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Bungling Bay could be sorta considered the original RTS in a way (I only had the NES version).... maybe even Rescue raiders on the Apple.. (funny there is a game on Steam that is pretty Much Rescue Radiers... but done with Vikings- Swords and Soilders-)
Definitely 1982's Cytron Masters for the Apple II and Atari 8-bit by Dani Bunten is the prototypical RTS game. Rescue Raiders was not released until 1984 for the Apple II, and it had a 1991 re-release for the PC and Mac as Armor Alley. Rescue Raiders also had a more profound action element than typical RTS games. I was very pleased when I tracked down boxed copies of Cytron Masters and Rescue Raiders for my collection...
I don't care nearly as much for the NES or MSX versions of Bungeling Bay (which I don't consider an RTS at all) because they deviated from the C-64 original too much. The C-64 original had the one level and as such was more final in its outcome. The timing of the action was also quite different.
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