What is a Zerg?

A.E. Jaquith
A.E. Jaquith
Woman doing a handstand with a computer
Woman doing a handstand with a computer

In the real time strategy computer game Starcraft®, the Zerg are a race of aliens that are a constant threat to all other species in the universe. The other races in the StarCraft® universe, the Terran and the Protoss, rely upon advanced technology to wage war upon one another; however, the Zerg have no technology. By assimilating other species into their gene pool, they mutate themselves to match whatever task is at hand.

The overwhelming majority of Zerg have no sense of individuality, but rather are controlled by the Overmind. This is a manifestation of their collective consciousness that directs them across the universe, causing them to assimilate any species with useful traits and destroy those which do not. The Overmind does not directly control all individual Zerg, but instead delegates this duty to self-aware generals called cerebrates. Although these cerebrates have individual thought, they are unable to defy the Overmind.

The Zerg do not build cities or settlements in the traditional sense, but rather grow them. All their structures are organic, with the exception of pre-existing buildings that they infest. As such, each Zerg colony is essentially one giant life form, which grows additional organs to make necessary genetic changes.

Each Zerg structure that is grown produces a bio-matter called the creep that covers the nearby area. The creep provides nourishment for the Zerg, and all of them recover from their wounds much faster when in contact with it. Some units have special abilities if they are standing on the creep.

All Zerg originally start out as larvae, which resemble armored, flat worms. These larvae contain all the genetic information necessary to mutate into whichever type of creature that is needed. If raw materials are needed, the larvae can mutate into drones, which will harvest any natural resources at hand, or mutate into Zerg structures.

This race uses many different creatures on the battlefield. At the bottom rung sits the Zergling, a small, voracious predator that is extremely dangerous in large numbers. The Hydralisk vaguely resembles a worm, and propels razor sharp spines at its enemies. The Ultralisk, a monstrously huge creature, utilizes razor sharp blades on its appendages to tear apart enemies of the Zerg.

The Zerg race in StarCraft® has been designed with the ability to create large numbers of units quickly and cheaply. As such, in real time strategy game slang, "Zerging" has become a term for overwhelming the opponent with a large number of cheap, relatively weak units. Such a strategy often works well only during the very beginning of a match.

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Discussion Comments


@Euroxati - I agree with you. For example, the other night, I was watching an alien horror movie called Fire in the Sky. During the end of the film, a man named Travis is mercilessly captured and tortured by three aliens. I won't go into gory details, but I found that there was an interesting comparison between the way they treated him, and the way we treat lab rats.

When we experiment on them, we don't see them as creatures with thoughts or emotions, we simply see them as tools and test subjects. A means to an end. It really caught my attention. It makes me wonder if that's what aliens would really be like if we met them. After all, they'd want to study us, correct? Just food for thought.


Reading this article reminds me of a character from the Toy Story series known as Zerg. He was an evil emperor who wants to rule the galaxy, and destroy Buzz Lightyear. Also, one thing I find really interesting about this article is that it really makes you wonder if life exists on other planets.

I know that the Zerg are a fictional race of aliens, and though we can't be so sure that aliens exist, it's amazing how much thought and detail are put into these fictional characters. In fact, they could even serve as a hypothetical basis for life on other planets. Perhaps there's more out there than we think.

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