Numerous strategy games over the years have turned real history into fun gameplay, and arguably the most successful among them was Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings. We first played this game exactly 22 years ago on PC.
Age of Empires 2 made a leap from prehistory to the Old and Middle Ages, and to a large extent fulfilled the potential that was just looming in the first game. The concept of the game is still related to the development of civilization through the construction of cities and the army, for which, of course, the necessary resources had to be collected. Initially, there were 13 civilizations available, each of which had its units with specific characteristics.
Civilization in the Age of Empires 2 went through an era of a thousand years, from the early Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Each transition to a new era brought new technologies, facilities, and units. Of course, for its place in history, it had to fight against other competing civilizations.
In addition to the standard type of gameplay, campaigns could also be played. There were five of them in total, and in them, we wrote history under the control of famous leaders like Genghis Khan, Saladin, and Joan of Orleans. There was also a multiplayer component that was played over a LAN or the Internet, allowing up to eight players to play simultaneously on the same map. Unfortunately, the game was known for frequent cheating so it never developed a more significant competitive scene than some other titles.
Still, fans adored Age of Empires 2 because of its gameplay. The artificial intelligence of the opponents experienced a significant shift compared to the first game, and the opponents provided a better challenge. The game was not perfect, but players eventually fell in love with its bugs, and some of them came to life as memes over time.
The game got one expansion a year later called The Conquerors. Two years after the PC version, a version for the PlayStation 2 console followed as a very rare case of Age of Empires appearing on consoles. In 2013, an HD remaster of the game was made with improved graphics, mod support, and multiplayer on Steam. Subsequently, Age of Empires 2 HD received three more expansions.
In 2019, Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition followed with additional content and graphics enhanced by the 4K standard. This version was much better accepted than the previous one, and a new expansion is still being developed for it, called Dawn of the Dukes.