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Classic super-customizable RTS Warzone 2100 is completely free on Steam

(Image credit: Pumpkin Studios)

It seems that we’ve done you a great disservice, nerds. We haven’t spoken about the very rad old real-time strategy Warzone 2100 in almost seven years and we haven’t yet alerted you to the fact that it’s completely free on Steam. First released in 1999, Warzone 2100 is a game all about a sprawling spaghetti pile of a tech tree you can use to customize your units to your heart’s content. Original developers Pumpkin Studios released the source code in 2004 and a fan community has kept the game alive and in development ever since…  culminating in a release on Steam. The campaign story of the game is fully playable, following the story of an organization seeking to rebuild human civilization after a nuclear holocaust in the late 21st century. It is delightfully dated. The multiplayer and skirmish modes are also fully functional.

Warzone 2100 stands out from other RTS games of the time for its many customizable units, which can be given a specific chassis, drive system, and mounted turret. The game also has a lot of artillery dueling and radar spotting, something that a lot of other games at the time didn’t have. Using sensors and radar to find, then eliminate, the enemy’s artillery was a huge factor in competitive matches. Warzone 2100 is, ultimately, a fascinating bit of gaming history from when the RTS was one of the truly dominant genres—though it’s now a genre on the brink of death. 

You can check out Warzone 2100 on Steam for free. In this time of quarantines and working from home, this is in fact an excellent way to avoid address your real game backlog.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.