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How Japan shaped nostalgia in games

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. For Shigeru Miyamoto, the inspiration for The Legend of Zelda (1986) series lay in the natural beauty of his hometown of Kyoto, Japan. As a young boy, the Nintendo designer behind Mario, Zelda, and Pikmin would take hikes around nearby forests, rivers, and old Sonobe Castle ruins. It was on one such hike that Miyamoto happened upon a cave that fascinated him. He returned to it a few days later, shook off his nerves, and, armed with a homemade lantern, journeyed into its mysterious depths. It was this feeling of discovery and…

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Fixing Australia’s game rating system for the digital age

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. Australia is notorious for its strict approach to media bans and classification, coming down hard on videogames in particular. While the Australian Classification Board (ACB) has softened since the introduction of an R18+ adult rating in 2013, the list of banned games continues to grow. The more recent among them range from the hyper-violence of Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, to the juvenile humor of South Park: The Stick of Truth. Aside from bans, many criticized the classification process itself, seeing it as a long and costly burden on creators and…

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New Processors Give Mobile Gamers a Competitive Edge

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. Players who traverse new games like Star Wars: Battlefront, retro games like Horizon Chase or virtual reality experiences are keen on having the best new processors and computing performance they can get. But for many gamers, having a computer that pushes their skills to a game’s limit is no longer enough, according to Mark Chang, gaming strategist on Intel’s performance notebook team. “It’s not just about playing the game anymore,” said Chang. “It’s also about sharing and engaging with the community and friends. That completes the gaming experience.” He pointed to the rise of…

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The search for a game to unite all esports fans

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. The genre-bending competitive games releasing in the next year have the potential to bring the usually divided fan bases of esports together. Many see esports as the next $1 billion sport, but getting there depends on a savvy intertwining of new titles and their diverse fan bases. If new gaming titles such as Blizzard’s Overwatch, Gearbox’s Battleborn and Epic Games’ Paragon are going to succeed as esports, industry insiders believe these titles have to evolve beyond popularity. “There is sort of a secret sauce when it comes to esports,” said Marcus Graham, Twitch’s director of Programming.…

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Revisiting the gloriously weird games of Australia’s golden age

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. The Play It Again project preserves Australian games from the 1980s, one of the most creative and bizarre times for designers in the country. A collaboration between several universities and museum partners, the Play it Again project seeks to digitally preserve—and in the process, reintroduce—Australia’s illustrious videogame history. By making these great Australian games more widely accessible, the project reminds audiences of just how big a hand the country had in shaping game design during the era of power-suits and synthesizers. “We want to save Australia’s important screen history, and we…

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How virtual reality reinvents party games

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. Though virtual reality can be an immersive, solitary experience, multiplayer games are bringing people together for a new kind of group fun. With all the enthusiasm and excitement surrounding virtual reality (VR) games this year, it makes sense to expect some partying. After all, huddling around the TV with a group of friends to play Mario Party—or transforming the living room into a makeshift concert hall with Rock Band—remain marquee gaming moments for gamer groups. Yet these types of party games seem to fly in the face of the head-mounted displays…

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The wearable tech that’s getting girls into coding

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. Taking friendship bracelets into the digital age, Jewelbots teaches young girls to tinker and code their way into the exploding world of wearable technology. Whether it’s the Queen of Coding Grace Hopper or the new wave of women innovation engineers, fashion brand CEOs and musicians, young girls today have a growing number of role models who use science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in their recipes for success. Having more role models is critical, but according to the founders of Jewelbots—the so-called friendship bracelets for the iPhone era—the next…

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Does eSports Have a Drug Problem?

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. In the aftermath of one professional player’s admission to using Adderall, the Electronic Sports League (ESL) is cracking down on performance-enhancing drugs by instituting a new set of standards and tests, positioning the league as a role model for professional sports leagues of all stripes. When Oakland Athletics homerun slugger Jose Canseco released his tell-all biography Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits and How Baseball Got Big in 2005, it landed like a bombshell. The book sparked one of the largest drug scandals in the history of professional sports.…

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LARPing for Social Good: The Power of Live Action Role Play

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. Fantasy entertainment once considered only for children has evolved into a social tool for diversity. LARPing inspires empathy and understanding for gender identity and oppression issues. When Anna Anthropy created Dys4ia (2012), an autobiographical game about her experience taking hormone replacements as a trans woman, she sought to give players insight into her unique perspective. Anthropy knew that shared experiences can raise people’s awareness and even inspire compassion for diversity. The power of empathizing with others could ultimately lead to kinder behavior and a better place for society as…