Hello, Circle people! Jon here. No long-winded intro this time.
It’s been a busy week in gaming news, but today’s Roundup is especially good. I loved Matt’s review-in-process approach, and I wish it became the standard in game criticism. I loved Chelsea’s eulogy for Mad Catz. I love Gita’s report on Shard and the tragic death of its creator, Roger Morash. A lot of pieces I’ve been reading lately seemed to be centered around death in some form. Maybe it’s something in the air. Or maybe I’ve just been feeling sentimental.
Either way, you got some interesting pieces to keep you occupied this weekend.
And with that, the Roundup:
Chelsea Stark wrote about the closure of Mad Catz, the company best known for its notoriously unreliable third-party controllers. But when it came to arcade sticks, Mad Catz was second to none. Mad Catz’s involvement in the fighting game community ran deep, from sponsoring pro players to hosting tournaments. Over time, Mad Catz and the FGC were synonymous with each other, like Batman and Gotham City. Read Chelsea’s full piece here.
Gita Jackson wrote about Shard, a co-op platformer in development that now has to add posthumous credits for its creator, Roger Morash. Roger Morash, his wife, and their pets died this past January from carbon monoxide poisoning. Morash’s collaborators Anita Tung and Kasson Crooker have resolved to honor his memory by finishing the game. Read Gita’s full report here.
Jordan Minor has selected M.U.G.E.N. as his 2017 Game of the Year. Well, for this week, that is. Mugen is a free, community-made fighting game that’s been in constant production under dozens of different developers since 1999. There are thousands of playable characters to choose from, including Ryu, Homer Simpson, Gabe Newell, Clippit (from Microsoft Word), Ronald McDonald, and Barack Obama. It’s also appropriately named, since Mugen is the Japanese word for “infinite”. Read Jordan’s review here.
Alex Cranz recently got to play the first few story missions for Injustice 2, and he especially enjoyed the part where she played as Batman and got to dropkick his son Damian Wayne. Hopefully in the face. Sorry, Damian fans. I’m Team Tim all the way. A word of warning: Alex’s preview contains spoilers! Read Alexa’s preview here.
Matt Gerardi just wrapped up his trilogy of reviews for Mass Effect: Andromeda, and honestly, this is the best review format I’ve seen. Reviewing videogames the same way we critique movies or music albums has always felt a little awkward to me. Not only are you taking in music, cutscenes, characters, and mechanics, but you’re maneuvering through a virtual world. You’re the driver. In every other medium, you’re the passenger. Game critiques should be more like travelogues than reviews, and that’s exactly what Matt did with Mass Effect: Andromeda. Read about Matt’s journey through the Heleus Cluster here.
And now for news outside of the Circle. . .
Veteran game designer American McGee is famous for his early work on Quake, the Alice series, his unique name, and hosting game jams on sailboats. Enter the world of Pirate Jam, a seven day cruise around Thailand where game designers get together to brainstorm ideas, write code, train their crunch time endurance, and devour copious amounts of khao man kai. Read more about McGee’s Pirate Jam here.
MoMA PS1 in Long Island City is currently showing Emissaries by Ian Cheng, a “video game that plays itself.” Emissaries explores “evolution, the origin of the human consciousness, and ways of relating to a chaotic existence.” MoMA PS1 has partnered with Twitch to continually stream Emissaries for the duration of its live running. Ian Cheng will also be making an appearance at MoMA PS1 on April 24. Read more about Emissaries here.
To answer the great need of charming 16-bit JRPGs, Zeboyd has released Cosmic Star Heroine. The game draws inspiration from Chrono Trigger and Phantasy Star, which are two damn fine games to channel. Doesn’t a part of you long for those old RPG days where saving the world didn’t have to be so gloomy and serious? The days of big parties of characters and high adventure? You know you do. Read more about Cosmic Star Heroine here.
Overwatch just launched a new event! In Overwatch: Uprising, players go back 7 years ago in the Overwatch timeline when London’s first mixed human-omnic community was attacked by an omnic terrorist group called Null Sector. Play as either Torbjorn, Mercy, Reinhardt, or the newest rookie Tracer and eliminate the Null Sector threat. PvE is fun, but honestly, I’m just here for the Blackwatch Genji skin, dude. Read more about Overwatch: Uprising here.
And that’s it for this week’s Roundup. Be sure to tune in next week to see what the Circle has been up to!