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PC classic StarCraft is now free

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Now’s your chance to play a piece of PC gaming history — Blizzard has released seminal strategy game StarCraft, for free, for both Windows and Mac. The full game, and its excellent expansion Brood War, can be downloaded now on the game’s official site, updated with a patch that makes the 19-year-old game easier to play on modern machines.

The free version comes ahead of a full remastered version of the original StarCraft, due out this summer. StarCraft Remastered promises full 4K graphics, but if you’re still okay with late ‘90s visuals, you won’t be left out of the revival — Blizzard says owners of the (now free) original game and upcoming Remastered edition will be able to play each other online.

StarCraft received critical acclaim on its launch in 1998, but few could have predicted its wild success in South Korea, where it became something of a national sport. Professional teams, tournaments, and TV channels sprung up around the game, which arrived in the country just as Korean internet cafes — known locally as PC bangs — exploded in popularity. A sequel, released in 2010, helped drive renewed global interest in e-sports.

The new 1.18 patchStarCraft’s first in eight years — improves compatibility for Windows 7, 8.1, and 10, makes the game playable on Mac Beta 10.11 and up, includes an observer mode, and adds UPnP support. That’s alongside technical changes that modern gamers might expect, like the ability to toggle fullscreen windowed mode and improved anti-cheat features.