By Ronald Gordon
Hello, and welcome back to another Roundup, The Critics Circle’s biweekly look at the bits of news that have happened both inside and outside the Circle. From the Best Multiplayer Nintendo Games to a Review of Reggie Fils-Aimé’s book, we’ve got plenty of news to sort through when it comes to gaming.
Starting off our stories, we have intern Makeda Byfield bringing a launch day review to the Critics Circle site. This, of course, is a review of Reggie Fils-Aimé’s book, entitled Disrupting the Game: From the Bronx to the Top of Nintendo. It’s an autobiography of his work life and life lessons while with Nintendo of America along with the businesses he worked with during his rise to the top. “The first time I ‘met’ Reggie was on a Google Meet,” Makeda recalls of her initial meetings with the legend himself. “I didn’t say much to Reggie … Instead, I observed. Reggie’s history with Nintendo makes his presence known before he has physically entered the room. And once he’s in the room, everything changes.” The impact that someone as renowned as Reggie Fils-Aimé has isn’t easily ignored, and as his book details it wasn’t something that came from nowhere. As Makeda writes, it required hard work and an open mind, “Reggie had to learn how to stand his ground while also accepting new perspectives from others. But readers will also appreciate Reggie’s willingness to share his failures in business.” This essential volume from Reggie about his life instilled an idea within Makeda. “Remembering all the advice from Reggie’s book soothes my nerves a little. If he can be confident and shake things up, so can I.” If you’d like to check out the book for yourself, it’s for sale on Amazon now!
Moss: Book II is a VR game that recently came out for the PSVR and one that Senior Intern Isaac Espinosa enjoyed yet also had minor gripes about. He writes, “One of Moss: Book II’s greatest strengths is the formula of its gameplay. The land of Moss holds many different puzzles that you and Quill must conquer together, which are not only unique, but also make optimum use of the VR aspect of the game.” He explains how Moss: Book II’s puzzle-oriented gameplay drew him in and kept him enthralled throughout his journey. The one gripe about Moss: Book II is its VR capabilities. “These weren’t game-breaking faults or unplayable glitch fests, but they did make the game a tad less immersive for me…Sure, I could view the area around me and admire the scenery, but I felt less like an engaged player and more like an onlooker, an audience member looking down on Quill and the events of the story rather than a participant in those events,” He is, of course, willing to put these small issues aside and appreciate the greater whole of the game, which is a lovely and colorful journey through a magical land.
Circle Member Jordan Minor reviewed a fun innovation in handheld gaming, Rokashi’s new crank operated handheld device. The small and easily accessible Playdate features everything you’d need in a new/retro handheld, including a small monochrome system with a small hand crank embedded on the side. “Announced three years ago, the Playdate’s crank garnered the most attention,” says Jordan in his article regarding the console. “After years of homogenous console controls, people were excited for a throwback to the days of big light guns and trackballs and other weird mechanical interfaces at home or in the arcade.” Playdate seems to bring with it a solution to fans’ long yearning for analog interaction with games. While the Playdate hasn’t launched yet, it will be available in only a couple months and with a great deal as well. “For $180 you don’t just get a Playdate, you get free access to seasons of new games, delivered over Wi-Fi, from acclaimed indie creators like Lucas Pope and Keita Takahashi.” It’s a deal definitely worth considering if you’re looking for a charming console to take up time with.
Once again from Axios Gaming, Circle Member Stephen Totilo brings to light a new development within the gaming community. Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision, is facing a lawsuit for misconduct from New York City officials. “The details: The lawsuit is an action in Delaware’s Court of Chancery (technically a “220 complaint”) that allows stockholders to press companies to open their books and potentially expose wrongdoing,” says Stephen. “As laid out in the complaint, New York sought access to Activision’s books as a basis to sue Kotick and board members for allegedly costing the company value. It expresses frustration that Kotick, already under fire, headed up rapid negotiations in late 2021 to sell the company to Microsoft.” Claims such as this relating to Activision are unfortunately common recently so things such as this turn of events don’t seem to be too surprising. We hope that all these issues will be resolved fairly and that Activision will be known for games only once again.
Circle Member and Writer for CNET Scott Stein published an article about the Best Nintendo Switch Multiplayer Family Games for 2022. The Nintendo Switch is first and foremost a Family console, featuring many games that can be played by a multitude of kin and friends alike. It’s no surprise that more and more Co-op, multiplayer, and party games are being released for the console, and Scott offers a helping hand by organizing the best newly released and upcoming titles for the Switch, “Assuming you only have one Switch, here are the best multiplayer games that are worth playing with your family, which we keep updated as new titles appear.” From simple team games like Mario Party Superstars and Overcooked 2, to competitive games like WarioWare: Get it Together and Clubhouse Games, Scott’s list is long and informative, a worthwhile read for those looking to bring joy to their home.
Sara Clemens, Editor for Videodame and Member of the Circle, recently republished a portion of the Unwinnable Monthly Magazine on the Unwinnable site. Unwinnable Monthly #149, features a well-drawn and colorized illustrated story called Extra Lives, where Sara details the days of an adolescent gamer girl and how she learned to idolize male characters in games. The art style is eye-catching and the story behind it is heartfelt; its the journey of a girl trying to be something she considers cool and interesting, following in the footsteps of Sheik from Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time with their fierce eyes and brave nature. The entire story is of course about a girl embracing her boyish nature, doing things such as “hunch over Electronic Gaming Monthly in the magazine aisle and pretend to be just another angst teenage videogame geek. Everyone knows those are boys,” A wonderful story for any young kid struggling with their identity in a world of gaming where such a thing is embraced.
Jonathan Lee exposes a sad truth about esports gaming in this Washington Post article he wrote. With esports expanding and becoming more renowned, it’s become easier to recognize patterns in the community, one of which being the focus of Jonathan’s article. “Though 26 is a remarkably young age at which to retire in traditional sports, in esports it’s the norm,” he writes as he explains why Esports is less physically taxing than most other sports. Jonathan writes, “in interviews with The Washington Post, four retired esports athletes said the primary motivation to step aside came from factors related to stress, overwork, job instability and exploring new ventures.” Most of the time the physical aspect of gaming isn’t the problem but the gradual decline of enjoyment and financial stability drives most competitors to hang up their controller. It’s a sad truth to comprehend, especially since esports is widely loved by much of the gaming community. But it goes to show that the competitors you see should be appreciated while they have the spotlight. It’s only so long before they’ll have to choose something different.
Beyond the Circle
In other news from Outside the Circle, famed Streamer Dr Disrespect lashes out at YouTube Gaming, during one of his many livestreams on the platform. Ever since his mysterious ban from Twitch in 2020, Dr Disrespect has been using YouTube Gaming to stream his content to the world. As Emma Hill from Dexerto mentions, he has more than a few bones to pick with the site itself. “for an alleged lack of support and recognition it showed towards his work. Even though, as he claimed, he put the platform “on the map.” She references how Dr Disrespect is upset at the lack of promotion and engagement he gets from the platform despite his renown as a Streamer with 3.9 million concurrent viewers, a feat not easily achieved in this day and age. Emma explains, “It’s not clear if anything, in particular, prompted Dr Disrespect’s tweet. Although, fans pointed out that his comment comes after streamer Sykkuno announced that he was leaving Twitch for YouTube,” which could show that Dr Disrespect may be trying to warn Twitch Streamers of the transition to YouTube since he himself had done the same and had not gotten much support from the platform.