Why Retired esports Stars Turn to Twitch

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. Most professional gamers call quits on their careers long before they turn 30, but streaming platforms ensure these players can do what they love without the stress of competing in the big leagues. Imagine falling into fame and fortune at the age of 16, flying around the world to compete in videogame tournaments with prize pools totaling thousands and even millions of dollars. This is the world most esports athletes live in, skyrocketing to success before they’re old enough to drive. Even the brightest esports stars, however, can burnout fast:…


From Maverick to League of Legends Team Leader

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. As Ming “Clearlove” Kai evolves from an aggressive risk-taker to an eSports team captain, his trusty gaming PC remains a portal to becoming a consistent leader. Kai’s competitive League of Legends (2009) career has kept the eSports community on their toes. Notorious for his unpredictable boldness, the daredevil now seeks to find stability as Edward Gaming’s (EDG) gifted captain. After being named ESPN’s top jungler at this year’s World Championship, empowered by both the support of his teammates and powerful practice rig, hope runs high that Clearlove will lead EDG to…


How Overwatch Whipped Up an eSports Frenzy in South Korea

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. Professional and amateur players are shifting their focus to a game that’s breathing new life into competitive eSports in South Korea. Earlier this year, for the first time in nearly four years, League of Legends (2009) was not the most popular game in South Korea’s PC bangs. Inside internet cafes or “PC rooms,” Blizzard’s recently released Overwatch was the competitive online game of choice, edging out LoL by as much as 30 percent in June. It’s almost the equivalent of Wimbledon pulling in more viewers than the Super Bowl. “The…


Duelyst brings collectible card games back down to earth

J.K. Rowling was remarkably creative when coming up with Wizard’s Chess. A favorite pastime of Ron and Harry’s in the early Harry Potter books, wizarding chess is exactly like regular chess, except the pieces move by themselves and smash one another when taking opposing squares. “That’s totally barbaric,” opines Hermione in the first film. “That’s Wizard’s Chess,” responds Ron, as if pitching the game to a room full of Hasbro execs. As evidenced by Duelyst, though, the gimmick is surprisingly effective. The first thing anyone will notice about Counterplay Games’s tactical RPG, collectible card game (CCG) hybrid is its irresistible pixel…

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided can’t wait to be interrupted

There’s an apartment in Golem City littered with dead bodies. Normally, I’d be the one to put them there, but not this time. One of them was probably named Ana, at least according to the emails in a computer nearby. The messages are from her doctor informing her that she’s pregnant. This would normally be good news. But Golem City’s daycare was recently shut down, the doctor informs her, and infant mortality is through the roof. Without actually coming out and saying it, the doctor seems to suggest that Ana should get an abortion. Given what I’ve seen so far…


Bastion is the machine pointed at the world

We love Overwatch. So we assembled 22 of our best writers and set them to work—a writer to jump into the skin (or robotic shell) of each character. The result is 22 odes. You can use the “Overwatch odes” tag to leaf through them all, or use the handy list at the bottom of this post. /// I’m not very good at shooters. My aim is poor and my reaction time is molasses. I’m also terribly impatient. So when I turn on Overwatch, more than one layer of my grey matter shuts down entirely. My attention span is reduced to…


Killbox, a videogame about the true horror of drone warfare

Killbox is a game about drone warfare; about the experience of killing, of dying, and of the yawning expanse between the people doing those two things. It’s also a collaboration between US-based activist Joseph DeLappe and Scotland-based game designers Malath Abbas, Tom Demajo and Albert Elwin—one they hope will leave its mark on the people who encounter it. “At IndieCade we had a number of players cry once they realized the consequences of the in-game actions,” Abbas explained to me. Having played it I can see why. Killbox tries to get under your skin immediately, before you have time to…


The importance of frame-rate to a Counter-Strike pro

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. Improving skills led “n0thing” into competitive esports, but fine-tuning his PC helps him outplay others. Jordan “n0thing” Gilbert was 16 when he gave up ice hockey to focus on conquering a new, uncharted frontier: the competitive esports world of Counter-Strike. After putting down his hockey stick for a PC, he climbed up the amateur circuit until he hit a wall. His vastly improved gameplay skills pushed his computer to its limit, and that held him back from reaching the coveted invite-level competitions. “That’s when my parents knew,” said Gilbert. “If…


Let’s obsess over what Inside is all about

This article contains lots of spoilers for Inside. /// When I got to the furnace I thought that was the end of Inside. Immediately my heart stopped. “Oh my god they didn’t,” I thought. But the momentum of the moment and all the crashing glass and shrill screams that had come before urged me on. The King of Limbs (as some are now referring to it) slunk closer to the wall, both of us transfixed by the flames. The blob of mangled flesh and synaptic impulses is a tragic abomination, but did the game’s creators really want it to die?…