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Age of Empires
Box artwork for Age of Empires.
Developer(s) Ensemble Studios
Publisher(s) Microsoft Game Studios
Latest version 1.0c
Release date(s)
Genre(s) RTS
System(s) Windows, Mac OS
Mode(s) Single player, Multiplayer
Rating(s)
ESRB: ESRB T.png Teen
OFLC: OFLC G8 old.png General 8+
Expansion pack(s) Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome
Followed by Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings
Series Age of Empires
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This is the first game in the Age of Empires series. For other games in the series see the Age of Empires category.

Age of Empires (often abbreviated to AoE or AofE), is a history-based real-time strategy computer game released in 1997. Developed by Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft, the game uses the Genie, a 2D sprite-based game engine. The game allows the user to act as the leader of an ancient civilization by advancing it through four ages, (Stone Age, Tool Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age) gaining access to new and improved units with each advance.

Originally touted as Civilization meets Warcraft, some reviewers felt that the game failed to live up to these expectations when it was released. Despite this, it received generally good reviews, and an expansion pack, Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome was released in 1998. A compilation of the original Age of Empires and its expansion was later released as Age of Empires: Gold Edition.

Age of Empires requires the player to develop a civilization from a handful of hunter-gatherers to an expansive Iron Age empire. To assure victory, the player must gather resources in order to pay for new units, buildings and more advanced technology. Resources must also be preserved, as no new resources become available as the game progresses, meaning, if you cut a tree down, the tree will not come back.

Twelve civilizations are available, each with individual sets of attributes, including a varying number of available technologies and units. Each civilization has technologies unique to them, so that no civilization possesses all the technologies possible within the game. The civilizations are sorted into four distinct architectural styles, based on East Asian, Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Greek architecture, which determine their in-game appearance.

A major component of the game is the advancement through four ages. These are the Stone Age (Mesolithic/Paleolithic), the Tool Age (Neolithic/Chalcolithic), the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. Advancement between ages is researched at the Town Center, and each advancement brings the player new technologies, weapons, and units.

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