By Ronald Gordon
Greetings and welcome again to the Roundup! It’s where I write up all the experiences that have happened in the past week in a concise blast for everyone to enjoy! This week we’ve got news from our booth at Play NYC, a mini roundup of Roguelike games, a High on Life review, Apple’s Next Gen computer chip, notes the increasing length between games and their sequels, and more! How can I fit it all in!
To start off, I’d like to talk about my experiences at Play NYC last week. Having met so many at our both days, I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed meeting fans and seeing the games devs have made. From enthralling entries like Steel Assault from Zenovia to simple board games ideas like Insider Fruit Trading, there were tons of fun to be shared. Even some of our own members got to show off their art! Kimari Rennis got to showcased Fishgun, which currently free on Steam. And our Sarah Doherty Granoff, who helped with our Twine Stories: the Bronx project, was a part of The Local Rag, the team behind Report On the Death of Robert Evergreen. It’s an intriguing mystery puzzle game available on Itch.io. On day one, with the combined efforts of myself, Ryan O’ Callaghan, and Harold Goldberg, we managed to get lots of signatures for the ticket lottery for the 13th Annual New York Game Awards, and sold a signed copy of Harold’s bestselling book, “All Your Base Are Belong to Us.”
On the second day, Jade Entien and I did lots of networking with developers. Jade’s fantastic energy got them shaking lots of hands and taking lots of business cards by the end of the day. In the end, I felt like Play NYC left me with a whole lot of hope for the Indie game spectrum, as well as plenty of signatures for our New York Game Awards contest.
Regarding Circle writing work, I’d like to congratulate yet another new intern for being accepted into the fold, please welcome Theresa Afful, our third superstar from Mott Hall III. Theresa is talented and headstrong, ready to take on the world of gaming and critiques to the best of her ability alongside her peers and new friends, who motivated her to go the extra mile when competing for the program. Writes Theresa, “Being a part of The Critics Circle has been a transformative experience for me. It has allowed me to combine my passion for gaming with my love for writing and critical analysis, providing me with a platform to express my thoughts and insights about this captivating form of entertainment. Through my journey as an intern with the Critics Circle, I hope to continue expanding my knowledge and understanding of this important art form, while also contributing to the vibrant community of gamers and critics. I am thrilled to be a part of this community and look forward to sharing my perspectives with all of you. Thank you for allowing me to introduce myself, and I am excited to embark on this journey together.”
West Coast intern Jatin Gundara reviewed the voraciously vulgar High on Life, and enjoyed it despite having to shield his younger sibling from the game’s language. Having never been a real fan of FPS games, Jatin was hesitant to try High on Life. But after a while he couldn’t stop himself from shooting enemies and exploring the game’s worlds – all thanks to the hilarious guns: “The plot sees the player cast on an outrageous space odyssey to liberate Earth from a cartel of aliens using humans as living drugs (very unimaginative, I know). What immediately caught me off guard was the prevalence of the guns the player uses not only as weapons but as characters. From the very start, High On Life provides the player with the companionship of a talking gun named Kenny, who will come to be joined by five other talking weapons (called Gatlians), each equipped with unique abilities and personalities.” High on Life is definitely a hilarious experience. Once you become acquainted with the rest of the Gatlians, every new gun feels like an entirely fleshed out character. “It may take some time to get acclimated to the distinct, (yet universally bold) personalities of each weapon–which will certainly persist, clash, and make their mark on the player by the end of the journey.”
William Baker III, our intern from Hunter College, brings you his very own Mini-Roundup of Roguelikes of all kinds. From the pixelated Souls-like Dead Cells, which has changed drastically since I first reviewed it back in 2018, to Risk of Rain 2 and its outrageous powerups and enemy types, William gives an insightful look at roguelikes all can enjoy. As he puts it, “Why roguelikes? They’re still misunderstood.” Which couldn’t be truer as more and more games in the genre bring you different feels. Comparing Caves of Qud to Slay the Spire may feel like comparing apples and oranges, but they’re both roguelikes through and through and both belong on William’s list. Check it out for a deeper understanding of some of the best you can find and play out there.
Michelle Ehrhardt distills Apple and the tests of its Next Gen Laptop Chip, which could bring not only productivity but gaming on a Macbook to new heights. With the recent usage of Apple’s Metal framework to make games playable on Mac systems, Apple seems to be honing in on the capabilities of their systems by ardently testing and creating their new age chip. “’The M3 Max would have 16 main processing cores and at least 40 graphics cores,” says Bloomberg, citing third party Mac developer test logs provided to them. For context, the M2 Max has a 12-core CPU and up to 38 GPU cores depending on user configuration. The new power could provide up to 20% faster computing and 30% faster graphics, assuming the M3 Max is as much of a leap over the M2 Max as that chip was over its predecessor. While the core count gain itself is small, all four additional cores would be designated for heavy duty tasks, giving the M3 Max a greater proportion of high-performance cores to lower-power efficiency cores than its predecessor.”
“The wait between major video game sequels is getting longer,” says Stephen Totilo in the title of his article, a statement I can’t help but agree with in this period of gaming. Nowadays, it feels as though you have to wait ages for a sequel to any game to be announced, let alone be released. As a long time Hollow Knight fan, Silksong news has come and gone so often I can’t even tell if the superfan YouTubers are going stir crazy with some of their theories relating to release dates and leaked content. Yet Stephen brings you hard-hitting facts regarding this time crunching crisis: “Whether it’s Zelda or God of War or Assassin’s Creed or Forza, new installments take more time to develop than they did a decade ago, as annual releases or two-year gaps give way to dev cycles lasting five years or more. There are exceptions: the still-annualized Call of Duty, made by rotating development studios, and the clockwork-like, iterative yearly sports games from EA and Take Two.” Three years seems to be the minimum time it takes to make a game.
Speaking of YouTubers, Whitney Meers has a story about a Destiny 2 creator’s thoughts on the Lightfall story and its errors. Seeing as how Destiny 2 is a constantly evolving online multiplayer experience, it’s understandable that some of the stories surrounding this enigma of a game can fall a bit flat. “YouTuber and lore enthusiast James ‘Byf’ Byford now sees the Destiny 2 Lightfall story and campaign content as a ‘formatting error,’ providing a thoughtful reflection on a highly-circulated video he released soon after the DLC’s launch in which he heavily criticized its narrative.” Whitney also offers a brief background on Byf and his long-standing place within the community, Check it out for compelling context of an ongoing game that’s had its ups and downs.
Beyond The Circle
Gaming Pathways is holding an Esports event as part of Harlem Week, presented by four NYC colleges. It’s an attempt to get the community more engaged in gaming. So tomorrow, the teams will be ready and competition is set to be held and live-streamed on Twitch, showcasing what it means to be a part of Esports and how you can get involved. In addition to gaming, it will wonderful to hear of new opportunities that allow someone to bridge the gap between gaming and a career, and Esports is just one of those many opportunities. Definitely check it out if you’re interested in the genre!
The Circle wants to give a shout out to the power that is HipHop Gamer, who recently held a charity event for eager middle school students in a swanky suite at Barclays Center. Supported by Chase, students competed against each other for cash prizes during a heated but friendly Street Fighter competition, narrating by HHG. Present were The Circle’s senior editor Helen Pfeffer, Board member Sherri L. Smith, and Circle founder/president Harold Goldberg. The kids had a fantastic time playing, winning cash, and then learning about budgeting their newfound gains from Chase Executive Market Director Sherkera Green – as the Liberty completely blew out the Aces, the West Coast’s number one team.