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League of Legends is a multiplayer online battle arena video game developed and published by Riot Games and released in 2009. Two teams of five players battle in player-versus-player combat, with each player controlling a character with a unique play style and abilities. At launch, the game was generally well-received; later critical reappraisals, arising as a result of the game's long lifespan, have trended positively, noting the regular content updates. In 2019 the game routinely recorded 8 million concurrent players, and its popularity and longevity have led to various tie-ins, including virtual groups like K/DA, narrative collaborations with Marvel Comics, spin-off video games, and an upcoming animated series. The game is played professionally, and is frequently cited as the world's largest esport; the 2019 League of Legends World Championship had over 100 million unique viewers, peaking at a concurrent 44 million viewers, with a minimum prize pool of US$2.5 million. (Full article...)
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The Mario franchise has deviated into a variety of role-playing games that have been published by Nintendo and released exclusively for their video game consoles. The first game, Super Mario RPG, was developed by Square and released in 1996; the game was met with critical acclaim, and became the inspiration for the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi spinoff series, developed by Intelligent Systems and AlphaDream respectively. The Paper Mario series was well-received when it began with Paper Mario in 2000, but has since been shifted to that of an action-adventure series; beginning with Superstar Saga in 2003, numerous titles in the Mario & Luigi series were met with critical acclaim, but AlphaDream declared bankruptcy in 2019. Three other one-off titles, such as Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle in 2017, have also been released. (Full list...)