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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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Tomorrow night’s 3rd Annual New York Videogame Critics Circle Awards will begin with a compelling panel at 7:30 p.m.

Here’s who will hold court:

 

Chelsea Stark (Mashable) on the year in Nintendo

Evan Narcisse (Kotaku) on Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Haiti

Jeff Bakalar (CNET/404) on what’s good and bad about sequels

Jill Scharr (Tom’s Guide) on environmental story-telling in games

Mike Futter (Game Informer) on the changing landscape of games

Harold Goldberg, Moderator (New York Times, NPR) on Indie games vs. Big Budget Games

See you there!

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by Harold Goldberg

Recently, CNET’s Jeff Bakalar and I had a conversation about a piece I wrote about Rockstar Games’ Sam Houser for Playboy magazine. Jeff was really kind to have me on, and his opener was akin to “That’s a hard interview to get. How did you get the interview?” I did my best to explain why, but since I’m better with the written word, here’s a bit more for journalists and those others interested in the process.

It was early in the new year when I began thinking about contacting Rockstar Games for a story about Sam Houser. Sam and I had a couple of fine, long conversations which resulted in two chapters in All Your Base Are Belong to Us, a narrative history of videogames I wrote a couple of years ago. Although we had corresponded via email since then, we hadn’t talked or seen each other since. We’d tried to have a get together upstate, where we both have houses fairly near each other. But Sam was always busy with work.

When Rockstar said the interview might be a possibility, I began to think of the right home for a profile. At first, I thought about the New York Times, where I’m a contributor. They indicated they had something in the works about Rockstar, so I looked elsewhere. I thought about contacts I had at the country’s more well-regarded and literary magazines. Yet, even in this day and age, the editors there at these magazines do not know games well, or well enough.

I thought of the better online sites, particularly Polygon. But I remember that when I was invited to apply for a job there, I suggested that I could bring Rockstar stories and a Sam Houser piece to the fold. I never heard back from Polygon at all. (I still quite enjoy what Polygon doing, however, especially those stories written by our members, Russ Frushtick, Chris Plante and Samit Sakar.)

I suggested the story in an email to Playboy, just a paragraph or two of how a story might unfold. For a while, I didn’t hear back. So I began to consider other options, maybe The Atlantic, maybe The New Yorker, maybe the Times of London. But when he responded, Jason Buhrmester responded with enthusiasm and, most importantly, understanding.

I chose Playboy because my editor isn’t just a brilliant editor. He knows games and games history. He understands them and appreciates them as a form of popular art. He’s also part of a team that is bringing back extraordinary writing and topics to the articles portion of the magazine. Ai Wei Wei. Marshall McLuhan. T.C. Boyle. Who wouldn’t want to be part of a magazine with content like that?

But would Rockstar itself go for a story in Playboy? I was happy to hear they trusted me and would be willing to work with me again. Ultimately, they said they were fine with any magazine that would understand what they were trying to do. And they were fine with letting me do a long profile of Sam. There were no deals made. No questions would be off the table. I could ask anything I wanted to ask.

Sam didn’t want to be photographed. That was all right with me; it would have no impact on the story. And I understood completely; I don’t like to be photographed, either.

The primary unknown was timing. Rockstar was in the midst of crunch time with Grand Theft Auto V. Sam was traveling back and forth to Scotland, the location of their Rockstar North studio, to help out with the finishing touches of the game.

The last time I spoke to Sam coincided with the release of Red Dead Redemption, the story-filled western that may be my favorite Rockstar game (the music is part of that, as our Robert Gordon explained so well recently). That particular long talk didn’t happen until the game launched, and that was right up against my book deadline – hard up against it. My editor, at one point, suggested that I drop the chapters. I couldn’t have that. The book would have been incomplete without the Rockstar story. We delayed my deadline, and just when the Witching Hour was nigh, the company came through.

It was the same this time. We originally planned for the piece to coincide with the release of GTA V in September. I told Playboy that if the interview happened by August 15, I could make their drop dead deadline and write the piece in four days. It would’ve been exhausting, but I believed I could have done it – as long as they paid for transcribing.

But by the time Sam was able to sit down in late August, that deadline had passed.

I now would have more time to hone the piece. Since I’m never quite satisfied with anything I write, I was happy to have the extra time.

Sam, who rode his bike in to the office that day as he always does, was enthusiastic and honest (as you can see by reading the piece). What I felt is that the conversation was like the theory-filled “My Dinner With Andre” film by director Louis Malle. I’m no Wallace Shawn, but Sam is like Andre Gregory in that he has thought so carefully about our human foibles, the culture of games and popular culture in general.

When the transcript was done, it was almost 90 pages in length. I had far more than I needed, and could have written a story of 15,000 words. The final draft came in about 1,000 words longer than my 5,000 word limit, and I had already cut a lot. Jason kindly said it was a really difficult piece to edit because there was so much in it that was gripping. But he tightened it expertly.

Eight months after the process had begun, the story was published in Playboy’s Christmas issue. I found it somehow wonderfully ironic that New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was featured in the same issue as the one of the most important and most controversial makers of popular art – ever.

I don’t know when I’ll see Sam again. As I mentioned in the story, he does covet his privacy. But, from time to time, I’ll look at that transcript again. And I’ll probably become a bit wistful. I really wish I could share the full transcript and the audio tape with everyone. I can’t, unfortunately. But I’ve done the best I can with the story, explaining some of the heretofore unfamiliar inner workings and the candid, fascinating thought processes of an artist at the very top of his game.

Harold Goldberg is the founder of the New York Videogame Critics Circle.

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By Harold Goldberg

For a journalist like me, it was pre-launch chaos. While Microsoft and Edelman, their long-time PR agency, promises nothing like this will happen to consumers, the following is what happened to me when reviewing the Xbox One.

Full of optimism, I picked up the Xbox One last week at a demo in a Chelsea loft with a living room feel. I was so happy to get the console so early prior to its debut. But there would be a price to pay.

The demo was not about games but about how you could watch cable TV and play games at the same time. Multitasking was the watchword I kept hearing. In this new tech nirvana, I would be able to watch cable  TV and game or Skype and play or watch Netflix and play. Forza 5 was on the screen, but the game itself not demo-ed very much. No other games were shown

I asked, “Can I stand the Xbox One vertically?”

The Microsoft rep answered, “It will only stand vertically.”

“Vertically?” I asked again to be certain.

It was standing horizontally throughout the demo.

When I set the box up at home, I couldn’t get online for hours and hours. Getting online is a prerequisite because an update had to be downloaded to get Xbox One to play games.

I kept putting in my WiFi password, and the system kept rejecting it. I contacted the Edelman PR person because one odd message said my router couldn’t interface with Microsoft servers. After six hours of waiting, worrying that something was wrong with my networking hardware because that’s what the error messages indicated, I finally downloaded the update.

The Microsoft people did eventually check in, about an hour after I was able to connect for myself. I had asked via email if servers were down and whether this caused the problem. The Microsoft rep didn’t answer that.

Though the download helped, many apps still weren’t working. But this was a work in progress. I was trying to roll with it.

As the days passed, there were more updates, and apps like Netflix began to work. So did SkyDrive, which allows for posting clips of my gaming to social media sites.

An Edelman rep wrote to say Microsoft would check in at 3 p.m. on Wednesday to ask how I was fairing with the new console. I said I was busy writing a story, but that I would talk to the person. Then, he followed up to say Microsoft might be late.

I eventually took to waiting by the phone for the call because Kinect, which was working well with the Xbox One’s interface, was not working with the Kinect Sports Rivals game demo I downloaded. The error message indicated that there was something on the floor that was in the way of Kinect.

There was nothing blocking the ‘sightline’ of the camera — at all.

Microsoft never checked in – at all. I’m still waiting.

That initial feeling of anxiety, of something that’s supposed to be new and glorious and special not working well out of the box, stayed with me. The early adopter elation I often feel when diving into the software wonders of a brand new console was tainted by a feeling of being punched in the stomach.

Sadly, it’s something that I’ll have to note in my reviews. I won’t be reviewing the system until after launch – until I’m certain that consumers elsewhere aren’t or are having the same problems I had with getting Xbox One to work properly.

Again, Microsoft has assured this won’t happen to average users. I’ll be watching Twitter closely to see.

And I’ll link to my first review once it’s up.

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

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by Harold Goldberg

Last week, I had surgery. It was indeed a bit rough; I’m still recovering. But ever since I can remember, I’ve looked to books, music, film and games as an escape from feeling bad, from pain, not the worst pain because the worst pain means the inability to enjoy media at all, interactive or non-interactive, even at its best. As I began to return to a certain normalcy, I felt the abiding need to indulge in a game as a flight of fancy, I wanted desperately to be taken elsewhere.

Nearby was my stack of games, and the latest, Assassins’ Creed IV: Black Flag went first because I felt it would take me on a nice trip to the Caribbean. Which is want I really want. The other day I fantasized about travel around the holidays. I went so far as to try to book something. (So, caveat emptor: Watch out for the hotel/flight offers on the travel sites. Every flight seems prohibitively expensive and every hotel/flight package is just plain prohibitive. It’ll seem affordable, but they’ll have you to stuck in Dallas on a layover for 10 hours. And that is no vacation at all.)

But back to my virtual travels. I hope to experience at least a modicum awe. In my wildest dreams, I even hope to be swept away.

I’ll give it just an hour to do that.

1) The PS3 powers up. The inserted disk spins. And the game loads. Or, well, it’s supposed to. I need a 32 megabyte update. I don’t want to wait, but I’m glad the publisher is doing its best to remove bugs.

2) Really? More waiting. Turns out there’s not enough room for the nearly 1.5 gigabytes I need on the PS3. I delete games going back to 2006. Eventually, I have room.

3) Dang. Really? More waiting? There’s a rotating triangle on the screen, not even any artwork as in GTA V to watch and muse upon as I wait. I wonder how long this data transfer will take. This is like waiting for a delayed plane. It lasts just 15 minutes. But it’s too long for me.

4) Surprised at the quickness of it, I’m immediately thrown into action on the high seas. I’m asked to the grab the ship’s wheel as attack is nigh. But my pirate character seems daunted by the mere fact of walking. His gait is slow as if he’s in a daze (or like me after the operation). Some pirate yells, “Grab the damn wheel.” I’m trying.

5) They want me to shoot some tall ships with cannonballs and oil-filled barrels. It’s not exactly the fog of war. I stop my ship not far from a cove and wait for the enemy to come to me. I don’t feel impending doom. I feel a sense of fun. That’s good; that’s right. Fun.

6) After the ships are sunk, I’m sunk, too, thrown off into the roiling water, perhaps to drown. As I breathe in the killing ocean, there’s a scene within a bedroom, featuring a beauty named Caroline. My character tells her may be gone on the high seas for two years. Two years? Women waited that long back in the day? When something like that happened to me in real life, and the wait was two months, I got a frosty, “You want me to wait?” And that was the end of that. But Caroline says she’ll wait.

7) I’m back to consciousness in the water. I hit the surface and breathe. Night turns to day and my swimming is like a ghost’s swimming. It looks like the water is going through me as a paddle, like I’m oddly translucent.

8) The tropical fish near the shore don’t flee from me, even when I swim over them. These are bold fish. Shouldn’t they rush away? Or was it different back then in the time of pirates? Yet I almost feel the warmth of a beach drenched in sun as I swim in to shore. That’s good. That’s like a vacation. That’s what I need.

9) Rich man, poor man. I’m just a penniless cretin. I meet a well-off, wounded assassin who lies near to me on the sand. We don’t get along as he seems to want me to save him for little reward. We have words. I chase him through the jungle.

10) Oh, the jungle! The beauty. It reminds me of a tropical trail, of walking high up to the water source on the Caribbean island of Nevis a few years back. In the game, there’s a thin, rushing waterfall and cove water so blue, it’s like clear blue sky, heavenly. I feel I can breathe deeply as I stop to admire the world around me. I peer at big blue morphos butterflies which are indigenous to a neo-tropical areas such as this.

11) I’m a ghost again. I seem to walk like a wraith through the giant leaves of tropical plants, never so much as moving them as the slightest breeze might. It’s an open world game. This kind of thing happens in open world games. But still, it took me out of that key moment of fantasy.

12) I fail in catching up to the assassin, a few times. The idea, I gather a few minutes later, is pretty much to run straight without much movement from side to side. Forget finding a quicker way to the human prey. Just follow his steps.

13) When I do meet him, I parry a blow from his sword. He falls and I kill him. I don his clothes (which weirdly fit exactly right, like Paul Smith has made them by hand). And I become him – a lowly pirate turned into a somewhat feared and respected assassin.

14) I search around for loot and secret things. There’s a lot here. But I want to move forward in the adventure. I only take a few dollars from one treasure chest.

15) I perch from an outcropping near another waterfall. Torturing pirates gather below. They try to shake down a merchant they’ve captured. Perhaps it was due to my New York Times reading and the proximity of that to game play. But his cries and the pirates’ torture remind me of yesterday’s story about young gang rapists in India. In any case, I feel empathy for the merchant and make my way to save the person.

16) I use stealth and hide in the grass. None of the pirates seems to be able to find me, and that doesn’t seem real at all. But it’s a game trope, and I’m happy enough that I get them before they get me.

17) The mewling merchant wants me to take him to Havana on a ship he owns. He’s overfed and shifty-eyed, doesn’t like looking me straight on. I can’t trust him, just as I can’t trust anyone else. Havana. There, in Cuba, I might find more beauty. A venturesome trip through the danger-filled  neo-tropics will now commence. I might even have it in me to utter a “Yo Ho Ho.” Or two.

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

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by Harold Goldberg

There are times when the fates allow for those who are in the video game industry to change directions – and careers. Recently, I had the chance to speak with John Batter, the CEO of M-GO, a movie streaming company which launched early in the year.

I was looking forward to speaking with John Batter, not only because M-GO is innovative in that it brings recent movies to the stream quicker than, say, Netflix. For instance, The East and The Great Gatsby were up before Netflix had them.

I was looking forward to a chat with Batter because he had been working in video games prior to moving on to the new venture at M-GO. He had been at DreamWorks Interactive when CD-ROM games were popular. He had been a group general manager at Electronic Arts and helped to launch Medal of Honor: Frontline, James Bond: Agent Under Fire and Command and Conquer: Generals. And he had been a general manager at EA Mobile when Need for Speed Underground hit.

With that kind of resume I felt compelled to ask, Could the M-GO platform allow for streaming of video games? Batter answered, “The M-GO platform has been optimized for streaming linear content and that is our 100% focus today. The platform’s core technology can be utilized for streaming other types of content, including some types of games. Again, today our focus is on providing the best possible experience for movies and TV shows.”

Batter didn’t exactly say ‘no.’  He said, M-GO has the infrastructure to do deal with games. But the company is not going to stream games right now. You can’t do everything at once, that’s for sure. As an example, look beyond games to what happened when the contractor promised too much with the federal web portal for the Affordable Health Care Act signup. It didn’t work. Batter’s idea is to be concerned with what M-GO does best, and then grow from there.

But regarding games: I’m glad John Batter didn’t close the door completely.

-Harold Goldberg, a contributor to the New York Times, is the founder of the New York Videogame Critics Circle.

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Call it the Videogame Shot Heard Round the World. The game was everywhere. And when the smoke cleared last week, Grand Theft Auto V had earned a billion dollars in three days.

Many of our fine critics had something to worthy say about the latest release from Rockstar Games:

Polygon’s Chris Plante detailed the satire and treatment of women in GTA V.

Adam Rosenberg for Digital Trends talked more about GTA V’s gang of protagonists:

Mashable’s Chelsea Stark observed Los Santos’ nuances as she played.

Russ Frushtick of Polygon highlighted some new experiences the game has to offer:

CNET’s Jeff Bakalar shared his personal moments of surprise and intrigue.

Gameological’s Anthony Agnello admired the expansiveness of Los Santos, but wanted a deeper experience that felt less familiar.

–Harold Goldberg and Sarah Awad

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By Harold Goldberg

At first, I was annoyed at the wait to load the game onto the 360. I loved looking closely at the expertly drawn character screens. But they began to repeat, and because I’ve been very much anticipating this particular installment, I was getting antsy.

I looked at the massive map in my hands and, like it was an involuntary reflex, said ‘Wow’ aloud.

I started listening to the score as the game loaded, really, closely listening, closing my eyes, and it took me to another place, calming me, relaxing me, but not so much that I couldn’t appreciate every note. That opener features a moody, worthy score by Tangerine Dream.

The prologue/tutorial in the pelting, gray snowstorm was beautiful like something out of a Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven (except it’s more modern). It reminded me of being in my hometown, but I rarely had this much adrenaline going in Buffalo.
The Sopranos-inspired intro with a frustrated Michael dealing with the b.s. of psychology was dark satire, so deftly written.
Then, as Michael walks through the crazy passing parade near the beach, it’s such a wonderful hint of what’s to come into that culture.
The comedic banter between Franklin and Lamar makes that first joyride more complete.
That first red car handled better than the white sports car. I drove both about six times each.
Franklin’s Los Santos is rough and tumble. Don’t be fooled by the tidy homes. I got beat up because I pulled into the wrong driveway.
Inside Franklin’s house, his Mom’s is hilarious, but she’s a brow beater.
There are dozens of self help books on a shelf. Who knows why?
Franklin smoking pot offers up another humorous riff. He doesn’t want to be a “B” guy. He wants to be an “A” guy. I know the feeling.
The usually shy Dr. Dre shows up on DJ Pooh’s radio show!
And, if you’ve read this far, note that I have a much, much longer story to be published elsewhere. I’ll keep you posted!
Harold Goldberg is the founder of the NY Videogame Critics Circle

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By Harold Goldberg

A few moments ago, Nintendo officially released some heretofore unannounced plans for this holiday season, a new handheld device called the 2ds.

As part of this announcement, Nintendo had me over to their offices to see the 2DS in action. With a release date of October 12 and a price of $130, the 2DS sports some of the features of the 3DS in a kind of micro-tablet format.

The device I saw kind of looks like a slice of red/black cake, millimeters thin on one end and a bit thicker on the other. It was so new when I saw it that the FCC hadn’t yet given it a go ahead.

With two screens that are smaller than those on the 3DS, it plays 3DS games in 2D. And, like the 3DS, it offers up WiFi access to the Nintendo shop. The single speaker sound isn’t quite as good as the 3DS’s stereo. But it’s clear and generally fine.

Why would Nintendo announce this particular little machine for the holidays? Says Nintendo’s Cindy Gordon, “We wanted everyone to have access to Nintendo games. Some people might not have the income to buy a 3DS, and the 2DS is $40 less. We feel it’s the perfect entry point, and then consumers can move up the (hardware) line.” I then asked when the machine began its development cycle, but was not given a direct answer: Nintendo wanted to stay precisely on message.

So I asked, If parents who are a bit cash poor want a handheld gaming device for their kids, wouldn’t they go to eBay for a used 3DS? (Later, a quick search showed a used 3DS could be had for $120 and up.)

Gordon countered, saying that, Yes, people might do that, but wouldn’t they want a brand new device as an entry point instead?

Nintendo says the 2DS might be right as a child’s first machine (“for young, budding gamers,” says Gordon), and I do agree with that assumption. It’s less complicated that the 3DS with fewer buttons to deal with. For instance, there’s no slider button for the WiFi access.

I believe there’s another reason for Nintendo’s release of the 2DS.  Sony and Microsoft are releasing their new systems in November, and there’s a lot of buzz around them. Nintendo wants to have at least one tangible thing that’s new, something related to hardware that they can tout for the holidays.

Really, it has to do with the console wars. Executives may say publicly that there are no such battles. But that’s a matter of semantics. These companies are very, very competitive. Hence, the thinking would go, a new machine by Nintendo for the holiday season is a salvo that might help the company. So will lowering the price of the Wii U by $50.

While the 2DS is a decent machine, the devil’s advocate in me thinks it might be the next Game Boy Micro, popularity-wise. Yet it also could take off. To help that process, wouldn’t it be a prudent and wise move if the 2DS came with a game made exclusively for it, a mini Zelda game perhaps? That would sell the device, perhaps even to those who have a 3DS.

After all, everything ultimately is about the games themselves.

Harold Goldberg is the founder of the New York Videogame Critics Circle.

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When I learned of Steve Morgenstern’s passing early today, it was a shock. Steve Morgenstern had been a fixture, until recently, of the tech and gaming scene in New York City. But I also considered him to be a friend. Although he wasn’t a Circle member and lived out on Long Island, I often invited him to meetings and events. He often said he wanted to attend, but that trip was a bit of a haul for him.

When I first met Steve, he was writing for Rolling Stone magazine. It was a great gig for him and impressive to others. Steve, in fact, was pretty humble about the fact that he was elevating the level of game journalism, simply by writing for that magazine. Occasionally, he would regale me with tales of Jann Wenner. I had one or two stories to add from the few music stories I wrote for the magazine, but Steve had better tales from the front lines.

Years ago, when Sony had a PlayStation event in San Francisco, the company rented a huge yacht to take us around the bay. Both us grumpily commiserated, “They don’t need to do this; it’s not going to change our opinion of the games.”  Upstairs, I think there was some fake gambling going on for prizes. Steve and I sat it out. We didn’t want the gifts. We just wanted to learn about games. And talk. We talked a lot about music that night, and about our careers as well.

As we chatted, Chase, now the PR Director at Twitch but then a brash games writer and reviewer, came up out of the blue and said, “I hear you write for Rolling Stone. How do I do that?”

We didn’t know Chase well enough at that point to realize this was his somewhat-humorous way, and Steve was annoyed. Steve was understandably protective of his gigs. After all, he had a family to support. Later, we all became friends. Chase is still a friend to this day.

At game events, you really couldn’t pull the wool over Steve’s eyes.

Now, the Web is full of enthusiast press bloggers (which I often enjoy), but some have no sense of game history beyond, say, five years (which I don’t like). Folks happily tout the wonders of videogames in all shapes and forms – under any circumstances.

But Steve wasn’t like that. He was curious, asked tough questions, and took no b.s.

On his Facebook page, some of the game writers who knew how important Steve Morgenstern had been posted short remembrances. Yahoo Games’ Ben Silverman wrote, “An old friend of mine, Steve Morgenstern, passed away this morning. Wonderful person, funny, warm, talented, sharp as a tack. He was a rare, old-school game journalist, a guy who managed to stay employed — and relevant — through decades of this turbulent industry. I remember reading Atari Age magazines as a kid — he was the founding editor back in 1982. I didn’t know this when we first met because we were too busy making each other laugh and kibbitzing about the shady catering at whatever the hell event we were at. Steve welcomed me into the business with open arms despite me clearly having no idea what I was doing, made me feel like a member of the club even before I proved I belonged. They just don’t make ‘em like that anymore. RIP.”

USA Today’s Mike Snider commented, “I remember reading Steve’s posts as a reporter. (I grew up reading Stereo Review & Rolling Stone.) And remember meeting this sweet fellow from RS when I eventually made it to CES. All I can say us it’s so sad and make Steve proud by enjoying every second of life.”

And Chase posted, “When I first got into the video game industry in the 90′s as a reporter, one of the fixtures at every event I went to was a wizened reporter (even back then). Later on when I crossed over into doing PR, I worked with him for over a decade and every interaction was always pleasant and respectful. When I saw a post today that he passed away, the wind was sucked out of me. Even though we lost touch over the last year or two, all of my interactions with him feel as fresh as yesterday. He said wonderful things about his kids and was always genuine and personable. Steve Morgenstern will be missed.”

Sometimes, Steve and I would run into each other on one of Manhattan’s busy street corners. We’d get to talking about everything from music to Broadway to, yes, technology and games. Suddenly, a half hour had passed. One of us would realize it and damn the fact that we had another appointment to rush off to. But we always knew we’d take up where we left off at the next event.

But now, there won’t be a next event.

Yet Steve lives on in our hearts and minds, as all of those good friends who have passed always will. Steve always had a kind of wise, slightly cynical twinkle in his eye.  That’s how he’ll be remembered in this particular heart and mind. As someone who wrote well, as someone who was always kind, as a true wit and as a font of knowledge.

A gentleman with a twinkle in his eye.

-Harold Goldberg, Founder, New York Videogame Critics Circle

Steve

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