Starcraft is quite frankly one of the most influential games in the history of gaming. On the consoles side, you have such phenomenon as Mario & (to a lesser degree) Sonic etc but none of these can lay claim to the fact that they helped create an entire industry all by themselves. The industry in point is eSports and the country under discussion is South Korea.
First, let me just give you an idea of how ‘old’ Starcraft truly is. The game was released by Blizzard on 31st March 1998… near enough 11 years back. Just to give you an idea of what has happened in those 11 years, take a look at the following:
1- In those 11 years, the biggest competitor to Starcraft, ‘Command & Conquer’ series has had 5 versions (including 2 Red Alert games) released with none attaining anywhere near the success of Starcraft.
2- Starcraft’s sister game ‘Warcraft’ also saw a release of the next game in the series titled ‘Warcraft 3’ which although well received, also failed to come anywhere near the success of Starcraft.
3- ID Software, once the most influential developer in the PC gaming scene and well known for its painstaking attention to detail has released three games in those 11 years. And ID Software is known for taking their sweet time in developing and perfecting their games.
I could go on and on but the point is simply and all the above examples suffice in getting my point across, which is that Starcraft was created a game but turned out to be a phenomenon. This game has seen it all, it stood its ground when there was an onslaught of real time strategy games including such classics as ‘Total Annihilation’ & ‘Dark Reign’, it saw off its biggest rival (see above on Command & Conquer) and also weathered the inevitable ‘3D’ era.
So, now that is over, why am I again getting into this? Well, this time, its the eSports bit thats really fascinating me.
In South Korea, you have quite a few Starcraft tournaments. The biggest three are:
OSL (Ongamenet Star League)
MSL (MBC station’s Star League)
Intel GomTV Classic
The latest season of Intel GomTV Classic has just finished. I highly recommend you visit GomTV site to view all the games in the tournament. They have a well known english commentator called ‘Tasteless’ giving the english commentary to each game which makes it even more interesting to watch and understand the tactics and strategies coming into play.
At the moment, OSL is right in the middle of tense matches. The final round of 16 has started and frankly this is a wonderful time to get started if you want to follow this tournament. Here is the breakdown, do click on each match to view it on Youtube (with english commentary by ‘NukeTheStars’ &/or ‘RanshinDA’). I will be updating this with the rest of the videos in the group matchups.
If there is one game you may/must watch, watch the one ‘Flash vs. Upmagic’ (in Group C). It truly is epic and shows the kind of skills these players have. Simply amazing!
I will try to do another post on the MSL tournament but this should keep you busy enough with all the excitement that is there to be enjoyed. :D