NYVGCC Deep Dive

The New York Videogame Critic Circle is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that sees great benefit in advocating for those less fortunate in our community, everyone from students in the Bronx and Lower East Side to older adults who want to learn about and benefit from games and technology.

And with our New York Game Awards we have each January, we show exactly how we give back. It’s there that we talk about our essential work in the community. We had nearly 400,000 viewers for the show recently on Twitch and YouTube, and additional viewers on other streaming sites.

We are looking at various ways to do some very creative things as writers and as community advocates:

  • Workshops and semester-long games writing and journalism classes with Bronx and Brooklyn students resulting in scholarships.
  • Hiring paid student interns to help them learn about journalism and game development.
  • Working with unhoused middle school and high students in shelters.
  • Working with older adults with VR to take them on trips they can no longer take.
  • Working with the New York Public Library system to hold panels and discussions about jobs in games and how games bring people together.
  • We want to help, we need to give back, and we’re very serious about that mission. Here below, find much more information about what we do.

-Harold Goldberg, President, New York Videogame Critics Circle, New York Game Awards

The Circle gathers at CNET to shoot its yearly Legend Documentary which debuts at the NY Game Awards.

The Full Scoop

Here’s Some Important Writing And Journalism From Our Paid Interns.

I Played A Game On The Night My Father Left Us

We Mentor Older Adults with Games & VR

Rockstar Games Mentors Our Bronx Students

A Brave Writer Reflects Upon The Dominican Republic, Family Violence And Loneliness

Here Are Stories By Kimari Rennis, One Of Our Senior Interns, Now Studying At NYU’s Game Center:

New York Videogame Critics Circle – Overview

The New York Videogame Critics Circle is an arts-oriented multicultural organization of 30 journalists and 20 paid interns and mentors. Throughout the year, we are dedicated to mentoring students between the ages of 13 and 21, offering college scholarships and paid internships, and doing community outreach, especially in communities in underserved areas like the Bronx and Lower East Side.

For the last eight years, we’ve mentored, offered scholarships and overseen interns from the DreamYard Prep School, an Obama White-House lauded arts-oriented school in the Bronx, and its adjunct, Bx Start/Bx Gaming Network.

DreamYard Co-founder Tim Lord said, “We believe that the arts and social justice education can help young people build pathways to opportunity. But it is only through partnerships like this, with a respected tech and business partner organization who believe our Bronx youth can be the next leaders in gaming and coding and design, that we can actually connect that pathway to lasting opportunity.” Here’s a New Yorker magazine story about the DreamYard.

As one example of our success, we had a DreamYard student who was on the spectrum and didn’t speak at school. Once he became involved in the game room we sponsored and set up, he began to communicate. Now, he even speaks and participates in classroom discussions.

Our mentors took our classes when they were teens. Here, Ronald Gordon mentors at Hudde School.

What We Have Done:

          A) DreamYard Preparatory School/Bx Gaming Network

     1) Twice monthly in-school mentoring

     2) Yearly scholarships for freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors.

     3) Paid internship program where we teach writing and journalism and provide half-day access to, for example, CNET for journalism. We do this so interns can see how journalism and games are made.

    4) Provide gaming technology and games to schools, including a high tech computer, an HDTV and game consoles.

    5) In-class guests have included the president of Nintendo America, the president of Sony Interactive Entertainment, the president of Microsoft Xbox, the Senior Vice President of Rockstar games and many more.

          B) Henry Street Settlement

     1) We have taught courses for high schools teens in partnership with the Manhattan Attorney General’s Youth Opportunity Hub program.

     2) Teaching courses for the community at large about how to get work in videogames and teaching videogame history.

     3) We also have helped with the Henry Street community events. We set up a table, monitors and game consoles so kids and their parents can play with us journalists. We did this three times this summer.

          C) The New York Game Awards 

      1) This very popular yearly event has showcased our mentoring efforts and helps to raise a small amount of money for our outreach efforts. Over the past 13 years, we’ve grown from 300 viewers to 400,000 viewers. The Daily Show does the comedy for us. Developers from around the world join us. Saturday Night Live helps with the music. We always sell out the show.

          D) NYGameCritics.com

With the help of award-winning journalists who are our editors, we do great editorial work at NYGameCritics.com. Our teen interns, who write 95 percent of the site, are from various New York City schools work with us. Ronald Gordon, Kimari Rennis, Isaac Espinosa, Jade Etienne, Valeisha Jackson and Makeda Byfield are some of paid senior interns. They write reviews, personal essays, and interview game developers.

           E) AARP/OATS, Older Adults Technology Services

 We have worked at their Senior Planet tech center in Manhattan in Chelsea. There isn’t a lot of research on how to mentor seniors with games. We’ve done well so far, and we’ve worked with Walden, the game about the life of Henry David Thoreau, for a deep dive with seniors. It’s a quiet adventure, not a shooter game. We want to teach seniors not only about games, but how to play them and what to make of them. We hope that they’ll stir thought like the stir thought in us. We’ve done two three-week workshops on VR with seniors as well.

          F) New York Public Library 

Our partnership has had groups of critics going to school libraries and to the main branch on 42nd Street to offer workshops, readings, outreach about jobs and a panel discussion of the year’s best games.

           G) Bronxworks Shelters

 The New York City Mayor’s Office creating a triple-Emmy-nominated documentary about our Bronxworks mentoring. We work with the Bronxworks network of shelters in a partnership with Gateway Housing to mentor underserved youth. We began in mid-2020 during the pandemic and will teach our third journalism and games course in late Spring 2021. Listen to our Talking Games With Reggie And Harold Podcast for more info.

           H) Mott Hall III And TapCo School

We expanded to the Bronx’s Mott Hall III and TAPCo School in 2022. We teach 10-week, after school classes at each school, the former being a middle school and the latter, a high school. At TAPCo, students write a social justice-oriented, one-act play with video games as the theme. At Mott Hall III, we have founder Harold Goldberg, and assistant mentors Isaac Espinosa and Ronald Gordon teach the classes.

Current And Future Work

When Covid-19 shuttered community centers, we brought a dozen of our best high school writers into Zoom meetings about games. With the help of Cornell University, we are looking into an Ithaca location. And we have just begun mentoring at shelters and schools in Brooklyn.

We feel our model to help underserved communities can be extended to other areas as well. We want to go beyond New York City to other areas of New York State and beyond with our model of mentoring, scholarships, internships and videogames. We want to engage more educators to create an education model that would work beyond New York.

To that end, we are working with Professor Helen Pfeffer, a journalist, writer and lauded communications educator who lectures at Marymount Manhattan College and Brooklyn College.

Board of Directors and Officers

Ted Houghton is the Chair of the Board of Directors of NYVGCC.  Mr. Houghton is the CEO of Gateway Housing.  Previously he worked for New York State Homes and Community Renewal as the Executive Deputy Commissioner and at the Supportive Housing Network of New York as the Executive Director.  During his tenure at the Supportive Housing Network of New York, Mr. Houghton substantially increased production of supportive housing in New York and helped make supportive housing a pillar of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Medicaid Redesign Team initiative.

Harold Goldberg is the Founder and President of NYVGCC and a member of its Board of Directors.  Mr. Goldberg is an award-winning journalist and bestselling author who writes for The New York Times and The Washington Post, among others. He has been featured in various documentaries about videogames, including one on National Geographic and was one of IGN’s Game People of the Year.

Catharine Soros is the Secretary of NYVGCC and a member of its Board of Directors.  Ms. Soros serves as the board president of the Center for Dance Arts in Los Angeles, which has raised $6 million to support The Music Center’s dance programming and educational initiatives under Ms. Soros’ leadership, and remains one of the leading and dedicated advocates of dance in Los Angeles.

Marc Mayer is the Treasurer of NYVGCC and a member of its Board of Directors. Mr. Mayer is a partner at Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP in Los Angeles.   His specialty is civil litigation with a focus on intellectual property disputes in the entertainment and technology industries, including copyright, trademark, trade secret, and right of publicity disputes.  Mr. Mayer also serves on the Executive Committee for Los Angeles County Bar Association, Intellectual Property and Entertainment Section. 

Reggie Fils-Aimé is currently Managing Partner at Brentwood Growth Partners and a Leader-in-Residence at Cornell University.  He recently retired from Nintendo of America, was named President and COO in 2006 after leading the marketing organization as Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing from 2003. Prior to Nintendo, he worked in marketing for successful brands like Guinness and Pizza Hut. Fils-Aimé gained internet fame for his theatrical Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) introduction in 2004; from that point on, he was known throughout the gaming industry for being a passionate and visionary leader. His book, “Disrupting The Game,” became a bestseller in 2022.


The New York Videogame Critics Circle is comprised of 30 multicultural journalists who are members, including those from Pulitzer Prize-winning print outlets like The Washington Post and The New York Times, popular online sites like Polygon and smaller, ardently written blogs like Videodame. Lev Grossman, the author of The Magicians, is an honorary member. All of us help mentor students in some way.

We would love to talk with you more about our nonprofit work in the community.


Harold Goldberg, Founder

New York Videogame Critics Circle


 Public Relations:

Kaitlin Stringer, Zebra Partners



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