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!



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

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

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This Publisher Is Making Sure Games from Banned Countries Still Get Shown at GDC

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Ion Hazzikostas on How Blizzard Reinvigorated 'World of Warcraft' with 'Legion'

The 'WoW' game director discusses the lessons learned from 'Warlords of Draenor' and looks to the future. Exactly one year ago, Ion Hazzikostas, then assistant game director for World of Warcraft, was busy with his team designing the first bosses for the Legion expansion's Nighthold raid that just went live last Tuesday.

Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8: Final Chapter Prologue Review

What's in a name? As much as you can cram, or so Square Enix seems to think with Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8: Final Chapter Prologue. It's a jumble that suffers somewhat for its lack of any real cohesion among its three parts, but at least two of those components are strong enough to warrant a return visit to the world that believably drops Final Fantasy and Disney characters into the same universe.
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The Unexpected Drama of Amazon's Casual E-Sports Tournament

I doubt anyone in the world hates ads in mobile games right now so much as Adam “B0aty” Lyne. The afternoon of December 2 found the popular British Twitch streamer on a stage in Las Vegas’ Paris Hotel, battling against Vancouver’s Ryan “Northernlion” Letourneau in a round of Pac-Man 256 on an Amazon Fire tablet.
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8-Bit Hordes brings a Warcrafty spin to 8-Bit Armies

There's a giant, house-sized cyclops at the head of my army, and I have no idea what his name is. I feel as though I should—the 12-mission campaign for 8-Bit Hordes's Deathsworn faction kicks off with him surrounded by voxelated orcs who swarm him like dwarves pile on gold, and the fact that I initially can't spawn a version of him myself at first lends him an air of irreparable importance.
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. He and his wife currently live on a ranch north of Goliad, Texas. 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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