High Scores 2016
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High Scores: The Best Videogames of 2016 – 20 to 17

This is part of Kill Screen’s list of the best videogames of 2016. To see the rest of the list, check out all the other parts. /// 20. Darkest Dungeon Darkest Dungeon will punish you. The “dungeon,” a dusty and generic RPG fixture, is twisted into a locus of psychological torment and trauma. Relentlessly grim voiceover and inky Mike Mignola-esque art drive home the game’s hammer-blunt central message: violence takes its toll. There is no happy ending, no glory as you sentence yet another band of recruits to the serpentine catacombs coiling beneath your ancestral estate. They return—if they return at…

Final Fantasy XV
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Final Fantasy XV wants to be the next great road trip but can’t shut up

There are five central characters in Final Fantasy XV. The first four are young men with impeccable hairdos and absurd names: Noctis, Gladiolus, Ignis, and Prompto. The fifth is a sleek black convertible stately enough to be named the Regalia. Like every other Final Fantasy game, XV is about a long, dangerous journey across a fantastic landscape. Unlike the rest of the series, though, it doesn’t hang its story on the stuffy conventions of a Lord of the Rings-style cross-country wilderness hike, but through a road trip. The car, in Final Fantasy XV, is a central character. The Regalia is…

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Watch Dogs 2 is a love letter to a San Francisco I no longer recognize

I’m playing as Marcus Holloway in Watch Dogs 2, traipsing around a digital recreation of San Francisco. Angry at the system, Marcus has embarked on a romanticized hacking-heavy quest for revenge on nefarious corporations. In Watch Dogs 2, they’re evil personified within the Blume Corporation and ctOS 2.0, the operating system that runs the city. As Marcus awakens in a hungover daze across the bay in Marin County near the start of the game, he finds himself overlooking San Francisco, no signature Karl The Fog in sight. It’s a beautiful city, if a bit unrealistic. There’s always fog, and maybe…

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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:…

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How Virtual Reality will be used by doctors to treat patients

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. Earlier this year at Mount Sinai Hospital, Dr. Alfred-Marc Iloreta prepared for surgery by reaching for an unexpected tool. The otolaryngologist didn’t pick up his scalpel. He picked up a virtual reality (VR) headset. Iloreta’s patient had a brain tumor, located in a precarious area of the head, right behind his ear. This made the operation even more difficult. The surgeon needed to remove the tumor before it could grow further into the brain and wreak havoc. Best known for use in immersive games and other-world entertainment, VR headsets…

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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…

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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…

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From small beginnings to Esports stardom

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. After church on Sunday, 13-year-old Christine “Potter” Chi followed her brother and his friends to an amateur Counter-Strike tournament at the Mug and Mouse LAN cafe in Dallas, Texas. While sipping boba tea, Potter and her reluctant friends watched as the teams faced off with nothing but pride on the line. “Once I realized they were going versus each other, it sparked my competitive side,” she said.More than a decade and a half later, Potter has five Counter-Strike world championships under her belt and is a reminder of just…

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Tech Heroes Save Old Game Worlds from Extinction

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. When game servers are turned off, massively multiplayer online communities can come crashing down. Now, however, fans can take matters into their own hands using technologies like cloud computing. The YouTuber A. Kaiser’s career as a Jedi would soon be over. He had played the massively multiplayer online game (MMO) Star Wars Galaxies (2003) for eight years. Now that the game was closing, he could think of no better way to spend his final day in the world than among friends. A flock of players were standing around in Tatooine,…