Mentoring: A New Season At The DreamYard

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By Harold Goldberg

Each year, our partnership with the DreamYard Prep School in the Bronx grows by leaps and bounds. We began our first workshop earlier this week with 25 students in attendance. With some essential help from Eb Samuel, the New York Daily News’ videogame critic, I talked about Madden’s Longshot story. Eb had written about Madden NFL 18 for the Daily News and I had written about it for The Washington Post. So were were able to talk with some knowledge about EA’s inaugural story effort.

The kids had already played Longshot before we arrived, thanks to the tireless work of Rudy Blanco, the head of digital content at the DreamYard.

We asked students, does the football story feel real? Does it need to feel real? Does the reality show idea make sense? Should the writers have added more events that are taken from today’s headlines?

Everyone offered up thoughtful opinions, most of which came down on the side of wishing the story felt more real – even to the point of adding a Colin Kaepernick kind of subplot.

A few said games – even sims like Madden – are for entertainment only, for escape from the tribulations of today’s society. They shouldn’t be beholden to what happens in real life. Students were excited about discussing games; they always are. But they became even more enthused when we detailed our internship program.

This year, we’re offering one, maybe two, Circle internships for the DreamYard kids. That’s in addition to Kimari Rennis, who’ll be our primary DreamYard/Circle intern when the new blood is introduced in January at the New York Game Awards. How do we choose new interns from this vibrant class of 25? It’s combination of stellar attendance, good writing and good communication skills. In addition to journalism, they’ll even write game scenarios and game dialog.

Beyond a paid internship with the New York Videogame Critics Circle and visits to our members’ employers to gain real life insight into the workplace, these students will get an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles next summer to see how games are made – from the heads of development studios themselves.

We can’t wait to see what DreamYard students come up with this semester!

Harold Goldberg is a journalist and author who’s founder of the New York Videogame Critics Circle.


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