With the impending release of StarCraft: Remastered, a love letter to a favorite…
A StarCraft story from years past
I was 11 years old when I fell in love with StarCraft: Brood War. It was a school night and I was at my good friend’s house. Like many other nights, he wanted to show me a new video game. My friend was always introducing me to new games and most of my gaming nerdiness stems from him. Not every game he showed me stuck, but this one did. It was called StarCraft.
We sat in his parent’s office, he in the computer chair and me in the uncomfortable chair next to him. This was a common setting for viewing computer games. He opened up a random game of StarCraft against the computer and chose a species called Protoss. As he built up his base, he explained to me some of what was going on. There were two types of minerals. His buildings had to go inside Pylons. But the only action I saw was a few small attacks from the enemy computer.
“When are you going to attack?” I asked.
“Just wait,” he said.
My friend started building these huge floating vessels: Carriers. He waited until he had an entire fleet. They moved slowly over the map, ominously so, until finally approaching the enemy base.
As hundreds of tiny interceptors appeared and attacked the enemy, I knew I had to have this game. It was unlike anything I had ever seen. Not just the mass Carrier attack (a time honored favorite), but the base building and the resource management and the variety of units. The game was incredibly unique to my 11 year old mind and also incredibly appealing.
Somehow I convinced my mom to bring me to Best Buy to buy the game. This was quite the treat for me because new video games didn’t come often. I must have asked at just the right moment when my mother was feeling most amiable. Or maybe she could see how excited I was about the prospect of playing StarCraft. Whatever luck it was I stumbled onto, it was no matter. We were off to the store.
I was able to locate the game quickly, but there were more options than I anticipated. There was the base game StarCraft. Next to it was the expansion, Brood War. And finally, there was the Battle Chest version containing both games and strategy guides. I didn’t know what I wanted or needed. Obviously, I had to get StarCraft, but did I need the expansion? I was sadly uneducated on the topic.
As I studied my options, my mom asked me which one I wanted to get. I must have looked confused. Then, as fate would have it, a stranger in the isle chimed in:
“Oh, you gotta get the Battle Chest. StarCraft is great and Brood War just makes it better.”
Eureka! I turned to my mom, holding the most expensive option available. Would the advice of this random man be enough to convince my mom as well?
“Oh alright,” she said.
Just like that the Battle Chest was mine. Thank you, you wonderful beautiful stranger (and also my mom for years of selfless sacrifice and nurture and all that, I guess).
StarCraft was all that I had hoped for and more. Obviously one of the first things I did was recreate my friend’s mass Carrier attack. It was even better controlling it myself. But there was so much more to discover. The single player campaign is a work of art. I had so much fun playing through the stories of StarCraft and Brood War. The game managed to tell strong, character driven stories on a galactic scale.
Custom games were amazing as well. Yes, I would sit at home and play against 7 computers in free for alls. I would play Big Game Hunters which meant I didn’t have to worry about silly expansions. I created my own maps to play on (albeit, with little success). There were so many ways to play StarCraft and none of them were wrong.
Because StarCraft was essentially a cultural phenomenon, all of my friends had the game too. This was the first game I ever played online with a group of friends and it was amazing. Sure, we couldn’t talk to one another except via text chat. And yes, when someone died quickly, we usually started over. But being able to team up with two or three friends to crush an opponent was a brand new and addicting experience.
Aesthetically, the game is perfect. So much thought and detail is put into every inch of StarCraft. The sounds of SCVs mining for minerals while the Terran theme plays is ingrained in my head forever. Just hearing those sounds brings on waves of nostalgia.
I love StarCraft for so many reasons, not just for the game itself but for the role it played in my life. It appeared at the right age with the right group of friends to truly immerse myself in the experience. StarCraft 2 is a great game, but there is a reason the original is looked at more fondly. It truly caught the hearts and minds of a generation. There was nothing quite like it before and there won’t be anything like it again.
I would be remiss of me if I did not mention that Blizzard made StarCraft: Brood War free to play. You can download it directly here.