Real-time strategy

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Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty (1992) is one of the first real-time strategies.

Real-time strategy (RTS) is a genre of video game where the player is expected to devise and carry out a strategy in real time while carefully managing resources to build, maintain, and upgrade their game units. Strategy games that don't happen in real-time are called turn-based strategy games, and games where the player is expected to handle devise and carry out strategies without complex resource management are called real-time tactics. Many game sites don't make a distinction between real-time strategy and real-time tactics, but I think their difference is significant enough to warrant a different name.

The genre was beginning to take form as early as 1990 with games like ActRaiser, but it became especially popular in 1992 with the release of Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty which really cemented the genre's formula. It was Brett Sperry who, during the promotion of the Dune II, coined the term "real-time strategy" to describe the style of play. Some of the most popular real-time strategy games include the Command and Conquer series, the WarCraft and StarCraft series, and the Age series.


WarCraft II: Tides of Darkness was the first real-time strategy game that I played heavily, and it kindled my interest in Myth: The Fallen Lords and Age of Empires. I've tried playing a couple other games in the genre, but I usually find them to be too similar, and become bored with them pretty quickly.


This is a list of real-time strategies that are important to me. For all games in this genre, see the real-time strategy category.

Title Released Developer
ActRaiser 1990-12-16 Quintet
Age of Empires 1997-10-15 Ensemble Studios
WarCraft II: Tides of Darkness 1995-12-09 Blizzard Entertainment


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