Building Rome in half an hour

Well, if you make it an hour, then its not just building Rome. Defending it, destroying it and then having a discussion worth a dozen PhDs and at least three history books about the causes behind the fall of Rome. Yes sir, all three bags full, within the span of an hour or so. Welcome to Age of Empires! :)

You see, there is always a good intention behind a lot of ideas people come up with to help 'education'. Someone had come up with an innovative concept called the Preparatory Leave or PL in engineering colleges, to allow people to 'prepare' well for the exams. Basically, this was a period of about seven to ten days after the classes ended and the exams began. Somehow, this ensured that most people considered attending classes during the rest of the semester futile and the PL was deemed sufficient to cover the entire syllabus. It became a bragging point that you had finished reading through three whole chapters of a book overnight and answered questions from the whole book the next day at your exam.

Of course, more people present in the hostel all day long meant that the general noise levels were higher than normal, to put it mildly. Frequently over the Public Address (PA) system, you would hear "Abbe &*%!^%^%@@@## (collective noun denoting all residents of the hostel) give me my #&@$^&#@!! (umm shall we say, lovely?) electronics book back". This was being shouted by one lost soul who has suddenly remembered that he actually owns the sole copy of most popular book in the hostel. And more study meant more work meant more hungry souls. So the night canteen would open and you could see people loitering around the canteen in pajamas or lungis (depending on what they were doing last before they came there). And then, of course, there was the game called Age of Empires.

After a few days, we discovered that this game, Age of Empires, could suddenly make you get into a room while its the evening, and then when you come out its broad daylight. Not to mention the feeling of guilt attached to it and the sleep that followed. Since there was no cure to the addiction, we decided the best way of using it would be to define a time when we would play. We decided that the best time to start playing would be 3:30 am onwards. (Yes it is a.m. - you read that right). Around 2:45 or 3:00, people would shut their books and start showing up at different places. Strategies would be discussed furiously, alliances formed, army versus navy civilizations chosen. By the time it was 3:25, the whole hostel would be agog with excitement. People who owned computers were suddenly in great demand. Either they would be shoved out of their own rooms, or they would insist that they will also play. And then the games would begin.

Have you ever had a geek at a computer weaving magic with the mouse and keyboard and at least five people cheering him on, shouting instructions, etc? Well, it happened there. It used to be frenzy. Spies would surreptitiously go into other players' rooms and check out their troop positions (on their screen). Or they would go out with little offerings like "if you attack him after 5 minutes, you can take him". And of course there were people like me, who would go and do little things on my own computer to bring the entire network down if my team lost a game. Or if someone wanted to stop their computer from being used, I could go in and change a few things here and that would stop the game from working temporarily. :D Villages plundered, castles burnt down, forests cleared, entire armies sunk in transport ships... ahh the joy. :)


  1. Age of Empires! Ah the joy!! Still can't forget those priests doing conversions and some of 'em even going "Hari Om!"!!

    And yes, our games used to start early in the morning too ;)!! Golden engineering time was spent on strategies!

  2. Supremus, oh yes - the most irritating people in the whole game - the monks and the scropions. BTW, we might be playing this game at our place some time in the near future. Phone kar lo kabhi :)

  3. I used to have fun played RTS games. But unfortunately I had nobody to play with and had to depend on the crappy AI to provide the competition...

  4. Ahh.. I can feel what you are trying to tell as I was also part of it once upon a time :)

  5. I love AOE!! I suck at it... I just cannot make an army soon enough to be able to defend my town when the stupid Red Ones attack. And this is when I play just me against the computer, and Moderate level of difficulty. I suspect the computer laughs at me.

    At Easy level, though, I kick ass! :D

  6. Hari, well, the hard AI level is a little tough to beat on Age of Empires. Give it a shot, sometime.

    Jeevan, yes of course - oh we can always arrange again!

    Sumedha, ooh welcome onboard! And that too an AoE fan... double welcome onboard!! :)

    I'll be passing through Singapore on my way home - lets catch up at the airport and play! :D

  7. This shows that you graduated long ago.;-) People now graduated to AoC(C-conquerors. AoE version 2).
    I love it and am gonna miss it. :(

  8. Akilan, the Age of Conquerors is an expansion pack, which is still sold under the banner of Age of Empires. And yes, I agree, its AoE 2. We used to play this second one itself - a lot of mundane tasks are taken care of in this one. So yes I have graduated long back, and no you haven't graduated to anything newer.

    Welcome onboard, BTW.

  9. aah those days :D...but we still play it in gnv..albeit not many..but once we did had 8 people :D:D:D

  10. Bagi, :D yeah... tons of fun! I almost got beat bad at hard with two computer opponents :(

    Welcome onboard BTW!

  11. Age of empires 2 - age of conquereors or emperors something :P.

    Age of empires frst version

    Age of Mythology.

    I started from mythology, then AOE2, and then I started AOE but deleted everything cos I was wasting too much time :P

    Though I feel I have done all there was to do.

    Finished the entire AOM campaign at Titan difficulty (no cheats, I don't know any :P)

    Then all AOE 2 (I think including the expansion you are talking about Aztecs, Gengis khan etc wasnt it?) at highest difficulty level.

    Ahh you make me nostaligic. That wa s 4 yrs ago!

  12. Stupidosaur, welcome onboard! Yeah you got the array in the right order. Age of Kings is what you mean first - AoE2. The Conquerors is an expansion pack - Genghis Khan and all. Ah the joy of killing villagers and tearing down castles.

  13. Well I meant I finished Age of Mythology first.

    Then I finished Joan of Arc, Gengis Khan, Saladin etc.

    Then there was an expansion pack or something with lots of small stories (Aztec civilization, then some Chinese one where we could even have canons or such things with gunpowder, then there was on regarding Teuton kings, with human suicide bombers called Petards who could do heavy damage to buildings, etc)

    So I started with Age of Mythology which is the newest, then Age of Mythology 2 (I think) and its expansion pack. At the very last, I started with very first Age of Empires, with primitive graphics, and where even soldiers fought with clubs initially, rather than swords.


    I preferred chasing enemy villagers into wall enclosures with gates instead of killing. Converting was also fun. In fact in the later 'Ages' My kingdom would be all walled in. There would be a thin ungated passage that led in though. So instead of bothering to break my walls the enemy 'bot' army would enter in a slow procession in this passage. To welcome them, I would simply keep an 'army' of 15-25 priests on either side of the passage. Each one I would set upon to convert a different heavy enemy soldier, such as Paladin (Strong horse rider). Once converted, they took care of rest of the enemy army.

    Well, I was a king who loved peace ;)

  14. Stupidosaur, Oh sorry about the misunderstanding. I've mostly played the Age of Kings (basically AoE2), and the age of conquerors expansion pack. I didn't like Age of Mythology much after having played Age of Empires.

    BTW, your strategy against the computer sounds superb... I ought to try it some time. Too bad online multiplayer is no longer possible. :(


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