The Roundup: Mentoring At Hudde, Spider-Man 2, FNAF Movie, Sea of Stars, Monster Hunter Now, Smash Bros Tournaments In Trouble, More!

By Ronald Gordon 

Hello and welcome once again to The Roundup! It’s where we gather up articles from members and interns alike to give them a blast. This particular column has been a long time coming and there’s been plenty of news of events while you’ve all been waiting. I got the chance to go out and interact with an event for Sony’s Spider-Man 2, go out to Brooklyn for another round of Journalism classes, and even interview George Fan from Plants vs. Zombies! But enough about me, this time around we’ve got news of our Playing With Purpose Journalism Course returning to Brooklyn, reviews for Monster Hunter Now, Sea of Stars, The Five Nights At Freddy’s Movie, and so much more! 

Before we begin, I’d like to give a shout out to the two winners of the Brooklyn Game Critics Circle – Gaming Journalism Course at Hudde. Yousef and Kelani did their best, showed up to every class willing and were ready to learn all that they could on how to write about games and game narrative. Their passion was thoroughly rewarded with prizes and opportunities galore. Hudde invited the Circle back for another round of classes, and the course itself has just begin. As someone who mentors Hudde students, I am hopeful to see more budding youths come in not only to play games but to learn of the deeper meaning behind why we want to play them. Congrats once again to Yousef and Kelani! 

Spider-Man 2 for the PS5 has plenty of press about it, including this enthralling story from intern Khloe, who called Spider-Man 2 “The highly anticipated Insomniac Games sequel that takes the superhero gaming experience to new heights!” Having done my own bit of press on the Spider-Man Great Hunt, which happened not long before the game’s release, I can very much agree that Spider-Man 2 deserves all the praise it’s been getting from fans old and new of the game. Sony seems to be doing a lot to make it their biggest and best game, not only for Spider-Man but for all Superhero games in general. Even founder Harold enjoyed it’s brilliance, with his review at Observer, which highlighted its “stories that are immersive for their breathless gameplay and their emotional content.” Needless to say, Spider-Man 2 for the PS5 is looking to be one of the best superhero games out there, possibly even game of the year material!

Karila Monique-Warner, occasional streamer now turned reviewer for the NYVGCC, wrote about their love of the Bayonetta prequel game, Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon. As a long time fan of the Bayonetta franchise, Karila had much to say about how Cereza and the Lost Demon handled its story. They write, “I really loved that CLD was not a full action game like its predecessors. The story of a young Cereza trying to become stronger so she could do great things had me cheering her on when she successfully did something in the cutscenes or when a new skill would be unlocked. The player is pulled into the inexperience and is fully whisked away into the story. I felt scared with Cereza; I felt a sense of accomplishment with Cereza; I felt disappointment with Cereza. Yes, the high action sequences of the first three games are nowhere to be found in CLD. But the moments where Cheshire is slashing through enemies or using combos that meld with thorn bind were exhilarating.” Bayonetta’s intense action and fighting scenes may come from age and experience, but even at 15, Cereza still had plenty of monsters to fight, and Karila was engaged in every encounter. I was tempted to start playing Cereza and the Lost Demon myself because of the way they described their enjoyment. Definitely give it a read! 

Five Nights at Freddy’s superfan Isaac Espinosa dips into the world of movie critics and brings us a stellar review of the recent FNAF movie, which has already grossed a mammoth $157 million. Having been a fan of the indie franchise as long as I’ve known him, Isaac was awestruck by the care and love that the movie showed for its creepy source material. He writes, “Every element used from the game translates perfectly into the movie. The ominous vibe of the pizzeria lit by video games and pinball machines, the menacing and claustrophobic aura of its halls and corridors, and the looming dread of how the mystery will unfold: all these create the right amount of tension and terror-filled atmosphere. This is all emphasized even further with the animatronics of the eerie, funny-animal band, who aside from looking incredibly scary, really express their unique behaviors well with their movements.” Video Game movies seem to be changing for the better, thanks to movies like Sonic the Hedgehog 1 & 2, the Mario Bros Movie and now the massive success of the FNAF movie, there’s no telling how far video games can fly into the world of film.  

Kimari Rennis brings a lovely game to light, gushing over one of the many potential Games Of The Year: Sea of Stars. In the opening paragraph she writes, “Leave it to indie developers when you’re in dire need of a retro gaming experience with a fresh coat of paint. I wasn’t even aware just how badly I needed to sit down and indulge myself in a warm story with pixelated characters until I stumbled upon the hot bowl of homemade soup that is Sea of Stars.” Sea of Stars is like a bowl of homemade soup, says Kimari, who was enthralled by the story, its characters, but more importantly its versatility. Sea of Stars has mechanics for every type of gamer. So even if you think you won’t be fully into it there’s something that’ll definitely draw you in. I for one am tempted to buy it myself, all things considered. I don’t want to miss out on Game of the Year material! 

Newest Intern Theresa Afful became completely engaged with Monster Hunter Now, which she says is just as addicting as Pokemon Go! The formula of playing a game that encourages you to get outside may have seemed to be a flash in the pan when it first emerged. But Monster Hunter fans will find that Now is so much more than that. Writes Theresa, “I spent the last two weeks playing the game. At first, I thought it would be some boring game where I would walk around yelling, ‘GOTTA CATCH ‘EM ALL!’ After a few days, I got invested; I not only wanted to get all the 14 creatures in the game. I wanted to unlock every monster so severely that I would play while going to school, hoping to run into some new monster around the area or even have enough to help complete the quest and move on in the story. To make the game even more interesting for me, I would challenge my brother to try to hunt down more monsters than me. In the end, I won. Since my school was a decent walk, I got to hunt many monsters on my way there.” Playing Monster Hunter Now gave Theresa all the entertainment she could ask for, something to do on the way to school, a friendly competition with her brother, and great monsters to hunt.  

Big Congrats! Circle Member Scott Stein from CNET actually won an award for one of his well-written, informative articles, which was centered around visiting the Meta Labs during October 2022. The article not only showed the public just what Meta had planned for the upcoming seasons, but also got the attention of the Eddie & Ozzie Awards, a prestigious recognition program for articles from magazines and online blogs all over the world. The article won an Eddie for Best Single Article Consumer News & Information, so definitely check it out. Congrats once again to Scott

Destiny 2 expert Whitney Meers brings another insightful article detailing a part of the game’s current event called the Lost Sector. With a constantly updating schedule like Destiny 2, it’s no wonder that Whitney always has some news to bring to the table. She writes, “While many Destiny 2 exotics can be bought from Xûr or even in the world loot pool, the Destiny 2 Exotics in these special Lost Sector instances cannot, forcing players to explore these dangerous areas if they want the best equipment available. It’s important to remember that exotic drops are not guaranteed after completing these quests, so you may have to run through the same Lost Sector multiple times. You can go through the quests in the free PC game with a fireteam, but your rewards will be reduced to Enhancement Cores only.” For those who are eager to get their hands on some exotics, Lost Sectors offer plenty of opportunities to grind with fellow players.

Beyond The Circle

Those who are avid fans of tournaments featuring Nintendo’s family fighting game Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be unhappy to hear about the recent changes made to Nintendo’s official tournament guidelines. Game Rant’s John Paul Joaquin points out that “The company’s new Community Tournament Guidelines states that organizers of small-scale community tournaments can host such events without an official license from Nintendo. However, small-scale community tournaments are limited to 200 participants when done in person or 300 when it’s online, while their organizers can’t charge spectators a fee when such an event is done online. Small-scale community events can’t ;generate commercial revenue except as permitted by these guidelines,’ nor can they have a prize exceeding a market value of $5,000.” While smaller communities might not struggle, bigger venues hosting Smash tournaments will likely have a harder time than before. Here’s hoping there will be some leeway in the future, otherwise popular events such as Super Smash Con or Tera will be in a harsh spot. 

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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