By Matt Gerardi
Welcome back to The Roundup, the New York Videogame Critics Circle’s weekly look at our members’ writing and news from around the world of videogames. This week, Devil May Cry makes a rip-roaring return, Apex Legends makes us nervous, and the NBA 2K League makes a tiny dent in esports’ diversity problem. Plus, a radical New York non-profit needs your help to give the city’s (and the world’s) game developers a new home. Here we go:
Heather Alexandra reviewed Devil May Cry 5, the first game in the series to be developed by Capcom since 2008. The long-awaited sequel retains all of the series’ over-the-top action and style, and Heather came away impressed with how intuitive and satisfying all that balletic combat feels to pull off, regardless of which of the three characters you’re controlling. Her review also argues the game accomplishes this three-character dynamic with great purpose, as each of the heroes feels distinct and has a fighting style that evokes their individual personality.
And while Dante and the DMC crew were leaving Heather feeling stylish and empowered, Elizabeth Ballou’s time in Apex Legends has left her feeling a little more stressed and apologetic. In a hilarious, totally relatable article for Fanbyte, Elizabeth broke down why the popular new battle royale game leaves her feeling anxious and suggests that in addition to the already robust in-game communication system, Apex should probably add a few voice lines so that let us less fortunate players tell our teammates to excuse our mess.
Earlier this week, the NBA held the player draft for the second season of its NBA 2K League. Writing before the draft went down, Samit Sarkar reported on how the esports organization was hoping to tackle the lack of diversity in the league, a problem that spans the entirety of the esports world. The draft class of its first season consisted of 102 men and not a single woman. This year, the league has taken the smallest possible step toward diversity by including two women in its draft class of 198 players. Thankfully, the league’s organizers told Samit they weren’t happy with just how small of an improvement this was, and they’ll keep tweaking their recruitment process in the future. After Tuesday’s draft, Samit followed up on his story and reported on the drafting of Chiquita “Chiquitae126” Evans, who will join the Warriors Gaming Squad as the 2K League’s first female player.
This month brings us the 30th anniversary of Tim Berners-Lee’s proposal for how to connect computers and let them share their data, a vision that eventually grew into the World Wide Web. Dan Ackerman took the occasion as a chance to look back at the Web’s beginnings and all the ups and downs the internet business has been through over these last 30 years. It says a lot about Dan that even after all these years he still has “the same sense of wide-eyed wonder about the possibilities that lie ahead.” But as someone who’s seen it all, he’s still wary. “Consider this my old-man-waving-a-stick warning,” he wrote, “but the endless cycle of hype over everything…often reminds me of the boiler room salesmanship of pre-Dotcom Bust era.”
And finally this week, the Circle welcomed Felicia Miranda, the games editor from Digital Trends, as its newest member. Felicia’s a fan of Pokémon, Final Fantasy, Mass Effect, and, as we all are, Devil May Cry 5. Big hearty welcome, Felicia!
From Beyond The Circle
Born in Brooklyn’s legendary DIY music venue Death By Audio (RIP), Death By Audio Arcade (DBAA) is a non-profit that hosts events for NYC’s games community and builds awesome arcade cabinets for indie games. After years of moving from venue to venue and lugging around clunky, delicate gaming machines, DBAA announced this week it plans to open a permanent space called Wonderville, and it has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help defer the cost of getting things up and running.
Wonderville will be an arcade, bar, and event space in Brooklyn that focuses on showcasing and celebrating indie developers. This is a really important opportunity for NYC’s game dev community. The new-arcade movement was fueled by indie multiplayer hits like Nidhogg and Sportsfriends, all of which began life as small installation games only playable at festivals or a select few spots across the country. Those games eventually saw a home release but many of this sort never do, in part because they’re designed with very specific hardware in mind, like Killer Queen‘s five-on-five dual-cabinet display or Tenya Wanya Teens’ 16-button, LED lit controllers. Wonderville is a fantastic chance to build a place these brilliant, experimental games can call home and to give a supportive, dedicated hub to New York’s indie game community. As of this writing, its Kickstarter has raised approximately $22,200 of its $70,000 goal.
Google’s Arts And Culture initiative partners with museums to give users virtual access to galleries and exhibits. The platform also curates themed dives into museum collections, and the site recently published a fascinating look at the early history of home videogames using material from The Strong Museum Of Play. The brief presentation runs through the basics of how TV invaded the American home and goes on to include beautiful chronicling the invention of Ralph Baer’s “Brown Box”—later adapted into the Magnavox Odyssey—and other primordial home videogames.
After years in the works, Shawn Alexander Allen’s Treachery In Beatdown City—a love letter to arcade brawlers, RPGs, and New York City—has entered the last stretch of development, heralded by a killer trailer the creator premiered at the New York Game Awards. Game Informer’s Javy Gwaltney sat down with Allen for a wide-ranging interview that covers everything from the game’s unusual combination of genres, to its bumpy creation, and its NYC inspirations.
And finally, The Tribeca Film Festival, which has been dipping its toes into gaming over the last several years, announced the lineup for Tribeca Immersive, the festival’s collection of AR and VR experiences visitors will be able to take in during the festival’s run from April 24 to May 5. Our own Harold Goldberg laid out the extensive list of entries, which includes 19 different projects and contributions from the likes of Jeffrey Wright, Ali Wong, and Yo Yo Ma.
That’s all we have for The Roundup this week. Thank you for reading, and we’ll see you next week!
Matt Gerardi is a writer from New York, the former games editor at The A.V. Club, and a member of the New York Videogame Critics Circle.