Video Game Thoughts: StarCraft

StarCraft was a 1998 real-time strategy game by Blizzard Entertainment for the PC. StarCraft was a game I had wanted to play for many years but never could because our computer was too old. I got my start with Blizzard games with the old Warcraft games they made. I remember I was really excited to play StarCraft when I heard about it.

The first problem came when I found out the game only supported the Microsoft Windows operating system. Our computer was a Macintosh. StarCraft did eventually release for Macintosh a year later, but then another problem arose. The new game was not compatible with the version of Mac OS our computer had. We would need to pay for a newer version. Even more, our old Mac didn’t have enough RAM for this new game.

I probably could have saved for several years to pay for those upgrades, but I wasn’t ready to spend that much just to play one game. Good fortune came to me when my dad switched companies. He bought the laptop they had supplied him, so he could take it with him. He ended up not using it much at the office, so it mostly stayed at home. Even though it was an old laptop it had just enough power to run StarCraft.

StarCraft had it all. It had great strategy as expected, but it also had great story, great graphics, and amazing balance. In a typical strategy game each side available to the player all used the same basic army units. StarCraft was different. Each side had its own set of completely unique units and mechanics. Players could play the Terran side for a month, but switching to the Zerg side would require them to relearn how to play. As I have written before, the more learning a game causes me, the more fun I can have.

The story was also notable. They took a lot of story elements from the Warhammer 40,000 universe and the Starship Troopers universe, combining them into their own original story and lore. Anyone who read the books or played the Warhammer 40,000 wargame would see a lot of familiar things, but Blizzard succeeded in making their own twists to keep things interesting. Since I had never experienced anything Warhammer or Starship Troopers, it was all new to me. I loved it.

The only bad thing about the game was that there was some bad language in the campaigns. I was only a teenager at the time. One day I was playing and my mom was reading a magazine in the room. She was not happy to hear those words. When my dad got home, she told him about it. I was worried she wouldn’t let me play anymore. Luckily, my dad let me play. I made sure to keep the volume low after that when my mom was around. These days as an adult, I do side with my mom. If I had a teenage son, I wouldn’t be comfortable with him playing a game with bad words.

Brood War expansion

The expansion was not especially outstanding. I mean it did everything an expansion should do, but it didn’t do anything more. An expansion is there to add more campaign missions to the game, continue the story of the base game, add units to the game, and improve the balance for multiplayer. All these things happened with Brood War. So it was a quality expansion, a no-brainer to buy, but not something that would interest someone that didn’t like the original game.

What was cool about the story in this expansion was that the main character was female. This was a big development for the game industry because at the time women were always secondary throwaway characters. In other words, previous games pretty much objectified women. They were there to satisfy the needs of the men, most commonly as a love interest, but other times they might have some unique skill, usually related to intelligence, that the male character needed. Once their usefulness was over, the female character was written out of the story. StarCraft: Brood War was different. The story revolved around the female character. She was a fully developed character with her own ambitions and goals.

I generally don’t like feminism, but I do believe that both men and women have unique skills to offer. There is value in men and women working together to complete tasks or solve problems. I don’t like affirmative action for women or any other special benefits, but I do think we are better off if there are more women contributing to the workforce. However, I think some parts of society have gone too far in the current time.

Women are seen as being able to do the job of a woman but also anything that a man can do. Men, on the other hand, are seen as only being able to do what a man can do. Women offer the full package. When a manager is thinking of hiring or promoting someone, who do you think he or she favors? If a female candidate and a male candidate both have roughly equivalent skills for the job, most managers will hire the woman over the man. It’s good PR for the company, and the manager sees the woman as having both female and male traits. She can be molded however the company needs, whereas a man is limited. A man can’t have female traits.

This worries me as a male. I don’t want society to reverse itself where women have all the power and men must be totally submissive. I want equality. Both men and women should be working together and sharing power. It was bad when only men had power, and it will be bad if only women have power. I hope we as a society can figure out which areas need more women and which areas need more men. I think the countries that are able to achieve this will become much stronger than the countries that are lopsided.

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