Tuesday, February 1, 2011


One of the things I find very interesting about Starcraft and Starcraft 2 is the way in which the world becomes reordered with South Korea at the center. The best players are in South Korea, the hardest ladder on SC2 is the Korean ladder, and the best prizes and most competitions are in South Korea. In the last GSL that I watched, Open Season 3, there were a number of foreign players who qualified, and one, LiquidJinro actually made it to the semi-finals, but for the most part, most of the non-Korean players got picked off early and in very anti-climatic ways. This contrasted in very interesting ways with the commentary of Tasteless and Artosis who are working hard to carry the banner of foreign players in Korea in hopes of expanding the audience and influence of the game, and so they would often speak the hyperbolic glories of a player right before and in the middle of him being flayed alive by some Korean player with far less of their talent or potential. It is hard to tell whether or not they are good since the commentatory comes from either a place of horizontal fraternity or of wishing for vicarious victories.

This drama makes it more attractive to non-Korean players who watch the tournaments with an unconscious nationalist bent, who see themselves as involved in some mental battle for world supremacy. Even if people don't articulate themselves in such way, they draw from imagined cultures, countries, civilizations and so it becomes an epic war where countries that are used to be at the top, are now the new underdogs. You cheer for people who in another situation you might see little connection to except for a love of SC or SC2, but in this moment you become the eager coalition of non-Koreans, a gosu group of rebels seeking to topple the gosu Galactic Empire.

GOMTV, even opened a foreigner house recently so that overseas players can have a place to sleep and practice while they are in South Korea trying to qualify for a tourney and whittle away at the South Korean Starcraft behemoth.

If you're interested in following how foreigners are doing in SC2, someone who is following it very carefully is Artosis and has uploaded over the past week several videos of interviews with foreign players who have been comign into Korea from Europe, the US and Australia to try their hand in the GSL.

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