Chinatown – “one of the lone neighborhoods in Manhattan to preserve its heritage and verve,” we noted earlier this year – takes center stage in two new documentaries.
When Pokémon Go became splashed across the screens of America and eager video game players of all ages roamed the streets rather than took to the couch, it caused quite a stir. While that’s died down a fair bit, others have interpreted the combination of reality and video games differently.
If watching this dub-step blasting, Benzedrine-fueled trailer moves you toward a migraine, you might assume that you’re too old for Low-Level Festival. I mean, isn’t this the sort of thing you’d find on Snapchat, anyway? What’s it doing on a slow-load medium like YouTube? In a way, you’re right– Low-Level is incredibly future-oriented and nearly everyone involved is so now, in mind and body, that they make Tavi Gevinson look like the Cryptkeeper. They’re hyper-concerned with the latest existing technologies and the kind of people who can actually understand what the last wave of Millennials, or kids born after the year 2000 (i.e. literally cyborgs) are thinking. Of course, that’s not the whole story.
You’ve been waiting your whole life for this moment, I can feel it. And now you finally have a chance to say “It’s not a tumor!” in your best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice and really, really believe it. Or wait– sorry, wrong movie. That’s Junior, everyone’s second favorite Schwarzenegger film. The first is Predator, of course, which Babycastles has invoked to emphasize just how real this 100 percent real helicopter’s gonna be at Super Hot Ronny’s Rumble. The video game collective and DIY art gallery’s competitive indie games tournament is back and it’s kicking off Saturday morning(ish) with a race to the helipad. First person to “Get to the choppa!” wins big at this “very lol” event.
As we’ve mentioned recently, DIY art and game space Babycastles has been working hard to offer alternatives to the often exclusionary world of video games, showcasing work by indie game designers and artists who reveal that yes, there can be more to video games than mindless shooting and the Mountain Dew-guzzling men who often play them.
The previous exhibit on view was Toronto-based Kara Stone’s The Mystical Digital, offering a witchy and introspective take on games, with selections like Techno Tarot, where a robot gives you a detailed tarot reading, and Cyclothymia, a narrative exploring connections between emotions and astrology.
Another Canada-based game designer and programmer, Mx. Dietrich “Squinky” Squinkifier, has similar wishes to disrupt the tired norms in video games and video game culture. Rather than appealing to one’s inner mystic or the Bushwick dwellers who frequent places like Catland, Squinky’s games are more familiar to those who might stay in on a Friday night, presenting playable stories of awkward social interactions and small Claymation creatures of indistinct gender.
The Montreal-based artist’s second solo exhibition, Squinky Hates Video Games, is a compilation of work from the past three years in the form of ten different games, some of which were created during a stint at UC Santa Cruz’s Digital Arts and New Media MFA program. Squinky completed the program in 2015, and was recognized by Forbes that year as one of 30 Under 30 in Games.
The term “gamer” usually conjures up a torrent of awful connotations– an exclusively white-male circle jerk where the only manifestation of “diversity” is between the Cheetos-stained 4chan nerds with a sunlight problem and fedora-wearing MRM creeps who fancy themselves activists. You can catch all of them gushing over first-person shooters and probably trading furry porn at a LAN party, a place where anybody else wouldn’t be caught dead.
Writer-director Ilya Naishuller modestly called Hardcore Henry “a little Russian indie experimental movie” at its US premiere last night at SXSW, but the truth is it’s the most visually impressive, batshit film we’ve seen since Mad Max: Fury Road. One look at the new trailer, released a little over a week ago, and you’ll see it offers a similar mix of gonzo stunts, raw adrenaline, Tarantino-esque humor, and a throbbing rock/techno soundtrack – except that it’s filmed almost entirely with a GoPro, so you feel like you’re the one hurtling down Fury Road (or in this case, Moscow highways that weren’t even blocked off).
This morning we got our hands on a screener of The Lost Arcade, showing today at 12:45 p.m. as part of the Doc NYC Festival. Yup, it’s super short notice, but having just finished watching the documentary about the rise and fall of Chinatown Fair, it’s our duty to implore you to get over to IFC Center for the screening.
It was like something out of Grand Theft Auto.
VideoGamesNewYork, the East Village video-game store with the giant Super Mario in the window, was robbed at gunpoint late Monday night.
Two men thought to be in their early twenties entered the store around 11 p.m., pistol-whipped the clerk, and snagged an undetermined amount of cash from the register, the police say. The clerk was treated at Bellevue Hospital.
Check out surveillance footage of the heist, above.
Less than a year after we brushed elbows with Rihanna at “the most buzzed about tattoo shop in the history of man” at 26 Clinton Street, Bang Bang (aka Keith McCurdy) packed up his crew and moved on. Last night, the space was playing host to a different New York niche culture – call it revenge of the nerds.
Liam Walsh is leaving his internship at Babycastles, where, three days a week, he fires up the gallery’s indie video games and shows visitors how they work. He’s resigning to attend summer camp in Maine.
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Medieval Future isn’t one of the video games that you’ll be able to play at Kickstarter’s Greenpoint block party this Saturday (it hasn’t yet been finished) but boy do we hope its online fundraiser turns it into a reality so we can play it soon.
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