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In Age of Empires, players are able to manage a tribe with their mouse. Command them to build houses, docks, farms, and temples. The player advances their civilization through time by learning new skills. The game allows the player to advance through the Ages: The Paleolithic (old Stone Age), the Neolithic (new Stone Age, or the Tool Age), the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age. If the player would rather get away from the historical aspect, the game offers a random terrain generator and a custom scenario builder.

The game has four resources: food, obtained by either hunting, foraging, fishing, or farming; wood, which must be logged by hand; stone, which must be mined; and gold, which can either be mined or obtained through trade with other players.

As a real-time war game, Age of Empires naturally revolves around gathering resources and producing units.


Age of Empires Windows A Hatti village.
Age of Empires Windows Four galleys against one? It's unfair...
Age of Empires Windows Beginners exploring.
Age of Empires Windows Come here!

Promo Images

Age of Empires Screenshot
Age of Empires Screenshot
Age of Empires Other In-game building sprite
Age of Empires Screenshot


Alternate Titles

  • "帝国时代" -- Chinese spelling (simplified)
  • "世紀帝國" -- Chinese spelling (traditional)
  • "Tribe" -- Working title
  • "Diguo Shidai" -- Chinese title
  • "Dawn of Man" -- Early working title
  • "AoE" -- Abbreviated name
  • "Age of Empires: Un juego épico para crear y conquistar imperios" -- Spanish tag-lined title
  • "Age of Empires: Ein Spiel über große Zivilsationen und Eroberungen" -- German tag-lined title
  • "Age Of Empires: Bâtissez votre civilization." -- French tag-lined title
  • "Age of Empires: An Epic Game of Empire-Building and Conquest" -- Tag-lined title
  • "Age of Empires 1" -- Retroactive informal name

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Admirable, but not truly lovable. Windows PCGamer77 (3233)
Old, but still good RTS. Windows Sir Gofermajster (493)
A million problems and the occasional flash of brilliance Windows Maw (884)
Brilliant! Up until its sequel, the best RTS ever made. Windows ShadowShrike (303)
"Great fun for the RTS fan..." Windows Unrealist (197)
This is a GREAT RTS game! Windows MiG Attack (9)
oh my God... what a disappointment! Windows Gothicgene (83)
Another great conquer the world game. Windows Jeff Watts (21)
Microsoft=Bad entertainment. Windows Joakim Kihlman (275)
A typical Microsoft failure. Windows Tomer Gabel (4646)

Critic Reviews

PC Zone Windows Aug 13, 2001 9.4 out of 10 94
PC Jeux Windows Oct, 1997 92 out of 100 92
Mega Score Windows Nov, 1997 90 out of 100 90 Windows Jul 12, 2006 17 out of 20 85
GameGenie Windows 1997 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
Inside Mac Games (IMG) Macintosh Nov 03, 1999 8 out of 10 80
Reset Windows Feb, 1998 8 out of 10 80
Game Vortex Windows 2008 75 out of 100 75
IGN Macintosh Jun 07, 2002 7 out of 10 70
Digital Press - Classic Video Games Windows May 30, 2007 5 out of 10 50


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1001 Video Games

Age of Empires appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Demo version

The demo released is worth getting, even for those owning the full game. It includes a tutorial campaign featuring the Hittites and two maps not present in the full version.


Being a RTS, it's surprising the printed manual in the UK release only covers the game basics, but the game includes a large online help file worth hundreds of pages of both game and historical information. Guess it's true that digital information does save trees.


"Multiplayer mode" in Age of Empires is actually something of a misnomer. It is possible to create and play a multiplayer game with only one player.


In 1998, Age of Empires has won both the Gold- and Platinum-Awards from the German VUD (Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland - Entertainment Software Association Germany) for selling more then 100,000 units (Gold) and more then 200,000 units (Platinum) in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. As the Gold-Award is not counted into the Platinum-Award, both awards total in between 300,000 and 700,000 units sold.


  • Computer Gaming World
    • March 1998 (Issue #164) – Outstanding Multiplay of the Year
    • June 2001 (Issue #203) – Introduced into the Hall of Fame
  • Game Informer
    • August 2001 (Issue #100) - #81 in the Top 100 Games of All Time poll
  • GameSpy
    • 2001 – #14 Top Game of All Time
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 12/1999 - #14 in the "100 Most Important PC Games of the Nineties" ranking
  • PC Gamer
    • April 2000 issue - #21 in the Readers All-Time Top 50 Games poll
  • Verband der Unterhaltungssoftware Deutschland (Entertainment Software Association Germany)
    • 1998 - Gold Award for selling more then 100,000 units in Germany, Austria and Switzerland
    • 1998 - Platin Award for selling more then 300,000 units in Germany, Austria and Switzerland

Information also contributed by Luis Silva, Maw, PCGamer77 and Xoleras

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Contributed to by MajorDad (536) and Jeanne (76509)