regular friend whom you simply play with and have fun with. No, AoE was a friend that I grew up with. It helped me become a whole lot more mature in a short period of time.
I idolized Attila. The Hun. Yeah, I loved the guy who has been dead for over sixteen hundred years. Hah. ‘Course I didn’t know that at the time. I didn’t know much. School went by slowly. No or little homework. I spent my free time gaming. Joan of Arc became another obsession. I went through that campaign where you learn about her story and how she was burned at a stake. I shed a tear or too. She was admirable. Strong. In a game where males dominated (war), she was there. It stood out to me.
I pulled my first all-nighter playing this game. At the age of eight. That’s right. Probably the youngest kid to lose sleep over a game. I had attempted it more than once before I finally succeeded. My dad caught me and pulled me back to bed a lot. Eight…I think he had left by then. Not the kind of leave where he’s gone forever. Just the kind of leave where he’s only back in the summer. Though later the visits became more infrequent. Off-topic. Back on topic, AoE aided my growing and learning process in one way or another. Would I be the same without it? Definitely not.
Just like I wouldn’t be the same without a whole arsenal of my other games.
I had an online “boyfriend” at the age of nine. I learned about manipulation.
That’s a story for another time.
The game’s still alive.
Age of Empires III. If you’re interested, click here.
Couldn’t find any old pictures of I, but the concept’s the same. Here’s one from II.
EDIT: Here’s a picture from I.