Tim was the lead developer on SC2VN, a free to play visual novel on Steam about StarCraft esports. The game’s followup is now raising funds through Kickstarter. He spells esports with a lowercase s the way nature intended.
During its development, a number of people voiced concern that SC2VN wouldn’t be successful since it was about StarCraft, a game that was no longer at the center of the international esports stage. I found the concern strange, since the reasons I pursued SC2VN were partially fueled by a personal drive.
StarCraft was the first game that taught me that there was a way to play games that existed outside the bounds of developer intent. Players shaped an entirely new culture of competition and play that didn’t originally exist. It was an intangible awesome-factor that I didn’t find in any other game.
Brood War taught me how to learn. To get good the first step was to admit you were bad. I had to shed all my preconceptions on how I played video games or what I thought was “fair” (20 minutes no rush), and allowed myself to embrace the competitive culture that the community created.
Being a Brood War esports fan meant staying up into the late hours of the morning to watch a grainy livestream from Korea. At times, it felt like appeal outside of our tiny niche would be forever out of reach, something that simply couldn’t catch on overseas. Even today, with esports flourishing on the international stage, many regard Korea as the country in which esports thrives. The feeling I got when following my favorite players, that same feeling that thousands of Korean esport fans have, was something I wanted to share with everyone around me.
The things that StarCraft taught me to appreciate are forever ingrained in that time period and community. Those experiences shaped how I approach games and community today, and have driven my desire to help more people understand esports in the same way that drives my passion. The day where a more universal group of people can experience esports without having to watch games through janky livestreams has arrived, yet still we have room to grow.
On some level I was confident that SC2VN would resonate with players across genres. Across a variety of esports titles, time and time again I’m lucky to hear the stories of new fans echo similar experiences I had with StarCraft more than seven years ago.
Where I learned how to improve with games through StarCraft, today someone is learning about competitive play through Street Fighter V. Where I gushed over the existence of legendary Zerg players, someone today is idolizing a mid-laner in League of Legends.
While the experiences I had as a new esports fan are ingrained into StarCraft, the wonder of discovering any competitive game’s depth and community has proven time and time again to be a compelling experience. With a plethora of tournaments and resources for new players, there has been no better time to experience esports.
I’m excited to develop the next installment in our esports story because, regardless of the game or crowd, the stories told about esports competitors unify us under an idea that is unique to gaming: no matter who we are or where we come from, if you can play, you can win.