By Ronald Gordon
Hello and Welcome back to the Roundup! It’s the Critics Circle’s way of looking back on the news that’s been happening within the Gaming Community in these past weeks. This time around we’ve got news revolving around a live Pokemon Tournament that happened, a dangerous exploit showing itself in Roblox, the New York Comic Con coming back for 2022, and much more!
In a quick note, I’d like to announce that our Founder Harold Goldberg recently was helicoptered to an Albany hospital visit to an inconvenient fall in the mountains. While this news is unfortunate, it’s great to note that while he is still in recovery, Harold is doing great and getting better each day. We wish him all the good luck he can get during his recovery period.
I would also like to bring attention to my recent Essay on a loveable series called Gravity Rush. It may not be well known in the gaming community, but Gravity Rush is in my opinion one of the best series out there. With only two games and DLC side content for the second game, Gravity Rush gives you an impactful story, an adorable main heroine supported by characters that shine, and hours of fun content to explore. Check it out if you’re interested or read the Essay if you need a bit more persuasion.
Moving onto articles, we have Isaac’s retelling of a live Pokémon Tournament to start us off. Weeks ago, at BX Start, there was an event where people could bring their Nintendo Switch consoles and have a tough but fair battle against the members of BX Start’s new Pokémon Gym. Isaac had nothing but praises to sing about the dedication the BX Start team put towards the event, “As a trainer who participated in the event, I can report that all of it felt extremely cohesive and realistic – as if I was truly immersed within a Pokémon Gym,” It’s refreshing to hear about such an event, Pokémon should be treated as a game that can bring anyone, young or old together to play against one another. Even still, there were activities prepared for those who weren’t fully engaged with battling the Gym. “There were raffles, where the winners could claim a shiny Pokémon or Legendary of their choice. There were set-ups where people could play other Pokémon related games, like Pokkén Tournament and Pokémon Stadium, the latter of which had some really fun and hilarious minigames.”
With the passing of the 4th of July comes games made to represent the impact of what the 4th should mean in this day and age. In this article, written by Harold himself, Independence Day is turned from a one-day holiday to month long event featuring various games about the different amendments in the Constitution and what they’re supposed to represent. “The work just debuted at the lauded, historic memorial and is part of the artful, 10-game Shall Make, Shall Be exhibition commemorating the 230th anniversary of the Bill of Rights, “each treating one of the first ten amendments to the US Constitution. Ten artists, game designers, and collectives were selected through an open call to produce games about individual amendments to the Constitution.” With a game from Japanese Breakfast’s keyboard player Peter Bradley, the smart show runs through August 21 and definitely sounds interesting, and Harold provides a description of each game, so feel free to check it out if you want to know more on what American Independence is supposed to mean.
We’d like to introduce our newest writer for the Critics Circle, Sarah Granoff, who writes an Essay on how she relates to Control’s protagonist Jesse Faden. While she may have known many things about Remedy Entertainment’s 2019 game Control, Sarah soon found things she didn’t expect. “What I didn’t know was that Jesse Faden would end up becoming one of my favorite video game protagonists of all time. I didn’t know that she would be unlike any other video game protagonist who I had ever embodied in a game before. And I didn’t know that much of the reason for my love and affection for this game would arise from how much of myself I could see in her,” Her essay further explains how much she appreciated the uniqueness of Jesse Faden’s character and how Jesse’s idiosyncrasies made her feel more alive to someone like Sarah, who is autistic herself. It’s a very touching and impactful Essay with plenty of moments of Sarah celebrating the feeling of relation she has to Jesse Faden; it’s definitely worth the read.
Moving onto Circle Members, we have Whitney Meers’ who talks about a dangerous Roblox exploit. While the online multiplayer game Roblox may be fun and free for everyone, that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone will be courteous within the game. As seen in Whitney’s article, “A chat-based Roblox exploit appears to be causing players to lose account access after joining specific games. Multiple members of the Roblox community report falling victim to the exploits, with punishments that range from a few days to permanent bans,” Exploits of any kind, especially ones that can leave Players perma-banned, often appear to affect any game with a massive player base. With over 50 million players jumping into the game, Roblox seems to be no exception to hackers and exploiters taking advantage of the lack of moderation that comes with a large number of players. “Roblox has yet to make a public statement about the issues,” writes Whitney. While there have been no announcements as of yet from Roblox, there’s always hope that something behind the scenes is being made to help prevent such exploits from taking too much of a toll on the Players.
Next up is Jordan Minor’s summary on if your computer can handle Stray. Annapurna Interactive’s new adventure game Stray, where you play as a cat in a Cyberpunk dystopia, may be a bit much for most PC’s or gaming laptops to handle. In his article, Jordan explains the fresh feeling that Stray brings to the gaming scene, “In an industry full of generic, violent, and ugly shooters, Stray’s offbeat premise is enough to garner attention. Unusual simulations inspire creative gameplay mechanics, and playing as an animal is an especially clever way to mix up how players interact with the world,” While it may seem like a fairly simple game, there are plenty of graphical choice taken to really drive home the melancholic beauty of a stray’s life in a dystopian world. There’s still hope that you can play it yourself, thanks to Jordan’s explanation on the game’s price and required specs, “Stray is a $29.99 PC game that you can buy via Steam(Opens in a new window) starting on July 19. The game also launches on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 that same day,”
Lastly, Member Jorge Jimenez talks about the Best Wireless Gaming Headphones to buy this Summer. Wireless gaming headphones are a worthy investment if you’re in the market for good quality sound without the hassle of a wire getting caught on anything. While some may be priced higher than you’d expect, it doesn’t mean that there are no good deals available for those who crave freedom from the dreaded pull of a headphone wire. “Basically, I know audio and what makes for the best wireless headphones. I’ve thrown high-res audio, outstanding gaming soundscapes, and hours of playtime at these headsets. That way, I get to intimately know their joys and failings,” says the core Circle member. You can trust that Jorge knows what’s good in the audio neighborhood, so check out the list if you’re in the market for headphones.
Beyond the Circle
Times Square is the bustling powder keg at the center of all New York, home to many things that can catch one’s eye at any given moment. If you’re looking into taking a trip downtown, you might want to be on the lookout for anything breaking loose. The thing in question comes from this new Resident Evil themed 3D Billboard, which Paul Lily, a writer for HotHardware, says is “The Scariest, Coolest Thing You’ll See Today.” The 3D billboard depicts a Licker, a well known and notoriously dangerous mutant monster from the Resident Evil franchise, breaking out of its containment and climbing up on the walls of the city. It was made to advertise Netflix’s Resident Evil series becoming available to the public. Writes Lily, “Ahead of Netflix’s release of the latest TV series on its streaming platform, the company commissioned a billboard in Times Square that, when viewed from the right angle, looks absolutely terrifying,” Terrifying indeed, if you’d like to know more, check out Paul’s article where he links the original Tweet showing off the Billboard itself.
On another note, the New York Comic Con is coming back for 2022! Set for the dates of October 6th – 9th, the NYCC is bringing back a lot of its initial charm with all of the safety precautions. Big names in Pop Culture such as Ian Sinclair, R.L. Stine, and many more are set to be at the convention, alongside plenty of entertaining events. Tickets are on sale now, and all you need to purchase is a Fan Verification account, which can be granted for free by following the instructions on their site. Here’s to hoping that Comic Con stays strong as the East Coast’s largest pop culture convention!