The Insight: Playing Arms In High School With Students And Teachers

By Kimari Rennis


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After playing Arms during a New York Videogame Critics Circle mentoring event, I am convinced that 2017 is the year for Nintendo. Arms is a scifi boxing game that gives players the freedom to develop tactics, make up new strategies, analyze gameplay, and compete against friends, family, and adults alike. With a couple of people (and some snacks), Arms can make for one of the best nights ever!

Joining me were 12th and 10th graders, a college student, and a few teachers and Circle founder Harold Goldberg in an Arms Competition after school. Together, we explored the innumerable features of the game with an extra pair of Joy-Cons and, yes, some trash talk. We sat around a few desks and took many turns playing as our favorite characters. Rivalries between specific students and teachers were settled with advanced movements, taunts and brute force (in the game, not in real life). Sometimes, there were surprised looks after a match ended. Everyone who participated gawked over Twintelle as she strutted her stuff in the ring.

Students even made slogans for the characters they won with.

“Min Min for the Win Win” and “Master Mummy for the Money” were among them.

Throughout the heat of battle we were offered plates of fresh, hot spaghetti from the culinary class next door and we slurped it up while staring intently at the SmartBoard to which the Nintendo Switch was connected. Some students even took breaks from their own after school programs to join the fun. In turn, we were given grimacing looks from program leaders who blamed us for “stealing” their members. I will never forget that day. Everyone laughed, battled, and enjoyed themselves, all thanks to this newly released fighting game.

The visuals and graphics are phenomenal and sharp – even the small things like the flames on your power meter before the charged attacks and the material of each fighter’s clothing. The lighting in the game really sets the mood of each and every environment. The pink neon hues on the Ribbon Road stage gives the intended concert appearance, and the light from the moon gives the Mausoleum its spooky feel.

Although the game may seem simple at first. There is so much to learn that gives Arms its competitive edge. Like many other fighting games, the more you play, the better you get. Each character in Arms has his or her own unique abilities and stats. Ribbon Girl with her extra jumps, provides great maneuverability, and “tanks” such as Master Mummy and Mechanica, don’t stagger from small punches. Yet they lack speed.

As you play, you take this information into consideration as you try to find ways to win with your character’s strengths and weaknesses. With plenty of practice, you can time your punches, perform combos and identify counters for each Arms fighter.

Arms is a unique and colorful fighting game with catchy music and a variety of game modes. You’ll compete, work together, and continually test your knowledge of the game. Other than the ridiculous range of every fighter’s grab, I have seen no problems with the game, or aspects that need to be tweaked. Arms is nearly flawless in its colorful, nuanced boxing glory.

Kimari Rennis is a New York Videogame Critics Circle intern, part of our ongoing partnership with the Bronx’s DreamYard Prep School. 

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