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Friday, May 7, 2021

Videos Games Center, New York, New York

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Video Games Center

We are in a video-game room in the 11th floor of a Lincoln Square building: the EchoStar Center is a massive high-rise (building number 6001) that has become the center of the New York video-game scene. It houses hundreds of programmers, artists, designers and early adopters of games and technology. Arcade games run from a maze of rooms upstairs to a wall-high Crayola mural behind the computer terminal downstairs.

Over the course of a conversation, which we are video-chatting through a home computer, I learn a lot about the community that makes up the EchoStar: amiable, daffy, happy-go-lucky, and, above all, geeky. There are kids and grandkids here, who don’t lack a spark for the game-playing. Peter, the leonine owner of The Wire, the student gaming magazine, proudly shows me the treasures he collected as a teenager, and shows me all the games he helped make, including the one he just made for a guy named Battledown, a board game where players can use Tolkien’s orcs to hunt down bad guys in real time, with one-minute matches. One boy, in action video games these days the most marketable thing on Earth, shows me his elaborate step-by-step walkthrough of a pirate game from Atari. Peter says “funnily enough, back in their day [this style of video game] wasn’t all that fun.”

Slideshow: Rare VHS Films at the Fleischer Studios

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