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The Roundup: The Circle Speaks

Have you heard about The New York Videogame Awards? Word on the street is the event is going to be pretty spectacular. Just keep an eye out for it! Anyway, here’s your weekly Roundup!

Samit Sarkar reviews Destiny’s first “expansion”, The Dark Below.

Mike Futter talks with art director Pete Ellis about the change in art style for the upcoming Fortnite.

Jeremy Voss is getting ready for his own GOTY award on his newly re-designed Shouts From The Couch.

Chelsea Stark reports of Sony’s troubles trying to control the massive flood of information coming from their studio after being hacked.

Evan Narcisse reviews Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris over on Kotaku.

Jorge Jimenez brings you more Dualshockin’, this time with Far Cry 4.

As a bonus, Stu Horvath reflects upon Christmas and a stranger approaching him on the street.

by Harold Goldberg

As we carefully prepare for our Awards event in February, there’s already change in the air.

First, we are really proud of our new New York Videogame Critics Circle Award. Of course, we’ll miss the old, handmade, spray-painted, super-indie, old school joystick. But it was definitely time for a change.

John Azzilonna has designed a brand new award, and we think it looks terrific.

There still may be some tweaks to the Award before the big day rolls around next year and we have our big event.

For now, we thought you’d enjoy seeing what John has so artfully created.

Additionally, we’ve shortened the name of the event itself. It’s no longer a mouthful to say. While our group name will remain the same, we’re dubbing our event The New York Videogame Awards.

Stay tuned. There’ll be much more news on the Awards very soon!

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by Kevin L. Clark

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.

For anyone above the age of 30, growing up, and realizing that you’re an adult is a daily exercise in futility. Unfortunately, those of us who are still in love with gaming, realize this double-edge sword and attempt to circumvent Father Time. According to Kill Screen Daily‘s Jess Joho, that is probably the quickest route to insanity, but who cares when you’re having fun, right?! Peter Padder Pauleypop is an interesting new game that made its debut this past week and explores the panged existence of becoming a grown up. Inspired by the Final Fantasy game, Illusion of Gaia, players are isolated and full of anguish. What’s crazy is that one moment you’ll feel the creak in your dusty and old bones, and the next you’ll be enjoying the game.

The name Koji Kondo is an indelible part of gaming history, specifically to those who love Super Mario Bros. Having been tied to the title since 1985, his composition for the Mario games through 1996’s Super Mario 64 have endeared him to the masses a lifetime over. Add to that, the 53-year-old composer and sound director was the main wellspring of inspiration behind the audio in Zelda’s Ocarina of Time, then you can understand just how important Koji Kondo is to the gaming community. In an exclusive interview with Gamasutra, Christian Nutt chats with the legend about his work over the years, his advice to other game composers, and what players can expect from 2015’s Mario Maker for the Wii U.

Smosh Games always comes with it when it comes to the Honest Game Trailers. The team’s latest finds them revisiting the operatic, super-dramatic, post-apocalyptic survival game The Last Of Us. The (honestly) superb game still prompted questions about the hyperrealism of the world, as the folks picked relentlessly at Joel and Ellie’s emotional journey. NY Videogame Critics Circles own, Evan Narcisse, provided us with the laughs. Extra points go for the creative names given to the characters from the game. You can watch this hilarious video by clicking 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.

by Harry Rabinowitz

You would think things would be slowing down now that the major release months are mostly behind us. You would be wrong. Games, tech, and more in this week’s Roundup!

Dan Ackerman reviews the Alienware Alpha, the first “Steam Machine”…only its not really a Steam Machine.

If the home console isn’t really your dream device, Chris Plante breaks down the best portable gaming consoles in this video-equipped feature.

Still playing Inquisition? Join the club. Lucas Siegel gives his thoughts on Dragon Age Inquisition and its rich story.

Ben Gilbert explains everything you need to know about the recently released Samsung Gear VR. He also played Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, a bomb-diffusing indie title for the headset.

Jill Scharr reviews the highly anticipated Game of Thrones – A Telltale Games Series, Episode 1 “Iron From Ice”. Chelsea Stark also reviews the game on Mashable.

Jason Cipriano reviews Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker on Spike with Anthony John Agnello’s review on DigitalTrends.

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by Kevin L. Clark

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.

A huge salute and congratulations goes out to New York Videogame Critics Circle founder, Harold Goldberg. Why, you ask? Well, his highly appreciated Playboy Magazine cover story on League of Legends gave way to an equally endearing Kickstarter campaign that would serve gamers and eSports fans alike. The project, which has completed its funding goal, will be an experience for LoL junkies. In addition to the book, digital comic team Cloud9 and animator guru Bill Plympton, both have joined on to ensure that there is more than enough creativity to showcase.

For those who are currently engaged in the new Destiny DLC, are you surprised that Sir Paul McCartney contributed a song to the critically acclaimed game? The Guardian‘s Keith Stuart got a chance to chat with the living legend about collaborating on the Bungie-led game, which led to an interesting (albeit unsurprising) revelation: The Beatles songwriter isn’t good at video games. “I’m the guy who comes up [to his grandchildren] and says, ‘Give me a go’ and gets killed instantly, then hands the controller back,” McCartney admitted in the piece. While it was the first time that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee has done anything like this with games, it won’t be the last. You should check out the piece in full by clicking here.

Whether you played Asura’s Wrath or Shenmue, Quick Time Events (originally not called that, by the way) carry a certain level of annoyance within the gaming community. With every button mash, L3 or R3 trigger swiped, players perform a complex combination that is sure to be thrilling cinematically, but if you’re not on time — dead you’ll be. Kotaku‘s Nathan Grayson writes an interesting piece detailing how QTEs don’t have to suck at all. Claiming it’s “all about context,” the piece breaks down what makes QTEs satisfying and important, while educating the reader about the history of context-sensitive gameplay. It’s worth a read before the weekend starts, you can do so by clicking 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.

By Harry Rabinowitz

I could tell you about all the post-Thanksgiving deals Circle members have been rounding up for you all…but by the time you read this post, all those deals will be gone. Content about games is more interesting, anyway!

Jeremy Voss recaps his post-Thanksgiving escapades, which mostly consisted of Dragon Age Inquisition and a slightly faltering disdain of Assassin’s Creed Unity.

Evan Narcisse talks books. Specifically, William Gibson’s new novel The Peripheral in this amazing look and interview. If you want the spoiler-filled version of the interview, here it is.

Adam Rosenberg reviews Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. Turns out it’s a lot like its Lego Batman predecessors…

Jorge Jimenez is back with another Joystickin’, this time with Assassin’s Creed Unity, post bug-fixing patch.

Mike Futter reports that Chaos Reborn, a new Kickstarted strategy game from Julian Gollop (X-COM), will hit Early Access on Steam December 9th.

Chelsea Stark talks Federal Trade Commission. Yes, you read that right. Because of “deceptive” ads, Sony must offer partial refunds to early PS Vita buyers.

As a short bonus, Jeff Bakalar was on CBS News, talking about tablet sales, which saw a considerable loss in sales this year.

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by Kevin L. Clark

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.

You may be stuffed full of turkey and other tryptophan-like substances, but that does not stop gamers from wondering the latest about Zak Penn’s Ready Player One adaptation. Based on the Ernie Cline book of the same title, Warner Bros. managed to scoop up this digital delight back in 2010. For those who don’t know, the plot develops around a Willy Wonka-esque innovator who creates a futuristic world where everyone lives in virtual reality. When that man passes away, a group of players must exhibit knowledge of all things pop culture, music, and games from the 1980s. Penn recently did a new interview, which confirms that the Ready Player One movie is done and talks about the obstacles of video game licensing. Nerd Report‘s Fred Topel penned the story.

Bill Nye may be your favorite science guy, but there can be something said for scientist who attempt to break down gaming in a scientific fashion. Arjun Keval Joshi of NintendoLife broke the hearts of many Super Mario Galaxy fans when he recounted a study from the Department of Physics and Astronomy, which broke down the small planets Mario traverses in the game. Using the surface gravity of Earth as their measuring mark, the students came to the conclusion that places like the Gold Leaf or Cosmic Cove galaxy would “likely explode in real life.” With not enough mass to produce a stable body, these minuscule planets would destroy all in an explosive blaze of gold coins and mushroom matter. If you want to know the particulars in full detail, you can read the actual paper by clicking here.

Did you know that Pixel Perfect had a plan to celebrate the Nintendo classic, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, on its 25th anniversary?! RetroPete at 8-Bit Central had been following the developments for the definitive book for awhile. The 240-page, unofficial encyclopedia for the NES game had a successful Kickstarter campaign, but failed to receive Nintendo’s blessings to release the book. Although the Brownsville Bomber, Mike Tyson, got a copy of the hardcover book, the supporters behind the project all went without due to Nintendo’s “complicated licensing issues.” Thankfully, Pixel Perfect has decided to allow interested readers access to the book in PDF form! By heading over to Pixel Perfect’s website, you are just a few short clicks from being able to learn more about Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out game than Conan O’Brien!

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.

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