PLATO Empire was a direct ancestor to Netrek. PLATO was a system designed in 1968 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to be a time-sharing based computer-aided education system.

Of course, the best thing to do was play games on its 512x512 pixel gas plasma display, which was touch sensitive (no mouse required!!).

The goal of the game was simple: conquer the galaxy. You could play as one of four empires: Federation, Romulan, Orion, or Kazari (which were really Klingons, but re-named to avoid legal trouble; the name was changed to Klingon in 1991.)

The galaxy consisted of 25 planets, and each race received 3 of them, with 50 armies on each. Using spaceships, a player would transport his armies to enemy or neutral planets, in an attempt to attain superiority over the entire galaxy. In general, it was best to play the Orion race because, while weaker, their ships were the fastest.

The game required fast thinking (you had to compute angles for phaser fire in your head for instance), and often produced heated emotions. In those days, players were often playing on terminals in the same room and many apocryphal and archetypal stories exist about physical fights that arose from the electronic ones.

In the early 1980s, many PLATO Empire addicts began writing similar programs for other, more popular, types of computer systems, such as VAX/VMS and UNIX based systems. These programs eventually evolved into what is now known as Netrek.

Information contained here adapted from the history of Netrek FAQ, http://www.ecst.csuchico.edu/~netrek/history/History.html

Empire, in the old tty single-player game form, is a direct ancestor of games like Civilization and Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. Basic idea was to take over cities and make them produce more soldiers and war machines, eventually taking over all of the cities. It didn't offer much diplomacy or management, or even too much strategy - given enough armies, the computer could be smothered anyway.

The old character-based Empire still exists, I've even played it. These days, however, it's easier to get XConq and play the included Empire scenario (though you must remember Empire had square-based map and XConq uses hex map, but that's a minor detail). XConq also comes with about zillion more interesting games that offer more challenge...

And yes, Empire was addictive. SMAC quadruply so. =)

EMP = E = engine

empire n.

Any of a family of military simulations derived from a game written by Peter Langston many years ago. A number of multi-player variants of varying degrees of sophistication exist, and one single-player version implemented for both Unix and VMS; the latter is even available as MS-DOS freeware. All are notoriously addictive. Of various commercial derivatives the best known is probably "Empire Deluxe" on PCs and Amigas.

Modern empire is a real-time wargame played over the internet by up to 120 players. Typical games last from 24 hours (blitz) to a couple of months (long term). The amount of sleep you can get while playing is a function of the rate at which updates occur and the number of co-rulers of your country. Empire server software is available for Unix-like machines, and clients for Unix and other platforms. A comprehensive history of the game is available at http://www.empire.cx/infopages/History.html. The Empire resource site is at http://www.empire.cx/.

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

A state comprising multiple nations in which one (known as the metropolitan) dominates the others.

Example

Roman Empire: Rome was the metropolitan and gave the state its bureacracy, military hierachy, adminstration and laws. However, the peoples of the Empire comprised many different nations (such as Celts, Greeks, Egyptians, Iberians, Germans etc.) who retained their distinctive cultures, religions. The Romans recognised the nature of their empire and elected to leave these local traditions unaltered.

Written and directed by Franc Reyes, Empire is the story of Vic Rosa, a heroin dealer in the South Bronx. After meeting investment banker Jack, he tries to turn his lifestyle legit, but ends up showing us that you can take the drug dealer and put him in an Armani suit but you can't really change his true nature.

The premise of the film is outstanding, however, the execution does not follow the same standard. Granted, this is coming from someone who is clearly not a member of the target audiance. When I first saw the preview (while seeing the film 8 Mile) I thought the bulk of the film would be used to show Vic's character chasing after Jack. But it wasn't.

Had this been my movie, I would have spent the first 15 minutes showing Vic's South Bronx lifestyle, then spent the middle portion of the movie exploring Vic's transition to a "legitimate" lifestyle, and the final third of the movie with him going after Jack. I would have made it an interesting gangster movie with a little social critique mixed in for good measure. Unfortunately the movie is 105 minutes of warming up the engine only to turn it off.

The opening sequence is good. You get a brief understanding of how the heroin trade works, you see that Vic has a girlfriend Carmen, your introduced to many of the other players and you get a big shock that shifts the direction of the film just at the right moments. In terms of traditional structure, Reyes has it dead right up until about page 30.

But Reyes opens the doors to far too may subplots, and the film gets so tangled up in lightly touching on all of them that it never explores any of them far enough. The relationship with Carmen is interesting- but we never get a good sense of how she really feels about her boyfriend's career choice. Vic tells us that she doesn't like it, but yet she sure seems to like the $17,000 necklace he buys her.

Eventually Vic's attempt to join Jack's world creates tension, but none of that tension is developed in a meaningful way.

Jack is a key character in the film, yet we no nothing about him. Was he really an investment banker? Did he scam all his clients? Why was he scamming his clients? Why did he decide to scam Vic?Did he screw someone else over and need the money to cover his ass? And what is the deal with his girlfriend? Is she in on the scam? If she is, why is she in college? And if she is in college, how is it that she can just take off with Jack? All interesting and unexplored questions.

By far, the character I was most intrigued with was that of Joanna Menendez, who is Vic's supplier, because her backstory has got to be damn interesting.

The movie could have been an interesting paralelle between the world Vic came from and the one he wanted to be a part of, but it isn't. It skims the surface of greed in America, and how how people will do almost anything to get a piece of the American pie dream, but doesn't explore it far enough to make it interesting. Clearly Vic is looking for respect and validation in his life, and he believed that this comes from wealth and power. Carmen plays the foil, arguing that loyal friends and a community you feel comfortable in is more important.

The ending is a complete cop-out. I got sucked in by the first hour and fourty-five minutes of the movie and the world it created only to have it end in a predictable and uninteresting manner. Not that a sappy happy Hollywood ending would have been better.

Leguizamo handles the voice over portion of his role well- you can almost imagine him telling you the whole story over a couple of beers, with a hidden American Beauty sort of twist. In general, he's a solid actor- Hollywood should be writing more roles for him. Part of me truly would like to see him get an Oscar nod for this role.

For a first attempt as a director and a writer, I give Reyes a lot of credit. However, this movie could have been something more with the right effort.

Cast:

Em"pire (?), n. [F., fr. L. imperium a command, sovereignty, dominion, empire, fr. imperare. See Emperor; cf. Imperial.]

1.

Supreme power; sovereignty; sway; dominion.

"The empire of the sea."

Shak.

Over hell extend His empire, and with iron scepter rule. Milton.

2.

The dominion of an emperor; the territory or countries under the jurisdiction and dominion of an emperor (rarely of a king), usually of greater extent than a kingdom, always comprising a variety in the nationality of, or the forms of administration in, constituent and subordinate portions; as, the Austrian empire.

Empire carries with it the idea of a vast and complicated government. C. J. Smith.

3.

Any dominion; supreme control; governing influence; rule; sway; as, the empire of mind or of reason.

"Under the empire of facts."

M. Arnold.

Another force which, in the Middle Ages, shared with chivalry the empire over the minds of men. A. W. Ward.

Celestial empire. See under Celestial. -- Empire City, a common designation of the city of New York. -- Empire State, a common designation of the State of New York.

Syn. -- Sway; dominion; rule; control; reign; sovereignty; government; kingdom; realm; state.

 

© Webster 1913.

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