Inducted Year: 2021
California-based developer Blizzard Entertainment began development on StarCraft in 1995. The real-time strategy genre was not new for the company, having released Warcraft: Orcs & Humans in 1994 before quickly following up with a sequel titled Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness in 1995. Released in March 1998, StarCraft was more than just Warcraft in space, as the game added a new twist to the strategy formula while leading a revolution in multiplayer gaming.
Set in the 25th century, StarCraft’s campaign follows the Terrans, humans who have been exiled from Earth, as they colonize the far reaches of the Milky Way galaxy. In their exploration, the Terrans encountered two alien species. Insectoid aliens called the Zerg aimed to assimilate other species that they encountered. The Protoss try to stop the Zerg who had begun to invade Terran worlds. The single-player mode is split into three episodes, each featuring one of the three races.
While the reception to StarCraft’s single player campaign was positive, the game is perhaps best known for its multiplayer mode. StarCraft utilized Blizzard’s online service Battle.net, which was one of the first online services to connect players across different multiplayer titles. In addition to the ability to chat with other players and join a multiplayer game, a ladder ranking system allowed players to see how they stacked up in comparison to their opponents. Players quickly flocked to the service, with numbers rising dramatically after the release of StarCraft. Over 50% of total sales of the game have come from South Korea, outnumbering sales in the United States.