After a ton of delays, Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty, was finally given a release date a couple of weeks ago. The date, July 27, which has probably been hammered onto every Starcraft fan out there when it was announced, marks the end of a long wait for the eventual successor to Blizzard’s epic real time strategy in outer space. I still can’t believe it’s been twelve years since the original came out. Yeah, that’s all the way back in 1998, when I was still a freshman in high school. One of my friends in class introduced me to Starcraft, and I eventually borrowed it from him, not knowing that I had a future classic in my hands. I wasn’t very good at real time strategy games, but I gave it a shot and I immediately became a fan of Blizzard.
Okay, so the first ever real time strategy game that I played was a game called Metal Marines, which came on an old 1.44 MB floppy disk. It wasn’t very good, so imagine the sheer brilliance I experienced when I got used to Starcraft. At first though, I was your typical noob. Even with tutorials, I still had a hard time understanding the control scheme, since this was still only the second RTS that I’ve ever played. I died a lot and didn’t understand the concept of building up bases. Once the growing pains as well as numerous ass kickings were over, and I got a feel for the gameplay, the initial single player levels that hindered me so much, became a piece of cake. I then moved to the online arena, where much superior opponents would give me a beat down, so I decided to join some comp stomping sessions with my friends. It lasted for quite a while with three to four hour sessions every night and it was my first online game experience.
Starcraft changed my thoughts of a genre for me. It was more accessible, easier to control and most of all, it was a lot of fun. Even the story was great with the cinematic sequences peppered into the narrative. My favorite of which was a group of marines entering a space station. They unknowingly get the attention of Zerg hydralisks who therefore slice up the face, down to the bone, of one of the unwitting marines drinking his last sip of beer. It all ends in a suicidal explosion by the last man alive, demolishing the floating space vessel. It was a great sequence and I hope there’s a lot more of it in Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty. I don’t expect the game to be a genre defining experience for me like the original, but who knows? Hopefully, twelve years can do a lot for a genre.
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