School is finally out, and missing finals week to go to New York was a great way to end it.
The Scholastic Art and Writing awards have been going on for almost eight decades, recognizing the best young artists and writers in the nation, offering scholarships, money, and exposure. Just last year they added a videogame category to the competition; an opportunity as a high school senior I couldn’t turn down. I decided to enter my two games, Kinetics and Sandy Evolution. And to my surprise, they both received two of the 25 national awards that were handed out for videogames. I was invited to accept my award at Carnegie Hall in NYC; and it was a great time. Especially because this gave me an excuse to catch the end of the No Quarter exhibit!
After getting denied entrance on memorial day, my twin and I hauled back to NYU the next day to check out No Quarter. It was quite vacant being the last day of the exhibit, but nonetheless the visit quickly became a highlight of the trip. We stopped by each display playing Clock, Hokra, At a Distance, and of course, the Winnitron. I was stuck on the thing for hours with my brother. Below I will describe some of my highlights of the exhibit, starting with a game I had been dying to play:
Nidhogg: After hearing about this game long ago, I have been craving it; and after almost an hour of playing this game, I will say it manages to live up to the hype. The simplicity of the game is so beautiful, with only a directional joystick and two buttons to press, the game’s controls are easy to pick up and came quite naturally. If you don’t know already, Nidhogg is a two player fencing game. How it works is simple: both players start in the center and must kill their opponent, advancing further through the stage. Once a player dies, he respawns a few seconds later. This creates a push and pull feel as each player tries to slash their way to opposite ends of the stage. The game has a very realistic and elegant feel to it, and creates thousands of “oh shit!” moments, pleasing both the players and the crowd. Check out my brother and I playing each other below:
Hokra: Being a huge NES ice hockey fan, this game hit it off well with my brother and I. Its a fantastic, minimal 4 player sports game that drives competition and gets everyone yelling. The presentation is simple, along with the game-play itself, making for a fun versus game anyone can pick up and play. The controls feel smooth and the gameplay is fantastic; I can’t even imagine playing with a full crowd on the first day of No Quarter!
2 Player Super Crate Box: My brother and I both love this game. Being able to play it verse one another on an arcade cabinet was simply amazing. It feels right playing on an arcade machine. I just felt so bad repeatedly slaughtering my own brother with the disk gun. If you haven’t played Super Crate box, get off my blog and do it now! It will be fun, trust me! But not as fun as playing it with your buddy on the Winnitron.
Overall, the trip was awesome, as was the exhibit. I am very excited about winning the national scholastic awards, creating more motivation and enthusiasm for me to continue developing![Note: This contest is quite new, and if you are a highschool student and develop games, I would recommend entering. It is a great opportunity! If you have any questions about it you can email me or comment on this post.]