I was inspired to write this blog by fact that Starcraft: Remastered will be released soon, podcast by Incontrol who talks about his life in Evil Genius as Starfact player, commentator and personality and I want to write a post for last 3 years about my view on game industry and e-sport from viewer who watched games but does not have time to play it. This post will be about my experience as a spectator of e-sport game which will contain an answer to the question “Why you watching other’s people playing the game” and “Why you watching e-sport”?
IN THE BEGINNING …
I discovered Starcraft in an internet cafe just before brood war expansion was released.
I wasted many hours and spent a fortune to play single player campaign. I was impressed with the storyline, one of the most amazing cut scenes I have ever seen in the game. I remember until today when I saw other guy playing a campaign where Terrans were under siege by zerg and they need to survive for some time. It was a hard mission for me as I was constantly attacked and I barely won. What stunned me and it is a reason why I still remember is when I saw the guy playing Starcraft for the first time and he maybe built 2 bunkers and he won … without hassle as zergs sent 1 hydralisk per minute. I had on of the biggest WTF face expression. I guess these days I will shout on Twitter how this game is imba! I played some multiplayer games too. I even won 2 vs 2 … even if I had 1 zealot and 1 pylon left on field :). It was a great fun.
Anyway, this is NOT a blog entry about grandpa sharing experience when he was young, so it summary I had a great time with this game and I consider as one of my favourite game of all my life. (XCOM: Enemy Unknown is my favourite).
STARCRAFT REBORN BY YOUTUBE
Life moved on and I forgot about Starcraft. A few years later when I was preparing to exams and I needed “5 minutes” break and I discover a YouTube channel (Klazart, VioleTAK or Moletrap) where some guys made a commentary of Starcraft tournament in South Korea. I was shocked because :
- An ancient game is not dead.
- Playing Starcraft in South Korea is a big thing.
- There are many tournaments.
- They stream it on TV!
Here, I have an advice for people who looking for 5 minutes break in the middle night during preparation to exams on next day at 9 am. Do not use Social Media or content making website where you can discover as it will make surviving at exam … much more challenging.
Anyway, back to the topic. I started watching all matches with commentaries created by Cholera, Klazart, Moletrap, Tasteless with Little Susie and during Starcraft 2 era Husky, Incontrol and Day9 (more about Starcraft 2 later).
I still remember watching finals where Moletrap did his commentary from the car on the university campus which makes Cholera and other laughs. It shows the passion of these people to create content about things that they care about it. It was amazing. I felt really sad when each of them decided to retire.
Watching Starcraft became my hobby. Yes, it is correct. For me, watching game’s tournament was my way to relax after work and exams. It is like being a football fan. You can play for fun and still watching professional matches. In fact, there is no difference between watching football and e-sport like Starcraft.
STARCRAFT 2 ERA
Blizzard announced that Starcraft 2 will be released in 3 parts. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty and 2 expansions StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm and StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. In the beginning, it sounds like release the same things 3 times and cash-in on people but then I realized that it can be a good idea as it will help re-shape game in each major release like Brood War changed original Starcraft. As it turns out, it exceeded my expectations because each release has an epic single game campaign and good impact on multiplayer. I decided to play all 3 campaigns at once and I am planning to buy at some point in near future.
During Starcraft 2 era I enjoyed commentary by Husky, StarcraftHD, Day9 and Incontrol. My favourite player was White-Ra because of his good heart personality. I also support TLO, White-Ra and all polish players.
Unfortunately, at some point, I got busy in real life (got married, change job and so on) and at the same time Starcraft 2 pass his peak time, lost momentum and start dropping in terms of quantity and quality of the tournaments which makes back to watch tournaments more and more difficult over time.
LEGACY OF THE STARCRAFT
Personally, it is sad to see that popularity of Starcraft is going down so sharply but Starcraft exists for 20 years and it must happen sooner or later. I think Blizzard did a great job to keep the game for so long even if some mistakes and slow response to game’s needs may speed up this process of fading out of this game.
On a side note. One of the big advantages of being e-sport player than sport is that players can switch games if things go wrong over time. Something that is almost impossible in normal sport).
In my personal opinion, Starcraft and Korean scene were one of the main factors to popularize e-sport and create professional e-sport in the world. Thanks to other games I think e-sport will grow rapidly and one of the games will match the level of popularity as football. Speaking of football. Unfortunately, mistakes like corruption, match fixing and drugs appear in Starcraft too. However, I will discuss this subject in the future blog entry.
Thanks to the internet we as a society is under revolution from the industrial age into the digital age where information and content is a value, not goods. It allows e-sport and games like Starcraft to create digital content by people can share their passion with others from all over the world. They didn’t need big media but they need the digital platform like YouTube and Twitch (known as Justin.tv). It creates internet based shows like “State Of The Game” by JP and channels like Day9Tv and much more.
From my point of view, everything during a time of early days of Starcraft and e-sport was amazing and I have hoped that e-sport learnt from mistakes made by sports organisations. Unfortunately, real life was a bit different. I didn’ know about dirty politics between Kaspa, Blizzard and so on. As mentioned before there were incidents with match fixing. Sadly innocent time is over. In my opinion, it will go in the same as football where the game industry will control everything. Again a subject that is worth its own blog entry.
If you are interested in the history of Starcraft’s e-sport history from various perspectives then I suggest you watch:
- Incontrol’s life in EG (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2f3wohCKlho)
- Sons of Starcraft
- JP’s Real Talk with Tasteless (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55l0GMtVnnY)
- On Starcraft official channel is a few videos about developing Starcraft by Blizzard
WHY I WATCH OTHER PEOPLE PLAY GAMES?
WHY I WATCH E-SPORT TOURNAMENT?
Many people didn’t understand why I watch other people playing games or watch e-sport. How I explain them this? Other people enjoy to watch sport, tv series or play the radio in the background while they are doing something else. I am doing the same but I watch e-sport tournament or watch somebody play game in the background while I am doing my things. Simple. As time goes more and more people will do the same.
As you can see, Starcraft contribution to the game industry and e-sport is massive. I just briefly mention a few of them.
Big money brings great shows but it kills the spirit. Is it bad? No. It is great an e-sport is a booming industry now and who knows maybe my son will be part of this some day. These days e-sport is growing rapidly and a digital-sport becoming as popular as the physical sport with all good and very bad things.
I think I was lucky as I enjoy the best part of e-sport when it was in incubation. When ordinary people did commentary full of passion and players plays for being the best player. It creates many spectacular moments which I am grateful for.
I was an anonymous viewer who enjoys watching all these shows, thanks to commentators like:
- Little Susie
- and a few more who I should mention but I forgot.
and players like:
- and a few more who I should mention but I forgot.
It will be great to meet these commentators and players someday and say in person…
I hope all of you who I mentioned (or should mention but I don’t remember) somehow find this page, read and know somebody in this world appreciates what you did.
Anyway, I am looking forward to playing a Starcraft: Remastered to enjoy a campaign for fun.
Image source: http://www.blizzard.com (Official press resouces)