After almost 20 years, the original Starcraft still holds up.
Starcraft is an important game for me, which is why I was very happy to see it’s now available for free, courtesy of Blizzard. I don’t know how long it will be free, hopefully forever, but if it’s not, go grab it, just in case.
The LAN party classic
Starcraft came out at the height of my PC gaming. I was a senior in high school and thanks to being employed by at a small mom-n-pop computer store, I had access to plenty of hardware. It’s just what I needed to create my own LAN party, and that’s just what I did.
I bought several low-end PCs and created a LAN in my parent’s house for me and my friends to game on. We weren’t limited to Starcraft. Believe me, we had many late nights playing Doom, Duke Nukem and Descent…but Starcraft was different.
Starcraft is a real-time strategy game so it required…well…strategy. It was a slower pace than your FPS games of the day and when you throw in some light weight diplomacy of alliances, Starcraft became a wonderful game. Of course, it also took hours to finish a game, but thankfully in high school you have time to burn so once one game ended, we’d just start another.
So Starcraft was a great way to foster camaraderie between my friends but I wouldn’t have expected Starcraft to help strengthen a bond between me and my wife.
Starcraft helped me get married
Okay, so that statement is a bit of stretch, but hey. My wife wasn’t much of a gamer when we started dating in college but she was happy to oblige in some game time here and there. Thing is, she found some games that she really enjoyed, and one of them was Starcraft.
My wife was a military history major in college so she is well-versed in strategy, tactics and everything that comes with it, so a easy-entry war game like Starcraft turned out to be a perfect fit.
We would play Starcraft for hours after class, still playing on the same computers I had left over from when I played with my friends. Technology might have advanced but Starcraft did not, so you could still play it on those old PCs.
Starcraft helped turn my wife into a gamer and for that I will be forever grateful, but games come and games go, and so did Starcraft. We moved on to other games, both RTSes and others, but Starcraft fell by the wayside.
15 years later…
Now some 15 years later after we probably last played Starcraft together, the game is free for download thanks to Blizzard.
We both installed the game and dove right in, it was a great fun…except that we forgot everything!
The only thing I remembered was that I always played as Zerg but beyond that, I had forgotten my build order, valuable units, map tricks and all the things you can and can’t do within the game. Same went for my wife. But despite that, playing Starcraft is still a ton of fun.
Now, after 20 years of gaming evolution, the limits of the original Starcraft are easy to see but the limitations of the game are what still makes it so much fun to play. Sure, the technology is very dated and it looks it, but it’s serviceable and really doesn’t detract from your experience.
Starcraft today is familiar but at the same time, entirely new. There’s no learning curve in terms of gameplay, it’s just re-learning (or maybe, the first time learning) all the units and their attributes. Things like being limited to 12 units per group and 5 units per spawn sound ridiculously antiquated today but that type of restriction makes Starcraft somewhat of a new challenge.
I admit that Starcraft is a bit of nostalgia for me and my wife, but we’ve played 2 matches a night for the past 3 nights and if Starcraft didn’t hold up well today, we wouldn’t be playing it. We would’ve booted it up to walk down memory lane and then stop. But we didn’t stop, we kept playing.
If you weren’t around for the first wave of Starcraft popularity, give this original classic a chance. Hey, it’s free!
But if you’re someone that would rather spend money, Starcraft is getting the remastered treatment later this year. I’m sure you can drop some coin for that if you want.