Depending on when you started PC gaming, you may have never played the classic StarCraft real-time strategy game or its expansion Brood War.
Blizzard released the classic game for free for both Windows and Mac computer systems yesterday. Even better, downloads are direct and don't require a Battlenet account or registration, and that is also true for playing the single player campaign. I have not tried multiplayer, so cannot comment on whether this is also freely available or requires a (free) account.
The games have been updated with a patch so that they are playable on modern machines. The download, full StarCraft game and Brood War expansion, has a size of less than 2 Gigabytes, and you get days of fun out of it if you like RTS games and don't mind the antiquated looks and interface of the games.
StarCraft is a classic computer game that pushed the real-time strategy genre with its use of three factions that played distinctively different.
The patch that Blizzard released for StarCraft: Brood War improves compatibility with all supported versions of Windows, and makes other improvements such as support for windowed fullscreen or windowed mode, UPnP support, multiplayer and performance improvements.
You find downloads of the game for PC and Mac on the patch page. Just download the 3 Megabyte installer, and follow the instructions to download the full game and have it installed on your machine.
The original StarCraft features three campaigns, one for each of the three races:
StarCraft: Brood War continues the story of the original StarCraft campaign and introduces new campaigns, units, graphics, effects and more in the process.
Blizzard plans to release a remastered version of the original StarCraft game soon. What's interesting from a gamer's perspective is that the classic StarCraft supports multiplayer, and that classic and remastered gamers will be able to play each other online.
It is unclear why Blizzard decided to release the original StarCraft and its Brood War expansion for free. One possible explanation is that it wants to convince a couple of new players, and maybe even old players who all but forgot about StarCraft to give it a try to get them in the right mood for the upcoming remastered edition of the game.
The gameplay is as good as ever, but the look and feel of the game is ripe for an overhaul. That's what the remastered edition will bring to the table, as it introduces support for higher resolutions among other things.
So, whether you want to relive childhood memories by playing through the StarCraft campaign once more, battle friends in multiplayer, or simply experience one of the most respected RTS games of all times, you will have a blast with this one.
Now You: StarCraft, WarCraft, something else? What's your RTS favorite and why?
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.