Poetry In Games: Inspiring Verse From Our Scholarship Program’s Students

By Harold Goldberg

Part of our New York Videogame Critics Circle Level Up Now scholarship program includes poetry written by high school students who have the world’s biggest entertainment medium in mind – along with salient social justice issues. (We will post the winners of the scholarship contest next week.)

People of color haven’t had the same writing opportunities as whites have; that’s something that has to change. In fact, the history of Black American poets goes back at least to the words of Phillis Wheatley (pictured above). She was kidnapped in Senegal at the age of seven in the late 1700s and brought sick and weak to the United States to be a slave. But as I read these Bronx teens’ poems, I was also reminded of these words of today that span history. It’s from Amanda Gorman’s Biden/Harris inauguration poem, The Hill We Climb:

“We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside.
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another.

Enjoy these works!


By Sandra Hernandez

I’m like a video game character but different

Who spawns with one life instead of multiple but before that begins

The controller turns on, the start button begins to flash

The flash continues unless I press START 

Then my quest begins in the world filled with unknown things yet to be discovered

Before discovering the unknown I must prepare 

Unlike any game having a weapon or power skill with you

I spawn in with NOTHING 

Spawning in with nothing is a shame but I have a special weapon

This special weapon is a my mind

My mind is like a sword to me

Instead of slicing mongols like Jin Sakai

It slices down which quests or achievements I unlocked

But does not slice the ones I failed

I restart them to learn from what I got wrong

Before I was like sonic who at first rushes through these quests to reach the end 

Always wanting to finish it fast to get the highest score in the game 

Although this leads me to end up being trap 

A repeated cycle not knowing how to figure it out 

I refuse to hit the restart or then it will make my perfect score look bad

It felt as if I was surrounded by a bunch of bedrock blocks with a pickaxes

Wondering Why wont my pickaxe break through

Then I realized My special weapon will help me find my way

My mind is the powerup for me just like when Mario eats a mushroom to get bigger

I will think my way out and tell myself it’s okay to restart as many times I want

Restarting won’t affect me it will help me grow more powerful 

It will make my mind become more stronger to use against challenges

It will make me stronger just like the mushroom does to Mario

I now know what I must do

I must hit RESTART


Video Games

By Omar Ahmed

Video games bring out the best of all of us, and the worst. 

Some might suggest the brain is turned into mush by video games, 

However, evidence suggests that computer games in the real world are actually benefiting people. 

Oh, how I love video games that make me see things that can’t happen outside, 

And although movie versions of games are not so good, 

Normally, I’m never disappointed with sequels. 

More than just fun times, video games generate more, 

They have also helped build my personality. 

So thank you for making me through video games who I am.


Detroit Become Human 

By Eugene Gyasi

Humans vs Android

Are we the same?

Are we capable of loving each other?

We are who we are 

Being a human or an android,

Does not stop us from having the same mindset

To protect our own to live 

Does not stop us from having different opinions

In order to bring our people together

We may look different 

We may dress differently, We may eat different foods

We may use different resources in order to keep us alive

Our looks do not portray who we are

But we are one

Humans or Androids

We have the potential to work together to bring peace

The potential to reason and solve  problems

The potential to punish or forgive 

The potential to look out for one another 

Humans or Androids 

We decide what’s best for our people

What we can do to strengthen our people

What we can do to nourish our nation

What we can do to provide for each and every one

No more war

No more inequality

We are one

We should think alike to bring,

Peace and Prosperity to our country

And to improve and build up our nation

Humans and Androids

We are one people 

We are the next generation



By Starjuachia Williams

I had a journey to the forbidden past or the forbidden west

I was the huntress that i could never become

Over and over the buttons switched

X was Triangle and square was circle

My jump became my running and ducking became my block

I was on an endless storymode of where my mother was the enemy and my brain was the trap

The coldwar was the start of the streets and the war between myself

360 no-scope

I played smashed bros however i was only smashing the button while my bros beat me over and over

Characters like steve from minecraft and peach the princess that always got captured

Mario time

But those times was the best 

Me and my older brother planning to jump our younger brother 

Momma yelling at us “BE QUIET”

But i’m just throwing these pokeballs and sending out pokemons


I need money to take care of my family

So let’s start a heist 

I’m rocking an rolling on these streets with a Forza horizon chasing me.



By Jeison Liranzo

Laughter fills the room 

As well as the void in my Hearth 

I play overwatch with my Friends

 having fun as us kids are Supposed to

Then it rang, the doorbell was as loud as D.vas bomb 

suddenly my entire body started shaking 

as if I were my controller when I play call of duty

 I felt like Opening the door was my duty

 but my emotions kept Hitting me like bullets

The door became so far 

I felt like Mario when he has to open 

Bowser’s door, my heart wondered if I

Would have to face a boss fight in real life

I open the door and I came in contact with 

The boss I wonder if I would have to defeat him or be defeated

He spoke an I took a step back, he asks where my mom

Was? but I didn’t even know where I was.

He repeated himself, “where is your mom she owes me the money”

I said I didn’t know, he screamed at me and left.

I went back to play games with my friends

Tears fell from my eyes yet I stood silence

I wish the phantom thieves of hearts would make me have a change of heart

So I could be able to open up to my friends

Instead, I put on a mask and acted like I was okay



By Ashly Perez

How could this happen?

How could I let this happen?

How could I only stand by and watch

Watch him show his mercy to a soul filled with desire and hatred

Watch him get killed by an unknowing being in the blink of an eye

Watch him turn to dust…

Watch his ruby red scarf fall to the ground…

How could this not be my fault?

How could trust I’ve had for so long shatter in an instant

How could they leave his dust in my hands?

His scarf around my neck

What a coward I was


Was the forever falling crystalline that filled the skies


Were my feet every step I took, filling my fuzzy pink sandals


Is what I would be if I cared about the weather


Were the lakes and ponds


Forever the beating of his heart


Were the Icicles hanging from the trees


Was I,  when his neck sliced in half


Was I, when he turned to dust before my eyes


Was I…when his scarf fell to the ground

Based on Undertale

By Ashly Perez

Sans lost his bro, couldn’t do anything bout it

Grandmother’s Passing

I lost my grandmother, couldn’t do anything about it


Ever knew what it was like

Fell in my arms

Never saw it coming

Wish death hadn’t come so early

Believe I could’ve

It’s all my fault

All I had left

Why didn’t I


Mine and Craft

By Ashlyn Perez

My favorite game is Minecraft.

It allows me to create, to strategize

To build, to organize

It shows me survival skills as I wander through the waterfalls and hills

An endless world of mobs and kills

Freedom. Imagination. It’s worth the frustration.

Creepers creeping around’ the corners from nowhere,

Zombies arms out, eat my brain like its trout

Skeletons shooting, players come, I start looting, 

Like the hunger games, survival is a race

Running from the ender dragon be a full-on goose chase

Doing things the cave-man way, I’ll make a sword as soon as I find a cave

Hopin’ not to die in all that la-va, here we go again with those stupid llamas!

Can’t go out at night, dangerous mobs looking for a fight

Build a fort, or stay inside! Otherwise, you’ll be on one ‘hell’ of a ride

Grab your weapons, anything would work, just have damage attack, and we can make the teamwork

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