Archive for the ‘Our Trade’ Category

by Harold Goldberg

Recently, Polygon’s Colin F. Campbell wrote Piranha Frenzy, a full-length novel that’s a labor or love.

Within this taut fiction about what’s it’s like to be a videogame journalist, Campbell offers a motley mix of characters. There’s an older guy/mentor who raises his eyebrows at youthful idiocy tempered with younger folks with too much attitude.  Immersed in this jumble of personalities is a writer called Kjersti Wong, a go-getter who reviews a game that somehow is more than it seems.

Here’s how “Piranha Frenzy” begins:

“Kjersti Wong gazes at the crawling hell-scape. Groaning imps patrol in musical patterns, throbbing portals glowing crimson.”

Yes, it starts with the emotions one feels when playing a game, but soon, there’s a mystery which unfolds that affects everyone. As the tale progresses, there’s also writing about game review embargoes, the absurdity of review scores, and interpersonal annoyances like critics hating other critics. It’s nerd-dishy, yes. But it’s also tight prose peppered with humor that skillfully plotted.

Ultimately, Piranha Frenzy feels real.

Harold Goldberg, a contributor to the New York Times, is the Circle’s founder.



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During the course of the week, we’ll publish photos from the 3rd Annual New York Videogame Critics Circle Awards. They’re by Victor Kalogiannis. Here are two shots of the great Steven Ogg, who won the Great White Way Award for Best Overall Acting in a Game for playing the demented Trevor in Grand Theft Auto V. At the After Party, actor Ogg and Circle founder Harold Goldberg discussed the issues surrounding Alberta’s oil sands, which actually was the subject of a fascinating film/game hybrid called “Fort McMoney.”

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During a rousing evening full of sly, cutting, rapid fire jokes from Daniel Radosh (The Daily Show with Jon Stewart), we presented our nine Critics Circle Awards. Game developers arrived on the cold Brooklyn evening from the U.S., Canada and Switzerland.

In addition to a wild and lively Radosh, the audience was treated to appearances by author Rick Moody and punk rocker Handsome Dick Manitoba (The Dictators), who presented Awards. Music was provided by the wonderfully strange banjo and guitar stylings of Future Folk.

Finally, Irrational Games provided a stirring, exclusive video about the final entry in the BioShock series (BioShock Infinite, Burial at Sea, Episode 2).

Watch the complete ceremony right here.

And now, the winners. Congrats to all of them!

Battery Park Award for Best Handheld Game
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Central Park Childen’s Zoo Award for Best Kids Game
Super Mario 3D World
Herman Melville Award for Best Writing
The Last of Us
‘A’ Train Award for Best Mobile Game

Ridiculous Fishing

Off Broadway Award for Best Indie Game
Gone Home
Tin Pan Alley Award for Best Music in a Game
Bioshock Infinite
Statue of Liberty Award for Best World
Grand Theft Auto V
Great White Way Award for Best Acting in a Game
Steven Ogg, Trevor, GTA V
Big Apple Award for Best Game
The Last of Us

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It’s a rarity that one of our members is asked to curate a museum exhibit.

But that’s just what’s happened with Polygon’s Samit Sarkar.

He curated and penned the excellent Madden exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens.

There to talk about the show, and about Madden’s 25 year history, were NFL superstars Marshall Faulk, Cam Newton and Michael Vick. They traded anecdotes about playing the video game. For instance, when Faulk was a kid, his mother constantly asked him to turn the game’s sound down because a Madden audio file (“Boom!”) kept repeating. It was maddening for her to hear.

But in our eyes, the real star of the event was the unassuming Samit. His prose, which appeared in large typeface on the w hite walls of the exhibit, included a timeline for the Madden game. Everything he wrote was crisp, clear, salient, and to the point. It’ll be a joy for casual museum-goers and for hard core fans alike to read.

So here’s to Samit Sarkar on his excellent accomplishment.

-Harold Goldberg, Founder




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By: Sarah Awad

Kick off 2014 with some diverse and insightful writing about this year’s past, and what’s coming up next…

Jeff Bakalar’s 404 Podcast takes us to the future 

Unwinnable’s Stu Horvath has the best board games of 2013 

Jason Schreier has some news about The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky via Kotaku

Mashable’s Chelsea Stark tells us why 2013 was an awesome year for games 

Jeremy Voss at Shouts from the Couch has some words on collectibles

Sarah C Awad and fellow TheLaserGirls partner Dhemerae Ford will be the Shapeways Artists-in-Residence at the Museum of Art and Design.  Stop in between 12-6pm January 14-19 to check out some 3D printed fashion!

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After some serious discussion, our esteemed critics have named the following games as official New York Videogame Critics Circle Awards Nominees. The Awards will take place on February 11, 2014 at NYU/Poly’s Pfizer Auditorium in Brooklyn. Stay tuned for how you can get free tickets.

And a hearty congratulations to all of our worthy nominees!

Big Apple Award for Best Game 

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (Ubisoft)

BioShock Infinite (2K Games)

Gone Home (The Fullbright Company)

Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar Games)

Kentucky Route Zero (Cardboard Computer)

Ni No Kuni (Namco Bandai)

Super Mario 3D World (Nintendo)

The Last of Us (Sony)

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (Nintendo)

Tomb Raider (Square Enix)

Herman Melville Award for Best Writing in a Game

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (Ubisoft)

BioShock Infinite (2K Games)

Device 6 (Simogo)

Gone Home (The Fullbright Company)

Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar Games)

Kentucky Route Zero (Cardboard Computer)

The Last of Us (Sony)

The Stanley Parable (Davey Wreden and William Pugh)

Battery Park Award for Best Handheld Console Game 

Animal Crossing: New Leaf  (Nintendo 3DS)

Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millenium Girl (Nintendo 3DS)

Fire Emblem: Awakening (Nintendo 3DS)

Guacamelee! (PlayStation Vita)

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies (Nintendo 3DS)

Pokemon X/Y  (Nintendo 3DS)

Spelunky (PlayStation Vita)

Tearaway  (PlayStation Vita)

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (Nintendo 3DS)

Tin Pan Alley Award for Best Music in a Game 

Animal Crossing: New Leaf (Nintendo)

BitTrip Runner 2 (Gaijin)

BioShock Infinite (2K Games)

Contrast (Sony)

Grand Theft Auto V (2K Games)

Rocksmith 2014 (Ubisoft)

Ridiculous Fishing (Vlambeer)

Saints Row IV (Deep Silver)

The Last of Us (Sony)

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (Nintendo)

The A Train Award for Best Mobile/iOS Game

Device 6 (Simogo)

Icycle: On Thin Ice (Damp Gnat)

Plants vs. Zombies 2 (PopCap)

Rayman Fiesta Run (Ubisoft)

Ridiculous Fishing (Vlambeer)

Rymdkapsel (Grapefrukt)

Type:Rider (Cosmografik)

Year Walk (Simogo)

Off Broadway Award for Best Indie Game 

Antichamber (Alexander Bruce)

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (Starbreeze/505 Games)

Gone Home (The Fullbright Company)

Killer Queen Arcade (SortaSoft)

Porpentine’s Twine Compilation (Porpentine)

Papers, Please (Lucas Pope)

Rogue Legacy (Cellar Door)

The Stanley Parable (Davey Wreden and William Pugh)

Towerfall (Matt Thorson)

Statue of Liberty Award for Best World 

Los Santos: Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar Games)

Columbia: BioShock Infinite (2K Games)

The Caribbean: Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (Ubisoft)

Your Town: Animal Crossing: New Leaf (Nintendo)

The Greenbriar Home: Gone Home (The Fullbright Company)

Salt Lake City: Last of Us (Sony)

The White House: Saints Row IV (Deep Silver)

Great White Way Award for Best Overall Acting (Combines Male and 
Female Acting) 

Courtney Draper – Elizabeth – Bioshock Infinite (2K Games)

Ellen Page – Beyond: Two Souls (Sony)

Jay Klaitz – Lester – Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar Games)

Kevan Brighting – Narrator – The Stanley Parable (Davey Wreden and William Pugh)

Sarah Grayson -Sam – Gone Home (The Fullbright Company).

Stefan Rhodri – Drippy – Ni No Kuni  (Namco Bandai)

Steven Ogg – Trevor – Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar Games)

Troy Baker – Joel – Last of Us (Sony)

The Central Park Children’s Zoo Awards for Best Kids Game 

Animal Crossing: New Leaf (Nintendo)

Disney Infinity (Disney Interactive)

LegoCity Undercover (Traveler’s Tales, WBIE)

Lego Marvel Super Heroes (Traveler’s Tales, WBIE)

Skylanders: Swap Force (Activision)

Super Mario 3D World (Nintendo)

Tearaway (Sony)

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In which the author learns much and hears the sage words, “Fuck the internet. I swear to God.”

by Jill Scharr

It’s one thing to write about videogames. It’s quite another thing to write for them.

That’s why I attended NYU’s weekend long “Games Writing Master Class” a few weeks ago. The class was taught by Susan O’Connor, a freelance writer who’s worked on titles like BioShock, Far Cry 2, and even the ill-fated Star Wars 1313.

On both days the class opened with an exercise: each table (comprising approximately six people) was given a different simple game, such as a chess board or a deck of cards. We were told to play the games as a group, and then devise a narrative based on the mechanics of the game. For example, my group on Saturday morning got a deck of cards and played Bullshit. We then came up with a narrative about how we were secret agents testing each others’ bluffing skills and learning each others’ tells.

But exactly why did we do this? (more…)

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It’s really one of our best Full Circle shows yet.

Host Sarah Awad went to XCubicle on Hester Street to find out about the art they sell — and the rumor of cockroaches in a PS3!

Founder Harold Goldberg talks about the subversive nature of Animal Crossing: New Leaf.

And there’s some serious discussion between Sarah and Harold about the Ouya’s potential success or failure.

As always, thanks to the great Victor Kalogiannis for editing the show!

Check it out, right here.

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It’s Saturday morning. Outside, the sun over the river is

like Kanye’s finest gold.

But I’m distracted, looking

forward to Tuesday night.

I’m looking

forward to Tuesday night

because we all get together, a community of proud nerds

because honorary member Daniel Radosh of the Daily Show is intelligent and funny and droll

because former Rockstar Shawn Alexander Allen will show off Treachery in Beatdown City

because Polygon’s Russ Frushtick is the Grim Reaper on Fox Business news, and I want to know more

because Unwinnable’s Chuck Moran has a new daughter, and I want to hear about it

because I want to grin at the castrating wit of Giant Bomb’s Alex Navarro

because this will be the first Circle experience for Mashable’s Chelsea Stark

because Kotaku’s Jason Schreier always has that wry nerd way

because Spike’s Jason Cipriano probably has tales of Comic Con that I haven’t heard

because Tech News Daily’s Jill Scharr will talk about that game writing Master Class

because intern Sarah Awad will has mavin-like insight into Final Fantasy

because videographer/writers Victor Kalogiannis and Jorge Jimenez are just so ardent about the games world

because who knows which game world luminaries will be there

because more critics and a thousand reasons

because because because you will be there

and we and you are

we and you are

like Kanye’s shiniest gold.

-Harold Goldberg, Founder, New York Videogame Critics Circle



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Right in the midst of the heat wave that hit the city that never sleeps (or gets cool in summer), Ubisoft brought its fall lineup to Manhattan.

Sarah Awad, our new Full Circle host, traveled to the Ace Hotel to interview devs from Watch Dogs (four and a half years in the making) and Assassin’s Creed (over two years in the making). Both feature open worlds in which you can spend hours upon hours exploring and playing.

As a trained dancer, she also does a bang up job with the lastest version of Just Dance.

Loyal Circle member Jorge Jimenez was the intrepid videographer who spent so much of his time shooting and editing the episode.

So, please welcome Full Circle host Sarah Award.

And enjoy the latest episode.

-Harold Goldberg

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