“This city will never die”

Our host Narz brings you a glimpse into everything that is going on in the gaming world, introducing you to the rising stars of the industry and special guests on each episode of this collaboration with Complex Networks.

In this episode of The Power Up, Jennifer “Narz” Vargas made a pilgrimage to VideoGamesNewYork (VGNY).

VGNY is a physical video game store in the East Village and a New York City institution. The independent store is renowned for its impressive inventory which includes rare and imported titles hard to find elsewhere.

Narz recalls a time when getting the last big game meant camping out in front of a store. But today virtually all video games, from blockbusters to indie titles, can be downloaded from online stores.

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And mobile games have yet another flexible function: they can be played anywhere. Games like Among Us, PUBG Mobile, and Pokémon Go are compromising a gaming subsector that has generated more than $ 63 billion in profits.

With the surge in popularity of mobile games, faster internet connections, and expanding hard drive space, it looks like physical game copies will become relics of the past.

So how does a store like VideoGamesNewYork adapt and survive these times?

“The physicality of it,” Daniel Mastin, director of VGNY, told The Power Up. “You know, the medium itself is something that people are looking for. You know where digital material comes and goes, but actually owning it, owning a physical copy that no one can take from you is very important.

Mastin was referring to the tenuous concept of ownership that modern gamers have with the products they buy. Consumers don’t actually own the games they buy from digital stores. It’s more accurate to say that they just have a license to play them, a license that platforms can revoke for a variety of reasons.

But if you have an N64 and a Super Mario 64 cartridge, this is yours. Nintendo cannot take the cartridge away from you, and you will not lose your ability to play it if it is removed from a digital marketplace.

Preserving this heritage is why VGNY is not just a store. It is also a manufacturer.

“A store like this, we got into actual production,” Mastin said. “So now we’re really helping to produce games on physical media for future generations. “

VGNY is also a kind of video game museum. The store is full of rare and valuable game finds such as items signed by legendary designers such as Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear Solid, Death Stranding) and Shigeru Miyamoto (basically anything you love about Nintendo). Many of these pieces do not have a price tag and are on display for cultural purposes.

Then Narz took to the streets to tell New Yorkers about their favorite mobile games. They have referenced a large list of games ranging from PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and BitLife.

As for what they wanted to see ported to mobile, their desires were just as diverse. Some of the titles mentioned were FIFA, Spider-Man, and Super Smash Bros.

After playing Nintendo Switch games with pedestrians, Narz concluded The Power Up with a few heartfelt words to say about living in New York City during the pandemic.

“This city will never die,” Narz said. “No hurricane or pandemic will ever stop us from pulsating. With ambition, persistence, and a healthy dose of mobile gaming, nothing can stop us.

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If you liked this piece, check out when The Power Up spoke to Latinx in Gaming about what diversity in gaming means both on performance and behind the scenes.

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