Child Safety Online
November 28, 2023

Is StarCraft safe for kids? A parent’s guide

StarCraft is one of the most enduring video games in the cosmos, but is it safe for kids? Learn everything you need to know in our parents’ guide.

If your kids are clamoring to dive into the world of StarCraft, the iconic real-time strategy game, you might be wondering if it's a safe orbit for them to explore. Fear not, intrepid guardians—we break down the information you’ll need in our parent’s guide below!

What is StarCraft?

StarCraft is a popular real-time strategy (RTS) video game series developed by Blizzard Entertainment. The series debuted with the release of the original StarCraft all the way back in 1998 for Microsoft Windows and later for macOS. The game gained widespread acclaim for its engaging gameplay, intricate storyline and multiplayer features.

StarCraft is set in a sci-fi universe and revolves around three distinct factions: the human Terrans, the insectoid Zerg and the advanced Protoss. Each faction has its own unique units, buildings and abilities, providing diverse gameplay experiences.

The game's single-player mode features a compelling storyline with missions for each of the three factions. The multiplayer mode, however, became a major highlight, as it allowed players to compete against each other online. The competitive scene for StarCraft has been particularly significant, with professional players and tournaments garnering international attention.

The success of StarCraft led to the release of its expansion pack, StarCraft: Brood War, which introduced new units and continued the storyline. In 2010, Blizzard released StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, the sequel to the original game, with subsequent expansions such as Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void. StarCraft II maintained the series' reputation for high-quality gameplay and storytelling while introducing updated graphics and new features.

Over the years, StarCraft has become a landmark title in the RTS genre and has had a lasting impact on the gaming community. The game's influence extends beyond its direct player base, and it remains a significant part of e-sports history.

Is StarCraft safe for kids?

Now, the real question on every parent's mind: Is StarCraft a safe playground for younger gamers? The short answer? Yes—with some caveats!

StarCraft does involve combat, and battles between factions are a central element of the gameplay. However, it's important to note that the violence is stylized and falls within the realm of a sci-fi setting. Units engage in strategic warfare, but the depiction is not gratuitous or realistic.

The game has earned its "T" for Teen rating, indicating that it may be suitable for those 13 years and older. This rating takes into account the strategic and fantastical nature of the violence, making it akin to a space-themed chess match rather than a graphic, real-world simulation.

StarCraft's single-player mode offers an engaging storyline that's suitable for a broad audience. It's like a space opera where your kids can command armies and save the galaxy without venturing into the dark corners of the internet.

However, StarCraft also features multiplayer modes where your kids can go head-to-head with other players. While this can be a blast, it's essential to note that multiplayer means potential interactions with strangers. Blizzard has implemented measures to keep things civil, but it's always a good idea to chat with your kids about online etiquette.

Blizzard, being a seasoned spacefaring company in the gaming industry, understands the importance of parental controls. StarCraft allows parents to set limits on online interactions, ensuring that their young commanders can explore the cosmos within predefined boundaries.

Take advantage of these features to tailor the gaming experience to your comfort level and your child's maturity. While these settings are certainly helpful, no parental controls are foolproof, and you’ll want to keep a close eye on your kids’ gameplay.

What else should parents know about StarCraft?

StarCraft doesn't dabble in the murky waters of microtransactions or in-game purchases, so there are no worries about your credit card taking an intergalactic hit without your knowledge.

If your kids are itching for multiplayer action, they'll be connecting with other players. While Blizzard does its best to foster a positive environment, remind your young commanders not to share personal information and to keep their communication light and fun. Any time kids are connecting with the wider internet, there’s an inherent risk that they’ll come across toxic behavior—or worse—predators. So, it’s essential that kids are mature enough to navigate these scenarios before embarking on multiplayer gameplay.

StarCraft is officially rated "T" for Teen by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). This suggests that it's suitable for ages 13 and up. As always, you know your kids best, so use your parental radar to gauge if they're ready for the interstellar challenge.

In a nutshell, StarCraft is like the trusty starship of the gaming universe—mostly safe and ready for adventure. Engage your parental guidance systems, communicate with your budding gamers and enjoy watching them conquer the cosmos!

Image credit: Imgorthand / Getty Images

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