Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tech: StarCraft in Korea

While many gamers here in the U.S. think widespread, mass-market pro gaming is a pipe dream, it's a reality in South Korea. A nearly decade-old PC strategy game is still mind-numbingly popular there; StarCraft, released in 1998, was certainly a hit here in the States. I remember plenty of nights playing fierce 2v2 matches on Battle.net. But something strange happened - whereas SC lived its normal life here in the U.S. and faded away as newer PC games took its place, the game became wildly popular in Korea, where 3.5 million copies have been sold to date.

The depth of strategy and skill of the players in some of these videos is astonishing. Their fingers are literally flying, battling SC's outdated hotkey and unit command system almost as much as each other. If you're good enough with those keys, you can make units do things they weren't intended to do. Transport shuttles become mobile weapons platforms, resource gatherers become precious fighting units, and somehow having a base destroyed doesn't hurt as much.

Warning: If you don't know StarCraft, this video will make little sense.

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