South Korean presidential front-runner taps StarCraft fans with two new maps

StarCraft: Brood War has been popular for nearly two decades. Provided by Yong Woo 'Kenzi"

South Korean presidential front-runner Moon Jae-in's campaign team released two custom-made maps to celebrate StarCraft: Brood War's transition to free-to-play on Wednesday. The two maps, downloadable .scm (StarCraft Map) format, are actual files that can be played via Brood War's game client. Both feature Moon's party number -- one (in South Korea, candidates are assigned numbers, starting from one, in the order of their party's number of seats in the National Assembly) -- drawn in huge chunks of minerals to display the figure on the minimap.

The first map is relatively bare and straightforward: Moon's full name and party number are spelled out in minerals at the center of it. The second is a copy of the popular classic map "Hunters," but with a twist: The player who gets to start from the 1 o'clock base gets a massive economic advantage.

A tiny promotional video was also released along the two maps, featuring a subtle political jab towards Moon's political rival Ahn Cheol-soo, who is second in the polls. The end of the 26-second clip ends with "Player 3 was eliminated" -- the standard system message the game displays when Player 3 is defeated by having all of their buildings destroyed. Ahn's party number just so happens to be three.

The South Korean internet's reception of the event has been positive overall, with many longtime fans of the legacy RTS praising the campaign team's timeliness and creativity. Moon's party -- The Democratic Party of Korea -- has always enjoyed the support of the general gaming crowd, in large part due to three-time congressman Jeon Byeong-heon's efforts as KeSPA's (Korean e-Sports Association) chairman.

StarCraft has a long history in South Korea, and is widely accepted as the game that popularized esports and made superstars out of the top players. The game is still going today, setting the standard for the rest of the world in regard to esports production value and level of competition. While the pair of maps will most likely never see competitive play, the move shows Moon's understanding of a demographic that is often difficult to engage.

A certain "General Manager Kim" from the camp's Digital Media Team has been identified as the creator of the two maps. No further details about his background, other than his nickname being KimDragon, has been released at this time.