By Ronald Gordon
Hello and welcome once again to the Roundup, an article made to gather stories from Members and Interns alike to give them a blast! This column was in the works for quite some time, and plenty of new things have happened while I was writing it. Not only have there been new stories on what’s happening in the gaming industry, but many changes have come to the NY Game Critics site itself! Alongside a shiny new coat of paint, there’s a lot more to see on the site, such as links to donate to our nonprofit’s cause and important events to look out for.
One of our most important events is the 13th Annual New York Video Game Awards ceremony, which is always a great showcase of the various games that came out – and the year’s work in education with underserved students. Tickets are on sale now. Get them before they’re gone, and we hope to see you next year at SVA Theatre!
You can find more news on that and plenty more on the site, and compelling stories like my recent review of Armored Core VI (I’ve now finished all of the endings, which are surprisingly moving). Here’s some on Green with Energy, Resident Evil Village on iPad, Failed Google products throughout the years, and so much more!
To start us off, Khloe Wilkerson got to review FISHGUN, made by NYU Game design team FISHGUNNERS which our Kimari Rennis is a part of. When it came to the enjoyment of a whacky game of shooting fruits and using fish as weapons brought her, Khloe had this to say, “FishGun offers intriguing fast-paced gameplay with stunning graphics that allow you to grasp and get the feeling of true battle when taking back lands that belong to you. The walkthrough tutorial, guided explanations, and dialogue make it easy to move through these sub-aquatic lands for beginner to intermediate gamers like me. You’ll be able to become a skilled fish hunter armed with various powerful guns. It’s perfect for anyone who enjoys action-packed shooting games and wants to explore the depths of the ocean.” FISHGUN is currently free on Steam, yet somehow, it’s got enough spirit and loveable weirdness to compete with games that have much higher price tags. I’m tempted to download it myself!
Climate Week included the perfect game review from Mario Brito Collado, who learned a lot about energy consumption in Green with Energy. Mario writes, “It’s Climate Week, and the streets of Manhattan have seen tens of thousands of protesters. I thought of all this as I pondered a question: how can a videogame transmit the main idea of being an ecology-minded engineer, without enduring all the stressful parts of actually being one in real life? Green With Energy is a strategy offering that made this idea come to life.” The importance of energy conservation is something that isn’t handled often in games nowadays. But it’s great to see more efforts being made. With enough time and effort, offerings like Green with Energy will get everyone aware of the fact that energy is a precious, limited resource, and that sometimes the better solution to the energy question is the easier one. In his closing statement, Mario relates, “Having to think as a real engineer was never this fun, and having ideas of how to make a sustainable energy system for a town or a couple houses is really satisfying. For all the reasons above, Green With Energy is a highly recommended game, especially if you like strategy games.”
What’s better than just one Roundup? Two of course! William Baker III brings a Mini-Roundup of Puzzle games for anyone looking for a good brain teaser in this day and age. From Viewfinder, which is a game all about finding the right way to view an image, to the fantastical spin on Chess that is Ouroboros King, William compiles his picks for the best puzzle games to try out. In his article he happily states, “It wasn’t easy. But I took the editorial challenge of coming up with some excellent and unique puzzle games for your purview. Here’s my list!” And I can tell you that it’s an insightful to peruse.
Moving onto Member articles, Michelle Ehrhardt helps Google celebrate its 25th birthday with a reminder of all the failed Google products. From infamous dead products like Google Glass to more obscure items such as Google Domains or Google Labs, Michelle digs up all the history that Google would rather keep hidden. In the opening paragraph she writes, “That’s right: despite its ubiquity, Google is technically still Gen Z. Like many young’uns, the company’s spent much of its 25 years finding itself. While we might now know the formerly “don’t be evil” company for its workspace apps and AI, it has not been afraid to continually pitch new products and kill them just the same —Google Podcasts’ demise was announced just this week.” Michelle’s words show that even to this day, Google is at least aware that not every idea is going to stick around.
Avid explorer of VR/AR headsets and editor at large for CNET Scott Stein brings news of yet another update to the Meta Quest series: The Meta Quest 3, smaller, cheaper, and it does Mixed Reality. Boasting a much lower price tag then that of the Apple Vision Pro, the $500 Quest 3 seeks to not only improve what the Quest 2 did, but also appeal to those wanting VR and Mixed Reality on a budget. Scott writes, “As a game console, however, the Quest 3’s advantages over the Quest 2 are clearer. There are better graphics, a higher-resolution display, improved controllers and the added mixed-reality function. Will it be good enough to merit an upgrade, though? If you’re a die-hard Quest gamer, yes. For casual VR users, maybe not, considering it’s also $200 more expensive than the Quest 2.” While it may be a step in the right direction, Scott relates further how the Quest 3 is running a tight race compared to other consoles. His words read, “The Quest 3’s potential as a next-gen VR gaming platform is big, but the proposition of VR gaming is still largely the same. Meanwhile, the eye-tracking-equipped PlayStation VR 2 can still produce more PC-level VR game experiences, although the gap between it and the Quest 3 is narrow.”
Giovanni Colantonio had the opportunity to test something unexpected recently, an entirely playable Mobile version of Resident Evil Village. Resident Evil Village is the last game I would’ve expected to be a great fit for Mobile devices, yet Giovanni’s article shows otherwise as he says, “As was the case with the Steam Deck, I had a touch of healthy skepticism in the back of my head when I sat down to demo Resident Evil Village on an iPad Pro. Sure, it could run it, but how well? After 30 minutes of fiddling with settings, I was stunned by the answer. It’s nothing short of a miracle.” Alongside the improvements Apple is adding to the gaming capabilities of Mac systems with MetalFX, it seems that iPads and the recent iPhone 15 Pro received some of the same treatment. Mobile gaming is taking off as the industry develops, and seeing Resident Evil games be played on mobile is a worthy effort. I hope that more console games can be reliably ported to phones.
Beyond The Circle
Interface dramas are an underappreciated niche of games that I personally want to explore more of. These games are focused mainly on the idea of playing the game through another screen, like a simulated desktop computer or fake phone home screen. In an effort to inform more people about this beautifully underrated genre of games, folks over at the Illuminesce site have put together a master list of all the Interface Drama games to date. Featuring highly rated titles such as Kyle Seeley’s Emily is Away and WSS Playground’s recent Needy Streamer Overload, the master list has every current title of interest to those who want to explore the genre of simulated interfaces and what sort of stories can be told through exploring them.
Sony announced that March of next year will be time to say ‘goodbye’ to PlayStation head Jim Ryan after 4 years at the helm. The PS5 was launched under Ryan’s tenure and that’s a big deal. However, Ryan’s personality rubbed some gamers the wrong way. Former Circle member Jason Schreier broke the story on Twitter and then, with a newsletter feature. Executives at the top come and go, of course. But great games, like The Last of Us Part II, are forever.
Finally, Epic Games will be cutting 870 jobs. We wish all those affected new jobs, good jobs and a job search that goes quickly and easily.
Ronald Gordon is a New York Videogame Critics Circle Member & Mentor. He was the first of our writers – or any intern anywhere – to complete an internship at Rockstar Games.
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