Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness

Warcraft 2 2013-02-28 at 11.59.42 AM

Warcraft 2 Tides of Darkness

Where and when did you first play this game?

Warcraft II was released in 1995, which was my freshman year of college at Arizona State Universitylwm1_mg.  One of my favorite people at ASU was my friend Eric, who was a big-time gamer.

We started playing Warcraft II on MS-DOS, and I was instantly taken with the similarity to Dune II.  WC2 was brand new so it included some great new features which pushed it to the front of my mind at the time.  Eric and I would play the shit out of Warcraft 2, either playing in a competitive or cooperative modes of the game.  Up to this point, besides DOOM, I’d never really had a chance to play a game in a networked mode.

How many times have you played this game? Have you replayed the game since you first played it?

I haven’t played the game since 1996 when I actually built a second computer out of spare parts to enable a second player on a network capable version of the game.  I still own the Warcraft 2 CD-Rom and was able to load the game into Boxer (DOSBox) for a few “rounds” of the game.

What is it about this game that you loved?

Warcraft II was a fun and entertaining take on the real-time strategy game.  Very much like Dune II, the game had units to harvest, units to fight, units to defend and so on, but the game employed a much friendlier and softer characterization of the characters.

The game included different environmental conditions like snowy fields, green pastures and dirty mountainous lands.  It didn’t really impact the game play but it gave you something else to look at besides the sandy environment of Arrakis.

Warcraft 2 2013-02-28 at 11.31.14 AM

The “box draw” command

There were some new features like being able to draw a box around units and you can then move or attack with a single command.  In comparison, Dune II, you had to select each unit and issue a command, like “move” or “attack”, which got very tedious very quickly.  So, you can imagine being able to select multiple units and issue a single command was a huge improvement in game play.  The multiple select “box draw” was a common Windows-style command, but something new to the real-time strategy games.

What is the best (or worst) moment in this game? Or what about this game made it memorable?

I really enjoyed the multi-player component of this game!  With a second computer and second player, you could have some of the most interesting battles because now it was You vs. another person.  For the modern gamer, network play is nothing new and people have gotten very used to playing people on other side of the world, but having another person even next to you was a huge thrill to do.

Eric and I would be playing this game all the time, sometimes while we were supposed to be attending our Calculus I class on Tuesday and Thursdays.  Ugh, I hated that damn class.

The game also added an ocean-faring component of the game, where instead of just command units on the ground, you have ships and freighters to command and harvest oil from the ocean.  It wasn’t a huge advance by any means, but it was more to do than just collecting lumber and/or mining gold.

Is there a special story about this game? Maybe an event in your life or some thing memorable you associate with this game?

When I came home from Arizona State that winter break, I was sitting at home, bored with no computer (because it was at ASU) and I was having some serious computer withdrawal.  I had some spare parts for a computer laying around so I ended up getting a few other components and building a second new computer.  It wasn’t as good as my standard desktop, but for the purposes of playing Warcraft II it was perfectly capable.  I ended up taking this computer back to Arizona with me and setting up a long table in the room.  This allowed me to have two people play Warcraft II in cooperative or competitive mode.  At the end of the term, I ended up selling the computer to my roommate who needed a computer for his continued studies at ASU.


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