By Harold Goldberg
Recently, one of my game developers acquaintances suggested that I moderate panels at the New York Media Festival, particularly at the NY Games Festival.
In reality, I’m an utter introvert who’s forced by virtue of leading the Circle to become an extrovert when onstage. It’s difficult for me, but I’m always happy to do almost anything that benefits the group as a whole. While I later agreed to a fireside chat with a prominent eSports executive, I suggested to Ned Sherman, the CEO of Digital Media Wire and the festival’s affable organizer, that it would be best to for me to moderate a panel discussion that featured some of our own smart critics.
So I contacted CNET’s Dan Ackerman, Tom’s Guide’s Sherri Smith, The Washington Post’s Chris Byrd and Videodame’s Sara Clemens. Our hope was that we could have a thoughtful, spirited, cultural discussion about the year’s trends in games, trends that included the rise of Pokemon Go, the release of prominent Virtual Reality hardware and games, and the continued rise of eSports. If we peppered that with talk with our personal experiences and anecdotes, maybe we’d have a successful discussion.
The day-long conference included everything from financiers who spoke about why and how they are investing in virtual reality to an occasionally contentious panel about diversity in videogames. Throughout the afternoon, I learned a fair amount from the people I met. But when it was time for Circle’s panel, I felt some butterflies.
Thankfully, that all passed once we were onstage in the festival’s biggest room. The mixed crowd of executives, workerbees and game fans didn’t appear to want us to leave the stage. Our designated half hour went well past the hour mark, partially because the crowd seemed to have endless questions for us. After the event, I was approached by a potential intern candidate. And the others who said ‘hello’ offered much good will and occasional wise words.
Here below are a passel of photos from that event, all taken by Caroline Sinno. I think I can speak for the many members of the New York Videogame Critics Circle when I say that we look forward to participating in the New York Media Festival again next year. We’re already thinking about potential panel topics and fireside chats.