May the Fourth be with you, Circle family! Jon here, back with your weekly Roundup and wishing you a wonderful Star Wars Day.
This week’s Roundup is an eventful one. Russ Frushtick played Star Wars: Bounty Hunter to commemorate May 4th. Harold Goldberg and Jordan Minor attended the first ever Tribeca Games Festival, a big milestone for videogames as an artistic medium. Dan Ackerman reviewed a laptop that costs as much as a car. Matt Gerardi hailed Mario Kart Deluxe 8 as the greatest Mario Kart game yet.
Oh, and Ian Bogost wrote an article about how videogames are better off without stories. This feels oddly poetic since the Tribeca Games Festival (which ran concurrent with the film festival) was focused on the evolution of narrative in videogames.
And Harold met a panel moderator at the festival who dissed the Circle. Told ya – it’s an eventful Roundup.
And with that, the Roundup!
Harold Goldberg met up with a panel moderator at the Tribeca Games Festival, who dismissed the NYVGCC as a “little club”. Well, this “little club” has been mentoring kids at the DreamYard School in the Bronx and will be teaching free courses at the Abrons Art Center. We do these things because the NYVGCC is built on heart, not PR. Read Harold’s post here.
Jordan Minor also attended the Tribeca Games Festival, and the overarching theme was about the strides that gaming has made in storytelling, with panels discussing games like Edith Finch and Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy. The main draw, however, was the panel led by rockstar designer Hideo Kojima. Jordan also discussed Where Water Tastes Like Wine, a game he and fellow Circle member Gita Jackson both worked on! Read Jordan’s write-up here.
Russ Frushtick and Patrick Gill played Star Wars: Bounty Hunter for 32 minutes, which has the notorious reputation of being one of the worst Star Wars games ever made. The game casts you as Jango Fett, the most badass bounty hunter in the galaxy, and manages to turn that premise into a clunky, frustrating slog. Perhaps Star Wars: Bounty Hunter was supposed to be a meta commentary on how terribly George Lucas treats members of the Fett clan. Jango was killed by a geriatric Jedi and Boba was thwarted by a blind, bumbling smuggler. Watch Russ praise the prequel trilogy (pitchforks down, everyone — he was joking) and play through Bounty Hunter here.
Dan Ackerman reviewed the Acer Predator 21X, the Godzilla of gaming laptops. This thing has a 21 inch curved screen, mechanical keyboard, and even an eye-tracking camera. It also comes in a massive gig case, because if you can afford this $8,999 piece of machinery, you can also afford to hire a roadie to lug it around for you. Read Dan’s review here.
Matt Gerardi reviewed Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, an enhanced port of Mario Kart 8 exclusively for the Nintendo Switch. Among many other changes, MK8D features an updated Battle Mode, gameplay tweaks (players can now hold two items at once), and a smart steering option for beginners. The esports age has ushered in a renewed vigor for skill intensive games, but any game that allows an ailing four year old to continue racing with her siblings deserves our praise. Read Matt’s review here.
And now for news outside of the Circle. . .
I would be remiss if I didn’t share this — Ian Bogost thinks storytelling in games is really clumsy, and misses the real strength of the medium. The great power of gaming isn’t in good stories. It’s in good gameplay. Read his piece here.
Dota 2 is getting a co-op campaign mode. With the purchase of a battle pass ($10), players will be able to experience the first part of the campaign, Stiltbreaker, which releases this month. More importantly, this marks the first time Valve has released story-related content since 2011. This news might make me wistful if my heart hadn’t become jaded after years of radio silence regarding Half Life 3. Read more about it here.
New behind the scenes footage from Star Citizen has revealed Mark Hamill’s character, Lieutenant Commander Steve “Old Man” Colton. Right in time for May 4th. See it in action here.
South Korean presidential candidate Sang-jun Sim is using Overwatch POTG videos to promote her campaign. Luckily for you guys, I can read and write Korean. Some of the YouTube comments said, “Sang-jun Sim, who only spits shade <3” and “How are you this cool. . .” Watch the ad here.
Last month, a redditor found a disc containing the StarCraft source code from an eBay purchase. After weighing his legal options, the good Samaritan decided to return it to Blizzard, and the company gave him a copy of Overwatch and $250 of Blizzard bucks for his troubles. This month, Blizzard informed the redditor that they’re flying him out to Irvine for Blizzcon and booze. Huzzah for doing the right thing! Read the story here.
And that’s it for this week. Be sure to tune in next time!