Over on Tales from the Backlog there is a monthly task – this month to share some trivia about a favourite game. I’m a day late with the April task as I wasn’t sure what to write. How do I define a favourite game? What extra tidbit of information could I share about it?
I’ve decided to journey back to where my videogame joy started. A game that I played loads as a pre-teen on a MS-DOS PC. Dune II. Inspired by a book, I played the game first and read the book later.
The game differs from the book in some ways but the main one that sticks in my mind is that there is an extra faction – the insidious Ordos. They occupy the space between the good and noble Atreides and the evil and destructive Harkonnen. Neither defined as good or evil, they are profit-focussed and unbothered by a bit of lying or sabotage to get what they need. I also found them the hardest faction to use, and had a bad experience where my save was accidentally lost and so I had to start over with them.
Dune II is often described as the first RTS game. It has many aspects that were picked up by later games in the genre. From harvesting a resource (in this case the drug, melange) to the fog-of-war. Although most units are available to all factions, each faction has some special units that only they can build – I was a particular fan of the bird-like ornithopters that were an Atreides special.
It is possible to find, download and play the game now. Although for a modern player some aspects haven’t aged well. Having to move each unit individually across the map is hard going when you are used to grouping them together.
However, as a slice of gaming history it is a game I look back on fondly and is still clear in the memory many years later.