StarCraft was released in (April?) 1998 and its expansion pack, Brood War, was released later (November?) that year. It became the best-selling PC game of all time. It has currently sold 9 million copies, which must be more than Myst but less than The Sims.
My major influence for getting StarCraft is Dan Brown. I don’t even remember how or when I first learned that Brown likes StarCraft. Sure, there was the time I was with him when he bought Civilization III in a tin case, so I probably either knew it then or learned it then.
I was expecting more from the graphics, but let’s face it — we’re in 2005 and this game was released in 1998. It doesn’t even require a 3D accelerator. All the graphics are done with sprites. I was surprised that there isn’t even an option to zoom out. I bought Dungeon Keeper when it came out, which must have been between late 1995 and summer 1998, and although its environments were very plain and static, there was a 3D aspect that allowed the user to zoom in and out and rotate the camera. As in StarCraft, all the characters were made up of sprites.
I never got particularly deep into Dungeon Keeper, so although I can’t make the best comparison there, I assume it shares many elements with StarCraft. I did play a lot of SimCity on the Super NES, however. I find a lot of similarities — multiple crisis management and resource geography, to name a few.
Like I said, I got it Tuesday and I’ve played it every day since then — at the expense of further breaking in my glove. I’m not quite a third of the way through the first game and I haven’t touched the expansion pack — but like I said, I just got it.