Happy 15th Birthday, StarCraft

StarCraft celebrates its 15th birthday today. That’s right, it’s been 15 long years since Blizzard released the real-time strategy game that not only changed the face of strategy gaming, but also proved gaming’s potential as a professional sport.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple decades, StarCraft went on to become one of the most popular games in the world—so much so that South Korea has TV channels dedicated to StarCraft games and now those of its sequel, StarCraft 2. It’s hard to think of any Blizzard game that received a review score of less than 90%.

So popular is the game that Blizzard nearly made Diablo in space. And for a time, the company considered making StarCraft 2 free to play. It’s also been ported into the form of a board game. Hell, there’s even an unofficial theme park in China with parts of it based on StarCraft.

To celebrate the game’s 15th birthday, Blizzard is releasing special retro portraits for players of Starcraft 2 who play at least one game in the next few weeks. The CG faces are drawn from the game’s original box art, once seen as stunningly realistic but now remain a relic of Blizzard’s gaming legacy.

In all, there are three classic icons for anyone who earns the 15th anniversary Feat of Strength achievement. To attain them, simply finish a single player game online from today up until 11:59PDT on April 17. It doesn’t even need to be a ranked game.

The following are some of the events that went down with the StarCraft franchise earlier this year (and even before).

StarCraft 2 saw the release of the Heart of the Swarm expansion pack this past month, which we reviewed. We put together a walkthrough of the single player campaign, a list of cheats to help you learn the secrets of the Swarm, and a troubleshooting FAQ if you’re running into difficulties while playing the game.

Much like StarCraft 2, the game forces you to make a number of choices regarding your Swarm’s evolution and mutation along the way, so we set up a couple of guides for those.

We also discovered a ton of easter eggs in Heart of the Swarm and all the achievements you can possibly unlock in the game, with a primer on how the multiplayer mode’s new leveling system works.

Being the popular company that it is, Blizzard has been no stranger to hacking attempts over the years. To that end, the company put together something called an authenticator which provides you with a code you need to key in each time you log onto the game. It’s available as a standalone device or downloadable for free on your iPhone or Android phone. It seems like a good idea—and maybe it is, but we question the ethicality of the authenticator. Blizzard has even been sued over its use of Battle.net authenticators.

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