INNER GEEK: MY VIKING RUSH IS HARD TO STOP

by Paul Jastrzebski

Easy to learn, difficult to master. That’s the design philosophy behind all of Blizzard’s games. It’s especially true of my favorite game of all time – the original Starcraft.

The coming release of Starcraft 2 got me thinking. Since first playing Starcraft on battle.net over 12 years ago, I’ve wanted to be the best. A few thousand multiplayer matches later, I’m pretty good – but by no means have I mastered the game. At least not yet.

When I was young, schooling the older kids at the arcade

My love of gaming started when I was in 3rd Grade, playing Street Fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat at my local arcade. I’d go there, usually with a dollar or two, and turn that cash into hours of gameplay. Arcades reward you for winning, so the more you win, the longer you play and the less money you spend. Talk about a great incentive to get better. I loved the thrill of winning – especially beating people who back then were two feet taller and 10 years older than me.

After a while, I realized that arcade games lasted only a few minutes and the strategies were pretty basic. But as soon as I got my first PC, I searched for a game that could give me the entertainment of an arcade and the strategy of a game of chess. Of course, the game I found was Starcraft (I bought the original Protoss box). Using my 14.4kbs dial-up modem, I connected to battle.net and immediately started playing online. More than a decade later, I have to admit that I’ve never touched the single-player Starcraft campaign (a travesty, I know) because I’ve only played online.

Once I started, all I could think about was what I could have done better, new strategies and how I could sneak onto my home PC to play Starcraft without my parents knowing. Needless to say, I was hooked. I started off playing Terran, then moved to Protoss, then to Zerg, and eventually to Random. You see, in Starcraft, every multiplayer match you would play would be different. There were so many different strategies and counter-strategies you could employ.

All that I wanted to do was win. And, like in the arcades, I knew that the only way I would win is if kept practicing, especially against great players. I was soon playing five or six hours a day, seven days a week, eventually making it pretty high up on the battle.net ladder and playing some of the world’s most elite Starcraft players.

For a competitive gamer, it didn’t get any better than Starcraft. All three races were perfectly balanced, and the strategies employed in high level games were so advanced that the game eventually became a spectator sport watched by millions.

Paul's Inner Geek

With the launch of Starcraft 2 only a few days away, NVIDIA’s offices are buzzing with excitement. It turns out that there are quite a few other die hard Starcraft players at NVIDIA – one of whom insisted that he would crush me in a one versus one game when the Starcraft 2 beta rolled out.

We played two great matches I won them both! I was Terran and Mark was Protoss in both games. I won the first game with a siege tank / reaper rush, and the second with a surprise cloaked banshee attack. Now that Mark is out of the way, I’m looking for some good players to play with – and against. You’ll be able to find me at all of our big gaming events this summer: Quakecon, PAX Prime, Blizzcon – as well as on Battle.net (Account Name: Negotiator, Character Code: 204). See you on Battle.net!
My name is Paul and I’m a Starcraft gaming geek.