video games

Ed Ronco / knkx

Expect heavy traffic in Seattle this weekend. 

The enormous Bumbershoot festival happens at Seattle Center. The University of Washington Huskies football team opens its season at home this weekend. The Mariners are playing. And the giant gaming convention PAX West is going on at the Washington State Convention Center.

The International Dota 2 championships
Simone Alicea / KPLU

Forget about the Rio Olympics; Gamers from all over the world are gathering this week at Key Arena for The International, the championship Dota 2 tournament.

Dota stands for Defense of the Ancients, and Dota 2  is an online multiplayer game developed by Bellevue-based video game company Valve. 

As the line to get into Key Arena wound through Seattle Center Monday morning, KPLU had the opportunity to catch up with some of the spectators, who talked about the way the game brings people together.

The annual video game trade show E3 began this week in Los Angeles under the cloud of the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., the deadliest in America's recent history. The conference is expected to draw tens of thousands of industry professionals who want hands-on experience with games that turn virtual violence into entertainment.

There were signs that organizers were trying to bridge the contradictions.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Editor’s Note: This story works best as an audio experience, so we urge you to take a listen.

What if you poured your energy into becoming an opera singer, but then became famous for doing the voice of a computer in a blockbuster video game?

That’s the unexpected twist in Ellen McLain’s career. She’s performed countless roles in operas in Seattle and Tacoma and acted in many Seattle theaters.

But now the thing she’s most famous for is doing the voice of GLaDOS, the sweet-sounding but passive-aggressive computer in Valve’s hit video games Portal and Portal 2.

photo courtesy of Alyssa Menes

People who love games – everything from ones on the computer to board games – will dominate downtown Seattle this weekend attending the convention known as PAX Prime. People there can try out brand new games, learn how to make their own, or attend panels, including one about writing music for video games.

Alyssa Menes, a young woman composer from New Jersey, is one of the panelists.   

She grew up playing classic Nintendo games from the 1980s, games such as The Legend of Zelda, Mario, and Kid Icarus, and fell in love with those tunes.

Courtesy of Nathan Martin / Estelia Photography

Nathan Martin got the collecting bug in his early 20s. He accumulated more than 900 retro console games and arcade games — the same games he’d enjoyed playing as a kid growing up in Seattle, which he calls the “the Silicon Valley of video games.”

When he realized his collection was collecting dust on his shelves, he decided it was time to give back.

Microsoft Corp. kicked off its Electronic Entertainment Expo presentation Monday by unveiling a new Xbox 360 with a design inspired by its upcoming next-generation Xbox One console.

Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft's vice president of marketing and strategy, says the updated Xbox 360 is "smaller, sleeker and as quiet as ever." Mehdi added it would be available beginning Monday.

Associated Press

Once a year, Amazon shareholders have a chance to ask billionaire CEO Jeff Bezos anything they wish. At this year’s annual meeting, a number of them urged Bezos to stop selling brutal video games and other products that glorify violence.