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Tower Defense Master: Build, Upgrade, and Defend Your Base

Tower Defense: A Fun and Strategic Genre of Games

Tower defense is a subgenre of strategy games where the goal is to defend a player's territory or possessions by obstructing the enemy attackers or by stopping enemies from reaching the exits, usually achieved by placing defensive structures on or along their path of attack. Tower defense games are some of the most approachable and addictive strategy games around, as they combine elements from puzzle games and real-time strategy games. They also offer a variety of gameplay options, challenges, and rewards for players of different skill levels and preferences.

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In this article, we will explore the history, strategies, and benefits of tower defense games. We will also look at some examples of tower defense games that you can play online or on your devices. Whether you are new to tower defense or a seasoned veteran, we hope you will find something interesting and useful in this article.

History of Tower Defense

The tower defense genre can trace its lineage back to the golden age of arcade video games in the 1980s. The object of the arcade game Space Invaders, released in 1978, was to defend the player's territory (represented by the bottom of the screen) against waves of incoming enemies. The game featured shields that could be used to strategically obstruct enemy attacks on the player and assist the player in defending their territory, though not to expressly protect the territory. The 1980 game Missile Command changed that by giving shields a more strategic role. In the game, players could obstruct incoming missiles, and there were multiple attack paths in each attack wave. Missile Command was also the first of its kind to make use of a pointing device, a trackball, enabling players to use a crosshair. The innovation was ahead of its time and anticipated the genre's later boom, which was paved by the wide adoption of the computer mouse. Additionally, in Missile Command, the sole target of the attackers is the base, not a specific player character. For these reasons, some regard it as the first true game in the genre.

While later arcade games like Defender (1981) and Choplifter (1982) lacked the strategy element of Missile Command, they began a trend of games that shifted the primary objective to defending non-player items. In these games, defending non-players from waves of attackers is key to progressing. Parker Brothers' 1982 title Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back for the Atari 2600 was one of the first tie-ins to popularize the base defense style. The concept of waves of enemies attacking the base in single file (in this case AT-ATs) proved a formula that was subsequently copied by many games as the shift from arcade to PC gaming began. Players were now able to choose from different methods of obstructing attackers' progress.

The first game to use the term "tower defense" was Rampart, released by Atari Games in 1990. The game involved building and repairing walls around a castle using Tetris-like pieces while shooting cannons at enemy ships. The game also introduced a multiplayer mode, where players could compete against each other by building and destroying walls. Rampart was a critical and commercial success, and influenced many later games in the genre.

The tower defense genre gained more popularity and recognition with the rise of real-time strategy (RTS) games in the mid-1990s. Some of the RTS games, such as Warcraft (1994), Command & Conquer (1995), and StarCraft (1998), featured missions or modes that required the player to build and defend a base against enemy attacks. These missions often served as tutorials or challenges for the main RTS gameplay. However, some players enjoyed these missions so much that they started to create their own custom maps and scenarios that focused solely on tower defense. These maps and scenarios were shared online and became popular among the RTS fan community.

One of the most influential and well-known examples of these custom maps was Aeon of Strife, created by a fan named Aeon64 for StarCraft. The map featured four players controlling individual heroes who had to defend their base from waves of computer-controlled enemies. The map also introduced the concept of lanes, which are predefined paths that enemies follow towards the base. The map was later ported to Warcraft III (2002) by another fan named Eul, who added more features and improvements. The map was then renamed as Defense of the Ancients, or DotA for short. DotA became a phenomenon in the gaming world, spawning countless variations, clones, and spin-offs. It also gave birth to a new subgenre of tower defense games, known as multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games, where players control individual heroes or units and cooperate with other players to destroy the enemy base.

The tower defense genre also expanded to other platforms and genres, such as mobile devices, consoles, web browsers, and casual games. Some of the notable examples of these games are Plants vs. Zombies (2009), Bloons TD (2007), Kingdom Rush (2011), GemCraft (2008), and TowerMadness (2009). These games introduced new mechanics, themes, graphics, and modes to the genre, making it more diverse and appealing to a wider audience.

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Strategies for Tower Defense

Tower defense games are not only fun but also challenging and strategic. They require players to think ahead, plan carefully, and adapt quickly to changing situations. Here are some of the common tips and tricks for playing tower defense games:

  • Know your towers and enemies. Different towers have different strengths, weaknesses, costs, ranges, speeds, and effects. Likewise, different enemies have different attributes, behaviors, resistances, and vulnerabilities. You should study the information and statistics of your towers and enemies before starting a game, so you can choose the best towers for each situation and counter the enemy's strengths.

  • Use the terrain to your advantage. The terrain of the map can affect your tower placement and enemy movement. You should look for choke points, corners, curves, hills, bridges, gaps, and other features that can help you slow down, block, or divert the enemy's path. You should also avoid placing towers in places where they can be easily bypassed or out of range.

  • Balance your resources. Resources are usually limited in tower defense games, so you have to manage them wisely. Resources can include money, energy, lives, time, or other factors that affect your tower building and upgrading options. You should balance your spending between building new towers, upgrading existing towers, repairing damaged towers, or buying special items or abilities. You should also save some resources for emergencies or unexpected events.

  • Diversify your defenses. Relying on one type of tower or strategy can be risky and ineffective in tower defense games. Enemies can vary in their numbers, types, and abilities, and some of them can be immune or resistant to certain towers or effects. You should have a mix of towers that can deal different types of damage, such as physical, magical, elemental, splash, piercing, or DOT (damage over time). You should also have some towers that can provide support, such as slowing, stunning, buffing, or debuffing the enemies or your towers.

  • Upgrade your towers wisely. Upgrading your towers can make them more powerful, efficient, and versatile. However, upgrading can also be costly and time-consuming, and sometimes it is better to build more towers instead of upgrading a few. You should upgrade your towers based on their performance, potential, and priority. You should also consider the trade-offs and opportunity costs of upgrading versus building.

These are some of the basic strategies for tower defense games. However, each game can have its own rules, mechanics, and features that can affect your strategy. You should always experiment and try different combinations and approaches to find the best solution for each level and challenge.

Benefits of Tower Defense

Tower defense games are not only enjoyable but also beneficial for players. They


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