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The New York Videogame Critics Circle had a fine time at Barcade Manhattan at our 3rd Community Event and Hoohah last Wednesday night. We met many awesome gamers and journalists so it turned out was a great hang for all of us. (Stay tuned for more!) We enjoyed:

1) Kotaku’s Jason Schreier, Digital Trends’ Adam Rosenberg and Unwinnable’s Chuck Moran battling it out on the X-Men arcade machine, looks of glee and determination on their faces.

2) The Daily Show with Jon Stewart‘s Daniel Radosh and the New York Times’ Chris Suellentrop talking about everything from game design in real life architecture to The Last of US DLC.

3) CNET’s Jeff Bakalar speaking about journeying with his wife upstate to the Catskills along with Polygon’s Russ Frushtick and his S.O. during the 4th of July holiday.

4) Complex’s Kevin Clark and Gamespot’s Nick Capozzli keeping scores as in their contest to win our Asia-themed prize pack.

5) Just taking a step back to watch as the place became packed to the gills. There were 200 people at Barcade Manhattan at its peak.

6) Playing Time Traveler, Sega’s holographic arcade game, with DualShockers’ Jorge Jimenez and shouting, “This is a terrible game.” I agreed. “This is a HORRIBLE game!”

7) Kotaku’s Tina Amini holding onto the forearm of Jacqui Collins, a sign of true friendship.

8) Playboy’s Scott Alexander talking affably with a young game designer, holding back on the fact that he’s written stirring narrative for games himself.

9) Meeting Gaines Hubbell of the Journal of Games Criticism, who traveled all the way from Troy, New York, for the event.

10) Watching Kotaku’s Evan Narcisse hold court about comics. A circle gathered around him as he spoke with wisdom.

11) Listening to the enthusiasm of John Azzilona as he spoke about MOBA games like League of Legends. His pal Kate Ogden had the event’s most awesome t-shirt, too. (See below. Who knew Luigi could appear so menacing?)

12) Andrew Yoon, Circle co-founder turned game maker, showing off his brand new card game, Divorce.

13) Newsarama’s Lucas Siegel secretly brainstorming with me about the topic of a panel for the big — well, stay tuned about that.

14) CNET’s Dan Ackerman giving a thumbs up to the hoohah. He brought some of the CNET gang to Barcade Manhattan to check it out prior to our party.

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by Harold Goldberg

As another school year threatens to begin, the New York Videogame Critics Circle finds itself in need of a new intern. Interns should be over the age of 18 and in college.

You’ll learn from the best in the business. Here’s a list of our stellar members.

Applicants should:

*Be a self-starter; i.e. meet deadlines!

*Have some writing chops

*Be a good communicator, especially on the phone

*Be able to hold your own on camera, if need be

*Be affable and willing to work hard

*Be super organized.

There is little to no pay for this position.

If you’re interested,

*send a note

*including your credentials,

*a link to writing work if you have it,

*and add your contact info.

*Send that package via the contact form below.

Or, you can talk to me directly at the New York Videogame Critics Circle Community Event tomorrow night, 8/6, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Harold Goldberg, a contributor to the New York Times, is the founder of The Circle.

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Each summer, the New York Videogame Critics Circle holds a rollicking community event.

We’re happy to announce that this year, it’s at the newly opened Barcade New York on August 6 at 6:30 p.m. at 148 West 24th Street.

We don’t often invite the community to our regular meetings (probably because of the great amount of off the record stuff we spew).

But this is your rare chance to hang with your favorite New York City game writers from Kotaku’s Evan Narcisse to Polygon’s Russ Frushtick (semi-fresh from hanging with Jay-Z) to Mashable’s Chelsea Stark  – and more.

Here’s a list of our current members, many of whom will likely be there.

Indie game developers are welcome to show off there newest stuff as well!

So come game with us, drink with us and generally shoot the bull with us.

We just might have some cool giveaways, too, like we did last year.

Plus, we’re looking for a new intern. So show up and tell me what you can do!

-Harold Goldberg, Founder

NY-Videogames-Critics

 

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by Harold Goldberg

SIGNIFICANTLY UPDATED: MAY 13, 2014

May 13 will likely be lucky for author and filmmaker Blake J. Harris. That particular Tuesday is the day Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo and the Battle that Defined A Generation (It Books), his well-researched and compelling narrative history of Sega, Nintendo and Sony’s battles, will be released. I met the affable Harris a few years ago – shortly after All Your Base Are Belong to Us, my own narrative history of games, hit the shelves.

We hit it off immediately. Harris has many fascinating stories to tell, of his collaboration with Seth Rogen and Scott Rudin for the tome’s film version, of the geniuses of videogames, and of the writing process itself. Part One appears today. Part Two will appear on the book’s release date.

Also, Harris will read and answer questions from Console Wars at the Astoria Book Shop on May 15 at 7 p.m. If you get there early, you can play old school games with the author.

Now, on to the interview.

1) What compelled you to write a book on the Console Wars?

My journey down the 16-bit rabbit hole was as unexpected as it proved
to be delightful.

A little over three years ago, my typically terrible-gift-giving
brother surprised me on my 28th birthday with the perfect gift: a Sega
Genesis, which is what we had when we were kids. Holding that
controller in my hands after so years away from videogames brought to
the surface all kinds of memories and then, after the barrage of that
nostalgia hit me, came all kinds of questions. What ever happened to
Sega? How were they even able to compete against Nintendo in the first
place? And ultimately: what the hell was going on behind the scenes
all that time?

To answer these questions and all the others that kept bubbling up I
wanted to read a book on the subject. But, as luck would have it, no
such book existed. Not only did no such book exist, but I quickly
learned that for an industry as gigantic as videogames there was an
alarmingly small number of books about this wonderfully wild world.

Well, after reviewing my old college econ notes on supply and demand,
I began contacting former of employees from Sega and Nintendo to find
out if there was an interesting story here; something exciting and
dramatic with twists and turns that would appeal to gamers and
non-gamers alike. Needless to say, what I soon discovered exceeded
even my wildest expectations.

2) What do we need to know about Tom Kalinske, who’s kind of the
protagonist of Console Wars?

The most important thing to know about Tom Kalinske is that he’s the
man responsible for the childhood of anyone born in the 70s or 80s.
From Barbie and He-Man to Flintstones Chewable Vitamins and Matchbox
cars, his ability to turn unusual ideas into iconic properties is
second to none. And in 1990, when Nintendo had over 90% of the market,
that made him the perfect guy (and perhaps the only guy) capable of
transforming Sega from an industry punchline into a
generation-defining market leader.

3) What did he do right and what did he do wrong?

He did a ton of things of right. Some that many of us might remember
(like launching the famous Sega-Scream-infused Welcome to the Next
Level campaign), some that many of us never knew about (like
brilliantly and unexpectedly getting the Genesis into Wal-mart) and
some that none of us will ever know or fully understand (like how he
convinced a team of rebels that they truly had the golden touch).

What did he do wrong? Like any CEO, a variety of mistakes were made
along the one. Perhaps the most notable (and perhaps inevitably
unavoidable) was to focus on beating Nintendo (and then Sony) when a
more crafty enemy was lurking much closer than he realized.

(more…)

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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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