Somewhere in 1999, one of my friends recommended that I try playing StarCraft. It was my first RTS game, and I loved it. I played it with friends and online, made new friends through it, and enjoyed it thoroughly (including the soundtrack – so good!).
Unfortunately, I was struggling a bit with RSI back then, so I couldn’t play very much; fortunately, I had gotten to know some of the top Dutch players, and they often let me watch their live games. This was during the 1.07 patch (remember, when the Spawning Pool cost only 150 minerals?), so there were no replays yet.
I’ve always enjoyed watching good players play games that I like. I like watching Snooker on TV, as well as observing 2 good players duke it out in StarCraft.
Fast-forward about ten years. StarCraft 2 just got into the Beta stage. People began playing it, and videos started popping up everywhere. I found out that the Team Liquid website was still hot, and came across some live streams of good players there. One of the streams that made me giggle was Debo’s stream – his swearing during games was amusing. Two other good streams were Crota’s stream and ShoutCraft by TotalBiscuit.
During that search, I also encountered Day’s stream, and his stream archive. Day does a daily broadcast about StarCraft 2, each around 45 to 60 minutes long. Most of his shows consist of in-depth analysis of one or two games played by professional players.
Wow! This was exactly what I was looking for. I think I started watching just around SC2 release day, so the King of the Beta series was the first bit I saw of Day’s show. Day provides excellent commentary, and it’s obvious that he has tons of experience with both SC1 and SC2. Plus, using his analytical mind, he gives us spot-on analysis.
Day also goes to SC2 tournaments to provide live commentary of the matches being played. Some of this also gets uploaded to the interwebs for us to watch.
As you can see in the screenshots, Day uses an overlay in the middle right of the screen. This overlay hides the replay timer, so the viewer cannot see how long the replay will last. I like it: not knowing when the current game will end makes it more exciting to watch. Day loves his overlay too, as you can see below.
By now, Day has done over 300 dailies. For episode 100, he did a special about his life as a StarCraft gamer. This was an extra long episode, called My Life of StarCraft, where Day talks about how he got into StarCraft, why his family supported him, and how this game changed his life. It’s very much worth watching – even if you are not into StarCraft at all.
Soon after I started watching Day’s stream, he introduced Funday Monday, a weekly special, where viewers get to play with arbitrary, weird constraints (for example, “build a Carrier before expanding” or “build mass Queen”), and send replays of those games to Day. Day chooses the best and/or funniest games from the thousands of submissions, and shows them to the viewers.
One of my favourite episodes ever is “No Marines, Marauders or Tanks“, where Terrans get to build everything except those 3 core units. This leads to hilarious games with very funny commentary, which had me laughing non-stop.
Another classic is the series called “Team Monobattle“, where you play 3v3 or 4v4, and each member of your team has to announce publicly which single unit they will be making throughout the entire game. Some of the games that Day has shown, have extremely weird (and crappy) combinations of units (for example: Raven/Brood Lord/Carrier/Immortal). Hilarity ensues.
Day involves his audience in various interactive activities during the show, such as live polls via IRC (#day9tv on QuakeNet… and no, younger readers, that # is not a Twitter hashtag!).
He also talks to his computer.
However, the best thing about watching Day’s show is… the toilet break.
Of course, when bio breaking, I pause whatever I’m watching. And somehow, when I pause the Day daily, Day always ends up with a funny face frozen on my screen.
So, the lesson from this story: if you like StarCraft, watch the Day daily. And pause often.
For those of you who are already watching the Day daily, here is a challenge: can you figure out which episodes these screenshots were taken from? Hint: they’re all from episodes 200 and later. I know that some of you are crazy enough to re-watch them all 😉