My guilty pleasure is Overwatch, the fast-paced shooter in which you take control of a hero with a range of abilities and work with your five teammates to secure an objective. In the process, you defeat an enemy team drawn from the same hero pool.
The game has been so successful that it has become professionalised, with the worldwide Overwatch League providing a focus for those players who have turned gaming into a career. Others, like Jayne and Emongg, make livings as coaches and streamers on platforms such YouTube and Twitch, showing off their prowess and advising the rest of us how to improve. They have loyal followings of tens of thousands.
What makes it exciting, is that the medium allows playing fans to engage directly with people they come to admire. Last night, two of my regular hunting crew, Xgod and Lokajosvea, one in Denmark and one in Sweden, were coached by Jayne, from Canada, watched by me, in the UK. For them, it was like an actor and Star Wars fan getting to rehearse with Mark Hamill or Harrison Ford.
Games like this inspire all sorts of creativity, from memes to animations to fan fiction. One expression of such inventiveness is cosplay, with France winning the most recent official Overwatch Cosplay Battle.
My attention though was caught by Irina Meier and Team Russia, the winner of the Community Favourite. They built a full mech suit for D.Va, the hero that I main when we play competitively, that Irina could climb inside.
There are some truly brilliant creatives associated with the gaming industry. The inventiveness and sheer artistic talent of all those involved is worth taking time to appreciate.