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What exactly is Starcraft: A Beginner's Guide to the Game

Updated on October 26, 2015
The logo Starcraft 2, the newest installation to the series, recently released last July.
The logo Starcraft 2, the newest installation to the series, recently released last July.

Brief Introduction

You're probably reading this hub because you have friends, family members, or children that have been talking nonstop about the game Starcraft, and I'm willing to bet that you've heard the word more times than you can even keep count. Well, fear no more, my objective today is to educate you a little bit more about this game! Next time the term comes up, your mind won't be entirely blank anymore! So without further ado, let's get started with the brief history of this game.

Starcraft is a game where two players can face each other in a battle to victory. The game is played in a war-like fashion, where each player builds up their economy and attacking units in an attempt to crush the opponent's base. In order to build any attacking units in the first place, the player must start by mining minerals (the currency in the game). Building units cost minerals and as such, each player must make decisions about how many of each particular units they wish to create. Different units have different specialties (for example, some may be better at longer range combat, while others deal more damage in melee battles)

The cover of Starcraft 1
The cover of Starcraft 1


Starcraft is a RTS (Real Time Strategy) game created by by Blizzard Entertainment. The original installment to the series, commonly known as Starcraft 1, was first released in 1998. Later that very year, Blizzard then released an expansion to the game, known as Starcraft: Brood War. Now you may be wondering... what do you mean "expansion"? An expansion simply means an add-on to the original game. It's nothing special at all. This expansion primarily added some additional features to the original Starcraft game.

Starcraft II, the long awaited sequel to the ever-so-popular game, was released rather recently (July 2010). The game instantly became a smashing success, selling over 1 million copies of the game within one day of its release.Long lines of excited gamers packed GameStop and Walmart stores across the nation for the midnight release, waiting to be the first ones to get copies of the highly anticipated game.

A battle taking place in the game.
A battle taking place in the game.

Real Time Strategy

I mentioned that Starcraft is a Real Time Strategy game. But what exactly is a Real Time Strategy game? Well, it's exactly what the name says: a strategy game, that's played in real-time. We all know what strategy games are. The most classical example is a chess game. The two players are forced to make decisions about how and where to move their pieces, with the ultimate goal of out-maneuvering the opponent and winning the game. The same can be said about Starcraft, because the players control the movements of their except that the biggest difference between Chess and Starcraft is... the real-time part. In Starcraft, you don't take turns making moves; both players makes their moves simultaneously, and the players cannot see each other's units. What does this mean? It means that in order to win, you must make snappy decision, and execute them perfectly. Spend too much time thinking, and your opponent will be attacking your units before you realize it. This lack of information on your opponent makes the game much more dynamic than chess, and much more intense. You never know when and where your opponent might be, or when they may choose to launch an attack on you.

Why is Starcraft so popular? The same reason that chess is so popular... competition.
Why is Starcraft so popular? The same reason that chess is so popular... competition.

Why So Popular?

Alright we get it, so this game is like chess... but why is it so popular? That's a good question indeed. Personally I believe that the primary reason Starcraft is such a masterpiece is because of the competitive aspect of the game. As soon as a match starts, you don't have a second to lose. With each passing second, you become more and more concerned about your opponent's position and unit composition. This is what draws me into the game, the constant uncertainty of the match. It makes the game so much more rewarding when you win a major battle (or even the game) because you earn a sense of achievement coming out victorious, and the fact that your decisions outmatched your opponents decisions.

Picture of EGIdra, a Starcraft pro gamer.
Picture of EGIdra, a Starcraft pro gamer.

Final Remarks

I find Starcraft to be a very good game to challenge the mind. When in a match, your mind is working nonstop throughout the entire battle, constantly trying to figure out new ways to outwit and outmaneuver your opponent. When I play, I become so engrossed in the game to the point where I won't even hear anyone talking to me.

If you have kids that like to play Starcraft, or even friends and family who enjoy this game, I would recommend that you be supportive of their interest to the game. Try to talk with them about it, and get them to explain to you why they like playing the game. Better yet, you can even try playing the game yourself! That's the best way to fully grasp the depths of Starcraft.

Starcraft Commentaries on YouTube


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    • ezhang profile image

      Edward Zhang 6 years ago from Bay Area, CA

      Thanks Simone! You should watch some of the commentaries in it! In Korea, this game is pretty much treated like a sport, with pro matches and prize pools of up to 80,000 USD. I'll post up a link to a YouTube video in my hub of someone casting a game, it's like watching football!!

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      What a great introduction to Starcraft! I appreciate how to broke it down into simpler components, and the chess comparison is super helpful. Neat!