Tuesday, October 16, 2007

StarCraft Sex Symbols: an interview with English Commentator Moletrap

StarCraft English Commentaries are growing in popularity. If you are a fan of StarCraft: Broodwar and have not heard of English Commentaries you should really get on over to youtube and check them out. I recently posted an interview with DiggitySC about StarCraft English Commentaries and now I am lucky enough to interview his friend and fellow StarCRaft English Announcer MoleTrap.

Noah (youtube:Moletrap and teamliquid.net: f10esqftw) is a 25 year old student and teacher from Sacremento, CA. Moletrap and Diggity run a very informative StraCraft focused blog at http://www.404industries.com/starblog . Not much longer than a month ago he posted his first StarCraft Commentary on YouTube, and since then has amassed over 11,700 views and 345 subscribers.

interview by william hessian

1. To start off this interview, how would you describe Starcraft as a game, to someone that has never played before?

Diggity and I liken Starcraft to chess, because of the endless variety of strategies that can be used with what seem like only a few different kinds of pieces. Except all decisions must be made in a split second.

2. You are friends with Diggity, another Star Craft English commentator, how do you know him? What are your histories together?

I have known him since elementary school. We have been friends for a long time, but I think we became really good friends during the latter part of or after high school. We "chatted" a lot online during college, and actually played Starcraft together online a fair bit, coincidentally. He was the only person I knew who made a really good ally in a 2v2 game! After college I ended up moving to the city where he went to college, so we hung out a lot for the few years I was living there. Now with the advent of free VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol), he and I and other friends from high school talk online pretty regularly.

3. Let's hear how you personally got into the act of commentating on Star Craft games on youtube? Why did you feel the need to commentate instead of simply watching the videos?

Well, one of the few main reasons I got into the pro Starcraft scene was from listening to audio commentaries by a commentator that goes by Klazart. Soon I got very much into the games and began watching other games that he had not commentated. But not very long ago, Klazart went on an extended leave of absence from commentating to work on other things in his life, so there was a void in the scene. I have been playing for several years and so I am very familiar with the game, and having become very interested in the pro scene and having consequently watched a ton of pro videos, I became pretty savvy on the styles and strategies of the pro players. More importantly I developed an understanding of the reputations and histories of many of the big name players.

Somehow or other the idea crept into my head that I could do commentary, and after that seed was there, while watching games I found myself thinking about what I would say if I was giving commentary on it. I found what I was saying in my head wasn't half bad, so I decided to do one and see how it went. My first videos, in hindsight, weren't very good. But enough people liked them and there was enough of a demand with Klazart on vacation that I decided to do more of them.

4. Moletrap, you specifically, do more swearing than most of the other commentators, is this done for added emphasis or is it just a personal habit?

It's mostly a personal habit. I don't go terribly out of my way to squelch the habit, though, because I do think that it might add some emphasis, and because I think it might be more amusing at times as well. I've been getting a lot of flak for it from some people, but others support me on it. I haven't quite decided where my style will settle on the matter, yet.

5. How do you feel about Klazart's commentaries, and your friend Diggity's commentaries?

I love Klazart's commentaries! He is the master, and part of the reason I grew interested in pro Starcraft in the first place. His Starcraft knowledge is extremely extensive, as is his knowledge of the players, and he is just amusing as well. Always a pleasure to listen to.
I'm sure Diggity won't mind me saying that I like Klazart's better than his, but his are very good, too. He is insanely good at predicting what is going to happen. Just the other day, during a dual commentary that we did (where we were both discussing the same video simultaneously), he told me exactly the strategy that a player was going to use before the game even started.

6. Moletrap, you mention dual commentaries. Yourself and Diggity have very recently attempted a few tandom interviews. I happen to find the dual commentaries some of the best commentaries to date. Where did the inspiration come to do tandom interviews? Do you plan to do them on a regular basis in the future?

The inspiration came from that when I watched Diggity's commentaries I kept wanting to point out other stuff, hehe. We each are able to come up with different views of things that work well together, I think. We will definitely be doing it on a regular basis. Usually big games or games that both of us really want to do.

7. You two run a StarCRaft blog (http://www.404industries.com/starblog/)? Would you mind telling us what its purpose is, who is involved?

It is a place to put all of our videos together, so that if someone is looking for either of our videos they are centrally located. But also, it is a place to post all the other general rantings and analysis that we come up with. Sometimes Diggity and I will be talking outside of our commentaries about games coming up, and have some fun discussions about what might happen and what strengths of each might play against the others' weaknesses. So the blog is a place to put other thoughts on the game that aren't direct commentaries on a match. Props to our friend, who is going by the nick Telharmonium, for administrating the server and putting the blog together.

8. Where do you find the Star Craft videos to comment on?

I usually download my videos from Teamliquid.net. Occasionally other sources, such as links to Korean site downloads or other members of Teamliquid.net.

9. Ongamenet and MBCgame for those that don’t know both run Star Leagues in Korea, featuring the best Star Craft players in the world. This is the raw video source of your commentaries. What is your feeling about these leagues, and the way they broadcast the game of starcraft?

The Proleague, which features the team matches, is considered the most important or prestigious league. But personally I tend to enjoy the Star Leagues more. It's always the best of the best players, and almost always they're facing someone else who is also of the highest caliber. You see the highest level of skill in Star League games. Just as a saxophone player has a better appreciation of Charlie Parker, as a Starcraft player I love watching in awe as pro players stretch the game to its limits.

Continue with StarCraft Sex Symbols part 2 of 3

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