Starcraft—-a hugely popular Real-Time Strategy game-—is widely considered by critics & gamers to be one of the best games of all-time. The Terrans, Zerg, and Protoss battle for supremacy, demonstrating that race wars can be incredibly satisfying.

Even after more than a decade, players are still trying to figure out how the Protoss eat.

Just The Facts

  1. Starcraft is a Real-Time Strategy (RTS) PC game released in 1998 by Blizzard Entertainment, an obscure software development company known best for its SNES smash-hits "Blackthorne", "Lost Vikings", and "Rock N' Roll Racing".
  2. Players can engage in online multiplayer matches via, a free online gaming service which allows anybody in the entire world to call you a "n00b faggot".
  3. Since its release, over 9.5 million copies have been sold worldwide. Not to be out-nerded by the rest of the world, at least 4.5 million of those were sold to South Korea.


Starcraft is a science-fiction RTS where players take control of three unique species. The story is set in the 26th century, 60,000 light-years from Earth in the Koprulu Sector, where these three races become locked in an intergalactic conflict. Each race--Terrans, Zerg, and Protoss--has its unique units, and its own unique strengths and weaknesses.

Starcraft's initial development began in 1995. After the success of its Warcraft series of RTS games, Blizzard Entertainment decided to create a new RTS, set during a brutal intergalactic war between three unique species. Development on Starcraft began using the the Warcraft II engine. By 1996, the unfortunate result looked like this :

Screenshots from the long-lost acid trip campaign.

This early version of the game was not well-received by critics, who saw this God-forsaken ocular assault as nothing more than "Warcraft in space". After being shamed by the unfavorable reception, Blizzard went back to the drawing board and built an entirely new game engine from the ground up.

In typical Blizzard form, the game went through a period of many delays, and the final product was finally released in March 1998 to rave critical reviews. Many critics praised the game for using three completely unique races, while maintaining a temendous amount of balance among them. As most RTS games of the time consisted of two identical factions with different color schemes and unit names, this was nothing short of revolutionary.

The Terrans

The human Terrans are the versatile "all-around" race of the game. Descendents of exiled Earth convicts, the Terrans are in conflict with each other as much as they are with the Zerg and the Protoss.

Probably ripped off from...

Robert A. Heinlein's novel Starship Troopers, mainly. The Space Marines from Warhammer 40,000 and the Colonial Marines from the film Aliens also seem to be obvious influences, though they themselves borrowed heavily from Starship Troopers. Another apparent influence is every redneck you've ever known who has a Confederate flag in the back of his Truck-Nutz-endowed pickup truck.

The Zerg

The insect-like Zerg swarm overwhelms its opponents with sheer numbers. The Zerg are collectively linked to a hive mind known as the Overmind. The swarm is also able to incorporate--or "infest"--aspects of other species into its own.

Probably ripped off from...

The aliens from the Alien franchise are a likely source, as well as the Tyranids from Warhammer 40,000 (which are likely ripped off from Alien, too). Elements of Star Trek's Borg collective are also apparent, as are the Bugs from Starship Troopers. The ability of the Zerg to spread so quickly over an entire planet is also likely a nod to the Irish.

The Protoss

The technologically-advanced humanoid Protoss dominate their opponents with powerful, but expensive, units. They are a telepathic race, and they can utilize a wide array of psionic attacks against their enemies. The Protoss live in an honor-based warrior culture. The Protoss are divided into two societal groups: the Khalai and the Dark Templar.

Probably ripped off from...

Once again, Warhammer 40,000. There are many similarities to the Eldar race, which is a technologically-advanced humanoid race that has powerful psychic abilities and is divided into "light" and "dark" societal groups. Other apparent influences include aspects of the Predators from the Predator films, the Jedi culture in Star Wars, the Klingon culture in Star Trek, as well as aesthetic influences from the film Stargate.

We probably could have saved a lot of time by just saying "the entirety of science fiction as a genre". lobby screen

Starcraft players can utilize Blizzard's very own servers for online multiplayer against other human players. There is a wide assortment of maps and game modes, and each game can hold up to 8 different players. Unfortunately, as anonymity tends to bring out the worst in people, players in online matches will likely encounter:

  • poor sportsmanship
  • profanity and/or racism
  • accusations of being a "noob"
  • accusations of being a hacker
  • verbal assaults on one's sexual orientation
  • the nigh-incomprehensible expression, "kekekekeke"

Based on scientific evidence.

Starcraft in South Korea

Starcraft is a national craze--even a dangerous obsession--in South Korea. Starcraft tournaments are national sporting events, and some professional players even achieve celebrity status. Had only South Korea's neighbor to the north cast off its Godless, oppressive commie shackles, they might have avoided this:

...and instead gotten this: