Reach for the Stars
August 01, 2011

As I was saying in RotW, I didn't actually know what a '4x strategy game' was before I read EmP's Neptune's Pride review. Or in a best case scenario, I had read the term before, but had forgotten it since.

As I began to wonder about how long the term had been around, a game called Reach for the Stars - which my dad bought for me in 1985 - suddenly jumped back into my head. This was about to turn out to be very prescient of my brain, in a 26-years-later kind of way.

The next thing I did was look up 'Reach for the Stars' in Wikipedia, which said it was the oldest commercial example of a 4x game. Reach.. was developed in Australia for the C64 back in 1983. And there was the box art as per the box I still have with my other classic games inside another box.

I never understood Reach the Stars when I tried to play it as a 10-12 year old. You would issue a bunch of commands that seemed to have no immediate effect, then you would be asked again to issue more commands, ad infinitum. Presumably what was happening was that since I was the only human player, it appeared to me that I got to have every turn consecutively. Whatever my ships were doing was not apparent to me, and the game just seemed to be doing nothing or going nowhere.

I was a reader of instructions and I distinctly remember that the one sheet that came with Reach.. was not very helpful. Wikipedia informs me that a game could last for up to 12 hours, so perhaps it's unsurprising that kid-me gave up after sessions of 15 inscrutable minutes.

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WilltheGreat WilltheGreat - August 10, 2011 (07:15 PM)
Should take a look into Sword of the Stars. Spot-on modern example of the classic 4X formula.

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