"I hate my job," George Yao told The New York Times. After moving across the country to a tiny apartment, to a city where he had no friends, he found an outlet in Clash of Clans. Then Yao found himself standing in the shower with five iPads -- individually bagged -- struggling to preserve his No. 1 ranking in the game.
Matt Bai has a gobsmacking profile in today's Times of Yao, 25, which veers between being a profile of a game-obsessed young man and a hall of fame plaque for a gaming celebrity known as "Jorge Yao." After walking away from Clash of Clans -- holding its world No. 1 ranking for six months, a virtually insurmountable record -- Yao reflects on his career "with a mix of pride and revulsion," writes Bai.
"Looking back, I think I must have been insane," Yao said.
Yao's parents -- who moved from China to Philadelphia -- would read about him in Chinese-language message boards. He'd show up in the game and make guest appearances in other clans and it was like having a celebrity come to your birthday party. Fans following on Twitter found him touring wine country in Napa County, California.
Bai's profile is gripping, especially as it concerns a title we don't cover much here on Kotaku. It ends well, but Yao did have to come to what addicts call a moment of clarity before ceding his No. 1 ranking and his record for total trophies earned in the game. He's taken a job to market a similar game, made in London, moving there to take the gig.
But during his run as Clash of Clans greatest player, "my day job was a means to an end, paying the bills, and my real life was the game."
Master of His Virtual Domain [The New York Times]