Chance to gaze at StarCraft tournament

By Karl Heinritz

You know how to find a Macalester football or basketball game, but how do you get to a distant corner of the Milky Way to watch a super-intense Mac battle this Sunday? The quickest portal is Olin-Rice, where you can watch the intricate, highly competitive finals of the Macalester StarCraft League. You can even dress like a Terran, Zerg or Protoss in your best 26th century threads. Of course, on the Mac campus, you might not stick out. StarCraft is a real-time military strategy video game that some industry journalists say is one of the best video games ever. In South Korea, it’s close to the national pastime, and players and teams are paid thousands of dollars each year for winning major tournaments. The newest version of the game, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, was released in 2010 with critical acclaim. More than three million copies were sold within the first month. The game is popular, in part, because of its complexities. Players must have a quick mind and quicker fingers. In addition, the tournament is structured so that games will be as balanced as possible. “Gameplay is so balanced that anything can happen,” said league member Clayton Lida ’14. “No one player can dominate.” The Macalester league is the first of its kind on campus. Its creator, Brian Ree ’14, hopes to “raise awareness and promote e-sports [online sports] at Macalester.” E-sports are just developing in the United States, but Ree, who is from South Korea, manages a professional StarCraft team that competes in Korea at the national level. The Macalester league might not feature the same level of competition, but there are still some skilled players on campus. More than 30 players signed up for the league on Facebook, and a few are said to be in the upper echelons nationally. Scheduling the preliminary matches is the responsibility of the players themselves. The final will be played from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. this Sunday in Olin-Rice 247. Spectators can watch the game, with play-by-play commentary by Ree and Christopher Krapu ’13, in Olin-Rice 250.