Posted by Nicole Rennolds @nicolerenn42
Creator of
Nicole Rennolds

Every morning when I wake up, the first thing I do is turn on Twitch and look for a channel that's broadcasting Starcraft. This morning, I saw that GSL was live, and assumed it would be Code S. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that it was actually a Brood War tournament. Not a re-run, a live broadcast of professional Brood War players, competing in 2016.

I was late for work, but it was totally worth it. Brood War was my introduction to Starcraft and to eSports as a whole. Of course the graphics are terrible and the maps are buggy and observers don't have nearly as much power as they do in SC2 games, but that all adds to the charm.

Starcraft 1 and the Brood War expansion existed in a magical era of PC gaming when you could play LAN games with people who didn't actually own the game. You could copy your game disc as many times as you wanted and pass it around to your friends so you could all play together on a local network. You could probably still do this if you have an original copy of Starcraft lying around somewhere. Anyway, this little loophole allowed broke gamers like me to play Starcraft with other people without even needing an internet connection.

I was horrible at the game by most standards, but compared to my friends I was passable. I played Terran back then, and my most common strategy was known as "build nothing but fucking tanks until you crush everyone or die trying".

Then in 2009 my boyfriend introduced me to the world of competitive Brood War. He started sending me links to VoDs while I was at work, and I'd spend every lunch break watching them. The idea of watching videos of other people playing video games was pretty much unheard of in the US at the time, so I got in trouble a lot when casual observers assumed I was the one actually playing the game. It didn't matter to me though.

Then Starcraft 2 came out, and the upgraded graphics and improved observing made it even more fun to watch. I would still occasionally catch some Brood War games when nothing else was available, but Wings of Liberty was my shit. I began following specific players like Bomber, Flash, and Jaedong - who actually inspired my move to Zerg. My boyfriend and I would spend every weekend on the couch watching VoDs and live streams of tournaments.

While other games have topped Starcraft 2 as the most popular in eSports, my enthusiasm for the game has only grown. Sure, I'll watch Heroes of the Storm or Hearthstone or, if I'm really desperate, Call of Duty, but only if there isn't an SC2 match going on. I'll even watch the same re-runs over and over again on ESL's Twitch channel. I can't get enough of the personalities (both the players and the casters), the story lines of the tournaments, and the incredible skill and strategy involved in the professional games.

So, when I turned on Twitch this morning and saw the blocky graphics and neon-green text of Brood War on the screen, I was filled with nostalgia. To me it's not just an outdated, buggy game from the late 90s, it's the game that inspired my passion for eSports.