Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My journey through the Koprulu Sector

So, I'm updating my Starcraft II (not like they give you a choice in the matter), and the kind little update window wishes me all the best on my journeys through the "Koprulu Sector."

Now, I know a LOT about Starcraft II.  If I were the sort of dude that worried about his image, I'd definitely avoid admitting how much I know about Starcraft II.  I know the names of professional players, the teams they play for, what they look like, what sorts of builds they favor.  And this was the first I've heard of the Koprulu Sector.

The reason of course is that I've not played the campaign.  The reason for me not playing the campaign is that I attempted a single mission and gagged over the dialog and voice acting.  The idea is that the rough-and-tumble independent space-cowboy adventurers are taking on the fascist dictator, deploying their plucky attitudes and checkered pasts in the service of that goal.  Or something like that.  I honestly wasn't paying attention.  The lines were terrible, the delivery wasn't over-the-top enough to be campy, but it wasn't nearly good enough to be... good.  Think of the worst line you remember from Top Gun, being delivered in the manner of the worst moment of acting in the Star Wars prequels.  It's kinda like that, but worse.

The matter of the campaign and the story though got me to thinking.  Perhaps the reason why games like Halo and Starcraft are so popular is the rich backstory.

Take an unpopular game like chess as a counter example.  Where's the story?  Where's the single player?  Yeah, so it's black vs white, but... WHY?  Was there some ancient wrong that demands remedy on the battlefield?  This 8x8 checkered realm surely has a fancy alien-sounding name, doesn't it?  We know the pawns can move 1 space or sometimes two and sometimes diagonal and such, but what's their motivation? Do they have bad-ass, anti-authoritarian attitudes that the teenage male demo can relate to?  Inquiring minds want to know!

Clearly chess doesn't get it.  There's just no DEPTH there, you know?  It's like all that happens is you have two people trying to outwit each other using a commonly known abstract ruleset as the means for their battle.  Who'd be interested in that?

There are likely a few chess tournament trophies in my parents' attic that answer that question solidly, but I haven't the time to check - I'm off to the Koprulu Sector!

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