Sunday, June 8, 2008

An Ode to Pike's First Love

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

Before WoW and before hunters...

...there was Starcraft.

Oh how I played this game way back in the day, not long after it first came out. Oh how I played it to death. I knew it like the back of my hand. Units? Memorized. Tech tree? Yup. Don't ask me to pick my favorite race, either. I love 'em all to pieces. I can extol the virtues of each one.

My playstyle really depended on my mood. Sometimes I would feel "hardcore" and I'd go sit and play Terran on The Lost Temple over and over, carefully trying to improve my micromanagement skills.

Then I'd say "screw it" and go start an eight-player Free for All on Big Game Hunters, make some 150 Hydralisks, and go on a rampage. First base down... second base down... third base down... hey I'm bored, let's make some Guardians. *evil laugh*

The units all said the best things, especially if you clicked on them multiple times. Oh the hero units would get all ticked at you, and Artanis would tell you vehemently that "This isn't Warcraft in Space!" and insist that "it's much more sophisticated!", but then there was the Battlecruiser who would say "I've reeeeally got to go... Number One"; the Science Vessel's "E=MC...d'oh let me get my notepad"; and the Corsair's "Zefram Cochrane, is that you?"

Perhaps the great thing about the game, aside from its sky-high replay value, was that each of the races was perfectly balanced. That's not hyperbole either. So each game was a surprise because each game could go any way.

Well, as was inevitable, the StarCraft obsession eventually faded away, until I just recently decided to pop in that ol' scratchy CD-ROM for the first time in a long time. Ahh the memories came flooding back and I was reminded just how great of a game it was. Truly one of the all-time greats and one of the few games that has ever gripped me the way it did. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time held me under its firm spell for a while, as did Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, Halo, and some of the earlier Pokémon games. (Oh, and Banjo-Kazooie, please tell me some of you guys played that one.) I also made a valiant attempt to get into DotA but I was never very good at it (although I got to a point where I was decent enough with the Netherdrake) so that phase didn't last very long.

But Starcraft was somethin' else, and I'm sure there are at least a few of you out there who understand.

Good game, Blizz.

Good game.


Euripedes said...

Starcraft. My very first PC game.

History of Euripedes time!

I was initially a console gamer. Hardcore Nintendo guy. Could beat Mario in under an hour, Starfox in twenty minutes, the whole shabang.
A buddy showed me Starcraft on his PC.
I was hooked, completely and utterly.

Unable to afford a PC, I went with the next best thing, and purchased the game for the N64. Yep, Starcraft on the N64. No hotkeys, you could only control 4 groups of units at once, tremendous performance issues, and you had to unlock cheats by playing through the missions.

And I played the entire game, and the expansion, start to finish this way.

Needless to say, when I finally did move to the PC version, I was harassed endlessly by people assuming that I was a cheating gosu.

Heh, there's so much more to this. Methinks I'll blog it when I get home...

Euripedes said...

Oh, yes, and I did play Banjo-Kazooie. Logged just over 80 hours into it.

Mister Adeqauate said...

Remember when I nuked most of your armed forces? :D

Cynra said...

I loved me some Starcraft back in the day. When I was in high school, a bunch of us would willingly stay after school to play LAN games in the school computer lab against the prof. Fun times!

I played the game religiously until about two years ago. On my main name, I had well over 2,500 games over my match -- won. That's not counting losses and disconnects (and with dial up at the time, they were rather frequent!). It would have been much higher, but I ended up playing more UMS's in the future; I absolutely loved anything that was a variant of the Tower D game.

In fact, I blame the fact that I really never got into the Warcraft games despite having played the original Orcs and Humans back in the day because I loved the Starcraft universe more. The story was great, the characters were memorable, and I found the game to be much more enjoyable than anything else available at the time.

Oh, and I'm totally a fan of all of the children of the Xel'Naga, especially Zerg. Those damned Terrans were boring as hell in everything but the story mode.

Jezrael said...

Starcraft was my first RTS :) Like Euripedes I was into console games prior. Used to play a lot of Goldeneye with my friends and etc. Then I met Emelin and he hooked me up with Starcraft. Instant. Addiction. I was never all that awesome at it though but it certainly set the scene for me to get into PC gaming big time. That and finally being able to buy my own PC :)

I used to love repeatedly clicking on all the units as well. Love those extra touches.

Brad said...

nothing quite like watching mine enemies breaking in front of a well timed siege tank ambush.


scampers off to find disks and teach the kids to play.

Anonymous said...

I actually didn't play Starcraft very much until last year or so. I never played the game until 2004, and it wasn't until I met other people who played it in college that I started playing more often.

I played the Warcraft series more (II and III). Those games were pretty much my introduction into Blizard's amazing game development and story development.

To me, RTS will always be something I'm familiar with. Sometimes I still feel like I wish I had gotten some experience with MMORPGs sooner.

Wildhermit said...

I love, not loved, that Game. I have not played it in a while, so much crap to do in WoW so little time.

Anonymous said...

I liked Starcraft but much like other RTS games I suck at them. So I got through them with cheat codes.

I always like the reactions you got from units when you click on them multiple times. It's also been carried over to WoW too. Just keep clicking on an NPC and they'll say different things. I think I found that out a few months ago accidentally but wasn't surprised it happens.

Viktel said...

I played other RTS games but this was the first one that I lost many evenings and weekends to.

Then I found a buddy at work that played.

We would rush to finish all our fixes and maintanence in record time just so we could battle it out.

Can you say 10 min no kill rule?

Jonesing for the release of SC2

Boozsha said...

Pike, will you be playing Starcraft II?

PuFF said...

Ahhh, Good 'Ol Starcraft. One of my all time favorite games, and on eof the best games ever made. I remember trying to Zerg Rush my friend only to find he already had 2 zealots built and they tore to shreds my Zerglings.

Also I got the chance to play Starcraft II at Blizzcon last year. I have one thing to say, you will absolutely love it. The Terran and Protoss are still balanced (until they get carriers, oh god not the carriers again o.o) and the new units/upgrades are spot on. Dragoon blink anyone?

Pike said...

@ Euripedes - Starcraft 64 actually surprised me with how well it managed to pull off the lack of a keyboard/mouse.

@ Boozsha - you'd better believe it, you'd also better believe that I was up 'til 1am the night of the Blizzard Invitational, refreshing a liveblog of the very first showing of the Starcraft 2 trailer every five seconds. I don't think I can explain my reaction when I refreshed it and it said "Starcraft 2 is officially announced."