Posts Tagged ‘polygon’

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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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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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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by Jill Scharr

We’re big fans of Penny Arcade’s PAX conventions–they’re known for being friendly, open and inclusive, with panels on diverse topics, everything from sexuality to tabletop games to games journalism.  This year, the games journalism panels themselves covered a range of topics, from freelancing to breaking into IGN. Here’s a rundown of the journalism talks at PAX East 2013, and the advice they had for aspiring writers. (more…)

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Should the Wii U have been given a bad rap for seeming too complex? Or should Nintendo’s spin doctors get the blame? Or should journalists themselves be held accountable?

by Harold Goldberg

Yesterday at the Polygon launch party in Tribeca, two threads of conversation manifested themselves throughout the night. The first surrounded the seemingly anthropomorphic incarnation of Hurricane Sandy and the way it sucker punched Manhattan, the rest of New York City and New Jersey. ‘How did it go for you?’ was the question among critics. Much shaking of the head and commiseration occurred.

The other talks centered upon the imminent launch of the Wii U.

Many of our critics were happy to get an early package with the new Nintendo device contained within. Discussion last night ranged from the way it is being marketed to the lack of it being fully functional broadband-wise prior to launch. The lack of certain promised apps and functionality similarly plagued critics who were trying to review the PlayStation Vita before launch. As I recall, it was difficult to sync Kinect, the Xbox add-on controller, prior to launch as well.

My concern about the Wii U has been documented on NPR’s Morning Edition, where I spoke with co-host Renee Montagne. We’ve also dealt with the challenges right here at the Circle site. And yet, when I checked out the machine in the comfort of my own home for the first time a few days ago, my initial impression for the offline experience is that the Wii U comes together nicely via fairly charming tutorials in Nintendo Land, the oft-maligned, upcoming collection of mini games that is packed inside the deluxe version of Nintendo’s successor to the Wii.

That’s just one game. And this is an impression, not a full review. But it speaks to one problem I had: that the Wii U is too busy to understand immediately. Indeed, it may not be so difficult at all. Now seeing what I’ve seen, I believe Nintendo’s marketing machine has made it difficult to understand. All Nintendo representatives had to say to journalists like me is: “If you think the Wii U is too complex as you engage in these demos and see these presentations, wait until you get it home. The tutorials are pretty informative and easy. You’ll get it. We promise.”

They had years to explain this to me and to all of the Circle members in simple, plain language. And they never did. In fact, I don’t believe the commercial below makes the Wii U a breeze to understand. More soon.

Harold Goldberg is the founder and editor in chief of the Circle.

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July 31 at 7 p.m., a night that will live in infamy.

Or famy, even.

We hope you will join your favorite videogame writers for all things games at Brooklyn’s Barcade next Tuesday night.

The Barcade is located at 388 Union Avenue.

We’ll be there for our first community event for at least three hours. And we’ll probably give a cool thing or two away as well.

You’ll meet scribes from Unwinnable, MTV, Polygon, G4TV, Joystiq, NPR, Kotaku, Kill Screen and more.  It looks like some game developers will show up as well.

Here’s our Facebook page for a bit more info. Do let us know if you’re coming.

Oh, and if you want to be our intern and you have the chops, find me and talk to me about it.

See you there!

–Harold Goldberg

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