I hate to say this, but David Jaffe is right. Game criticism today is this pathetic, limp-wristed thing that's too easy to ignore. A games review has no teeth. Even the better reviews(that aren't just corporate whores for IGN or Gamespot) aren't particularly well-written, and are even downright condescending. They use a lot of tired lingo that (I assume) they think we NEED to hear, to the point where it sounds like a 9th grader's book report than something a human adult typed out. And lord, do we ever need to get rid of those scores at the end. It's not the same as the Four Stars system. No professional critic ever feels the compulsive urge to literally type "I GIVE THIS FIVE GOATS OUT OF BLIMP".
We're still looking for our Roger Eberts, our Gene Siskels, our Pauline Kaels, our Leonard Maltins and so on. All we've got now are some Harry Knowles and Armond Whites. I mean, I sincerely doubt just having respectable critics is going to get video gaming's head out of its ass, but it'd be a good start.
The best people talking about games, I've found, are those who aren't really game critics. Folks like Shamus Young and James Portnow tend to talk about games incidentally, instead of specifically. I'm sure some good effort can be found here and there, and I know I'm forgetting some good people here. But I think what this comes down to is that there's no, if I may use an old chestnut here, "champion of criticism" for video games. We're looking for a Hero, which oddly enough I don't know if that's really the right way to go about it. I mean, we compare to movie criticism, but they don't have just one identifiable champion or anything. Everyone has their personal favourite.
Yeah, they have Ebert and Kael and all of those people, but movies don't depend entirely on them. Come to think of it, maybe this is a sort of chicken and the egg problem. Games are bad, because game critics don't give theme enough incentive to be better. Game critics are bad because games aren't giving them opportunities to take them seriously. The great circle of shit.
And by only telling you what you already know here, while not really going anywhere with this or offering some sort of solution or point, I've... pretty much accomplished exactly as much as a modern game critic.I guess I'm not the right man for the job.
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