How to download the original StarCraft for free

Along with Command & Conquer, Blizzard’s StarCraft ushered in the real-time strategy genre as we know it. Hard to believe that was almost 20 years ago.

Never played the game? Good news: It’s now available for free.

Why the giveaway? Blizzard is no doubt hoping to create some buzz around StarCraft: Remastered, an updated version of the game due later this year. That version will feature 4K graphics support and improved online matchmaking for multiplayer sessions.

To get the original, at no charge and with no strings, use these download links (these begin the download immediately):

Windows version

Mac version

(Keep in mind that freebies tend to melt the Interwebs, so don’t be surprised if you encounter a download delay or other issue. This is not, to my knowledge, a time-limited offer, so you should be able to get it at some point, even if you have difficulty initially.)

Interestingly, this is a newly patched version of StarCraft (1.18), the first patch the game has seen in over eight years. You can get a full rundown of the updates in this post on Blizzard’s StarCraft forum.

What’s more, this version includes not only the core game, but also the Brood War expansion pack. (Don’t be confused by the installer, which mentions only the latter during setup.)

I remember spending a lot of hours playing this back in the late ’90s. It may look a little long in the tooth, but the gameplay is as solid — and addictive — as ever.