Gaming for a Living – Speedrunning

Speedrun of Ocarina of Time at Mang'Azur 2013. Photo courtesy of Yves Tennevin.

Rather than playing games, many of us are now choosing to spend our time watching other people play them.

The live-streaming website Twitch was all over the mainstream media recently when it was revealed that it had been bought by none other than Amazon. Just shy of $1 billion was spent acquiring it.

Though the site only launched in June 2011, by January 2014 it had one million active broadcasters and attracted more than 45 million viewers per month.

The most watched games tend to be the same ones which dominate eSports, such as League of Legends and Dota 2, but the platform has also allowed the fascinating speedrunning community to really develop. Continue reading


Gaming for a Living – eSports

More than 20 million people streamed The International 2014. Photo courtesy of Jakob Wells.

With only a sliver of health left, Daigo Umehara takes the dangerous decision to force his opponent to attack, knowing that he’s about to face a flurry of kicks at blistering speed.

As the attack comes, Daigo is able to parry all of them. A single parry is difficult to pull off at the best of times, let alone 16 times in a row during the pressure of a tournament.

The room erupts, with a buzz to rival the crowd at any other major sporting event. Some people hadn’t known that what they’d just witnessed was even possible to do. Continue reading

Are games actually shrinking rather than growing?

Value for money in the games industry has been in the spotlight recently. Wading into the debate this week was Adrian Chmielarz, former creative director at People Can Fly, the studio behind the critically acclaimed, though undersold, Bulletstorm.

He thinks that charging “$60 for a game is a little insane” and said that developers are obliged to pad things out with filler to justify the prices. He argued that lowering development costs and making games just as long as they need to be would be better for everyone.

This made me wonder how much longer games are now than they used to be. With bigger worlds cropping up all the time, it can be possible to spend months in some games without discovering everything. Continue reading

The cost of pre-owned games vs digital copies and DLC

Even these were expensive once. Photo credit: KaptainKobold on Flickr

Video games depreciate at an alarming rate.

If you’re willing to wait just a few months for pre-owned copies, you can pick them up for a fraction of their initial £40 or £50 price tag.

But downloadable versions of games and their downloadable content don’t seem to depreciate at nearly the same rate, meaning that getting the extra content can often mean spending much more than you paid for the main game.

I’ve had a look at how the pre-owned prices compare to the digital ones, as well as how they compare with the DLC. Continue reading

Isabelle Clement feature – director of Wheels for Wellbeing

Isabelle Clement, director of Wheels for Wellbeing

A spinal tumour at the age of ten months left Isabelle Clement with severe mobility impairments for life.

Now 48, Isabelle is the director of Wheels for Wellbeing, a charity offering disabled people the chance to experience cycling through specialist equipment.

Here she recalls how discovering handcycling in her mid-30s got her to where she is today. Continue reading