New StarCraft II custom games go live on

When everyone else was Capturing the Flag, becoming King of the Hill and other done-to-death multiplayer options, the original StarCraft distinguished itself with online modes like Football and Zerg Hunting. Those were adventurous enough for their day, but with the three custom multiplayer modes just launched for the sequel, Blizzard seem to be aiming squarely at confounding expectations with interesting new play styles.

The custom games, now available for play on, may be new to StarCraft, but it doesn't take the savviest player to spot the influences on show. If we were to tell you, for instance, that the new StarJeweled mode involves matching up gems to energy-boost your units, we'll trust you to write your own “have you guys seen this?” emails to PopCap. Similarly, Left 2 Die may sound on paper like only half of some-or-other Steam-based team-shooter – but then, it's hardly like Valve invented the idea of zombies.

If you had custom games that nodded at two of the biggest online games in recent years, obviously you'd round out the triple-pack with... a cooking sim? The Aiur Chef mode revolves around collecting ingredients for exotic dishes from pillaged environments and slain enemies.

Have you tried out the new StarCraft II custom games yet? What would you like to see next? Koprulu Shore? GhostAcademyVille? Let's hear your ideas, and don't spare the outlandishness.

Jan 27, 2011