Eric Van Allen

Freelance Writer

Austin, TX

Eric Van Allen

I'm a writer who specializes in games, internet culture, and esports, with over five years of experience and a breadth of skills.

(art by Sam Woolley, GMG)



Big Data Is The Future Of Esports

“Game developers don’t like me,” said Sabina Hemmi. “Before I came around, there was no insight into how balanced a game was.”. Hemmi is joking. Partially. As the co-founder of DotaBuff, a site that provides statistics about Dota 2 gameplay, she can show with hard data if certain characters are stronger or weaker, and in what areas.
Compete Link to Story

Dragon Ball FighterZ Star Finally Beats His Longtime Rival

Dominique “SonicFox” McLean has won titles in a number of games, but in Dragon Ball FighterZ, he found his challenge in Goichi “Go1" Kishida. After losing to Goichi in several tournament and exhibition sets, McLean finally got his tournament win last night in a heated grand finals at Combo Breaker 2018.
Compete Link to Story

Dragon Ball FighterZ Up-And-Comer Is The 'Trash Mom' Of Gotenks

A month ago at Wednesday Night Fights, a local weekly tournament in southern California, Dawn “Yohosie” Hosie was matched against a player who goes by RazorX. His Adult Gohan lineup was a familiar sight, but Hosie’s lead-off fighter was Gotenks, who used to be one of Dragon Ball FighterZ’s more obscure characters.
Compete Link to Story

Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony

Danganronpa has had a hell of a journey over the past few years, telling stories in the form of visual novels, anime, and even a third-person shooter. The latest entry in the series, Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, feels like a fresh beginning of sorts. If you aren’t familiar with the wild world of Danganronpa, here’s the premise: Sixteen high school students wake up with amnesia, and are told by a talking robot bear that they are trapped in a school (or, in one case, a tropical island) and cannot leave.
Kotaku Link to Story

15 Years Later, Here's Why A Gamer Was Duct-Taped To A Ceiling

Few photos from the forum ages of online gaming live in greater infamy than one of what appears to be a human duct taped to the ceiling of a dimly lit basement, his arms reaching out to lightly graze the keys of a Dell mechanical keyboard. Many have laid claim to this image. “I was there,” they say.
Compete Link to Story

How Will Esports Solve Their Broadcast Problem?

On the latest episode of Achievement Oriented, Ben Lindbergh and Jason Concepcion talked to Compete’s Eric Van Allen about the challenges of broadcasting esports.
The Ringer Link to Story

The 15-Year-Old Smash Pro Who Finds Confidence In Dancing Like Bayonetta

It’s Tuesday, and Zack “CaptainZack” Lauth is waiting on a plane. His flight’s been delayed twice. At 15 years old, he’s one of the youngest signed players in Super Smash Bros. For Wii U, and one of the best Bayonetta players in the world—a character as strong as she is controversial. Lauth, like his other siblings, is home-schooled, which allows him to travel outside of New Orleans and compete in the rough circuit of the competitive Smash scene with relative ease.
Compete Link to Story

Smash 'God' Drops Out Of Tournament Because His Controller Isn't Properly Malfunctioning

Adam “Armada” Lindgren, considered one of the “five gods” of competitive Super Smash Bros. Melee, has dropped out of this weekend’s DreamHack Austin due to a controller that isn’t malfunctioning properly. Yes, you read that correctly. The obvious question here is why is a professional player—with the resources of an organization behind him—isn’t prepared with multiple back-ups in case of a failure like this?
Compete Link to Story

Inside the Steam Marketplace's Indie Haberdashery

Custom-designed weapon and character skins rely on more than savvy 3D art skills. Valve, for all of its innovation and invention, has built an empire on the bones of other games. While Half-Life stands alone, one look at its present-day catalog reveals a foundation built on mods. Dota 2 is the Not Quite Sequel to a popular Warcraft III mod.
Waypoint / Vice Link to Story

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Doesn't Examine the Real World Issues it Brings Up

Deus Ex has rarely shied away from controversy. The original 2000 game was a milestone for many, and spoke in a manner that still resonates today. It foresaw the rise of the Patriot Act, the growth of constitutional liberalism and the repercussions of a state turned to paranoia. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is the serialization of these concepts, a game willing to evoke contention without a desire to act on it.
Paste Magazine Link to Story

TobiWan: The voice of Dota 2

You might know him as the voice of Dota 2, the man behind the mic shouting "It's a disaster!" at last year's International, or from any other of the hundreds of competitive matches he has casted. Toby Dawson, or "TobiWan," is one of the most prolific commentators in Dota 2, and he has been in the game for quite some time.
ESPN Esports Link to Story

Competitive Catherine redefines what fighting games can be

This questions comes up, both honestly and facetiously, about a huge variety of games. Sometimes, esports is a groundswell, a way to mark the community that gathers around competitive games they’re passionate about. Other times, “esports” seems more like a trope or a marketing tool. With each passing invocation, the term fades from grassroots communities and inchoate competitive cultures to grand arenas, massive paychecks, and a litany of sponsorships.
The Meta / Kill Screen Link to Story


Eric Van Allen

writer, video producer, podcaster

bylines at:
ESPN Esports
Waypoint / Vice
Paste Magazine
The Meta / Kill Screen



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