Posted by: Jeremy K | October 6, 2008

A game called Starcraft

Developed by Blizzard Entertainment, it has become one of the best known and played PC games of all time. Released in 1998, it received “best strategy game of the year” from and undoubtedly many more similar awards from other gaming networks. StarCraft has survived the ages of popular game trends and is still played all around the world today. Basically, I love this game and still play it 10 years after it was released, good job Blizzard!

The Game Play:

StarCraft has something that many other popular RTS (real time strategy) games don’t have enough off: micromanagement within battle. This means being able to control the units of battle very carefully in order to obtain maximum performance per unit. Within other games like Supreme commander the focus is more put on the build of the base, the expansion and claiming of area, the type of units that you produce as well as the hierarchy-level of the units, then being able to spam the enemy so hard that they don’t know whether you are cheating or not. Now whether Supreme commander and other RTS games are good games or not is not up for question, there are plenty of other great RTS’s out there. However, StarCraft has all of the above and more!

If you don’t build correctly, you die. If you do not expand at the opportune time, you will fail. If you do not build the right units, you will be massacred. If you do not build enough units, the enemy will crush you. BUT, in this game… You are also required to micromanage units within battle to see each unit to its maximum lethal potential. Not everyone will love this feature of game play, but I think it is just wonderful because if you can ever feel thrills in RTS games, it is when you are micromanaging your armies in the heat of a massive battle in order to achieve victory.

Now, many people do not play this game because of its dated graphics system… and believe you’ me, it is dated. Here are the minimum system requirements for StarCraft: Pentium 90MHz Processor, 16MB or RAM, SVGA video card (DirectX compatible). In fact, StarCraft only has 1 graphic toggle in game and this is a total of 3 options for whether a unit’s portrait should be moving, static or turned off… WOWZA that’s an old game.

However, for its time as well as my opinion it has very playable and enjoyable graphics. Here’s an example for all you out there who haven’t played the game OR for those of us who have, to bring back memories… 😛 

In addition to great game play in general, StarCraft probably makes it as the most balanced game when released, in terms of how competitive the different teams are. Each race is powerfully unique, having their own strengths and weaknesses, but blizzard somehow managed to balance all three teams quite amazingly.

Worldwide Impact:

According to Wikipedia, approximately 9.5 million copies of StarCraft have been sold worldwide. However it goes on to say that about 4.5 million of those were sold to the population of Korea, (that’s a lot of StarCraft playing Koreans). Now, South Korea has a pro gaming league like no other and one of the most successful games played in this industry is StarCraft. Here is an article detailing a small section of the pro StarCraft gaming league within South Korea, here; it’s a very interesting read.

For starters, there are three TV channels in Korea that broadcast nothing but professional computer gaming matches, 24-hours per day. The StarCraft Pro gamer that is featured within the above article is one of the best, he “earned about €260,000 last year alone” according to the article. Google has just told me that this amount is coming up on $450,000 AUD!!! That is a lot of cash, I mean really… GIMMEE GIMMEE GIMMEE!!! Another fact is that Pro StarCraft gamers are paid to play StarCraft around 10-12 hours per day most days of the week and that those who do not do this cannot compete within the industry. They do not even live at home, rather a hotel of sorts along with the rest of their gaming team.

The Map editor:

Most PC games come with a map editor and the like and once again I give StarCraft praise for its simple superiority in the ease of level creation. While the Map editor in StarCraft cannot do absolutely everything it can still create extremely fun and extremely custom matches; I myself have made or edited many StarCraft maps for my own purposes (usually to play with my friends). Above all, when using the StarCraft map editor it is extremely easy to make a playable level, this includes changing the terrain, creating doodads throughout the level, running AI scripts, creating specialised triggers and custom battles. Most of the options don’t even have to be utilised to make a great game. In creation of a basic, yet working map, all you have to do is place starting locations for the players, change the terrain to fit the game, and place minerals for players to mine. Once you have done this you can play a skirmish and the AI will work automatically, or battle friends using the multiplayer option; it’s that simple.

StarCraft and its map editor has enjoyed a long life within popular gaming circles and it is only now being replaced by StarCraft 2, due to come out some time in 2009. 

If you want to learn about the game universe and story line, a great summary of the events throughout the game and its expansion can be found within Blizzards new StarCraft 2 site here and here, for story part 1 and the story part 2, respectively.

Now get gaming! Peace out, XD



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