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Visual Novel / SC2VN

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SC2VN is a Ren'Py-based visual novel about StarCraft II. You play as Mach, an aspiring pro-gamer living in Seoul, South Korea in the early days of Starcraft 2 (circa 2011). The game follows his (or her) journey as you try to impress pro players, join a team, and make the Esports dream come true.

SC2VN is unique in that it uses in-game screenshots and sound effects from StarCraft II for the protagonist's games. Players can follow along as Mach plans build orders, executes timing attacks, and loses to cheese. Some liberties are taken for the sake of narrative, but it's pretty close to what one might find in an actual game on ladder. Blizzard has wholeheartedly endorsed the project, in part because it is completely free.

A prequel, Don't Forget Our eSports Dream, focusing on Jett and Bolt's respective careers back in the Brood War days, was released on November 20, 2018.


More info on the original VN can be found here, and the Kickstarter campaign page for eSports Dream can be found here.

SC2VN provides examples of:

  • All Up to You: Mach has to win a showmatch to prove that s/he's a worthy progamer and save his/her new team's sponsorship.
  • Always Someone Better: A player in Master league is in the top ~2% of players, but Mach still refers to them as 'casual' and easily beats them. Mach, in turn, is in Grandmaster league (top 200 ladder players in the region), but still gets stomped by actual pros.
  • Audible Sharpness: Used during Starcraft games to depict protoss attacks note  Outside of Starcraft, it's used to depict sudden anger, usually for comedic effect, and usually involving Jett.
  • Audience Murmurs: During the games at the VSTL studio.
  • Advertisement:
  • Bad Boss: Accel has to put up with one- the coach for team Crash lets Accel do all of the actual coaching and then blames Accel whenever anything goes wrong. It doesn't help that the coach has probably never played a game of Starcraft in his life.
  • Being Personal Isn't Professional: Jett believes that being friends with teammates is bad business. You can agree or disagree with her.
  • Big Game: The climax, naturally
  • Bilingual Backfire: Mach speaks and understands Korean perfectly well. Most people you meet are momentarily surprised by this.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The game occasionally uses Korean titles and slang in dialogue.
  • Bonus Material: Full of in-jokes and Breaking the Fourth Wall.
  • Brain Bleach: Mach's reaction after seeing a fangirl sniff a player's jacket.
  • But Thou Must!: Like most visual novels, player choice is minimal and is mostly just for flavor.
  • The Cameo: DayNine voices himself for the tutorial.
  • Caustic Critic: The internet fandom is full of these. Definitely Truth in Television.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Stunt complains about Terran's advantage in base trades during VSTL. Mach's last match is a base trade
  • Combat Commentator: The VSTL casters. Truth in Television - professional video game commentating is a thing, especially in South Korea.
  • Confusion Fu: Mind games are a big part of a game where players have incomplete information. Pros will try to read into everything to gain an advantage, and that can easily be used against them. It wins several games.
  • Culture Clash: Western fans and sponsors care more about entertainers and less about whether a player is actually good. Jett finds this appalling.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: You're a semi-pro foreigner playing against top-tier Koreans, so this happens a lot.
  • Death-or-Glory Attack: Any time a player goes all-in, particularly early game. Happens a couple of times in the final series. Stunt's play is nothing but this.
  • Desperation Attack: A player who's unable to fight his opponent's army head on may attempt a base trade instead, trying to destroy his opponent's base before the opponent destroys his. Happens in the final game
  • Drinking Game: The team goes out drinking after they find their last player and coach.
  • Driving Question: Why do you want to become a progamer?
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: What drives Accel to leave his team
  • Duels Decide Everything: 1v1 Starcraft matches decide (almost) everything.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Stunt is the team's only protoss, and his macro isn't good enough to provide good practice. What to do? Have Reva and Stunt control the same side, with Reva handling the macro. Also serves as advertisement for Archon Mode in the upcoming Legacy of the Void.
  • Fake Weakness: Used to lure the attacker into a trap in a protoss vs protoss match.
  • Fantastic Racism: Starcraft players choose from one of three races. Rivalry among races is very common.
  • Flat "What": Mach's response to being tricked into a bet match.
  • Fusion Dance: Reva and Stunt playing a game as one. Stunt lampshades it.
  • Game Over: Make the wrong decision in a game, and you'll be told:
    the dream is dead
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: Aside from Mach, the final team ends up with two guys and two girls. Very unusual in eSports, which is lampshaded.
  • Gender Flip: Mach can be either female or male.
  • Good-Guy Bar: A PC bang (internet cafe) called Golden Zonefire functions as this for Mach's team.
  • Heroic BSoD: You start the game in one of these. Jett and Mr. Yeon snap you out of the second one.
  • Hollywood Tactics: Charging a high-tech enemy army with lowly worker units goes about as well as you'd expect.
  • Hope Spot: Mach thinks s/he's on the verge of victory, only to get ambushed and destroyed by hidden enemy units.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Professional teams give their players team jackets. Jett, Accel, and Bolt are always wearing theirs. You get yours at the end of the game
  • Innocent Cohabitation: Reva sleeps at your place after a long night of practice. Your coach warns you that inter-team relationships are a bad idea.
  • Interface Screw: An in-game prompt gets interrupted when it turns out your opponent is surprise attacking you early.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: The in-game KPGA is a barely-disguised version of the real-life KESPA (Korean Esports Association). VSL and VSTL are the game's versions of GSL and GSTL, the premier Starcraft 2 leagues in Korea.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Expected in any match between progamers. Reva will refuse to join your team if you break this.
  • Let's Play: Rythian has done a complete playthrough on the Yogscast Twitch channel.
  • The Load: Mach has to prove that he isn't this. It's an uphill battle.
  • Loophole Abuse: Accel can't join a new team while he's still under contract, but he can still become the new team's coach.
  • Mysterious Backer: Stunt is wary of joining a new team because he thinks the sponsor will be this.
  • Nightmarish Factory: Teamhouses are described as this, particularly low level ones. You never visit one, though.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: None of the characters are directly based on real-life progamers, but certain characteristics definitely are. A beta champion who is blunt on stage, vocal in criticisms, despises coin flips, and has a reputation for having the worst fans? You won't be first to think Greg 'Idra' Fields. Amusingly, the character in question is a Fiery Redhead Tsundere
  • No Name Given: All of the characters are referred to by their online handle. The one time that their real names come up, it's handwaved without revealing them to the player.
  • Nostalgia Level: The whole game. It's set in the early days of Wings of Liberty, and even uses music from the first Starcraft. The game is still young, Starcraft 2 is the rising Esport, and the scene is full of hopefuls looking to make a name for themselves.
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: Discussed in-universe when Accel decides to publicly burn bridges with his former team. Accel thinks the publicity is fine, but Jett is worried that it will discourage sponsors.
  • Only in It for the Money: Averted. It's made clear that you don't go into progaming for the money.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Jett was asked to do a photoshoot with a pink keyboard, lowered shirt, and no team jacket. She was not amused.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Justified. Finding pro-level free agents for a new team would be next to impossible, so Jett has to look for talented upcomers instead
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: You get one from both Bolt and Jett.
  • Reddit: Gets mentioned, though not by name.
  • Repurposed Pop Song: The VSTL intro music is part of Koreans' "weird fascination with alt rock"
  • Scenery Porn: The background depicts in vivid detail various locations in Seoul, South Korea.
  • Secret Test: Jett invites Mach to a practice session, but it's actually to try out for Jett's new team.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Invoked. First, Bolt offers replays of his past games to taunt Mach. Then, Mach refuses them. Accel approves.
  • Serious Business: Truth in Television. For a progamer, video games are very serious business.
  • Shout-Out: Tons of them to the eSports scene. The protoss player JangL is JangBi. Shock T1 is SK Telecom T1. The English casting duo are longtime GSL casters Artosis and Tasteless. The layout of the community site that shows the drama news is identical to that of Team Liquid and even has the same topics. Female Mach gets a message on a website that looks an awful lot like Twitch.
  • Shown Their Work: The developers are all familiar with the Starcraft pro scene. Most locations are based off of actual places in Korea, and the trials Mach goes through will be very familiar to anyone who's followed Starcraft.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The game doesn't try to hide that being a low-level pro gamer mostly sucks, but still manages to be optimistic.
  • Tell Me How You Fight: Logical Reva favors Mech in-game, which is slow and methodical. Brash young Stunt plays aggressively and always tries to end early. Hypercritical Jett plays a reactionary style designed to exploit weaknesses. Foreigner Mach specializes in dropship play.
  • Theme Naming: Mach, Jett, Accel, and to a lesser degree Bolt and Stunt all have names more-or-less themed around speed.
  • There Are No Girls on the Internet: Why everyone assumes that Reva is male.
  • Training from Hell: Progamers are expected to train hard. Even their relaxation time is regimented.
  • True Companions: The team eventually becomes this.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay: One of the aims of the game is to show the less glamourous side of progaming. Topics explored in the game include sexism, xenophobia, squalid living conditions, bad management, unreliable sponsors, unsupportive family, online harassment and trolls, and constant self-doubt.* Vast Bureaucracy: KPGA acts as this for the Brood War scene. At the time the novel's set in, they haven't moved to Starcraft 2 yet.
  • Versus Character Splash: The final match has one between Bolt and Mach. And it's awesome.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: There's an in-game glossary for Starcraft and eSports terms, but a lot still goes unexplained. Lampshaded in the commentary, where they try to cover a few more, like 'dishwasher' note 
  • We Have Reserves: The team whose score is ahead in Team League is able to sacrifice players to scout weaknesses and wear the other team down. This leads to Accel's downfall.
  • A Wild Rapper Appears!: Team Temp0 does a song in the ending credits.