The first strategy game I seriously played and loved was Dune II: Battle for Arrakis. Before that, I was absolutely not interested in this genre. I never found it particularly exciting to virtually push some combat units around on a map. But Dune 2 nevertheless cast its spell on me and has not let go of many of us to this day. A whole bunch of successors poured over the audience in the years that followed. However, these clones soon lost the appeal of the new. Perhaps I would have found these fresh ideas in other – less well-known – representatives of the genre back then. In search of such pearls, I enter the famous hexa fields of The Perfect General II.
The early 90s made the previously hardcore genre of hex-based wargames accessable to a much broader audience. The rules got simpler, the controls easier and the graphics less cryptic. The prime example of this trend is of course Battle Isle by Blue Byte. To a lesser extent, The Perfect General contributed there, too.
This 'lesser extent' is even an advantage to many people. Instead of total simplification for beginners, it offers something for everyone: accessibility and at the same time complexity. The game is incredibly easy to learn, especially because of the mouse control. You can do everything with one click: moving, attacking or waiting. No menu needed. Don't laugh, you couldn't take that for granted back then!
Imagine the beginning of a great adventure: You are standing in a forest. The sky is blue, the sun is shining and the wildlife is wandering about. There is a guy named Jack, Steve or Brat next to you, who will turn out to be an invaluable source of information, for he is The Guide. With great foresight you brought a set of tools along, so you can start right away. What will it be? Do you want to start digging, to search for valuable ores and treasure caves? Or do you want to attack that slime creature that is coming closer, in the hope that it will drop some valuables? Or how about building a base, maybe a log cabin, first? All of this is possible in Terraria, an open-world 2D platformer, that combines the fun of exploration, fighting and building in one game.