Just how computer game crazy is South Korea? Well, for starters there are two game channels on TV here, Ongamenet and MBCGame, where two Starcraft pros go at it against each other (it's quite the feeling to watch the Starcraft battles while I'm running on the treadmill), a Starcraft Pro League, and the KeSPA (Korean e-Sports Players Association) just to name the major players. The most popular and legendary Starcraft gamer is Lim Yo-Hwan (known to many as SlayerS_`BoxeR` or better yet, Mr. Starcraft; how does a 600,000+ member fan club sound to you?), a 27 year old who needs bodyguards to keep away screaming female fans (and boys) from him. Even his mandatory military service (every Korean male needs to complete 27 months of military service) couldn't stop him from gaming, as the Air Force formed its own gaming team led by Lim to compete against the Starcraft elite in Korea.
As I mentioned before, in the classroom you can find Starcraft addicts there too. They are my students! They all love to play "computer game" on the weekends. Weekend roundups on Monday consist of either Starcraft or Sudden Attack talk. Not all kids play computer games (or admit to it at least) but you can always pry something out of every stuent. I asked my one class of middle school boys what they thought about the upcoming release of Starcraft 2. One response was "the graphics look 3D" and another was "OH OH OH yeah Starcraft 2!!!"...I had to force feed them Ritalin to calm them down!
Anyways, the announcement of Starcraft 2 was in Seoul at the Olympic Park Stadium, part of Blizzard's Worldwide Invitational on May 18th. I haven't played computer games since my days of CounterStrike addiction and I haven't been following the gaming world since. I learned of the announcement from Ed Lau and now Starcraft 2 is generating a lot of hype on the web. You can follow up on all the latest news, screen shots, and videos courtesy of IGN. The official Blizzard press release is here.
Here are a couple screen shots to whet your appetite of what's to come (more here):
Want to see the actual game in action? Here's an in game video from the announcement in Seoul:
Here is a more recently released cinematic Starcraft 2 trailer:
Soo...the big question remains...do you play Starcraft? Are you excited for the release of Starcraft 2?