This piece would discuss whether or not gaming and the culture have figured out how to appeal to all ages?


by Harry Rabinowitz

I don’t like playing games in public.  I get self-conscious, embarrassed, like I have a group of critics watching my every move, even when no one is paying me any mind.  I want games to be respected by everyone, and when something inherently silly, childish, sexist, stupid, mundane, poorly written, or poorly designed happens in the game I’m playing, I can’t help but turn around to see if anyone’s noticed.

And half the time, someone does notice.  I have the pleasure (and curse) of playing games around game designers.  Designers can strip a game down in a matter of seconds, either making you look smart for choosing to play that game or look like a tasteless buffoon.

Most days, it’s the latter.  Recently, I was watching a friend of mine play Final Fantasy XIII, a series that I am very familiar with, but an installment I have not touched.  Throughout the play session, I was intrigued by the battle system, character progression, story, and world.  Only an hour or so in, I hadn’t really decided if I “liked” the game or not.  Like many JRPGs, the character designs were easy to poke fun at, but I made fun of Snow’s plaid waist scarf and Vanille’s triple stringed yo-yo staff thing in an endearing way.

That is until one of the many MFA game design students begins to take note of the game.  After watching for about four minutes (and calling a robotic scorpion boss monster “cute”), he stated, “So this game is just walking down hallways, watching cutscenes, and rolling a bunch of dice?”  My friend replied, “basically”.

Final Fantasy XIII, 6 years in development, millions of dollars in the making, broken down into a sentence.  After hearing that, I looked back at the game and it seemed like trash, an utter waste of time.

This is why I don’t like playing games in public.  It constantly feels like I need to defend the game I’m playing, or even my right to play it.  After watching a five minute long cutscenes with shaky dialogue, I feel like I need to explain why this is worth my time to the board of “proper game designers” behind me.

But after playing one game demo in public, I threw all this out the window.  Bayonetta 2 showed me that, if I’m having fun, maybe I shouldn’t feel the need to defend myself.

It helps that Bayonetta 2 is utterly insane.  You can see what I mean for yourself on the next page.

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Here, we spotlight the movements, mods, and works of art within gaming culture for your ultimate enjoyment. The weekly post is your central point to see just how video games influence the world around us.

Minecraft, one of the most imaginative places to create, gave incited minds another reason to celebrate its existence. YouTuber Trislux recreated Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro‘s horrifyingly addictive game — Silent Hill — in Minecraft. VG24/7‘s Matt Martin hasn’t turned off the lights since watching the creepy recreation, which you can watch here.

Goat Simulator fans are being threatened with throwing in their copies for a new experience. The John Hopkins University created game, I Am Dolphin, isn’t looking to win 2014’s Game Of The Year, but Ecco this is not. It’s something great and is already aiding those in stroke recovery to get back to their best selves. Players control Bandi the bottlenose dolphinSimon the Commerson’s dolphin or Zoey the orca by running their finger along an iOS screen. The sea creatures trail the motion with naturalistic gestures that simulate muscles and bones.

If you were amidst the millions (and millions!) to attend this year’s New York Comic Con then you got a chance to witness PlayStation Network‘s debut show, Powers. Starring Sharlto Copley (District 9, Elysium) and Susan Heyward, the duo are front and center in Brian Michael Bendis‘ superhero saga. Ten episodes will be airing this December just in time for those gifts under the tree. You can watch the trailer for the comic book adaptation here.

If you see anything that you feel is culturally relevant, artistic in merit, or just all-around cool for gamers — please don’t hesitate to let us know @HaroldGoldberg, @KevitoClark, and @HarryRabinowitz.


Held at the Cafe Club Fais Do-Do in the City of Angels, IndieCade 2014 was another resounding success.  Todd Martens’ Los Angeles Times article framed the event nicely, saying that IndieCade proudly hosted bold, experimental new games amidst opposition in the form of #GamerGate.

The award winners, which can be found in full on the IndieCade website, are as follows:

With more than 150 games being shown to the public, the festival served as a central hub to discuss the changing landscapes within gaming culture.

Did you attend? Share your stories and thoughts with us in the comments below!

by Harry Rabinowitz

Read about last week’s gaming happenings from the best in the East!

Russ Frushtick makes his debut on The New York Times with his piece on the 10 player arcade game Killer Queen.

Over on Kotaku, Evan Narcisse gave his review of the completely over the top action-spectacle Bayonetta 2.

Ebenezer Samuel reviewed an action game of a completely different sort, Disney Infinite 2.0, over at The New York Daily News.

Chelsea Stark and Jeff Bakalar both took a look at Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and both came to similar conclusions.  It’s a pre-sequel.  You can find Chelsea’s review on Mashable and Jeff’s review on CNET.

Samit Sarkar talked with Remember Me developer Dontnod Entertainment about their upcoming episodic adventure game, Life is Strange.

Anthony John Agnello bring us his impressions of the Resident Evil: Revelations 2 demo, straight from the New York Comic Con.

And for another bonus this week, Jason Schreier has been busy over on Kotaku, writing about the strange “Limbo” that occurs for game devs at Ubisoft when between games as well as tackling the next-gen 1080p kerfuffle.

With “review season” under way, Circle members have been playing games.  A lot of games! Here are some of our members’ stories in this week’s Roundup!

Jeremy Voss started playing Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor.  About an hour in, he gives us his initial thoughts on his blog Shouts From The Couch.

Chris Plante has been into Shadow of Mordor as well, only when he plays, it makes him feel like a terror-inducing mass murderer.  That hasn’t stopped him from playing though…

If fantasy isn’t your fancy, Dualshockers’ Jorge Jimenez reviewed FIFA 15. He also recorded a video play-session where he attempts to become the greatest athlete ever.

And if you’re looking for something a little…stranger, Alex Navarro reviewed D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die over on Giant Bomb.

Jason Schreier checked on the progress of Nintendo’s recent entry into the world of DLC and how it has affected the company’s recent games.

Over on Gamespot, Nick Capozzoli reviewed Spacecom, the abstract, minimalistic strategy game about one-on-one galactic battle.

And as an added bonus for this week, Evan Narcisse played a Suda51 game called Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day.  According to Narcisse, playing it is “probably the most otaku thing you’ll do all year.”




Here, we spotlight the movements, mods, and works of art within gaming culture for your ultimate enjoyment. The weekly post is your central point to see just how video games influence the world around us.

Also featured in this week’s Roundup, Joystiq’s Anthony John Agnello sat down with three professional artists to examine backgrounds from this collection of famous Street Fighter and King of Fighters backdrops.  Painter-lecturer Jessica Anne Clark explained the use of perspective and narrative in some boards, painter-illustrator Coreen Steinbach explored the background as a player-energizer, and MFA Jon Gourley highlighted the cultural imagery within the backdrops. The gifs and discussion from experts far outside the field of videogames are a treat.

Kill Screen’s Clayton Purdom took notice of Battle Chef Brigade, a game that aims to capture the drama, excitement, and challenge of a fantasy cooking competition. Purdom discussed the game’s major influence: Iron Chef, another extravagant competition.  Trinket Studios‘ (Tom Eastman, Eric Huang, and Ben Perez) fusion of two artforms: cooking and game-making, is somewhat inspiring.  Their Kickstarter reached its funding goal with 27 days to go.

Greg Carter and Cory Dydell are always making humorous and blunt commentary on the latest happenings in gaming culture.  This week, the pair’s comic strip notices the abundance of very specifically named groups and labels emerging these days.

We’re just getting warmed up! If you see anything that you feel is culturally relevant, artistic in merit, or just all-around cool for gamers — please don’t hesitate to leave a note for us in the comments section.


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