I'm only eighteen years of age, meaning that Starcraft was released all the way back when I was barely 7 or 8 years old. My parents, trying to shun me away from the action games that seemed to be dominating the market at the time (e.g. Goldeneye), allowed me to (relunctantly) play strategy games on the PC.
I grew up with what could be considered the classics of gaming in the mid 90's. No, not Doom and whatnot, but with shmups like Tyrian 2000 and Raptor: Call of the Shadows, as well as Age of Empires 2 later on.
An oddity in itself, I remember playing it... pretty badly. I had to cheat to win in campaign missions. I didn't know hotkeys existed. All I remember is massing battlecruisers for victory, fending off that cunning AI with photon cannons at my choke (7/8 photon cannons then massing carriers for victory off one base, my god I thought I was beast at this game because I could beat the AI ), and 4pooling for victory against the AI (I think I remember later on when I was playing Starcraft 64 when I was in Year 11, I managed to perform a 4pool, good times) as Zerg. Yes, I was demolishing the game, roflstomped it, and was generally good at it (no, you weren't KaRath, you were just a very young noob back then).
But as the ages advanced, so did my gaming collection. Gone were the days of strategy games on the PC, as I moved onto FPS gaming in High School (Year 7 and 8 was dominated with 1.6 at Lunch) and at home (BF2142 and HaloC were other big influences). I started playing a multitude of FPS's seriously but never competitively as my parents did not want me playing online games, such as Counter-Strike Source and Call of Duty 4.
Starcraft retained a firm back seat on the games to play.
But as I moved on, Starcraft 2 came out, and once again this RTS passion burned inside me. Long have I heard about the news about Boxer. When it came out and heard about GSL, I avidly followed Jinro via Teamliquid (GOGOGO JINRO, I STILL BELIEVE IN YOU. YOU CAN DEFINITELY DO IT) and slowly accumulated a knowledge of SC2 while slowly playing it (MKP, MVP, MC, Nestea, so on and forth).
I never was particularly good at Starcraft 2, only reaching high-platinum with the Korean 4-gate pre-warp gate nerf. I stopped playing Starcraft 2 soon after that, only occassionally playing Monobattle and generally surfing Teamliquid to read up on the latest GSL and whatever news.
And eventually, I started reading the Brood War section. It was probably "Unimpressed Flash Meme" that really got me into following Brood War more closely (I knew who Flash was, that he was godlike, but that was really it) and started learning about competitive BW history (from the bonjwas to the scandal, from the ascent of BW to its decline, from the jokes about Woongjin Terrans to Flash).
But I never, ever, had watched a game of competitive BW for this moment.
The time came recently, on the day of Tossgirl's retirement in the Proleague, with SKT facing up against Team 8. As I watched the match against Baby and a Protoss opponent (sorry... I only knew of Baby thanks to the excellent TLFE article), I was amazed at the play.
For the first time in a long time, more than SC2 ever did, I was excited. I was passionate. I was going "Oh my goodness" and "WOW" out loud in front of my iPad.
And then, soon enough, I watched the Flash vs Fantasy match. Surely enough, I was supporting Flash (only knowing of his godlike stature, I supported the unimpressed one with his ruler and Pocari Sweat (that stuff is really nice, by the way)), but it didn't matter. Both sides left me astonded with their high level play. Even though I only watched the first match and the latter half of it, I was just completely blown away. It didn't matter to me that a God was denied a 4th OSL trophy (is it 4th?), all I cared about was the passionate gameplay exhibited by both players.
And now, to learn that Brood War is coming to a close in Korea makes me sad. I'm sure there are many other blog threads floating around also stating this fact, but let us not forget, sometimes these endings also mean new beginnings (no, I do not mean SC2. I will never mean SC2 with new beginnings from Starcraft, I agree that systemically and fundamentally they are different games).
"But KaRath, surely you're mistaken! Competitive Brood War is being shut down, with the players forced into playing Starcraft 2. How could this possibly be the beginning?"
Because it's not always the competitive side that matters. Sometimes it's just about the passion we have for the game, as I'm sure many of the long-time TL members would agree with this newbie. All it takes is for a single game to re-ignite that passion. That single, awesome play that we've probably seen before but WHO CARES IT'S JUST THAT GOOD ANYWAY SO MAKE SOME NOISE.
After watching that match, the only thought I could have in my brain was "where the hell is my Starcraft and Brood War CD. How do I install ICCup. How do I play this game again."
So friends, even though as a relative newbie to Teamliquid, I ask that we all look back on our history in playing Brood War (for those relevant). Look back, and remember those times. Sure, the competitive side, the famous rivalries, these may not be ever able to be seen again in Brood War. But let us not forget the passion, the reason WHY we fell in love with this game, Pocari Sweat, whether we measure our keyboards, or stay up until 4AM just to watch livecasts.
Because Brood War will not die. It will never die, and it cannot die, if it remains in our hearts with fond memories.