Friday, August 31, 2012

10 Misidentified Fossils

by Kate Wan

When we find common fossils of seashells at the beach, they are instantly and easily recognized. However, fossils of creatures less familiar to us can be harder to identify. To compound the problem, a great number of fossils are incomplete or broken. It is no surprise that until good samples are found, the fossils of extinct creatures are often mistaken for the wrong type of animal entirely. Here are ten such fossils.


Ammonites are fairly common fossils and have been misidentified for thousands of years. The ancient Greeks thought they were ram horns, and named them after the Egyptian god Ammon who sported such horns. The ancient Chinese called them horn stones for a similar reason. In Nepal they are seen as a holy relic left by the god Vishnu. The Vikings regarded them as the sacred petrified offspring of the world serpent, Jormungand. In the Middle Ages, they were known in Europe as snake stones, as they were thought to be the hardened bodies of coiled snakes turned to stone by various Christian saints. Some industrious traders would even carve snake heads onto the ends of ammonites and sell them. Today, however, we know that they are merely the remains of a shelled squid-like creature that lived from four hundred million years ago right up until the demise of the dinosaurs. More complete fossils, although not as common as those of just the shells, show the imprints of protruding tentacles and an amorphous head, much like those of the modern nautilus.

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Fossilized fish teeth have been interpreted in many ways. Some ancient fish had hard, flat molar teeth for crushing shellfish. In Greece, and later much of Europe, the fossilized remnants of these teeth were thought to be magic jewels, and were often called toadstones, as a reference to the gems that were thought to be embedded in the heads of large toads. They were used in jewelery and thought to cure epilepsy and poisoning. In Japan, the fossilized flat and sharp teeth of sharks were identified as the discarded fingernails of a terrible monster, the tengu. In Europe, shark teeth were seen to be hardened devil tongues. It was not until the insight of the seventeenth century anatomist Steno that the many tongue stones were finally shown at a public dissection to be identical to the teeth of sharks, and thus came the idea that fossils did not spontaneously appear in the ground, but instead came from the remains of long dead ancient animals.

Screen Shot 2012-08-31 At 09.23.54

Lepidodendron is an ancient tree-like plant with bark rather like a pine cone – covered in large flat scales. These were merely diamond-shaped leaf scars. The leaves themselves were similar to blades of grass, and Lepidodendron was more closely related to a herb than a true tree. Much of Europe’s coal comes from their remains. Their fossils, however, can be spectacular. The long trunks of the trees were often fossilized whole, having grown up to thirty meters long and one meter wide. They were often exhibited at nineteenth century fairgrounds as the dead bodies of scaled serpents and dragons. People would pay a small fee to be shown the fossil and awed by an invented story of either the serpent’s life or a dramatic retelling of its fate. These often involved various Christian saints. More complete fossils show not only a tree trunk, but the branches, roots, leaves, and sometimes reproductive cone spores, confirming its true identity as a large plant and not proof of a mythical creature.

2085F Japon Hatoma

On the Pacific beaches of southern Japan, one might casually pause and look at the seemingly ordinary sand grains more closely. Many of them are shaped as tiny stars, less than a millimeter across. Local legends state that these are the remains of the unfortunate children of the heavenly union of two stars. These astral children died either by falling to earth or by being killed by a monstrous serpent in the sea near the Japanese island of Okinawa. Their delicate skeletons wash up along the shore and are all that is left of the poor creatures. Naturally, these tiny stars are actually the remains of a different type of life: amoeba-like creatures called foraminifera. These creatures and their modern descendants are single-celled, and build themselves a protective shell. When they die, the spiky shells remain behind, and upon inspection with a microscope, show many tiny chambers and detailed structures.

Carnegie Protoceratops Andrewsi

The dinosaur called protoceratops was a relative of the more famous triceratops. It walked on four legs and was comparable in size to a large dog, albeit much heavier. Most distinctively, it had a large skull with a bird-like beak and a bony frill sticking out from the back of the skull around its shoulders. Protoceratops lived in large herds which resulted in a large number of fossils being left behind. To people not acquainted with knowledge of dinosaurs, the many preserved skeletons resembled fantastical and bizarre creatures. Due to their size, they were mistaken for small lions. However, the distinctive skull lead to the idea of a lion with a hooked beak like that of an eagle. The front feet of protoceratops more closely resemble claws than lion paws, and so the skeleton was interpreted as that of a griffin: a mythical fusion of lion and eagle. According to legend, griffins were man-eating lions with the head and front legs of a giant eagle. Many believe that the legend itself was inspired by protoceratops fossils rather than merely reinforced by them.

Belemnites Paxillosus

Belemnites were ancient animals which resembled squid. Unlike squid, they had ten arms of equal length which were covered in tiny hooks, and, most distinctively, they had a skeleton. Belemnites coexisted with the dinosaurs, and filled the seas. The most frequently found fossilized part of their skeleton showed the cylindrical, pointed bodies, but lacked softer structures such as tentacles. The fossils are long and bullet-shaped. In Europe, people thought these were thunderbolts – that is, objects which were hurled down from the heavens and created the sound of thunder as they crashed. They were associated with various thunder gods and were called thunder arrows or thunderstones. Many people kept them in various parts of their homes to ward off lightning strikes. Other people thought belemnites came from elves rather than gods. They considered them to be elf fingers, fairy candles, or pixie bolts. People used them in various superstitious medicines, including treating snake bites and headaches by tying the fossil onto the afflicted part of the body and chanting various incantations.


Anchisaurus was a type of early dinosaur. It was herbivorous, had a long neck and tail, and was related to the more familiar apatosaurus and diplodocus. Anchisaurus was smaller than its more recent relatives, and grew to only slightly over 2m long. It evolved from bipedal ancestors, and was not fully quadrupedal – although its front legs were better designed for walking, it could rise up on its hind legs when needed and use its front legs as makeshift hands. Anchisaurus is of historical interest due to the misidentification in its discovery. Anchisaurus was mistaken for the animal we should be most familiar with: humans. Its long neck, longer tail, lizard-like pelvis, reptilian skull, and other features were all overlooked. The sole fact that it was very approximately human sized was enough to convince people that it was the remains of a human. After finding more such fossils over several decades, the word ‘dinosaur’ was coined and people began to come to the conclusion that the bones were reptilian. Nevertheless, the very fact that such obviously inhuman fossils could ever be thought to be human speaks volumes of our ability to delude ourselves.


Until several thousand years ago, gigantic mastodons and mammoths roamed the icy earth. They resembled elephants with a hairy coat and tusks many meters long. A mass extinction, climate change, and over-hunting caused their eventual demise. Like modern elephants, these animals had more muscles in their trunk than in the entirety of the rest of their body. The trunk itself is the closest thing any land creature has developed to a tentacle, and it is capable of incredibly fine, delicate movements as well as immense brute strength. The many sophisticated trunk muscles require a large space to be attached to, resulting in a hole at the front of the skull. Modern elephant skulls demonstrate the same phenomenon. Although people living in the range of elephants might be familiar with this, to others, finding such an enormous fossilized skull with a gigantic hole in the front of it conjures up the notion of a giant human with one huge eye socket. The legend of the Cyclops is thought to have come from the skulls of the mastodons and mammoths found outside Africa.

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Sea urchins are spiky, spherical creatures commonly found along the seashore. They are in a group of animals called echinodermata, meaning ‘spiny skin’ in ancient Greek. Sea urchins have been around for hundreds of millions of years, and their ancient ancestors have left plenty of fossils. Although similar in appearance to modern sea urchins, the fossils have a long history of being misidentified. In England, they were thought to be supernatural crowns, loaves of fairy bread, or magical snake eggs. In Denmark they were thought to be thunderstones, and were said to sweat before storms, helping people predict foul weather. The five lines found on many sea urchins were thought to be lucky, and they were kept as good luck charms in India. The magical powers attributed to sea urchins reflected the way each culture interpreted them, and they were variably thought to cure snake poison, help bread cook, protect households from storms, and improve providence.

Neanderthalis Cro-Magnon

Our many ancestors and cousins have left fossils all over the earth. Due to their obvious disparity with ourselves, before people had deduced human evolution they often had trouble interpreting the fossils. Those found in Europe and the Americas were sometimes said to be proof of the various human-like mythical creatures mentioned in the Bible, such as giants and demons. Others were said to be modern apes, despite their clear differences from any such living primate. It was even suggested that the hominid skeletons were those of modern men – albeit ‘lesser’ men, meaning all excepting those who made the claims. In more modern times, hominid fossils have been attributed to aliens rather than mythical monsters. It is thought that hominid fossils in Asia may have inspired the many legends of yeti creatures. Some even suggest that as many hominids coexisted with us in the past, the legends were not inspired by fossils but by the living creatures themselves.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ten Most Overrated Manga

Ten Most Overrated Manga

We have been discussing the most popular anime and only recently we discussed the most underrated manga series. Well, we are back with the ten most overrated manga series as well. Just so you know, by overrated I do not mean that these manga are bad, in fact, I read almost half of what’s mentioned underneath but we believe they deserve lesser attention than what they get. The plot summaries are provided for your convenience in case you are not familiar with a particular manga (ANN) and the ranking is based on opinions. If your favorite manga is included in here, please don’t feel bad because a few of mine are mentioned. Enjoy the read and your comments are welcome.


Naruto - Ten Most Overrated Manga

Naruto - Ten Most Overrated Manga

Before Naruto’s birth, a great demon fox had attacked the Hidden Leaf Village. A man known as the 4th Hokage sealed the demon inside the newly born Naruto, causing him to unknowingly grow up detested by his fellow villagers. Despite his lack of talent in many areas of ninjutsu, Naruto strives for only one goal: to gain the title of Hokage, the strongest ninja in his village. Desiring the respect he never received, Naruto works towards his dream with fellow friends Sasuke and Sakura and mentor Kakashi as they go through many trials and battles that come with being a ninja.


Death Note - Ten Most Overrated Manga

Death Note - Ten Most Overrated Manga

Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects–and he’s bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer. With L hot on his heels, will Light lose sight of his noble goal… or his life?


Vampire Knight - Ten Most Overrated Manga

Vampire Knight - Ten Most Overrated Manga

Cross Academy is attended by two groups of students: the Day Class and the Night Class. At twilight, when the students of the Day Class return to their dorm, they cross paths with the Night Class on their way to school. Yuki Cross and Zero Kiryu are the Guardians of the school, there to protect the Day Class from the Academy’s dark secret: the Night Class is full of vampires.


Bleach - Ten Most Overrated Manga

Bleach - Ten Most Overrated Manga

Ichigo Kurosaki has always been able to see ghosts, but this ability does not change his life nearly as much as his close encounter with Rukia Kuchiki, a Soul Reaper and member of the mysterious Soul Society. While fighting a Hollow, an evil spirit that preys on humans who display psychic energy, Rukia attempts to lend Ichigo some of her powers so that he can save his family; but much to her surprise, Ichigo absorbs every last drop of her energy. Now a full-fledged Soul Reaper himself, Ichigo quickly learns that the world he inhabits is one full of dangerous spirits and, along with Rukia–who is slowly regaining her powers–it is Ichigos job to protect the innocent from Hollows and help the spirits themselves find peace.


One Piece - Ten Most Overrated Manga

One Piece - Ten Most Overrated Manga

Seeking to be the greatest pirate in the world, young Monkey D. Luffy, endowed with stretching powers from the legendary Gomu Gomu Devil’s fruit, travels towards the Grand Line in search of One Piece, the greatest treasure in the world. Along with this ever increasing crew members, he faces many challenges and adventures in the seas of the world having made enemies and friends wherever he goes.

5. BABY & ME

Baby & Me - Ten Most Overrated Manga

Baby & Me - Ten Most Overrated Manga

Takuya is a normal Japanese elementary student whose mother died not very long ago, leaving him alone with his father and his baby brother Minoru. But his father is a busy man, and Takuya has to look after Minoru. Because of this responsibility that would normally never burden a child of his age, Takuya sometimes resents his fate and his baby brother… but his love for Minoru gives him the strength to carry on.


Inu Yasha - Ten Most Overrated Manga

Inu Yasha - Ten Most Overrated Manga

Kagome is a modern Japanese high school girl. Never the type to believe in myths and legends, her world view dramatically changes when, one day, she’s pulled out of her own time and into another! There, in Japan’s ancient past, Kagome discovers more than a few of those dusty old legends are true, and that her destiny is linked to one legendary creature in particular the dog-like half-demon called Inuyasha! That same trick of fate also ties them both to the Shikon Jewel, or Jewel of Four Souls; But demons beware, the smallest shard of the Shikon Jewel can give the user unimaginable power.


Princess Ai - Ten Most Overrated Manga

Princess Ai - Ten Most Overrated Manga

Take an amazing journey with a mysterious young woman searching for identity and salvation in this world and beyond. Ai finds herself in lost on the cold hard streets of Tokyo. She must piece together clues about herself and the secret of the heart shaped box she carries.


Sand Land - Ten Most Overrated Manga

Sand Land - Ten Most Overrated Manga

The world is a desolate wasteland called SandLand, inhabited by humans and demons. Water costs a lot of money so the people of SandLand thirst constantly. An old sheriff asks Beezlebub to help find the elusive Phantom Lake. Along with Thief, they go head to head with the king’s army and discover the truth behind many mysteries.


Vision of Escaflowne - Ten Most Overrated Manga

Vision of Escaflowne - Ten Most Overrated Manga

Hitomi Hoshino, a 16-year-old high school student with an interest in mysticism, experiences strange dreams at night. A mysterious temple, a tremendous jewel, a shadowy prince; the images trouble her, and a strange incantation keeps echoing in her mind. One day – during a simple fortune telling at school – Hitomi feels a magical pull, and in a shocking moment she is pulled from her body. She wakes up in a strange world where the Earth hangs in the sky and a headstrong prince asks her to power his god, the deity Escaflowne.

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Top 10 10 Greatest Photographs in Baseball History

by Flamehorse

The criteria for choosing and ranking these photographs are historical significance, artistic composition, action, and people involved. Some of the photographs’ nicknames were provided by the lister.


Caption: Pete Rose Collides with Ray Fosse

One of baseball’s most famous collisions occurred at the very end of the 1970 All-Star Game, when, after the ball was hit, Pete Rose of the Reds, on third, charged as fast as he possibly could for home, but instead of sliding, he simply tackled Fosse at full speed. Both men weighed 200 lbs or more and Rose got the better of it, tagging the plate and sending Fosse sprawling. He hit him so hard he dislocated Fosse’s right shoulder, and some claim this caused Fosse’s career’s downfall.

Rose was heavily criticized for what some called “too much aggression” given that winning the All-Star Game didn’t really matter. Rose did not apologize, and stated that he was just trying to win, lending credence to his nickname, “Charlie Hustle.” But if anyone should complain about this much aggression, they should first consider the next entry.


Caption: Cobb Steals Home

This photograph corroborates all the biographical literature’s descriptions of Ty Cobb’s true nature on the field. He didn’t play to win. He fought to kill. This incident occurred on 4 July 1912, and shows Cobb “stealing home” not by sliding under or around the catcher’s mitt, but by deliberately dropkicking him right in the groin. Baseball shoes back then had cleats, but not dull, hard plastic. They sported iron spikes in the toes and heels, and with them Cobb could run 100 meters in 10 seconds flat, even wearing his baggy uniform. He stood on third base and took out a steel file, sharpened his spikes, and then charged right in to the catcher. This was not against the rules and Cobb was ruled perfectly safe while the catcher writhed on the ground. His aggression is a substantial reason why Cobb holds the record for all-time home base steals with 54. Max Carey, who played from 1910 to 1929, is second, with 33. The unfortunate catcher in the photograph is Paul Krichell.


Caption: Mickey Mantle Tossing His Helmet

Mantle was one of the most powerful batters ever, and one of the fastest base runners. He had terrible knee problems throughout his career, and was still able to sprint from home to first in 3.4 seconds. He retired with a lifetime batting average of .298, which is very good, and 536 home runs, which is phenomenal. Many of his home runs were titanically powerful blasts. One famously measured 565 feet from home plate. Some say that another would have traveled 634 feet had it not struck the upper deck facade of Yankee Stadium’s grandstand. To say that Mantle had his share of joyous moments, both for himself and for his fans, is an understatement, but like any great player, he couldn’t stand playing poorly. He felt he had to give the fans what they paid to see. This photograph was taken in 1965 and shows Mantle having just struck out. Up to bat after him is John Dominis in the background. The photograph is very artistic, and does a great job showing the tragedy of the game. It has its highs, but it must have its lows, and here, Mantle is throwing his helmet away in disgust. He did not score a hit in this game. The picture also shows a key to his legendary power: his gigantic forearms. They’re almost Popeye-huge. Thus, he was able to swing the bat with excellent wrist control to give it extra snap.


Caption: Honus Wagner in Mid-air

Wagner’s nicknames were “the human vacuum cleaner,” and more well-known, “the Flying Dutchman.” He came from the Pennsylvania Dutch country, itself a misnomer, since it was originally Pennsylvania Deutsch. The inhabitants are largely descendants of German immigrants. Wagner’s full name was Johannes Peter Wagner. He was one of the absolute fastest base runners in the game’s history, and this photograph shows a little of that. He has just finished running from third to home and is making one final leap to tag the plate. His feet are both at least a foot off the ground and he makes it all look as effortless as “the man on the flying trapeze.” Wagner was an extremely nice guy to everyone, as opposed to his chief rival, Ty Cobb, and not nearly as well known as Cobb due to Cobb’s famed surliness. But Wagner was just as adept as stealing bases, tying with Cobb for the record of most single-inning steal cycles in history: on four separate occasions, he stole second, then third, then home in the same inning.


Caption: He Was Out!

This photograph shows Jackie Robinson, the first black player allowed into the majors, stealing home against possibly the greatest catcher ever, Yogi Berra. This occurred in Game 1 of the 1955 World Series, which Robinson’s Dodgers won, their first ever. It is part of a series of photos showing Robinson running the whole baseline and Berra getting into position to stop him. The umpire ruled that Robinson’s foot slid under Berra’s mitt and tagged the plate before Berra could bring his mitt down. The photo was always somewhat well-known but became legendary when Berra was stopped on the sidewalk one day years later by a fan who had a copy of it. Berra smiled and signed it, “He was out! Yogi Berra,” and then explained that he grazed Robinson’s shoe with his mitt, but that the umpire was behind Berra and couldn’t see. From then on, copies of the photo became popular collectibles, and Berra has never disappointed, always signing them, “He was out!” He even signed one for President Lyndon Johnson.


Caption: Yogi Berra Hugging Don Larsen

Don Larsen is not generally thought of as one of the greatest pitchers in history, but anyone who pitches a perfect game deserves to be on such a list. His perfect game occurred as Game 5 of the 1956 World Series, the only perfect game in World Series history. The suspense, the thrill, the jubilation, thus, could not have been topped. A perfect game is the ultimate achievement for a pitcher (except perhaps striking out all 27 batters with 3 pitches each, which has never happened). There have only been 23 in history. There were some close calls in this game, especially Gil Hodges’s screaming line drive to left-centerfield. No less than Mickey Mantle sprinted, dove, and caught it in the air. The last batter Larsen faced was Dale Mitchell, who retired with a massive .311 average. Larsen managed a called third strike to end the game, 27 up, 27 down, no hits, no runs, no walks, no struck batters, no errors. Yogi Berra immediately leaped up, ran, and jumped into Larsen’s arms as the crowd erupted. One of the most purely joyous moments baseball has seen.

Gehrig Goodbye

Caption: Lou Gehrig Looking at his Trophies

Possibly the saddest moment in baseball was immortalized in multiple photographs, since every major newspaper sent someone to take them. By the time Gehrig called it quits, the fans knew something was terribly wrong, and once his strange new disease (and its method of killing someone) made the papers, everyone in the country seemed firmly supportive of Gehrig. During the farewell between games of a doubleheader on 4 July 1939, 61,808 fans, plus Babe Ruth, and the two teams, Yankees and Senators, paid Gehrig the tribute he deserved. He was presented with over two-dozen trophies from various people and organizations. The photograph shows him with his head bowed before them while both teams and others stand behind him, hats in hands, and Mayor Fiorello La Guardia speaks at the microphones. The reason all the trophies are on the ground is because Gehrig no longer had the strength to hold one up.


Caption: The Catch

This famous play was immortalized by a still-frame of the televised coverage of Game 1 of the 1954 World Series between Willie Mays’ Giants and the Cleveland Indians. Victor Wertz slammed a 450 foot fly ball into dead centerfield of the Polo Grounds “that would have been a home run in any other stadium, including Yellowstone,” as one sportswriter said. Mays was playing shallow center and thus had a long sprint after the ball, watching it over his shoulder, and a sequence of photos shows the whole play. The final instant before the ball lands in his glove only three or four feet from the wall will never be forgotten. The ball is about one and a half feet out of his glove, and he makes a perfect basket catch, running at full speed. He then whirled and flung the ball back to third so hard his hat fell off, a typical performance.


Caption: The Babe Bows Out

All the famous shots of Ruth standing and looking almost straight up immediately following another titanic home run blast are what most of us remember about him. But the finest depiction of him shows him as just flesh and blood like anyone else, an old man about to be given a farewell by his old team and thousands of fans at Yankee Stadium, having completely used himself up in hard-partying style for the last 30 years. The photograph was taken by Nat Fein, who won the Pulitzer for it in 1949. He took it on 3 June 1948, only two months before Ruth’s death from nasopharyngeal cancer. Ruth was known as the most powerful batter anyone had ever seen, bar none. Today, he is still respected with awe by professional players.

Some say he was simply a freak of nature to be able to play so well and party so hard without any detriment to his performance. He routinely slammed baseballs over 550 feet away, which is beyond belief. His longest shot was in 1926 against Ty Cobb’s Detroit Tigers. He knocked the ball out of Navin Field and onto the roof of a livery across the street, at least 625 feet away. He knocked balls completely out of every stadium in which he played, except Yankee Stadium. He did, however, regularly knock them out of the Polo Grounds, an astounding feat, before Yankee Stadium was built. The photograph shows a tired old man leaning on his bat, and you might not have known who he is were it not for the famous number 3 on his back. Everyone likes to think of him as immortal. But this photograph shows otherwise. He was just a man, which makes his feats even more impressive.


Caption: Cobb Steals Third

The finest baseball photograph because it captures the fierceness and intensity of the game’s most daring, aggressive player. It was almost impossible to record motion pictures of ball games in Cobb’s day, and still photographs rarely caught the gritty speed and determination everyone lauded about Cobb. Charles Conlon snapped the photograph on 23 July 1910, using a large format Graflex camera on a tripod. He was on the field, behind third base in foul territory. Conlon was quite familiar with Cobb’s demonic abuse of the baselines and basemen and had his camera ready with Cobb on second.

True to form, Cobb stole second, banking on the catcher’s weak arm, and knocking third baseman Jimmy Austin out of the way. He deliberately tripped Austin with his shoulder, forcing him to jump out of the way and thus miss the catcher’s throw. What the picture doesn’t show is that Cobb leaped up and stole home while the left fielder went for the ball.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Top 10 Best Real Time Strategy Games in 2012

Real-time strategy games have always been best at home on the PC, but with the advancements in gaming consoles, many have appeared away from the mouse and keyboard. Few gaming genres require the intelligence and the attention to detail of RTS games and players must always be thinking of their next move, planning ahead to ensure they remain one step ahead of the enemy at all times. This year has seen the release of really great games in this genre; here are the top 10 best real-time strategy games in 2012.

10) Total War: Shogun

Although it was originally released in 2011, Total War: Shogun remains one of the best RTS games out there. This game shuns the usual tanks and airplanes in favour of samurai warriors and ninjas. Sun Tzu’s The Art of War seems as if it was written for this game! In fact it may even be the instruction manual!

9) Wargame: European Escalation

Set in Europe during the Cold War years of 1975-1985, Wargame: European Escalation is the latest RTS from Eugen Systems. Taking charge of the Warsaw Pact or NATO, this game is brilliantly detailed and gives players a huge arsenal of units reflecting their chosen side’s military doctrine. Maps of over 150 kilometres in size and over 100 million scenery objects will keep you well engrossed in this game.

8) King Arthur II

The original King Arthur game was a huge success and loved by critics as much as it was fans. The sequel to that game, King Arthur II, looks to offer much more of the same. Blending real-time strategy with a touch of RPG, this game could be one of the standout releases of 2012.

7) Warlock: Master of the Arcane

With the releases of Salem and War of the Roses coming to PC this year, Paradox Interactive is looking strong. Warlock: Master of the Arcane has fared well with fans since its release in May of this year and brings a huge fantasy world to the turn-player strategy game. This multiplayer world of conquest and magic has everything you could want from a RTS game.

6) Xenonauts

Some people have suggested that turn-based RTS games are dead, Warlock: Master of the Arcane and this game, Xenonauts, are proving these people wrong. As the player you will take control of an organisation known as the Xenonauts with a mission to stop an alien invasion destroying earth. This game is an unofficial sequel to the popular UFO: Enemy Unknown from way back in 1994 and is every bit as playable as the legendary game.

5) Command and Conquer: Generals 2

Command and Conquer is one of the most successful RTS gaming series’ of all time. The original game is responsible for creating millions of fans of the RTS genre when it was released on PlayStation back in 1995, and has gone on to achieve huge success with every release. Command and Conquer: Generals 2 is the sequel to C&C: Generals and the eighth instalment of the game so far. Early signs for this game look good, although release has just been put back to 2013.

4) Carrier Command: Gaea Mission

Remade games have always been a bit hit and miss, so it was a little worrying to hear that the legendary 80s RTS game Carrier Commander was being brought up-to-date. Thankfully, Carrier Command: Gaea Mission remains true to the original and looks to be every bit as fun. Battles take place over land, sea, and air and once again we’re on the planet-moon Taurus.

3) Guild Wars 2

The original Guild Wars, released back in 2005, remains one of the greatest online RTS games ever made and this latest instalment looks certain to deliver more of the same. The level of intricate storyline and open-world focus make give the game the perfect blend of RTS and RPG, and the late August 2012 release is one of the most eagerly anticipated of the year.

2) Crusader Kings II

At number two on our list of the top 10 best real-time strategy games in 2012 is the sequel to the grand strategy game, Crusader Kings. Once again set in the high-to-late Middle Ages, Crusader Kings II puts players in charge of a Medieval Dynasty from the years 1066 to 1453. The definition of success in this game is complete defined by the player and with updates and expansions released by Paradox Interactive; there is no end to the enjoyment.

1) Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm

Starcraft II is one of the most eagerly awaited RTS games of 2012 and an expansion pack to the military sci-fi RTS game, Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty. With a campaign focussed solely on the Zerg species and 20 different missions, this game is one not to be missed by Starcraft fans, or fans of real-time strategy in general.