Master of Orion (MoO) is a turn-based science fiction computer strategy game designed by Steve Barcia, developed by Barcia’s company Simtex and published by Microprose in 1993. Although Alan Emrich coined the term “4X game” (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate) in his review of the game, Master of Orion was not the first in this genre – Civilization was published in 1991 and Reach for the Stars in the early 1980s. Master of Orion is a member of Gamespy’s Hall of Fame and GameSpot’s Greatest Games of All Time
The “Orion” of the title is a star system which contains the home world of an ancient race. That planet is extremely valuable – it is by far the most productive planet in the galaxy for research, and among the biggest by population. Also, it contains artifacts left there by the ancients, which provide the secrets of very advanced military technologies. But to colonize this planet, players must conquer the Guardian, a very powerful robotic battleship.
This game, along with Civilization Series and Master of Magic, are considered the greatest Turn-based Macro-Strategy Games of All time. The early 90′s in which these games were released can definitely be considered the Golden Age of Turn Based Strategy Games. As the great strategy games that followed would be Warcraft, Age of Empires, Command and Conquer and the like…all real time strategy games. It’s a shame that the world seems to have lost the art of developing good turn based strategy games, but alas perhaps no one could beat these games and thus people gave up trying…