video games

Pokemon Go Is Catching Us All — In Unexpected Ways

Jul 11, 2016

It's been an eventful weekend for Pokémon trainers — even without Team Rocket around.

After being released Wednesday, the mobile app Pokémon Go is currently the top-downloaded free app, and the top grossing app, in both the Apple and Android stores.

When Ryan Green's son Joel was 1 year old he was diagnosed with an aggressive brain cancer. Over the next few years, he underwent rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, only to have the cancer return.

For young Saudis, life is conducted online, on phones and on gaming platforms. Saudi Arabia is a young country. The fastest-growing segment of the population is under 30 years old. In this deeply conservative society, with its strict moral codes of behavior and gender segregation, many young Saudis turn to social media and technology to entertain and express themselves.

For women, especially, it's a social revolution.

Actors playing characters in the Halo video games prep for the release of "Halo 5: Guardians" at the Microsoft store at Seattle's University Village on Monday, Oct. 26, 2015. From left: Melissa Kirbyson, Gabe Schulz, Cassie Karst and Aliya Matthews.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Stand in the rain for nearly 22 hours just to buy a video game? Julian Yarbrough was all about that as he waited Monday evening at Seattle's University Village for the release of "Halo 5: Guardians."

Ross Reynolds speaks with New York Times reporter Nick Wingfield about after school video game leagues for kids. Wingfield recently took his daughter to a sneak peek at one league in Seattle. 

Students at a Minecraft camp at the University of Washington. Minecraft is mostly taught at summer camps for the time being -- how to apply it to the classroom is another question.
KUOW Photo/Jamala Henderson

Teenager Alea Frydnlund is creating zombies.

“It will attack you if you’re on survival,” she says. “But right now, I’m just on creative.”

Jeannie Yandel talks with New York Times writer Nick Wingfield about e-sports and their rise in Seattle. 

It's family vacation time, and I've taken the kids back to where I grew up — a small plot of land off a dirt road in Kansas.

For my city kids, this is supposed to be heaven. There are freshly laid chicken eggs to gather, new kittens to play with and miles of pasture to explore.

But we're not outside.

I'm sitting in my childhood bedroom watching my 7-year-old son and his 11-year-old-cousin stare at a screen. The older kid is teaching the younger the secrets of one of the most popular games on Earth: Minecraft.

The League of Legends World Championship in 2012. In 2014, the World Championship attracted 27 million viewers.
Flickr Photo/Chris Yunker (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Click. Click. Clickclickclick. Click.

This is the sound of practice to Robert Chung. He’s moving a character around with a mouse, trying to kill minions for gold while avoiding his opponent.

He is part of a new generation of enthusiasts who play a new type of sport: competitive video gaming. Competitions are massive, filling up sports arenas and drawing millions more spectators online.  

Ellen McLain had a long career as an opera singer. But now her voice is most famous for something entirely different: video games. McLain is the voice of GLaDOS, the passive-aggressive computer in the games Portal and Portal 2.

Thom Pasiecki, 24, says that after he lost his job in Connecticut and broke up with his girlfriend, he realized he needed help with an online gaming addiction.
KUOW photo/Jamala Henderson

Thom Piasecki is on day 19 of digital rehab at a rural retreat in eastern King County.

His daily routine is mostly outside, walking on dirt paths through forested areas, feeding chickens and doves, and checking on goldfish in a tub outside. 

KUOW Photo/Hannah Burn

Ross Reynolds talks with e-sport champion Yiliang "DoubleLift" Peng about the hard path he took to becoming a professional gamer.

File photo: brain
Flickr Photo/Saad Faruque (CC BY-SA 2.0)

An Oxford University researcher will soon test whether applying an electric current to part of the brain can help children learn math — an effect previously demonstrated in adults. And some parents are eager to gain access to the device.

Marcie Sillman talks with Jackson Brown, manager of the University of Washington's e-sports team, the Purple Castor Mignons, about the team's big win in 2014 and how e-sports is making a splash on the Seattle campus.

If you can't get your new Sony PlayStation or Microsoft Xbox online today, you can blame the Lizard Squad – or (indirectly) North Korea. Or maybe neither.

The Lizard Squad purports to be a group of hackers now claiming responsibility for a denial of service attack on the two game consoles' online sites.

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