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Posts Tagged ‘new york videogame critics circle’

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.

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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.”

 

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PacMan

 

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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New games, old games, future games, canceled games, indie games, game patches and all things game in this week’s Roundup!

Jill Scharr was at the No Quarter showcase last Friday playing five very unique indie games.  Evan Narcisse was also in attendance, writing extensively on Slam City Oracles.

Blizzard cancels project Titan, their rumored next MMO game.  Jason Schreier talks anonymously to those involved in the project, detailing what Titan looked like during development.

Over on Mashable, Chelsea Stark gave a smashing review of Super Smash Bros. for 3DS.

Frustrated at legendary engrams turning into worthless loot?  Adam Rosenberg has some good news for you in the form of Bungie’s upcoming loot-focused Destiny patch.

Polygon’s Samit Sarkar talks Battlefield Hardline, the game aiming to learn from the troubled launch of its predecessor Battlefield 4.

Anthony John Agnello interviewed three professional artists to examine famous animated fighting game backgrounds from games like Street Fighter II and King of Fighters ’94.

 

 

 

 

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by Harry Rabinowitz

Lethal League’s design oozes spectatability.  Yes, I am aware that spectatability is not a word.

But the game, more so than any other game I’ve played, seems to be designed with an audience in mind.  Similar to games like Divekick, Samurai Gunn, and Towerfall, Lethal League falls into an emerging genre I like to call the “one-hit fighter.”  As the name implies, these are fighting games where one hit means the end of a round. Lethal League, as described by its developer Reptile Games, “is a competitive projectile fighting game.”  But unlike many of its fighting game brethren, Lethal League can be watched and, more importantly, enjoyed by people who are not experienced with the game.

What gives Lethal League its allure is its simplicity, both in its gameplay and in its viewing. From the moment a match starts, everyone is focused on one thing: the glowing ball, floating center stage.  The objective of the game?  Hit that ball.  Hit it fast and hit it hard.

To get an idea of what I mean, here is a brief video of me playing against the computer.

The game is, put simply, explosive.  When getting hit means losing a round, there is never a dull viewing moment, especially when the ball reaches blindingly fast speeds.  Tension runs high when you see someone slam the ball downwards and it stops, being held there for a few good seconds, building to a new, insane speed, before being let go to wreak havoc.  The crowd has a chance to collectively hold its breath together with the players.  The combination of high speed and nearly paused gameplay makes Lethal League incredible to watch.  And I have no doubt that it was designed this was very intentionally.

With the explosion of game spectatorship, many designers, particularly those designing fighting games and MOBAs, are beginning to think about how much fun their game is to watch as well as to play.  This is not something that happened overnight or after Amazon acquired Twitch.  When the 2012 League of Legends Season 2 World Championship broke 1.1 million concurrent online viewers, everyone took notice.  A year later, the issue of spectatability was a key question during the memorable New York eSports Summit.

On the next page, Harry discusses how Lethal League and other titles can be made palpable for spectated watching…

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Still in that line to get your iPhone 6? Luck for you, Circle members have been busy covering everything from phones to VR to loads of games.  So relax and catch up on last week while you wait with today’s Roundup.

Jeff Bakalar and Scott Stein of CNET answer all your iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus questions in this extensive video Q&A.  Spoilers: the tie comes off.

Chris Plante also recently bought an iPhone 6 Plus.  Then he got rid of it.  It’s a long story.

At the first ever Oculus Connect conference, Game Informer’s Mike Futter got his hands on the new Crescent Bay prototype build.  He proceeded to stand up and walk around with it.

Eagerly awaiting the release of Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor?  Then you’ll definitely want to check out Lucas Siegel’s interview with director of design Michael de Plater.

6 impressive student games were showcased last week at the NYU Incubator Showcase.  Evan Narcisse of Kotaku writes on the games and the minds behind them.

Ever notice the lack of arcade-style sports titles as of late?  Super Mega Baseball aims to fill that void.  Samit Sarkar explores the game and the studio behind it over at Polygon.

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We here at the New York Videogame Critics Circle want to have in-depth, colorful, and really cool conversations with personalities within the gaming industry. For our debut installment of the series we’d like to call GIFT OF GAB, we sat down with the head honcho behind Unwinnable Stu Horvath, who’s also been the game critic for the New York Daily News. If you’re unfamiliar with this horror-loving, retro-gaming, metal connoisseur who will  smack the living daylights out of you if you cheat at Monopoly, let us break down his stat sheet for you.

As founder and editor-in-chief of Unwinnable and its digital component Unwinnable Weekly, Stu leads a raucous gang of gamers and illustrators who provide a “new way to read the best stories about video games and culture” to the masses. A New Jersey City University alum with a varied skill set in photography, Stu doesn’t follow the “rules and regulations” of the internet. You’ll see in our sit-down with the New York Videogames Critics Circle member that he, and his Unwinnable cohorts, don’t abide by SEO practices or use listicles to get your clicks.

A true student of new media, this scribe who refuses to be boxed in creates compelling content that allows him and those of his ilk to stand out amongst all the unimaginative clutter.

In our exclusive chat with Stu Horvath, we reminiscence about his games journalism origins; mull over his thoughts of the Twitch and Oculus Rift deals that have flooded our timelines; and inquire about how he lost his “video game virginity”. Enjoy!

For the uninitiated, can you talk about how you got your start in games journalism? What was your first piece that allowed you to standout from the freelancers?
I started writing about games while I was a photo editor at the New York Daily News. This was back in 2008, which happened to arguably be of the very best year, release wise, for the previous console generation. Fable 2, Fallout 3, Grand Theft Auto IV, Gears of War 2, Left 4 Dead, Braid and more all came out that year, so there was no shortage of thought-provoking games to write about.

No one else was covering games there at the time, at least not on a regular basis, so I just seized the opportunity. Looking back, the whole thing was just shy of a con job – here’s this photographer with no formal writing training suddenly slinging ink for a major outlet. I think a lot of people took me much more seriously than they should have because of where I worked. None of the folks at the Daily News took my game writing very seriously, that’s for sure.

At any rate, I met some very kind folks, like Harold Goldberg, Elise Vogel (who ran Crispy Gamer at the time) and Gus Mastrapa out in Los Angeles who were very gracious with their advice and free with their time.

That’s pretty much how I got my start – by accident. I am leery of the term “Games Journalist.” I’ve been writing more about horror in the last year than games, does that make me a Horror Journalist now? Seems silly to pen yourself in like that. I’m just a writer who sometimes writes about games.

I was never much for freelancing. I’ve always been more interested in doing my own thing.

Unwinnable has the distinction of being unmitigated by any mysterious powers-that-be. Can you talk to how establishing your voice within the gaming community gave you creative freedom?
I think it was the other way around. I started Unwinnable for me – when other people wanted to write for me, I let them write how they wanted. Because Unwinnable has always been free form, because we don’t chase clicks with SEO-clad headlines and listicles, because we’re genuinely interested in furthering the cultural conversation – that’s why the community cares about Unwinnable.

Unbeknownst to gamers who are reading this interview, freelancers for other sites aren’t often granted the security of owning their written copy. How has Unwinnable been able to keep Mr. Sticky Fingers from robbing your contributors of their bitcoins?
For most of its existence, writing for Unwinnable was motivated by a desire to write something weird or heartfelt that no one else would publish. Getting paid for it was never really part of the equation (which is good, because Unwinnable was usually broke).

At any rate, I decided early on that I had no interest in owning the rights to stories published on Unwinnable, and that’s that.

On the next page, Stu discusses the obstacles he and his team faced in creating a successful site…

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