I have a confession to make: I enjoy watching Starcraft 2 commentated matches. There are plenty of voices and personalities that I don’t care to sit through but there are a few great ones. My current favorites are the two guys on GOMtv, Artosis and Tasteless.
There is something very authentic about the commentary and hype surrounding the matches, much more so than watching any “real” sport. More popular games, such as baseball or football, often rely on stats and artificial tension to give the impression of knowledge and predictability where in reality the results from moment to moment are mostly random.
In Starcraft 2 the commentary past the first speculative minute is rooted deeply in actual strategic knowledge and experience. The units and relationships between them are static, results of given strategies are actually predictable up to a certain level with much of the tension coming from the actual skill of the players in maximizing the potential of their strategy.
The candor of the commentators is also thoroughly heartwarming as a geek. They are talking very seriously about a video game but they don’t take themselves seriously, they definitely know their audience and make jokes that only a geek could love… and geeks love those kinds of jokes the most, myself included. And they are having fun doing it all and that is contagious.
Starcraft 2 has a rich “metagame,” something similar to evaluating the playbooks of historic games, and that leads to an extensive taxonomy of tactics and fake-outs based on preconceptions, mind games. The game is relatively new so the tactics people use change rather rapidly as new ideas are tried, and the actual rules of the game are even evolving along with them: there is always something new to see.
If you play the game check out some videos, you’ll be a better player and you’ll probably enjoy the commentary.
A couple links if you are interested in checking videos out:
- Good, funny commentary
- Amazing Series, there is a technical glitch in the first match so you may want to skip ahead in the video until you get to the real match.
I think both of those videos should be available without a subscription.