Tag Archive: Computer games


Link to previous post – the beginning.

Recoil was a fantastic game. It was an arcade game. You were a tank with many missions to destroy evil. I kept playing it. It also had a God mode. God mode meant that you will never die. Mission accomplished. I never completed the game without the God mode. I was that good a player.

One fine day, the CD did not work. I could have searched and downloaded the game but that did not work out because my internet bandwidth was just 64 Kbps. Yahoo took a full minute to open. So that option was out.

But newer CDs were available in the market. Grey market. I visited a friend’s place one fine day, and found him playing a game with little little men running around. There were few men cutting down trees, few were fishing, and few more were mining. There were many buildings. My friend controlled all those. I immediately wanted that game. No. Don’t imagine me as a 31 year old man jumping up and down for a game CD. I was just 19 then.

When AoE 2 released, my friend bought the AoE2 CD and I borrowed the AoE CD from him. Then it all began. I did not where to start. I did not know which civilization to start with. So I started with Random Map. Divine. It took me a long time to win one game. I did not know about cheat codes for AoE then. I only thought cheat codes were there for Ashes 97. Once I got the cheat codes, I mastered the random map games,  and moved to the Death Match. The game was tried with different difficulty levels and different number of opponents. I, at one stage, became such a good player that, I could win the game without cheat codes at maximum difficulty.

The beauty of AoE is the control it gives you. You are God in AoE. You create, conduct, and destroy the world that is under your total control. Starting from the interface and going until the credits, the efforts that have been put into this mammoth effort is not at all small.

When you say Age of Empires, three names should be remembered – Bruce Shelley, Tony Goodman, and Dave Pottinger.

A very short introduction of these three men is an absolute necessity.

Bruce Shelley – The face of Ensemble studios. Yes. The same man who worked along with Sid Meier in Civilization and Railroad Tycoon.

Tony Goodman – The founder of Ensemble Studios along with John Boog-Scott (He was with Anderson consulting which was renamed as Accenture later). He worked on the art in AoE.

Dave Pottinger – The man behind the awesome artificial intelligence (AI). A 33 year old graduate from the university of Arizona, this man worked in the entire series of AoE as the engine lead and AI specialist in Ensemble Studios.

Ensemble Studios, the maker of this great game, was acquired by Microsoft in 2001 and continued to function as an internal wing until 2009. On 29 January 2009, Ensemble Studios was disbanded and the employees were laid off. Lot many employees from Ensemble joined together and currently work under the brand Zynga.

I have my resources from the internet and Airtel has messed up big time with my internet connection. So I am unable to gain more information on this topic. I will resume the posts once my internet gets okay.


Hey All,

Do you all love Age of Empires (AoE)? I love it. Rather, I loved it.

Those were the times of PII systems. For those who were born after 2000, the P is actually Pentium. We had Pentium processors first, then came Pentium II and then Pentium III and so on. My association with the computer game started during the times of Celeron processors which were inferior to the Pentium ones.

The year was 1997. I was in tenth standard. The exams were over and we did not have anything to do in the vacation. Beer and stuff were out of reach. Computer’s were the next big thing in life. People were speaking about jobs in computer companies that were paying huge amounts of money as salary. So computers were inviting and I joined a computer class around 2-3 kilometres from my house.

The fee was around 200 bucks. They taught me MS-DOS. Yes. Fricking MS-DOS. Everyday, I used to go there at around 09:30 am and sit and get the instructions done by 11:00am. Once the instruction session was over, we used to have the practical. Practical was interesting because it allowed us to handle the computer. The MS-DOS was not interesting. Ten days into the class, I had made friends there. A good friends taught me well and he taught me some tricks too.

The trick included accessing a folder called games and play a F1 game in a system with MS-DOS. With nothing else to do, that was the only option. Still, the game was very addictive and it just took me a day or two, to get addicted to it. I played the game until the summer holiday was over. Once the summer holidays were over, I did not get a chance to play a computer game until I met few more friends with computers at home.

Ashes 97 had been released. A friend of mine had the CD and we went in everyday to play the game at his house. He had a computer with Pentium processor. Super fast. However, he could not allow us to play the game in his computer for long because of some family issues. His family had issues with us sitting inside the house and playing. Ashes 97 CD was borrowed. We made new friends in tuitions. I used to go for a physics tuition and I was friends with the physics sir’s son. His brother had a computer. When his brother was not around, we went in and used the CD and played the game. We had cheat codes. 131 used to make the batsmen hit a lot of sixes and 321 made the players drop catches. What nice times those were.

But this honeymoon phase with the computer was short-lived because the system conked one day. My tryst with computers were over for good.

It was not until the April of 2000 that I touched the computer again. Dad bought us a computer – A Compaq Presario PII with 128 MB RAM. That was like rocket speed when compared to my friends systems. The system also came bundled with some CDs and games. I got an encyclopaedia and a tank game called Recoil. Recoil was my favourite game until Microsoft released AoE. That was a stunner!

I was madly in love with AoE until 2004. I used to create a huge map and do all sorts of nonsense customizing and create a lot of resources with cheat codes. I made many forts and lot of cavalry. Making the cavalry march towards the enemy fort with battering rams, Gatling guns, Catapults etc. was a beautiful sight. Achieving the victory was sweet. I had played many more strategy and simulation games after that, but nothing beats AoE. It was right royally a game for the kings! My exploration led me to a variety of games. You all must have forgotten those. I will take you back in a trip to the past.

Will continue! Got to clean the house as wifey’s seemantham/valaikappu is tomorrow. Entire house is being cleaned and I am being frowned upon.

Before I go, I am going to write about AoE in detail, in the next post. More games will come with subsequent posts.

Got to go. Bye.


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