Leif Johnson

Freelance Game Journalist

Goliad, Texas

Leif Johnson

The Mountain That Writes. Sword 'n' Sorcery nerd. Writes for IGN, Vice, Rolling Stone, GameSpot, PC Gamer, and more. Also, it's pronounced Layf!



Vanilla 'World of Warcraft' Proved Great Stories Don't Necessarily Make Great MMOs

Rolling Stone Link to Story

Overgrowth Link to Story

Wot I Think – Middle-earth: Shadow of War


Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice review

What is it? A moody hack-and-slash exploring mental illness against a backdrop of Viking and Celtic myth. Senua, Celtic warrior extraordinaire, her face and arms slathered in cerulean woad matching the color of her eyes, slices through the hordes of the Viking undead with the severed head of her dead boyfriend strapped to her belt.
PC Gamer Link to Story

'Tacoma' Tackles Issues of Artificial Intelligence and Automation 70 Years in the Future

Somewhere in the dark expanses between the Earth and the moon, slinking about a space station abandoned by its crew under mysterious circumstances, I found a literal skeleton in a closet. The year is 2088. The station is the Tacoma, a relay facility between Earth and a lunar resort. Something bad happened to the crew here, and Amitjyoti "Amy" Ferrier has been sent to retrieve the artificial intelligence in charge and find out what.
Motherboard Link to Story

Sega's New 'Crazy Taxi' Game Is an Anti-Uber, Anti Self-Driving Cars Screed

Motherboard Link to Story

The Elder Scrolls Online nails the magic and weirdness of Morrowind

Poor Eoki just can't catch a break. I first saw the hapless Argonian huddling in a corner of a dirty island hut where we'd been stashed as newly captured slaves, and he followed me when I leapt into the surrounding waters in a daring escape alongside an assassin. And now, here in Sadrith Mora, hugging the eastern rim of the island of Vvardenfell, I find him in chains again.
PC Gamer Link to Story

Blizzard's Most Hated Cheat Maker Is Not Giving Up the Fight

Motherboard Link to Story

Video Game Swords Are Cooler Than Video Game Guns

I'm a white male player of video games who doesn't care for games with a heavy emphasis on shooting guns. Swords and big hammers are more my thing. This loses me a lot more cool points than it earns. Consider my conversations with my ten-year-old nephew, once starstruck at the realization that my 30-something ass scribbles about video games professionally for money, who asked me piles of questions about my kill-death ratios in first-person shooters like Call of Duty and Battlefield.
Motherboard Link to Story

Just How Realistic is Ubisoft's Melee Brawler 'For Honor'?

Game director Roman Campos-Oriola tells us just where history ends and fantasy begins. "We broke a shitload of swords," Roman Campos-Oriola says, laughing. Campos-Oriola, the game director for the new knights versus samurai versus vikings brawler For Honor, is telling me how he and the team at Ubisoft Montreal initially had the bright idea to use real swords for the motion capture.

Meet the Guy Selling Artisanal SNES and NES Games on Etsy

"Reproduction Cartridges" seem like mere hacks at first glance, but to achieve quality, there's a lot of work involved. As many Americans were scrambling into stores in search of the elusive Nintendo Entertainment System: Classic Edition, 31-year-old Josh Jacobson was making his own Nintendo Entertainment System game cartridges at home with the help of a soldering iron.
Motherboard Link to Story

Dark and Light mixes sandbox survival with magic, unicorns, and dragons

PC Gamer Link to Story


Leif Johnson

Leif Johnson (that’s “LAYF”) is a freelance game journalist whose works appear on gaming sites including IGN, Vice: Motherboard. GameSpot, PC Gamer, Official Xbox Magazine, GamesRadar,, Mac|Life, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket,, GameSpy, NOWGamer, Gamezebo, and The Escapist. He’s also written video game-related work for American Cowboy magazine. Once a major figure in the cowboy poetry movement of the 1990s, he traveled across North America from Georgia to British Columbia reciting his poetry and working on ranches. Somewhere along the line he got the foolish notion that he needed to go to college, so he went to the University of Texas at Austin where he received a degree in history. He then spent three years at the University of Chicago working on his Ph.D. before realizing that he probably picked the wrong field to spend the rest of his academic career in. So now he writes about video games for a living. True story.

Leif has been playing video games since the days when Pac-Man machines were found in most corner stores, and he spent over two years in the world-class World of Warcraft raiding guild Risen on Alleria. These days, he plays on all major gaming systems, and he’s particularly proud of his “Dalaran University” T-shirt idea, which was a long-time bestseller on

He also enjoys archery, photography, and medieval history. You can occasionally find his work under his full name, “Jeremiah Leif Johnson.”

Want to get in touch with him? Send him an e-mail at

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