Gnome did me a great favour yesterday - he sent me a beta key to Starcraft 2. All hail Gnome!
I logged on late last night when the download finished and started up a game. I got thrown into a newbie game with a few other people and my partner was utterly useless while my opponents were not and I lost quickly. My mind kept me up late grinding away the the circumstances, going over the battle and what had gone wrong. How could I be better? What must I do next time? I had that familiar feeling of loss and depression that comes from a pvp defeat followed by the burning determination to crush my enemies when next I get the chance.
I remember this feeling from the past. I recall furious clicking, the rush of a perfectly executed assault and the way the world just melts away. In particular I still remember specific games, the exact gambits I used, the units at play and the way the battles unfolded in the original Starcraft. For many people that would be surprising since they would not expect to be able to recall specific video game battles 8-10 years later, particularly among the 4 thousand or so battles I participated in.
I remember starting a game and after 30 minutes or so of play some friends came over to my house including Hobo. 15 minutes later he looked at my screen and saw that my partner's base had just been smashed and I was facing two skilled opponents. He said to me, "Just give up dude, you can't win." I don't know whether he intended that statement to utterly cement my determination to beat this terrible situation or not but I do know that my immediate response was an internal "NEVER!"
I expect I will recall the details of the game for decades to come. For those who know about such things it involved 300 spider mines and a daring 'empty overlords into the enemy base' maneuver and 60 minutes after Hobo's declaration of my inevitable defeat my enemies were smoking ruins. That thrill, that feeling of utter joy that I experienced in that and other games is incredible. It is not so much that my opponents were defeated but rather that I played at a level that must be close to perfection. That sense of total absorption in a fiendishly difficult contest is something I long for.
Back when I first heard that Starcraft 2 was coming out I said that when it launched I would either need to give up my job, my wife or sleep on that day. These days I have a daughter to fit in too... this could get ugly.