Gaming in the Big Apple!
This weekend, I had the privilege of attending Play NYC, a convention in New York City dedicated to video games. The event was held at Terminal 5 and this video game party was thrown by Playcrafting and company. For those who don’t know, Playcrafting helps developers get their projects started and thus why Play NYC was all about the indie developers!
Let me start out by saying that the event was a rousing success. There was a wide range of games at Play NYC, some of which I might not think of playing but I’m glad they’re giving the chance to succeed. It’s also the place where “out of the box” thinking gets rewarded and that’s where the “Play NYC hands-On” tour begins, with Fidgetly. I was able to get hands on time with the Fidgetly CTRL as well as speak with Justin Kifer, CEO of the company. Products like this are the lifeblood of small/up-and-coming conventions like Play NYC because you never know what you’re going to come across.
The Fidgetly CTRL is a Spinner that doubles as your game controller. This was the first time I had held a Spinner in my hands and it’s interesting to think of the possibilities of how video games could benefit from the Spinner. The hands on demo allowed you to play a “Flappy Bird” clone where you spun the Spinner to control a helicopter to move up and down. This game was created in a few days and showed a few kinks but it was only there to show what the CTRL was capable of and it accomplished that. It was also mentioned that the CTRL could, in the future, be used as a motion controller as well. You could track spins as well as move the Spinner to say, attack something. It will pair via Blu-Tooth to your mobile device and has a Gyroscope inside to track movement. Everyone has a Spinner so it feels like the next logical step is to incorporate gaming somehow.
Next up was one of my favorite games of the show, Mama Hawk. This is a simple mobile game that will be available for PC as well. You play the roll of the Mama Hawk, trying to feed your babies. Before each level starts, you’ll find out how many animals you’ll need to catch/feed to your young bird babies. You’ll progress through the game and unlock different animals to hunt, such as rats, deer, and skunk. You can’t catch skunk because they stink, thus hurting you in the process. Play each level and try to collect the floating coins because you’ll be able to upgrade attributes with those. You might need strength to pick up deer and the only way to do that is to upgrade your Mama Hawk. Controls are simple as you swipe left and right to control your Mama Hawk and down/up to fly upward. Tap the screen to drop your catch for your babies and to feed them, all you need to do is be in the general area of the baby and it will lock on to it. You’ll have to think fast and smart to be able to feed all your babies!
If 1970’s spy thrillers are more your thing, then have I got the perfect game for you from XGen Studios. The Low Road tells the story of a young cadet, Noomi Kovacs, fresh out the LeCarre Institute for Exceptional Spies (LIES) school. If you haven’t guessed by now, you play the role of Noomi, trying to strike it big in the spy game. The Low Road plays a lot like the TellTale Games, relying heavily on story/writing as well as answering questions/character interaction. Since the game is a “point and click” adventure, you’ll have the chance to play mini games showing off your skills, such as having a steady hand by way of pick pocketing your co-worker. Playing off of the spy theme, you’ll have to solve puzzles to get through chapters in the game.
The writing and music scream 1970s and I love the “no-nonsense/ready for anything” wit of Noomi. She is also a bit of a smart ass and I like when that comes out in the writing because my sense of humor is similar to what I saw in the demo and I loved that! The graphical style also looks like an old-school spy/detective movie and all of these attributes will get players coming back for more. For it being a point and click adventure, it would have been a little easier to control with a mouse plugged into the USB because there were moments where you needed perfect mouse/hand work and that was tough with the Mac built –in mouse.
Goodnight Games was my next stop and their mobile game, Plunder Kings. Before Play NYC started, I had received information about Plunder Kings and I knew I wanted to check it out during the convention. This game reminded me of two games from my childhood, 1942 and Galaga. During gameplay, there are waves of enemies coming at you and the only way to survive is to destroy them.
You’ll be able to better your weapons by collecting upgrades as your progress throughout the endless stages. Attack everything because the more money/loot you get, the more upgrades you can make to your attributes after you lose. I found that more health is always the way to go and I was able to impress Goodnight Games with my score and skill with stockpiled health! Plunder Kings is an addictive game that you will have trouble putting down because the controls are simple and the gameplay is really fun!
Last up is a game that will be playable on the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. It’s odd to think that the Wii U eShop would still get updates instead of the Switch eShop but that’s for another time. Antipole DX plays like a classic platform game, similar to the likes of Mega Man. You control gravity to flip up and down to make tough jumps and fight robots. There were tough puzzles to solve as well but the gravity mechanic is a nice touch. Gravity is controlled with the shoulder buttons and it could have been tighter because there were times where I didn’t tough it that hard and my character went flying up/down. The whole game plays like the Mega Man Gravity Man level where you alternate between running on the ground and the ceiling via gravity.
All in all, Play NYC was a big success but any first time convention is going to have its moments. For the future, they might want to think about having a media only hour, similar to what Pax does. I had a tough time getting to some of the games, even when I had an appointment because it was so crowded. It also felt like everyone was on top of each other and that made it hard to get around at times. I’m glad that I was a part of the first Play NYC and only see it growing in the future!