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CSGO and the Wild World of E-Sports

Brodie Custer

Counter-strike: Global Offensive is an online first person shooter that requires more than just good aim with a mouse and keyboard. Tactical thinking, critical decision making, and good communication between yourself and teammates is absolutely required to do well at the game, at least at a high level. It is for this reason that CSGO has become one of the biggest and most exciting E-Sports on the planet. What is an E-Sport? An E-Sport is “a multiplayer video game played competitively for spectators, typically by professional gamers” (Google Dictionary). These players are the cream of the crop, the crème de la crème. These men and women, sometimes young boys and girls, are picked up by organizations that fund them to play the game in front of thousands of live spectators, millions if you count the people watching via twitch or youtube/facebook streams. Counter-strike is one of the biggest of these E-Sports.

                     (Chart from

            From the 12th to the 28th of January Boston Massachusetts became the host of the twelth E-League Major for Counterstrike: Global Offensive. E-League is the company that organizes and oversees this specific chain of tournaments. To qualify as a Major for CSGO the tournament needs to be sponsored by Valve, the company that develops Counterstrike. This specific Major in Boston featured 24 teams and a prize pool of 1 million dollars that would be distributed between the winning teams ( Millions of people were watching the teams battle it out against each other as skill, teamwork, and determination clashed. They cheered, awed by the incredible skills of their favorite players as the matches played out for them on the big screens in the Agganis Arena in Boston, Massachusetts. Little did they know they were about to witness history as Cloud 9 would become the very first North American team to win a CSGO major. An achievement so far only claimed by the best European teams in the scene. They shocked everyone in the arena as their teamwork, grit, determination and incredible individual skill stole them round after round until they were finally able to put their hands around their trophy and $500,000 in prize money.


             It may seem strange why so many people would watch a video game being played. To me, and the countless others who watch these games at the highest level, it is exactly the same as watching pro sports. The excitement you feel when your team scores that game winning goal in overtime can similarly be applied to E-Sports. Watching your favorite player clutch a 1 versus 5 situation bringing the score to 15-15 a tie game and going to overtime! Although E-Sports have only gotten huge in the last few years they have been around for a long time. Individuals have been competing at the highest level of certain games, in this case “Spacewar”, since 1972 (, “The History and Evolution of Esports”).

The argument against E-Sports from “real” sports fans, or your mother, is always “well you can’t make a living playing a stupid video game.” That is however, factually incorrect. This is especially true in recent years as the organizations have grown immensely in no small part thanks to the introduction of platforms such as Twitch. With the help of these streaming platforms the audience and therefore the revenue from these events has grown significantly. With the exception of fighting games, which have criminally small prize pools, placing well in an E-Sports tournament generally offers a fair sum. It is not unusual to see pro players from games like CSGO or Dota 2 end their careers with millions of dollars in tournament winnings (Esports Earnings). For example Dev1ce the “AWPer” (Sniper) for Astralis, one of the best teams in the game today, has made approximately $800,000 in tournament winnings and is still an active player so it is not unreasonable to expect that number to grow larger (Liquidpedia). With the addition of sponsors, players can make an excellent living playing the video game they love, though it becomes more like a job than a hobby. To compete at the highest level of anything takes hours of practice and research, honing your skills into the best they can possibly be, video games are no exception.

Works Cited

“dev1ce.” Liquipedia Counter-Strike Wiki,

“Dota 2 vs Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Top Players Compared :: Esports Earnings.” e,

“ELEAGUE Major: Boston 2018.” Liquipedia Counter-Strike Wiki, “ELEAGUE Major 2018 Detailed Stats.” Detailed Stats – Esports Charts,

Gaming, Bountie. “The History and Evolution of Esports.” Medium, Medium, 3 Jan. 2018,

“Largest Overall Prize Pools in Esports.” Largest Overall Prize Pools in Esports – Esports Tournament Rankings :: Esports Earnings,

“Tekken 7 Prize Pools & Top Players – Esports Profile :: Esports Earnings.” Prize Pools & Top Players – Esports Profile :: Esports Earnings,

Multiple Choice: The History of Interactive Storytelling in Video Games

Ian Meadows

Video games are a constantly evolving medium. Game developers are constantly trying to implement new and exciting mechanics into their games that will bring players in and keep them playing. One way to keep players playing is the “high score” method. Players will keep trying to get the highest score possible despite completing the game. Without this, if a player completes a game with a typical linear story, they are unlikely to replay the game as they have completed it. To combat this, a very popular trend in narrative based games currently is giving the player a variety of choices throughout the game that will impact either how other characters in the game treat your character or sometimes the ending of the game itself. Adding choices like this easily adds a replay value as many gamers want to see all the endings. This is known as interactive storytelling, or interactive drama. “A form of digital entertainment in which a storyline is not predetermined” (Bostan 28).


What were the first video games to use interactive storytelling? Many people give credit to the 2005 game Façade created by Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern. In Façade you play as a friend of Trip and Grace who has been invited to their apartment for drinks, while you are there it becomes glaringly obvious that something isn’t right between them and your goal is to try and fix their marriage. It uses language processing software that allows the player to “speak” to the two AI characters of Trip and Grace and depending on what you say it could result in a variety of outcomes from bringing the two back together to being forcibly shoved out of their apartment. While reviews were mixed, Façade helped usher in the wave of interactive storytelling in video games. The creators have stated that they consider this an “interactive theatre” more so than a game. They claimed that the goal was to create a dramatic experience as opposed to a fun game. (Rauch).


One of the first interactive games to achieve mainstream success would be Quantic Dreams 2010 game Heavy Rain. You switch between four different protagonists throughout the game as you try to piece together the mystery of the “Origami Killer”. A serial killer who murders his victims by drowning them during heavy rainstorms. Your decisions affect the story and any of the four characters you control can be killed leading to many alternate endings. Heavy Rain was a massive undertaking for a video game during its time. It had over 4 years of development, a 2000-page script, seventy actors with 170 days of motion capturing and 60 days of animating. (Welsh)

Another major success in the interactive storytelling genre was Telltale Games 2012 game The Walking Dead based off the comic book series with the same name. The game follows Lee Everett who must try and survive the zombie apocalypse. Unlike Façade, The Walking Dead requires the player to respond to certain events by choosing between four pre-set answers. The answers you pick could simply change how other characters perceive your character or it could decide which characters live and die. The game received huge praise from critics and players alike. It earned numerous “game of the year” awards and was a massive financial success selling one million copies in 20 days. This was Telltale Games breakthrough success and they proceeded to continue to make more interactive storytelling games including: three more Walking Dead Games, and a variety of other franchises including Game of Thrones, Minecraft, Batman, and Guardians of the Galaxy. More were planned, however due to major investors backing out, Telltale Studios faced a majority studio closure followed by bankruptcy in 2018. (Crecente)

Lastly, I’d like to talk about one of my favourite game that uses interactive storytelling, Galactic Cafe’s 2013 game The Stanley Parable. Aptly described as a “walking simulator”. You play as Stanley, an office worker whose computer stops working, unsure what to do, you get up and find that your entire office is abandoned. As you are wandering the halls, the narrator who has been guiding you so far will tell you go down a certain path. However, there is another path you may take, and from there on out the player decides whether to listen to the narrator or go their own way as said narrator berates them for disobeying. Developer Davey Wreden stated in an interview, “The very first thing I asked with the game was ‘what would happen if you could disobey the narrator?’ And I actually had no idea what the answer was, so I just started designing a game around it to see what would happen!”. Wreden also said that the creation of the game came from “a desire to know something about video games that had never been explored.” (Mattas)

What’s exciting about interactive storytelling is this whole new level of engagement that it give the player. While game with a good linear story can be engaging in its own way, it can be dull at times knowing that the mistakes you make won’t have much of an impact outside of just delaying the inevitable end of the game. A game where your decisions will have consequences for the rest of said game is something that creates a lot of natural tension. With the advancements of graphics in general and the virtual reality, its very exciting to see just how engaging video games will be in the future.


Works Cited

Bostan, Barbaros., and Marsh, Tim “Fundamentals of interactive storytelling.” August 2012.    ytelling. Accessed March 21, 2019.

Crecente, Brian. “How Masterful Narrative Game Makers Telltale Suddenly Lost Everything.”    Variety. September 24, 2018.   walking-dead-studio-closure-1202955309/. Accessed March 21, 2019.

Mattas, Jeff. “Interview: The Stanley Parable developer Davey Wreden”.” Shacknews.     September 27, 2011.          on-stanley-parable-remake-and-self-taught. Accessed March 21, 2019

Rauch, Jonathan. “Sex, Lies, and Videogames.” The Atlantic. November 2006. 1202955309/. Accessed March 21, 2019.

Welsh, Oli. “Heavy Rain’s David Cage.” Eurogamer. February 17, 2010 Accessed March         21, 2019

Fighting Facebook Addiction

Kianne H.

Figure 1: “Gold iPhone 6 With Note Pads.”,

If I was to randomly ask people around campus, “what is Facebook?”, I believe every single person would be able to provide me with, at least, a general definition. If I asked, “do you or someone you know have a Facebook account?” I also can confidently assume that each person would answer yes. The reason I have such confidence on their answers is because, since being released fourteen years ago, Facebook has quickly become the largest Social Networking Site (henceforth SNS) on the internet hosting around 1.5 billion users (Marino et al 51). 1.5 billion is a very high proportion of the world’s population therefore, I suspect that many students have or know someone with a Facebook account. If I was to ask the same student or group of students, “would you consider anyone I your life a Facebook addict?” I can’t necessarily predict their answers with the same assurance as before. While I want to presume their answers would be yes, “not all people who spend large amounts of time on Facebook every day are necessarily addicted” (Kanat-Maymon et al 232) so it is difficult to accurately answer yes or no.

With 1.5 billion active users on Facebook and more users registering each day, it is not surprising that Facebook is the largest SNS in the world. A 2018 article on Facebook use claims that, “Every minute on [Facebook], 510,000 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated, and 136,000 photos are uploaded” (Biolcati et al 1). People are spending a large amount of time on Facebook, seeking social satisfaction through the likes and comments on their posts, leading to more and more becoming addicted.

Figure 2: “Four People Holding Mobile Phones.”

Personally, I have found myself in situations where I am with friends and everybody around me is on their phone. They have no interest in socializing with the people around them and instead of building and maintaining personal relationships in the moment, they socialize virtually with other people over SNS like Facebook. I could name multiple people in my life who are addicted to Facebook including my parents and some of my friends. The problem is the decrease in personal face-to-face conversations and the impact on the quality and number of relationships because individuals are spending large amounts of time behind screens.

A 2018 study explains some of the many factors contributing to Facebook addiction. Although there are many, I will address only a few including loneliness, extraversion, and neuroticism. Loneliness contributes to higher chances of succumbing to Facebook addiction because, “lonely individuals turn to FB to find companionship and relief from problems and worries related to socialization” (Biolcati et al 7). When people are lonely they will often look to build relationships and find happiness in a variety of places, like through Facebook, and the satisfaction of connecting, whether virtually or not, encourages more Facebook use. Furthermore, extraversion and neuroticism are other personality traits that can influence Facebook addiction. Just as Facebook serves as a relationship platform for people who experience loneliness, it also “provides another platform for extraverts to communicate with friends and contacts made off-line” (Biolcati et al 8). When extroverts need a communication outlet and are not surrounded by people, they will likely use social media as a communication outlet. Neurotic individuals may also be influenced to use Facebook as an outlet for their anxious feelings or perhaps to present themselves in a way that is entirely controlled by what they choose to post. “Due to their social anxiety” neurotic individuals often prefer “social networking communication… due to their social anxiety” (Biolcati et al 8). Studies show that “extraverted and neurotic individuals [are] at [a] higher risk for maladaptive use of SNSs like Facebook” (Kanat-Maymon et al 233).

Figure 3: Dziuba, Tobias. “Photo of Laptop near Plant.”

Facebook addiction has many consequences. For one, people addicted to social media “may find that it is difficult for them to focus their attention on other activities without thinking about things that they want to do [on] social media” (Sriwilai, and Charoensukmongkol 428). People who are victim to Facebook addiction find it increasingly difficult to practice mindfulness. They can’t be present through a situation or experience because their screens are so tempting. They struggle with the “ability to be mindful to what they are doing… because of the distraction caused by the urge to access social media” (Sriwilai, and Charoensukmongkol 428). A study of the impacts of social media addiction states that another consequence is social exhaustion. The article claims, that addiction to social media services, such as Facebook, can be associated with emotional exhaustion because people are “attentive to one’s thoughts and feelings without reacting upon them” and because of social media, they can “easily let go of any negative thought and feeling that they are experiencing and be less affected by it” (Sriwilai, and Charoensukmongkol 429). The consequences that come from addiction to SNSs like Facebook can severely impact the emotional and mental stability of any person who spends an overwhelming amount of time on social media.

Facebook is a social media site that billions of people have access to and because of its features, many become addicted. Although I have only presented the drawbacks of SNS use, I would like to briefly mention that SNSs like Facebook do have benefits. For example, Facebook has allowed me, and many others, to stay in contact with many friends across the world and serves as a platform for sharing information and communicating with groups and other members. Facebook does have benefits, but it is important to remain cautious with the amount of time you spend on the SNS as well as the intentions behind it.

If you’re a lonely individual, have neurotic tendencies, or are a major extrovert I caution you to be careful with the time you spend on Facebook. Ensuring that you are not putting an excessive amount of time and energy into when and how you appear online could save you from the mental and emotional harm that comes with Facebook and SNS addiction.



Biolcati, Roberta et al. “Facebook Addiction: Onset Predictors”. Journal Of Clinical

Medicine, vol 7, no. 6, 2018, pp. 1-12. MDPI AG, doi:10.3390/jcm7060118.

Kanat-Maymon, Yaniv et al. “Contingent Self-Worth And Facebook

Addiction”. Computers In Human Behavior, vol 88, 2018, pp. 227-235. Elsevier BV, doi:10.1016/j.chb.2018.07.011.

Marino, Claudia et al. “Modeling The Contribution Of Personality, Social Identity And

Social Norms To Problematic Facebook Use In Adolescents”. Addictive Behaviors, vol 63, 2016, pp. 51-56. Elsevier BV, doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2016.07.001.

Sriwilai, Kanokporn, and Peerayuth Charoensukmongkol. “Face It, Don’t Facebook It:

Impacts Of Social Media Addiction On Mindfulness, Coping Strategies And The Consequence On Emotional Exhaustion”. Stress And Health, vol 32, no. 4, 2015, pp. 427-434. Wiley, doi:10.1002/smi.2637.


Threatened Libraries? The Constant Evolution of Public Libraries

Sophia Charyna

In a course titled “The History and Future of the Book,” we have discussed the humble beginnings of language, writing, and the literary canon. In the remainder of this course, we will continue to explore what the future of the book looks like. Evidently, the digitization of books and scholarship has a remarkable impact on the publication, distribution, and borrowing of books and other materials.

Figure 1. From

When was the last time you went to a Public Library? As an English major, it’s a little embarrassing to say that I don’t remember the last time I did.

Also, embarrassing was my (until recent) belief in the stereotype “dying libraries.” English majors often encounter the constant questions of post-degree careers: “What are you going to do with that degree,” “teach English?”, “Work in a library? That’s not a career that’s going to last!” In an article written by an American librarian Kelli Cross, she accounts: “Public libraries have been busy. And getting busier. Per research conducted by the American Library Association, ‘in 2013, there were 1.5 billion in-person visits to public libraries across the U.S., the equivalent of more than 4 million visits each day. That’s 2,854 per minute’” (Cross). Due to the continuous evolution of libraries to suit the requirements and requests of the community they serve, they continue to have a patronage. Living within is a privileged group, I believe it is often easy to forget that the services offered by public libraries are essential to some intersectional groups of our city.

Figure 2. Beginner books, from

As a beginning reader, I wanted to read as much as possible, but my skill level and age kept me constrained to short books that were interesting to me. It didn’t make sense for my parents to buy every book that I read (I’d only read them once!). Having access to a public library provided me with a world of information, what felt like an endless supply of books, and the freedom to explore what I was interested in. For a long time, this was primarily children’s fiction that included magic, dragons, or preferably, both. Having this access, along with encouragement from my parents and teachers, made me a lifelong reader, and lover of books (which explains my choice of major).

Reflecting on the time the I spent in the library in my hometown with extremely positive memories — I can’t help but feel a little guilty for not continuing to use the public library as a resource. Talking to my peers and friends, many of us have expressed that we don’t visit the library as much as we used to.  Why is this?

One: I Read Less for “Fun”

A harsh reality of adulthood. And student-hood. When I decide on a book I’d like to read, I am far more likely to get it from a bookstore or borrow it from someone that I know.

Two: Libraries are Different

With these changes that have been made to public libraries to become places of resource for those who need them, they have become less necessary for me. Leading to… #3.

Three: I Don’t Think I Need the Library

Libraries have had to adapt to a digital generation. Libraries within the Saskatoon Public System offer Books and Magazines, as well as extensive offerings of digital options, technology rentals, the only free public access to the internet as well as video game rentals, music and other forms of media. Perhaps, I have felt less inclined to access public library services, because I am privileged to have access to the internet at home, as well as streaming services for digital media such as Netflix and Spotify.

Figure 3. Saskatoon Library. From

Surely with the changes that libraries have made for the times, there are new uses to discover. First, I went to the Saskatoon Public Library Website. Turns out my library card is expired, so first thing on the agenda was to get a new one. I was prepared to drive to my local library and sign up, but I could sign up for one online. With a Library Card (digitally) in hand, I began to explore what was available to me. SPL has a full digital library of high-quality audiobooks for rental, as well as Ebooks, TV, movies, and other digital media. In physical libraries, they offer free internet access, computer access, and other technology for borrowing. In addition to each of these, there are exceptional services available online and in person. Some options I found included: “Your Next Great Read,” which invites a patron to provide a list of interests, and books that they enjoy, and a librarian who specializes in that area or genre will suggest other titles you may have never heard of.  If you are interested in starting a Book Club, they offer a “Book Club in a Bag,” that provides multiple copies of the same novel as well as guiding questions for discussion.

Libraries are essential components of communities. Often, especially in small towns, they are a central building, with multiple uses, that is important to many intersections within those communities. In Saskatoon, public libraries are one of a few places that offer free access to technology and the internet, in addition to books, public archives, magazines, movies, television, and video games.  Libraries are built with multi-use spaces that can be used for community gathering, artistic exploration, and education. From programs for Adult literacy education, to Youth Poetry Slams, the library is a gathering place for children, creatives, and academics. Knowing what resources are available, I aim to use them more, and with a renewed appreciation of a libraries place in a community, I intend to promote the continued funding and support of the institution.

Works Referenced and Cited:    

“Adults.”  Saskatoon Public Library. Accessed February 13, 2019.

Cross, Kelli. “Libraries: Dying or Thriving?” Medium, Accessed February 14, 2019.

“Digital Library.” Saskatoon Public Library. Accessed February 14, 2019.

“The Role of Modern Libraries” SPL Connects, Accessed February 13, 2019.

James Joyce and Ulysses: The Man, the Controversy, the Printing

Aran Kocur

The Man

(Portrait of James Joyce c. 1918, courtesy of Wikipedia)

One of the best places to start with the novel Ulysses is a brief study of the author himself. James Joyce was an Irish novelist, poet, and short story writer born in 1882 in the city of Dublin, a home that features centrally in many of Joyce’s works, including Ulysses. To this day Joyce’s work inspires scholarly debate within classrooms and casual settings such as pubs, with Ireland generally embracing Joyce’s legacy after years of cold shoulder treatment while the man was alive. Joyce’s work also reflects his own place in a middle-class family that faced financial turmoil, as well as his eventual self-imposed exile from Ireland with his wife. Furthermore, Joyce appeared to experience a turbulent relationship with Christianity. A common aspect of Ulysses specifically, as noted by multiple scholars, is the distinct Jewish elements of both the story and particularly the character Leopold Bloom. Altogether, as is the case for endless authors today, all these aspects of real life seemed to shape Joyce’s writing in varying degrees.

The Controversy

(Image of Ulysses 1922 First Edition, selling for $75,000 USD on

Arguably the most well-known of Joyce’s works, Ulysses is a modernist novel originally serialized in the 19th century American literary magazine The Little Review. This particular magazine was an effort to collectively publish and showcase various modernist works, including both written works and visual art pieces. Modernism as a literary movement rising in the late 19th and early 20th centuries generally involved conscious decisions to subvert tradition and illustrate new social norms. Authors such as Joyce were transgressive and “sought to disturb social, sexual, and aesthetic complacencies” (Spoo 634) with their writing. Thus, plenty of controversy surrounded Joyce’s Ulysses before it was even printed in a single volume, making publication difficult to achieve, with publishers baulking at the work’s “obscene” content and reputation. In Thomas Staley’s words, “No novel written in this century has evoked more critical controversy or sparked such elaborate exegesis” (70).

The Printing

(The video above shows the owner of Peter Harrington books handling a first edition copy of Ulysses. Peter Harrington Books is another rare and antique bookstore specializing in first editions, signed and inscribed copies, maps, and more.)

Ulysses first official collected edition in what we of the 21st century would recognize as a cohesive, modern book format was printed in Paris in 1922. Publishers such as American B.W. Huebsch were eager to exploit Joyce’s text as a lucrative financial opportunity, so long as Joyce made certain editorial changes to his work. Joyce refused. After struggling and receiving multiple refusals from different companies on different continents, Ulysses was finally published under Sylvia Beach’s Shakespeare and Company imprint. A quarto volume roughly as large as a modern phonebook, the physical copy of Ulysses is almost as impressive as its literary influence as a modern novel. One thousand numbered copies were produced featuring Joyce’s name and the work’s title on the front cover. Of these, the majority were printed on white, handmade Dutch paper. A handful of these original books are available for sale even now, with a few copies ranging from $75,000 to $150,000 USD currently offered on the website of Raptis Rare Books, a store which specializes in rare and antique books. According to a newspaper article published in The Guardian in 2009, a well-preserved copy from the original print run reportedly sold for £275,000—roughly $440,000 at the time of sale! As for the rest of 1922, after the initial print release Joyce continued making grammatical revisions, culminating in another printing in October of the same year. This version is in some ways considered the “true” first edition, as it is Joyce’s own revision and additional writing which resulted in not only a grammatically and structurally improved product, but one that grew by roughly a third of its original size when finally published collectively. Thus, Joyce did not simply change the odd word and add a handful of sentences. Since Ulysses was originally released in a serial format, it makes sense that finally gathering all the separately released parts together into a single novel might inspire an author to edit and expand their work.

The Conclusion

Ultimately, Ulysses demonstrates a historical shift in both the printing industry and the literary content of Europe. Whether one approved of or saw value in its content or not, Joyce’s work helped transform Western literature in the 20th century and was an impactful component of literary modernism. The remaining copies of that 1922 first edition are reminders of how one text may play a key role in the continuing development of the book.


Works Cited

Brown, Mark. “First edition of Ulysses sells for record £275,000.” The Guardian, 4 June 2009, Accessed 13 Jan. 2019.

Mason, David. “CREATING A LITERARY HERO: JAMES JOYCE.” The Sewanee  Review, vol. 121, no. 3, 2013, pp. 467–473. JSTOR,

Raptis Rare Books. Accessed 15 Jan. 2019.

Spoo, Robert. “Copyright Protectionism and Its Discontents: The Case of James Joyce’s

‘Ulysses’ in America.” The Yale Law Journal, vol. 108, no. 3, 1998, pp. 633–667. JSTOR,

Staley, Thomas. “‘ULYSSES’: Fifty Years in the Joycean Conundrum.” Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature, vol. 6, no. 1, 1972, pp. 69–76. JSTOR,

“Ulysses James Joyce First Edition.” Youtube, uploaded by PeterHarringtonBooks, 3 January 2016,