The first-ever issue party for Kill Screen magazine, the n+1 for the video game set now on its fourth issue, brought supporters to a small space next to the Music Hall of Williamsburg last night for free beer, Foosball and, notably, no video games. If you’re unfamiliar with Kill Screen, it’s not as marginal as it sounds — the newest issue centers on “public play” and features an ode to the design of a San Fransisco playground as well as a postmortem on Nintendo’s Virtual Boy, the 1990s’ would-be successor to the Game Boy that was laughably difficult to play outside the house because of its clunky red helmet. But if there’s broad appeal, one never quite knows who the average reader is for that sort of thing.
The magazine’s president Jamin Warren, a former Wall Street Journal writer, said the issue party came about thanks to a new partnership with party promoter Supercrush Studio. “We’re really looking for revenue streams beyond the traditional ones for a magazine,” he said. The magazine now works with ad houses to probe the nebulous video gamer demographic, and recently began a partnership with Pitchfork.
“It really is weird that there aren’t any video games here,” a ponytailed attendee told a female friend while waiting in line for complimentary Brooklyn Lager, not complaining, but pointing it out.
There were clues that Puma had sponsored the event. For one thing, a projection showing various Puma-branded videos shot to look homemade ran throughout the party’s entirety. Little Pumas were inlaid on the surface of every Foosball table. Also, there were girls walking around with the Puma logo on their thighs.
“It is like a normal party,” said a fellow in wire-rimmed glasses, sitting in a booth with a friend who verbally fantasized about bringing his PS3 from home and hooking it up to the projector. “Lots of bros.”
They were some species of bro, but it was generally the Williamsburg variety of bro, the kind that seems to hold profound respect for Super Nintendo, according to an informal survey. Brooklyn band Beach Fossils played a DJ set.
“I can’t believe I wasn’t following these guys before,” said John, a distinctly un-bro employee of New York’s homegrown video game studio, Rockstar Games. He wore a shirt with the company’s logo and looked out on the room, impressed. He’d heard about the party from Twitter.
Next to him was his fiance, her shirt advertising L.A. Noire, Rockstar’s crime-solving, suspect-interrogating new release. John worked on that game.
“Red Dead [Redemption] is my favorite,” John said. “I’m too close to L.A. Noire. I know what everybody’s going to say in every situation
“I let her play,” he said, smiling to his fiance.