I sat and looked at my long list of games, both played and unplayed, recently. I looked at all of my consoles, my Steam collection, Origin games and the games on the Battle.net app. I played some games here and there, a little Mario Odyssey, some Terraria, Insurgency for a while, Hitman 2 and the almightly Overwatch. Nothing was really holding my attention for more than a few hours when I was playing alone.
This is when I took a dive into my older games catalog. Games from my childhood. In fact, this is when I decided to start streaming Throwback Thursday games on twitch. I started out with The Legend of Zelda for the NES and moved on to other various NES titles from there. People would tune in for the nostalgia and to judge my every move and mistake as it happened live. However a question arose from a couple of viewers; "Do you post your gameplays on YouTube?". To which I replied no, I do not. I had a channel, I had the means to do so, I just hadn't made the jump yet.
I figured it was about time to make the jump into this "YouTube" as people call it, I mean how many gaming channels could there be? (turns out theres a ton of them) So I chose to start out posting some longplays (full play throughs) of games. I wanted to start out with something I knew and something I had beaten before, but not recently enough as to make it easy and boring for both myself and viewers. Somehow when I went back through my long list of games, two stood out. Half-Life and StarCraft Remastered jumped up and screamed "PLAY ME!" It was a very hard choice to make for me (it honestly came down to a best of three coin flips) but ultimately StarCraft won.
I started making a few YouTube videos of me playing through the campaign and have been having a really fun time doing it to this point. In my off time (whenever I'm not recording or anything) I hop online and play StarCraft II for a little while. I have strayed away from the ranked ladder as of right now because I can't handle that stress in my life at this moment.
The draw for me is that I have always loved strategy games. The Command & Conquer series of games was a staple of gaming in my formative years. Age of Empires was often a LAN favorite and the ever popular 4X game, Civilization has also been a long time favorite of mine. When I was old enough to truly understand what was going on in these games and not just randomly send my units about and overbuild my defenses, though I still do that on ocassion (old habits die hard), I found myself enjoying these games even more. At this point the WarCraft games had begun to arrive in the world. I was too into the more realistic RTS games at this point and didn't really enjoy the aesthetic that was introduced by WarCraft. However, in 1998, StarCraft arrived and completely blew my mind. I'm sure that anyone who is reading this article is already well versed in how important this game is in the history of PC gaming, so I won't dive into this any further.
Snap back to present day; I suck at this game now. I used to play C&C Tiberian Sun and Generals in tournaments, I was playing StarCraft in online tournaments (and local events) as well at one point. When StarCraft II launched I was in high Platinum / Diamond rankings (there was no masters/GM league when I hit this ranking). Now a days I can't remember what kills what the most efficiently or what the build orders of things are, how much upgrades cost, how fast units are produced, any of the actually important metagame that even silver league players should know (ok, that may be a bit of an exaggeration). The point being, I still love this game, despite my current ineptitude. But why?
Well, that's a bit harder to explain. I think it has to do with my love of Sci-Fi (I am a Sci-Fi writer after all) and my love of strategy games more than anything. The competitive nature of the 1v1 eSport aspect of the game is also thrilling. There's something about it that is just magical and mystical and really manages to pull me in, even after 20+ years of existence. I think a much bigger factor in me coming back to the game is actually some streamers/YouTubers who I have been viewing a lot over the past little while. These guys are high level players (Masters/GM) and it's entertaining to watch their wins, their losses, their cheeses, their awesome plays and their love of the game.
The first one I found out about is a 26 year old guy who goes by the name of Lowko. He does a lot of educational SC2 videos that are very helpful for new players or players who are struggling to climb the ladder as well as casting some pro and non-pro games. His videos on YouTube are some of the best and his stream is always a blast.
Check him out here for more:
Next I found out about a guy who goes by the name of Beastyqt. Now, he isn't quite at the same energy level as Lowko is, but he is still very entertaining. His gameplays are top notch and he has some very interesting playlists on his YouTube channel. His live streams are usually fun to hop in to and join in the banter with his chat. Overall, this is one of SC2s better streamers and personalities currently.
Check him out here for more:
And finally, last but most definitely not least, we come to the Australian powerhouse, PiG. A professional caster and fantastic StarCraft player, PiG is another great YouTube and Twitch personality for StarCraft II. Though he no longer does his "The PiG Daily" games, he still has constant content coming out. He has solid StarCraft educational videos, fantastic pro game casting videos, lively streams and great gameplay. I can't say enough about this guy, you just have to check him out for yourself:
So, in conclusion, I am once again fully immersed in StarCraft. I will be playing ranked ladder soon and posting updates regularly on my progress, as well as a YouTube series where I start from my base MMR (probably Bronze level at this point) and work my way up. My realistic goal right now is to get back into high platinum / diamond league. I have no intent of breaking into the Masters/GM level, I just don't have that amount of time to practice nor the level of skill needed for that. I do encourage everyone who has not played StarCraft II to give it a shot, as it has been free now for over a year. And if you have played it in the past but have since walked away from it, why? Come on back and join me in rediscovering this fantastic game!