In August 1999, a Canadian high-school student, also a promising skier, first came to Korea. He was a special guest invited to the StarCraft competition, and he won the prize money of 15 million won by finishing as a runner-up at one go. Already a top gamer who earned more than 60 million won in prize money in overseas competitions held in the United States and Europe, he returned to his home country for his college admission, but couldn’t forget Korea.
On Friday, this reporter met Guillaume Patry, a first-generation StarCraft gamer, at Blizzard’s office in Gangnam-gu, Seoul. Nineteen years after coming to Korea, he spoke fluent Korean. After retiring from professional gaming in 2004, he is now an entertainer, but his affection for StarCraft remains the same.
“I gave up my college career in 2000 and came back to Korea, but I thought my professional gamer life span would be a year or two at most,” the 35-year-old former pro gamer said. “With all the new graphics and specs pouring in, there hasn’t been a game that remained popular for more than two years until then.” His expectation was way off because there were variables such as PC rooms and game broadcasts in Korea.
Although Patry had slower hand play than Korean gamers, he had the advantage in the long race by keeping up with multi-timing and constantly drawing troops. This is why he is considered a gamer who extended the idea of strategy and tactics to StarCraft.
A battle against artificial intelligence (AI) has now begun in the StarCraft battlefield, in which he played with his fellow gamers 15 years ago. Last year, the first competition between humans and AI was held at Sejong University in Seoul, and Google’s “Deep Mind,” the developer of AlphaGo, is also concentrating on analyzing the game system.
Patry couldn’t easily guarantee human victory. “StarCraft has so many things to think about and control. There is no one to beat Lee Young-ho (currently ranking first place) at this point,” he said. “When computing power doubles, however, AI, which doesn’t use the keyboard or mouse, will be more advantageous.”
Dong-Jin Shin firstname.lastname@example.org