It Started as an Online Gaming Prank. Then It Turned Deadly.
The story of a serial swatter.
The story of a serial swatter.
The making of Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Redemption 2.
Forty years ago, a trio of student teachers created the most popular educational game of all-time.
Tom Bissell was an acclaimed young writer when he started playing Grand Theft Auto. For the last three years he has been sleep deprived, cocaine fueled, and barely able to write a word—and he has no regrets.
There are no resurrections in Armageddon MUD, a text-based role-playing game (RPG) set on the harsh desert planet Zalanthas. One of the Internet’s oldest extant virtual worlds, it is an amoral fairytale about dune traders and bandits, assassins and sorcerer-kings, collaboratively written by thousands of players over a period of twenty-six years. Created in 1991 by a thirteen-year-old coder named Dan Brumleve, the kernel of the story was cribbed from a Dungeons and Dragons campaign setting called “Dark Sun,” source of the game’s fantasy races (elves, dwarves, muls, halflings, half-giants), its kaiju-sized insects, and the foundational conceit of a once-verdant world desiccated by “defiling” magic.
How the 130-year-old game company bounced back with the Switch.
A gang of teen hackers snatched the keys to Microsoft’s videogame empire. Then they went too far.
Developed by early computer engineers in their spare time, improved in University comp-sci labs, and ultimately sold in coffeeshops for ten cents per game. Inside one of the most influential games ever played.
How a teenage gamer in the hottest new esport, Overwatch, became a reluctant icon for South Korea’s feminist movement.
One of the most valuable cars in the world crashes going 200 mph on the Pacific Coast Highway. Its owner claims to be an anti-terrorism officer. In fact, he’s a former executive at a failed software company—and a career criminal. The unraveling of an epic con.
"4chan value system, like Trump’s ideology, is obsessed with masculine competition (and the subsequent humiliation when the competition is lost). Note the terms 4chan invented, now so popular among grade schoolers everywhere: “fail” and “win”, “alpha” males and “beta cucks”. This system is defined by its childlike innocence, that is to say, the inventor’s inexperience with any sort of “IRL” romantic interaction. And like Trump, since these men wear their insecurities on their sleeve, they fling these insults in wild rabid bursts at everyone else. Trump the loser, the outsider, the hot mess, the pathetic joke, embodies this duality. "
Programming luck involves a lot of rule-bending and mind-manipulation.
What it’s like to have thousands of fans who don’t recognize you.
A profile of the world’s best League of Legends player, a 19-year-old Korean kid whose nickname is God.
The making of an all-time great video game.
“I laugh off 90 percent of the stuff I’m sent,” Wu says. “But it’s the 10 percent.”
Details from a Lord of the Rings fantasy game interrupt details of a tragic, complicated personal life.
"Right about now, I assume you’ve gotten a bit bored. Dead babies! Let me tell you, dying babies bore the shit out of pretty much everyone, I’ve learned. So, let me take a moment to tell you a humorous LOTRO anecdote (that is, Lord of the Rings Online) about my level 25 minstrel character, Sinuviel. You see, LOTRO is free up to a point, and great fun if you have access to a computer that is badass enough to run it. Just before my fiancé, James, died, I bought a refurbished ASUS laptop for dirt cheap, and it was the best thing in the world for distracting me from how boring my dying child was to everyone I’d ever known."
A profile of Anita Sarkeesian, who has recieved death threats as she exposes misogyny in the $25 billion video game industry.
How making the most successful video game ever changed Alexey Pajitnov’s life.
How a small group of gamers has been able to “set the terms of debate in a $100 billion industry, even as they send women like Brianna Wu into hiding and show every sign that they intend to keep doing so until all their demands are met.”
An Antarctic data hack.
"Still inside the joy, he moved quickly and quietly through the cold, barren corridor, past a row of humming, refrigerated steel doors labeled 'BSL-4 Biohazard,' into the sterile, white labs. Four five-thousand-liter liquid nitrogen tanks were lined up against the wall, the tubes that fed them thick with insulation against the extreme chill of the coolant. The third vat was open and breathing ice crystals into the air. He was glad he had loaded out with a virus filter in the mask. The power was still on, so the tank might freeze again. He pushed the lid shut, holding his breath just in case."
A lonely man creates a female avatar in a video game.
"Frank took Sophia’s hand. This was not an agreed upon action so much as he *took hold of her hand.* Rob was unsure how to analyze this action. Girls had taken his hand before, after drinks at the bar or during movies, and the entire time Rob was uncomfortable. He had sweaty hands and spent the whole experience worrying about his date’s perception of this moisture. He always thought about letting go, but felt that it was his duty, as the girls seemed to, to hold their hands on these occasions and that to let go would be a greater violation than his sweat. Sophia’s hands were not sweaty, as pixels could not sweat. Her hands were not something embarrassing. They had no hair and if looked at closely, the nails would be carefully manicured. But what were her obligations to hold hands with Frank? She was not his girlfriend. They had just met and Frank, the king, was touching Sophia’s hand as if it was his own hand."
How a Japanese company took over the American living room.
Trying to understand the appeal of Eve Online.
After a breakup, a man begins to transform his apartment into a retro arcade.
"I ask him what he plans to do with the games. Is he going to start an arcade? Is he going to fix them and sell them? Matt shrugs and tells me it’s just a hobby now. It’s good that you’ve distracted yourself from Sarah, I tell him, and he says yeah, he’s enjoying his abdicationabdication, as if he’s resigning from the presidency or something. He says it makes him feel like a kid again and I nod. Video games will do that. Nostalgia. But Matt shakes his head, like I’m not understanding him."