With the release of StarCraft II, there's no doubt that the game will make its mark on the world, it's already positioning itself to shatter a few sales records, but it's hard to imagine that it will ever change things the way the original has. From internet cafes to LAN parties, StarCraft has (and will continue) to shape the way we play games for better or worse. But before we see what direction the sequel takes us, let us take a look back and see how different things are today thanks to Blizzard.
First and foremost would be online gaming itself, which has evolved so rapidly in the last few years it's hard to even imagine how it all began. Counter Strike may claim the title of 'Classic FPS King', but when it comes to online gaming very few titles hold as much recognition on a global level as StarCraft. It was one of the first games to display how powerful and online community could be, and what an untapped resource gamers were as a whole. Korea is a perfect testament to this fact, but not the only example.
The terminology of StarCraft was just as infectious as its gameplay. While phrases like 'you require more vespene gas' and 'construct more pylons' are a sign of ones age in the industry, the infamous 'Zerg' have woven their ways into almost every single genre. StarCraft has shown that cultivating a playerbase through game design isn't just possible, it's necessary. It not only makes your brand recognizable, but sets a standard for other games to follow. To draw a comparison to the FPS genre, many of the guns that held dominance in Counter Strike are still being used in FPS games today. It may not seem like a big deal, but entering a game and knowing what your weapon will do before you even fire it makes a gamer more comfortable.
Even more important than drawing a community together is giving them a place to stay, and it's in this that StarCraft has really made it's mark on gaming history. It's impossible for me to picture playing the game on anything but a PC. For a platform that people constantly complain isn't receiving enough support, this is really pinnacle. There are some experience that cannot be had on anything but a keyboard, with a mouse in hand. While many modern PC gaming consists of a lot of indie games that try and claw their ways into the console scene, it's important to remember things weren't always like that. MMO's weren't always in the spotlight, and it's about time developers start remembering that PC gaming has it's place in the world.
This isn't to solely credit StarCraft for all the amazing things that PC gaming has to offer today, or to say that Blizzard has single-handedly defined online gaming communities. But they did play a large role in its development, and Blizzard's contribution to the gaming world continues onward today. It's nice to see how far the industry has come since StarCraft's first appearance, and as innovations such as Steam and Battle.Net continue to evolve it'll be interesting to see where the future brings us. Either way, StarCraft can most definitely be laid to rest knowing that it's contribution to the gaming world is monumental. StarCraft II has some extremely large shoes to fill.