Video Game of the Day is a daily show available on Amazon Alexa devices and here on this website. Each day, we briefly discuss the history of a single game, randomly chosen. If you would like to listen on your daily flash briefing, you can enable Video Game of the Day here: https://amzn.to/2CNx2NJ.
Hello and welcome! My name is Katosepe and I’ll be your host for today’s Video Game of the Day!
It’s always interesting to me when a game or a series achieves massive popularity in another region and then is almost unheard of elsewhere. Especially when that game has an easily recognizable and familiar style worldwide, it’s just fascinating to see what is popular in different places. Today’s game is one such game that saw massive popularity in Europe but has remained obscure to this day in North America. Today’s game is The Settlers, developed by Blue Byte and released on the Amiga in 1993.
The Settlers is best described as a mashup of Sim City and Age of Empires. It takes place in a medieval era and the player must build up a civilization and defeat their opponents through military and economic might. This may sound a lot like many other RTS games but the method you do all of this feels and plays much closer to a city builder.
Players start with a certain amount of resources and must build up buildings that gather or produce more resources. This doesn’t work like most RTS games which deal with maybe 4 different resources. Instead, The Settlers has entire resource trees that must be constructed and managed. For example, an early building is a lumberjack hut which, by assigning workers to it, will allow them to cut down trees for wood. Most RTS games would stop there but in The Settlers, that wood can then be transported to another building such as a Saw Mill to be processed into planks. These planks can then be used to build actual buildings. This may sound complex and compared to other similar games, it definitely is.
On top of actually crafting all of these resources, a major aspect of The Settlers is building road systems that allow resources to actually be transported from building to building. This means that city planning is extremely important from the start to make an efficient civilization. While combat is ultimately the method for winning in The Settlers, the actual combat mechanics are fairly simplistic with players typically winning through superior economics allowing them to build stronger armies.
The Settlers received high reviews, particularly for the Amiga version of the game. The MS-DOS version, which came out the next year, still received positive reviews but not at the same level. While The Settlers was released in North America, the original Amiga version was not, and the MS-DOS version was renamed Serf City: Life is Feudal. The series has since released seven mainline entries and a number of spin-offs and ports, with an eighth mainline game slated for release in 2020. The original game has been re-released for modern OS’s as The Settlers: History Edition and is playable through Ubisoft’s UPlay digital platform.
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