By Ronald Gordon
Hello once again and Welcome back to the Roundup, the New York Videogame Critics Circle look into recent news in the gaming industry and things involving the Circle. This time around we have news about EVO 2021’s events, reviews of games with heavy hitting stories, and another great use of Media Molecule’s Dreams for community engagement – with someone we know.
August is drawing to a close and with it means hope for the year’s biggest games in the coming Fall months. Gamescom is showing us the cornucopia of what’s in store even as I write this column – along with release dates for everything from Halo Infinite to Bus Simulator 21 (and a new Saints Row!). With games like No More Heroes 3 and Psychonauts 2 coming out soon, it’s easy to forget to look forward to the few-months-out games in the near future. I’m most hopeful for the next installment of a Yakuza side series called Judgement. Developed by the same studio, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studios, Lost Judgement is set to come out near the end of September and bring more to what Judgement had initially in the ways of story, gameplay, and wacky shenanigans. But of course, as part of the infamous Yakuza franchise, shenanigans are a must in the series of serious crime drama games.
Senior Intern Isaac Espinosa recently reviewed a game tackling serious issues regarding border control and freedom. Road 96, developed and published by Digixart Entertainment, takes place in a country called Petria which is locked in turmoil over a recent election and the problem of teenagers hopping the border and fleeing the country. Isaac enjoyed the game for its amazing storytelling and character development, saying in his review “The people you meet along the way are notable for their diversity, and for how beautifully they are written. Each of the main characters in ‘Road 96’ helps to reveal more of the backstory that led to Petria’s current state, and they flesh out more of the game’s deeper tales and conflicts.” From reading the review, and having seen him play the game in his off time, I can tell he really enjoyed it for what it was and how powerful it could be in its storytelling.
Circle Member Jorge Jimenez began taking part in a long running weekly news series for PC Gamer. On their Youtube channel, which currently has 250k Subscribers, PC Gamer has an assortment of videos regarding their projects and various other things. One of which is called “This Week in PC Gaming” where news on the recent additions to PC gaming is broadcast to all of their viewers. Jorge has been featured in videos as of last week, and continues to bring this week’s newest hot picks in the PC gaming world and various other facets of entertainment. As of right now, he’s been featured in three videos and has covered news on the release of Ryan Reynolds’ Free Guy movie, the upcoming DLC for the Marvel’s Avengers game featuring Black Panther content, and even what might be happening for Gamescom 2021.
Tony Polanco, another Circle Member, had the chance to play the new PS5 Remaster of Ghost of Tsushima, titled Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut, for PC Mag. All of the game’s strong points; its sword combat, epic narrative, and stunning Open-World, are listed as Pros with the only Con being the Japanese lip-syncing which he lists as “Less-than-stellar”. Aside from that, Tony had nothing but praise for the many enjoyable parts of the game, saying in his review “Ghost of Tsushima was already a near-perfect experience, and this Director’s Cut elevates it to new heights.”
More and more gaming laptops are being made in order to find a balance between mobility and gaming. Circle Member Michelle Ehrhardt added her viewpoint to the mix with her review of the Acer Predator Triton 500 SE. Small with relative ease of use, the 500 SE was, as Michelle said in her review, “only the best gaming laptop for you if your bag space is at a premium or if productivity is your main goal.” Comparing it to its former iteration, the Triton 300 SE, Michelle brought up several of the laptops specs and how it performs in the land of serious gaming. Benchmarking it with high end games such as; Control, Borderlands 3, and Grand Theft Auto 5, the 500 SE outpaced even ASUS and Alienware laptops.
With the pandemic coming to a balance point, and more events readjusting to their previous schedules, it’s only natural that exciting news on returning offline events has been arising. Circle Member Imad Khan helped to spread the hype for the upcoming offline EVO tournament, which is set to happen in Las Vegas, alongside fellow Tom’s Guide reviewer Billy Givens. In his article about the event, Imad lists the various announced characters for fighting games that may be featured in the tournament, including Jack-O for Arc System Works’ Guilty Gear Strive, Oro and Akira for Capcom’s Street Fighter 5: Champion Edition, and Baiken for SNK’s Samurai Shodown. With a year separating August now and August 2022, when EVO 2022 will be held offline in Las Vegas, plenty more characters are set to be released in the following months. If you want to keep up with more EVO news, check out their website for more news.
Beyond The Circle
In a fantastic use of Media Molecule’s highly interactive game Dreams, the community of DreamYard pulled together a bunch of young minds for a new event. DreamsFest is a Community Music Festival made to bring more people together in Dreams. First thought up by Steve Spera, known as beardofcats for his online persona, the event was featured in DreamsCom21 during their live broadcast on Twitch. Alongside the archive of the event, there is also an article on Playstation Blog detailing each event and what they brought to the table. Under Hall #46, there sits beardofcats and a brief informative description details his DreamsFest Music Festival.
The History of Video Games is a very long and arduous tale of development. Ever since the first games of Pong and Space Invaders, the gaming world has only ever been expanding into newer and broader horizons. All of these changes might’ve taken an entire lifetime to write down and understand, or it would’ve if Author Steven L. Kent didn’t take up the mantle himself. As the Author of the book, “The Ultimate History of Video Games: From Pong to Pokemon–The Story Behind the Craze That Touched Our Lives and Changed the World”, it’s not surprising that Kent just published a second book. Titled “The Ultimate History of Video Games, Volume 2: Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, and the Billion-Dollar Battle to Shape Modern Gaming”, the new book features plenty of recent Video Game history from the last 20 years and shows true dedication to the Video Game cause on Kent’s part. PlayStation exec and decades-long game maker Mark Cerney writes the forward to the book. If the entire history of gaming sounds interesting, I wholly suggest you order the book and its predecessor on Amazon.
That’s all there is for this Roundup. See you next time when there’ll be more game news to report on!
Bronx native Ronald Gordon is NYVGCC’s senior intern. Most recently, he became our first Rockstar Games intern, in partnership with the Red Dead and GTA creators.