This is a blog post about the 2003 real-time strategy (RTS) game Command & Conquer: Generals.
It was a miserable night and as the rain fell upon the camp, we rushed to finish our defences. It was only a matter of time before a proper attack came, and we were far from…. Suddenly out of the fog enemy tanks rumbled and then all hell let loose from our gatling guns. Overhead two aircraft launched their missiles, and only the charred remains of one of my tanks remained. A grim determination fell upon me as I realised it wasn’t one, but two enemies attacking. We were only going to survive if I kept the supply lines open, and within the next hour the victor would be chosen.
Whether playing C&C Generals or the extension Zero Hour, I can easily spend an hour playing this great Microsoft Windows RTS game. It is old, the computer opponents often make poor tactical decisions, but the game play over the years, whether online, via a LAN, else the campaigns or a single player ‘skirmish’ game, rarely disappoint.
These days I tend to stick to the skirmish, as I find myself quite time poor, with other activities competing for my attention, and I completed the campaigns long ago, and these days play against multiple ‘hard’ opponents at a time. However even after all these years, I still enjoy playing the game, and being an old RTS game, it runs quite smoothly on my Core Duo laptop running Microsoft Vista.
I do find many RTS games politically incorrect. However I don’t mind playing any of the sides, and exploring what each has to offer. Neither does playing this game, reflect my world view. It would be like a Super Mario fan stomping on every flower in sight and squishing turtles. It is what it is, and Generals is just a fun military game, and at times a good way to release some tension.
I’ve found a good way to extend the life of the game, is to play custom maps created by the C&C Generals community. Obviously the quality varies and some are not suitable for computer opponents. I’ve ended up with a small collection of well made custom maps, that people obviously put a lot of effort into, which has made skirmish game play more interesting.
I know there will be a time, perhaps not too far into the future when I will stop playing this game. Seeing as I’ve played it on and off for ten years, for me it has been money well spent.