Tolkien has described first three ages of Middle-earth, his son helped too, and now we have a brand new ages added to it. Middle-earth is famous fictional world where The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were set. The fiction continues to live.
Don't forget to like us on FACEBOOK, thanks so much!
The Silmarillion, a book that has been finished by Tolkien’s son described the creating of Middle-earth. Awakening of the Elves, the ultimate evil guy Morgoth (formerly known as Melkor) who was Sauron’s master, and Shelob’s mother Ungoliant were just few of important characters that later influenced The Lord of The Rings trilogy. This was The First Age also known as the Elder Days.
The Second Age describes events that occurred after Morgoth was banished into the Void. This short age lasted 3441 years and ended with Sauron’s defeat. What’s important about this age is that the Last Alliance of Elves and Men was formed in order to rid of Sauron. Numenor fell as well and of course humans were treachery so lovely elves wouldn’t want to have anything to do with them again.
Voted as the best book of a century, The Lord of the Rings was set in the Third Age of the Middle-earth, same as The Hobbit. Most elves left for Valinor for being disturbed by the recent war in which Sauron fell. No wonder they were afraid because the Silmarillion suggest that orcs are descended from East Elves who were captured by Morgoth, having their bodies and minds distorted and corrupted. Who would want to face that destiny eh? A lot can be said about The Third Age, but let’s get onto the latest Fourth Age.
The Fourth Age of Middle-earth arrived soon after TV was discovered and became hugely popular by an invention of the Internet. We are seeing vast numbers of video games inspired by Tolkien’s fictional world and its races.
The Hobbit Video Game by Melbourne House
The very first game based on The Hobbit book was an illustrated text adventure. The game was considered rather advance for its time due to its parser which was innovative and used a subset of English, called Inglish. Many locations were an illustrated image and what was most innovative is that the game was in real time, if you went AFK for too long, events continued whether you liked it or not. The game was released in 1982, them good text-adventures were epic.
The Fellowship of the Ring by Melbourne House
Based on the book of the same name and released in 1985, this video game wasn't as popular as The Hobbit. Fans were complaining about the removal of the real-time aspect and not so complex AI. The Fellowship of the Ring Software Adventure didn't have much to offer.
Few other text based adventures followed, created by Melbourne House and a BBC Micro.
War in Middle-earth an RTS video game
The game was released by Melbourne House in 1988, combining a small scale character level and large scale army unit. This title lacked a genuine strategy and gameplay was too similar on subsequent playthroughs. However, War in Middle-earth followed books faithfully and was loved by gamers who appreciate the story more than a gameplay.
Few others tried to bring Tolkien’s work into a computer gaming. Shadowfax which was a simple side-scrolling action game was most notable one.
Lord of the Rings Vol. I and II video games
Interplay teamed up with Electronic Arts to bring us a special CD-ROM version in 1990. It was later followed by Lord of the Rings Vol. II: The Two Towers. Role-playing video games base on first two books of LOTR trilogy. Third sequel was meant to be, although it was never finished.
Others that followed weren't significant at all, and we are about to talk of games released after The Lord of the Rings film trilogy started.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers video game
The game was based on first two films in trilogy and was one of the best-selling console games of 2002 and 2003. Critically acclaimed for seamless transitions from film to interactive gameplay where players could play as Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and isildur in some levels. Multiplayer mode also has an option to unlock Gimli. Stormfront the developer, and EA as a publisher won the 2003 Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Award for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Engineering.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King video game
Third-person hack-n-slash type of game, based on second and third films. Similar to previous game, except with multiple storylines, more playable characters, and innovative increased interaction with environment. Released in 2003, the game was enjoyed by LOTR fans and gamers who love action packed gameplay. Another hit by EA when they really challenged everything.
The Hobbit Video Game by Vivendi Universal
Published by Sierra, The Hobbit is a platformer with puzzles and not so easy enemies, even though game was meant for younger audience. Players have to guide Bilbo through his quest which follows the book. We loved this game, played it over and over again. Finding secret objects all around the Shire, then fighting enemies, collecting items, and all that one platformer should have.
The Lord of the Rings: War of the Ring video game
Another hit published by Sierra Entertainment, only this time it was a real-time strategy (RTS). Based on The Lord of the Rings novel, this title was released in 2003. Gameplay is similar to one we seen in Warcraft III, though it has more features. Real-time strategy fans might not like it as much as casual gamers and Middle-earth fans would. If you enjoy storyline, then this is the game for you as it expands events of the War of the Ring that was told in the fantasy trilogy.
The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth, and a turn based RPG The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age were released in 2004. Both video games were also based on the film trilogy.
The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II
Real-time strategy released by EA in 2006. Based on novels rather than films, the story is divided into Good and Evil campaigns. Glorfindel is a main focus of the Good Campaign, while Sauron is the main protagonist of the Evil one. The gameplay requires player to build their base, produce units, research upgrades, gather resources, and attack and defend. Story is more focused on the events occurred in the War in the North differs somewhat from the novels.
The Lord of the Rings Online a.k.a. LOTRO
A massively multiplayer online role-playing game, which is set during the time period covered by the LOTR novels. First released in April 2007, the game has seen five expansion, with latest being Helm’s Deeps. Gameplay is typical for MMO kind and is free-to-play.
The Lord of the Rings: Conquest
This title is an action game published by EA. Players can choose to play as both good and evil by taking a role of a soldier of Rivendell, Gondor, Mordor, Rohan, or Isengard. It is about completing given objectives of holding a position for a certain amount of time, or defeating a certain amount of enemies. Fans weren't really impressed with this one, the game was lacking an epic feel given by the films and novels.
The Lord of the Rings: War in the North
Role-playing video game released in 2011 with true RPG features such as upgradeable skills, customizable characters, abilities, and everything else you could hope for of a good RPG game. The game was more accepted than previous one. The story begins with Gandalf speaking of the Great War and its heroes. Sauron’s shadow is spreading its grasp and players have to take a quest of stopping this evil guy once and for all.
We've covered official video games released up to this date, though there are several unofficial ones as well. There are several video games still in development including the Shadow of Mordor which we recently covered.
Video games, Board Games, Card Games, and all other kind of games are creating The Fourth Age of the Middle-earth. Nothing has been written of it in the books, apart from a mention of it starting after the events that occurred in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Well-known and loved fictional world created by Tolkien will continue to live thanks to its fans and modern age.
Dolores is SEO and Digital Marketing consultant who has been completely hog-washed into doing this site by KC.