- Travel Topics
On day 7 of our South Korean tour, Vicky and I arrived in Seoul and I had one thing on my mind.
Not Gyeongbokgung palace…
Not even the DMZ…
Starcraft 2 – to be exact (not what I had in mind).
This is the part where about 90% of readers exit the article, however, for the 10% of you who dare to continue, prepare to have your world turned upside down.
To a small portion of us here on planet Earth, StarCraft ranks above the NFL, homemade apple pie, and maybe just below any religious affiliation we might have.
To another small portion, it’s a computer game.
And to virtually everyone outside of South Korea, it’s something they’ve never heard of.
But if you’re in South Korea, you’ll soon realize that it’s a big deal, so big that in 2005 120,000 people gathered live in a stadium to watch a StarCraft championship (over 40K more than attended the Super Bowl).
StarCraft is the best selling pc game of all time, and of the 9 million StarCraft copies sold, guess how many went to South Korea?
That’s right, half. (South Korea population of ~50 million, or less than 1% of the world’s population).
Here, StarCraft is not simply a computer game, it’s a way of life. Literally, it’s a career, an acceptable career at that.
But they train hard for it, and few make it. Of the millions of people in South Korea playing SC2, only a few hundred would ever be considered professionals, and even a smaller percent of them are actually earning enough to support a reasonable standard of living.
All the same, if you do play seriously, your day probably looks a little bit like this:
However, the few who make it are revered as demi-Gods.
As a result, South Korea dominates the StarCraft scene. If you’re a foreigner (a term used to describe any StarCraft player who is NOT South Korean), and you’re serious about becoming a professional, you move to South Korea. Plain and simple.
As for me, I was lucky enough to attend a semi-finals match of the most recognized StarCraft 2 tournament in the world – the Global StarCraft League (GSL), where LG-IM MVP, the world’s greatest SC2 player, was playing (he won 3-2).
While I could have simply watched it on one of the two StarCraft dedicated channels, I thought it would be more exciting to attend in person. At my request, Vicky and I arrived 40 minutes early to secure center seats. I’ll spare you the details, but it was a great match!