Real World Tower Defense: MapsTD

MapsTD isn’t a spectacular tower defense game but it slots into a category of interactive jollies that I find it hard to resist. The key is in the name – MapsTD integrates with Google Maps so that players can defend any location in the world. There are some recommended locations but the real pleasure comes from typing in the address of an old school, workplace or home. Maybe even your favourite pub or cafe. Enemies approach along roads, meaning it’s simple to pick an easily secured location, but even well-placed forts become difficult when all four routes open up. The paths that will become active in later rounds are marked from the start, allowing for advance planning.

The obvious joke is that playing MapsTD using my own current living quarters in Salford is much like simulating the nightly riots that sweep through the streets. Bollocks to that though – there’s still a certain lager-swept charm to neighbouring Trafford and Ordsall (the origin story of Coronation Street and home of Salford Lads Club, dontcha know) but Salford Quays is crammed with latte-supping media types since the arrival of the BBC. It’s a friendly old town from both sides though, no matter how dirty it might be.

The Quays are also remarkably easy to defend. It probably helps that home is located with water on several sides, which reduces the routes of attack, and that Trafford Road is long and straight. Having a base that is essentially at a crossroads is clearly the way to go, as it allows towers to cover multiple routes at the same time.

I’m always surprised that there aren’t more games using the enormous potential of Google Maps. I’m certainly not the only person who enjoys them. If you know of any others, do share.

Via PC Gamer.


  1. janclod says:

    I did a small proof-of-concept “RTS on Google Earth” thingy a while ago but it was a bit too demanding on the CPU side so I scraped it. It even had some sort hierarchical order system with units organized into companies, regiments etc. Here’s a video link to of that

  2. Shockeh says:

    But, why oh why would anyone defend Old Trafford?

    (Pictured, where I’m sat right now is covered by two towers!)

  3. razgon says:

    Well, that was a fun hour wasted at work! thanks :-)

  4. bonyjoe says:

    Didn’t expect to see my house in an RPS post.

  5. Cleave says:

    I just spent an hour at work defending my work place. They can’t complain about that..

  6. padger says:

    Ha, wow. And I can play this at work.

    But also: why didn’t I think of this? Oh, because my brain is full of the sad custard of daily life.

  7. symuun says:

    I never thought I’d say this, but thank goodness for Swindon’s urban planners. The roundabouts are the invaders’ downfall.

  8. Koozer says:

    I successfully defended the house from two hordes of schoolchildren, Trafford Centre shoppers, and what I imagine to be pensioners due to their slow movement and high hitpoints from a housing estate.

  9. jonfitt says:

    Without the visual feedback of seeing the towers attacking the creeps I found it hard to relate their stats to the effect it has. It was oddly unsatisfying.

  10. ChainsawCharlie says:

    How exciting and original.

  11. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    Fun! I would rather it be impossible to “win” (I was really enjoying smiting interlopers at the Vatican), but I guess that’s what the harder skill levels are there for.

  12. nitehawk says:

    Giza is one of the default options. Really?