The news that eSports will become an Olympic event in the near future has caused a lot of introspection in the video game community, as fans trace the roots of competitive gaming through its storied history in order to understand how and when online multiplayer titles became so well-respected by the world at large. One of the biggest influences on eSports as we now understand them, though, won't be one that is featured heavily at events these days - Blizzard's StarCraft, which was released in 1998 and paved the way for competitive gaming.
Given the magnitude with which StarCraft influenced modern gaming, it makes sense that Blizzard would want to preserve the original game as best as it can. Luckily for the company - and one extremely fortunate fan - the StarCraft Gold Master Source Code has been found in a "box of Blizzard stuff" one Reddit user bought on eBay. Blizzard eventually swapped a copy of Overwatch, $250 credit in the Blizzard store, an all-expenses paid trip to BlizzCon, and a night of drinks with some of the development team for the disc, leaving Reddit user Khemist49 happy and more than a little relieved.
While the reward from Blizzard is certainly nice, Khemist49 had to endure quite a bit of online abuse for revealing he owned the original StarCraft code, even if he accidentally came into possession of it. Fans of the game harassed Khemist49 after he made his Reddit post, alternating between insults, calling him a thief, offering to buy it, and reporting him to Blizzard. Ultimately, Blizzard reached out to Khemist49 once the developer became aware of his situation, and its legal team politely requested that the Reddit user return the CD since it had been missing for years and contained "intellectual property and trade secrets".
Now, Khemist49 will be treated to an incredible weekend at BlizzCon and Blizzard finally has the master source code to one of history's most important eSports titles. In an statement to Kotaku, Blizzard confirmed that Khemist49's story was true, and that the company felt the reward was in order to "show an appropriate level of appreciation".
There's no telling what was on that CD, and now, thanks to Khemist49 doing the right thing, gamers will likely never know. Given what fans already know about StarCraft's development, however, it's a safe bet the master source code has a few oddball inclusions present on it - after all, part of the appeal to StarCraft and the reason Blizzard so desperately wants to preserve its spot in the company's history is the way nothing else has ever been quite like it.
StarCraft will be getting a major graphics overhaul as StarCraft: Remastered, which will release for PC sometime in 2017.