Ana is the protective mother we all want

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. /// In videogames, combat is a language. Each weapon is a way of speaking, a mouth. To shoot is to communicate. Usually, this takes the form of subtraction: you speak curses to ward away your enemies, or break down obstacles, or just burn a…

Black Gold

Black Gold lets you meditate on the mundanity of small-town America

I’ve lived my entire life in Texas. I graduated high school in a small town on the south edge of Fort Worth, Dallas’s dull little brother. There’s a suffocation, growing up in a place like that, a smallness; most people you know have had families who have been here for generations. They’ll reminisce about the farmlands turned into strip malls, spending an hour or two talking about the storied and sleepy history of some decrepit farm road crawling out into the boonies. No one really leaves a place like this. The edges curve into themselves, creating an invisible gravity as…


Shinobi and the art of videogame “cool”

This article is part of PS2 Week, a full week celebrating the 2000 PlayStation 2 console. To see other articles, go here.  /// Shinobi (2002) begins with a cliché. Two honorable ninja warriors, a master and a student, face off in a duel. The winner will take a position as the leader of his clan. The other will die. Off to the side, a female member of the clan complains to an elder: Why does it have to be this way? “This is something they have to do,” he replies. Of course he does. Shinobi exists firmly in the cliché action…


Rainbow Six Siege isn’t happy playing pretend soldiers

I unfurl a breaching charge like a gift, placing its sealed canvas against a boarded-up wall and letting the adhesive do its work. I huddle flat against a clear section of the same wall, switching the zoom on my scope, and pull the trigger. The glorified garment bag of an explosive bursts in fire and shrapnel, cleaving a roughly man-shaped hole through the splintered wood. I peek through, inching my crosshairs into the opening, watching for motion. My teammates circle around the other side, preparing their own breach using not an explosive but the messy precision of a sledgehammer, courtesy…