Defend your Base!!! (Tower Defense Games)

Usually when we play video games, our main objective would always be invading an enemy base or eliminating the castle lord or the evil dungeon master. But what if your objective instead is just protect your base from invading monsters? A new kind of twist eh? If you’ve been playing this kind of games, then you probably knew that these are Tower Defense games. Now let’s take a look on how this gaming genre became so popular and how it all began.

About Tower Defense

Tower defense or TD is a subgenre of real-time strategy computer games. The goal is to try to stop enemies from crossing the map by building towers which shoot at them as they pass. Enemies and towers usually have varied abilities and costs. When an enemy is defeated the player earns money or points, which are used to buy or upgrade towers.

Flash Element Tower Defense Flash game

The choice and positioning of the towers is the essential strategy of the game. Many games feature enemies that run through a “maze”, which allows the player to strategically place towers for optimal effectiveness. However, some versions of the genre force the user to create the maze out of their own towers. Some versions are a hybrid of these two types, with preset paths that can be modified to some extent by tower placement.

Fieldrunners for the IPhone

Originally, it was first called Turret defense.

How it all began?

We can say that Tower defense games started its roots in Rampart; a classic strategy arcade game that was release on 1990. The game involved defending a castle by placing cannons, and making repairs between several rounds of attacks.

At the start of the year 2000, tower defense games began to appear as custom or user-created maps in Starcraft, Ages of Empires II and also in Warcraft III. But the first standalone PC tower defense game was Master of Defense, a 3D shareware game that was released on 7 November 2005. It was so popular that it received several awards.

Master of Defense freeware PC game
TD custom map for Warcraft 3

Then, many game developers began designing games using Adobe Flash to create stand-alone game on web browsers, which led to the release of Flash Element Tower Defense in 2007and also Desktop Tower Defense on the same year. Desktop Tower Defense became a hit that it led to the creation of a mobile phone version of the game. Other notable tower defense games that became popular include Protector, Immortal Defense and GemCraft.

Desktop Tower Defense flash game

In 2008, the tower defense’s big success led to the porting into console gaming such as Defense Grid: The Awakening on the PC and Xbox 360, and PixelJunk Monsters and Savage Moon for the PlayStation 3 Tower defense games have also appeared on handheld game consoles such as Lock’s Quest and Ninjatown on the Nintendo DS, and Crystal Defenders for the iPhone/iPod Touch.

Pixel Junk Monsters for the PSP and PlayStation Network
South Park Let’s Go Tower Defense for the Xbox Live Arcade

Different types of Tower Defense

Tower Defense games have different types or mode of gameplay, so here are some of the most notable types:

Maze – Waves spawn from one end of a maze then crawl down the path to the other end. Usually the main base is their target (commonly located in the middle of the map). It is your job to make sure the creeps don’t get to the base. This can be done by building defense towers along the path to attack the waves of incoming monsters. Some Maze types can be played solo or with co-op.

Mauls – These games are similar to the traditional maze Tower Defense games. The only difference is the mazes are much wider and you build towers inside the mazes rather that on the edges. This style can be much more strategic. Not only do you need the right combination of towers at the right times. You also need to design an effective maze within the maze.

Tower Wars – Tower wars can be played on either the maze style or the maul style game. They can also be played co-op or solo. The major difference is that the monsters are spawned by the teams to go through the mazes of other teams.

Holy Invasion of Privacy, Badman! for the PSP
Final Fantasy: My Life as a Dark Lord for the Wiiware

Why is it so darn popular?

There are only two reasons: it’s easy and addictive, all you need is a good strategy and some patience to beat it. And since the genre became so popular, you can play it everywhere, not just in the internet, but also in your phone, your portable game and even in the consoles. Even with a simple gameplay, it’ll take you hours and hours of gameplay to complete it, and with replayable contents, a simple short game will become a full-length epic game. And since you can play it anywhere you go, it’s a good way to kill your boredom and with so many tower games to try, you’ll never get tired of playing it over and over

Plants Vs. Zombies for the PC and Xbox Live Arcade
Final Fantasy Crystal Defenders for the Wiiware and IPhone

So if you haven’t played a single tower defense game yet, what are you waiting for? Just go and search for a tower defense game in the internet and start playing, or you can go look for a TD custom map to play on Warcraft 3 / Or if you’re a TD fan and still looking for new ones, don’t fret ‘coz more TD games are coming to your favorite consoles like Pixel Junk monsters and South Park’s Let’s Go tower defense. So continue enjoying this easy addictive genre.


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