Archive for March, 2011

Synopses of Tom Clancy Novels by Craig Taylor

March 16, 2011 Comments off

An avid reader, Craig Taylor counts military action and suspense novelist Tom Clancy among his favorite authors. A highly prolific writer, Tom Clancy has produced a large number of popular works over the course of his 26-year career. Here are a few brief synopses of Tom Clancy’s better-known novels.

The Hunt for Red October (1984) In Tom Clancy’s first novel, CIA operative Jack Ryan helps a respected Soviet submarine captain in his quest to defect from the Soviet Union. One of Clancy’s most popular works to date, The Hunt for Red October spawned a successful 1990 movie starring Alec Baldwin as Jack Ryan and Sean Connery as Captain Ramius.

Patriot Games (1987) Another novel starring iconic CIA operative Jack Ryan, Patriot Games takes place before the events in The Hunt for Red October. In the book, Jack Ryan prevents an attack on the Prince and Princess of Wales by an Irish terrorist group, causing the organization to target Ryan’s home in Maryland while he hosts the royal couple. Patriot Games also led to a movie, this time starring Harrison Ford as Jack Ryan.

Clear and Present Danger (1989) In Clear and Present Danger, recurring protagonist Jack Ryan must travel to Colombia to rescue soldiers being held prisoner by drug cartels. During his unauthorized mission in South America, Jack Ryan meets up with John Clark, another recurring character in Tom Clancy’s novels. In the 1994 movie, Harrison Ford reprises his role as Jack Ryan, and Willem Dafoe plays the part of John Clark.

Rainbow Six (1998) One of Tom Clancy’s later works, Rainbow Six was released with a video game of the same name. In the book, John Clark and his son-in-law spearhead a global counterterrorism unit to stop eco-terrorists from infecting the world’s population with a deadly virus. The title of the novel refers to an elite black-ops group composed of highly skilled operatives from a number of countries.

By Craig William Taylor

Categories: Craig Taylor

Real-Time Strategy Computer Games

March 16, 2011 Comments off

In the world of computer gaming, real-time strategy (RTS) refers to a type of game in which the player controls movable units and buildings with the intent of controlling a map and eliminating an opponent’s army. Although the genre existed as early as the 1980s, RTS truly grew to prominence in the late 1990s with the rise of game developer Blizzard Entertainment. Here is a list of some of the most famous RTS titles in recent years.

Starcraft: Released in 1998, Starcraft is considered by many to be the seminal title in the modern RTS genre. In the game, players control one of three races fighting to dominate the far reaches of the Milky Way. The Terrans, human exiles from Earth, are highly resourceful and capable of adapting to many unique situations. The insect-like Zerg genetically assimilate other races and produce large numbers of weaker units for use in combat. By far the most technologically advanced of the three races, the Protoss rely on expensive and powerful units in battle. Players gather resources to build armies and achieve technological advances while attempting to eliminate their opponent. Starcraft is one of the best-selling computer games of all time, having sold 11 million copies as of February 2009.

Warcraft III: This RTS title, released in 2002, built on the success of Starcraft four years before. Players control one of four races (Humans, Orcs, Night Elves, and the Undead), and they use special hero units to augment their armies. By including the hero unit, Blizzard Entertainment combined elements of traditional RTS games and more character-centered RPG (role-playing game) titles such as Diablo and the Final Fantasy series.

Starcraft II: The long-awaited sequel to the hit game Starcraft, Starcraft II first hit stores in July 2010. The game retains many of the same features as the original and includes a host of new units and buildings. Starcraft II also operates on a fully 3D engine and contains impressive graphics compared to the original. In just the first month after its release, Starcraft II sold more than 3 million copies.

By Craig William Taylor