The origins of the world's most popular strategy game – Chess - can be traced back to the 16th century. Fast forward to the 21st century and the electronic age and billions of people still play this ancient game of strategy and tactics. To this day, chess remains a firm favourite, although these days you are likely to play the game alongside dozens of others on a PC or console. Strategy games continue to dominate gaming charts, offering more than endless gunfire or classic shoot-'em-ups. What's more, they are likely to appeal to a wider audience, something that is particularly relevant as more women and older people are drawn to gaming.
Turn-Based or Real-Time StrategyStrategy games, where players have to plan and think ahead to overcome challenges, have always had their niche in PC gaming. These games can be categorised by whether they are real-time or turn-based and most of the latest PC games are played in real-time.
Real-time-strategy (RTS) games are played from an eagle's eye view and many have multi-player options which allow you to battle against others online. In RTS games there are no turns – players move at once. Examples of games in this category include the Starcraft and Warcraft series and Age of Empires. Not all games fit in to one category, as some have both real-time and turn-based components.
Chess is the most famous example of a turn-based strategy game, requiring players to take turns instead of playing simultaneously. Examples of PC games include both the Civilisation and Elemental series.
Why Gamers Get HookedNon-gamers often find it difficult to understand why people are compelled to play PC games for hours on end. But with these addicting PC strategy games, where you have to plan ahead and solve problems before you reach the next level, can be particularly absorbing. Gamers don't just play for entertainment — they also become immersed in the storyline and imagine themselves to be the central character. One study found that people were more likely to play if they could identify with the main character.
As technology advances and graphics become increasingly realistic, players are drawn in and imagine they are really there. RTS strategy games often involve intense battle situations and the explosions and gunfire can cause an adrenaline rush that keeps players hooked.
For some people, gaming can become a way of life and is a fun way to escape the realities of their existence. While there have been concerns about the negative effects of video games, people will be pleased to learn there is not much evidence to support this.
All over the world, billions of people play video games each day and the PC remains the most popular platform for serious gamers. Since ancient times, people have been intrigued and entertained by classic strategy games and this looks set to continue in the 21st century with an ever more sophisticated slate of games to test your wits and stimulate your senses.