Galactic Empire (1980 video game)
Doug Carlston was an attorney who wrote Galactic Empire on his TRS-80. After his brother Gary began successfully selling the game to computer stores, they founded Brøderbund. Although this game is little-known today, it exerted a seminal influence on modern space conquest games such as Spaceward Ho! and Master of Orion.
Galactic Empire was also ported to the Apple II and the Atari 400/800. A Macintosh port was developed by Cary Torkelson, with permission from Doug Carlston. Subsequent games in the Galactic Saga are Galactic Trader (no relation to the later Galactic Trader game by Stephan Meier), Galactic Revolution, and Tawala's Last Redoubt.
Many of the locations have names taken from African languages, such as Afrikaans or Swahili, based on Doug Carlston's years in Africa. The game navigation uses a list of planets with names beginning with a unique letter of the alphabet for easy access. The 'R' key is reserved for 'Return', and 'Q' for 'Quit.' The player has one fleet which travels from planet to planet, beginning with the home world 'Galactica.' Conquered planets can be taxed and produce troops used to take other planets. Each planet has a technology level above or below Galactica standard, which makes it easier or harder to conquer. It takes time to travel between planets to collect taxes and troops to conquer new planets. The player has 999 years to take the galaxy.
80 Micro in 1981 called Galactic Empire "one of the best game programs currently available for the TRS-80". The magazine described the game as "well designed and fun to play", stated that it "is never dull" with replayability from a random map generator, and approved of the addition of a save function on newer versions given that a session could last up to six hours. It concluded, "I heartily recommend Galactic Empire to anyone seeking a complex, intelligent, and of course, fun program."
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