My RTS nostalgia

As a kid, my first games I properly played where Pong, Commander Keen and Prince of Persia. The games were fun, but it didn’t get me hooked to gaming. That addiction came later in the form of the Atari, Sega and Nintendo consoles.

However it was not until I came in contact with Command & Conquer (C&C) that I also became part of the PC Master Race. This game had everything, real actors telling a full story, beautiful graphics, great gameplay and most of all, multiplayer. C&C for me was my entry into competitive gaming, so you can imagine my excitement when C&C Remastered was announced.

When you install the remastered edition, you will be hard pressed not to smile when you see the notions of IRQ ports mismatch, the sound of EVA or the various status bars racing towards 100%. It is with this fondness that I remember my installation of the original C&C.

To be honest, the very first time I played the game on my own PC, I ripped the GDI CD from a friend and copied the game via multiple diskettes – removing the cinematics – onto my PC, simply because my computer did not have a CD-ROM. I played those GDI missions over and over and repeated this process with the NOD CD. Almost every weekend I would go back to my friend’s house and battle it out in multiplayer, improving as time progressed.

After a year or so I finally upgraded my PC and played the game as how it was meant to be played. Watching the cinematics, following the story and of course competing with random people through modem play. A short time later Red Alert was released and this now became our multiplayer game, even going as far as doing 2vs2 LAN competitions.

With the RTS genre I eventually transitioned to StarCraft (later on StarCraft 2) and started playing competitively. Back in those days I could hold my own with the top players and even though I haven’t played RTS games in years, starting up the first C&C mission all the muscle memory started flooding back: micro-managing the harvesters, building multiple bases, expanding with the use of silos and firing or running over troops.

Going through the various C&C and Red Alert missions I could still recall all the “bugs” which you sometimes can use to accomplish the mission faster. However the developers upgraded the AI quite a bit, so at times I really had to work for it. Looking at my Steam account it says I’ve played over 40 hours completing all those missions again, but just like when I was a kid, it didn’t feel like 40 hours. It felt like those many games I’ve played in my friend’s attic, building out armies, trying to outsmart the other team.

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