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Games as Art

GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 24 Transcript

Transcript of GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 24: Myths of Game Criticism

GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 24: Myths of Game Criticism

This week we challenge commonly held assumptions about criticism, writers, review scores, finishing games and much more. So much more, in fact, we had to split the episode in half. Plus, if you're a Borderlands fan, get ready to hate us. Our quick hit is less than flattering. Featuring Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, and Tim Spaeth.

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For your reference, the eight myths we discuss are:

  1. Critics should be required to finish games before writing a review.
  2. The goal of a "proper" game review should be to inform the reader as to whether they should or should not buy a game.
  3. Those who write about games are not journalists, rather, should be considered "enthusiast press" or simply "games writer."
  4. There is no difference between a "review" and a "critique".
  5. The explosion of blogs, podcasts, and Twitter has rendered formal game reviews obsolete.
  6. Individual game critics and review sites are under constant, unrelenting pressure from publishers to change scores.
  7. Game scores are often purposefully tweaked to either generate controversy or avoid it.
  8. A reader should not need to be familiar with the author of a review in order to derive value from it.

Topic and Game References:

X-Play's Guitar Hero: Smash Hits review explanation:

Please send feedback and mailbag questions to podcast (at) gamecritics (dot) com.

Beautiful Mirror's Edge-inspired photo set

Mirror's Edge Live Action Shots - Savage Land Pictures

Fans of games are always ready to dress up like their favorite characters. What compels them to do so is anyone's guess... actually I wouldn't even want to know. But sometimes you get really stunning tributes like this one. Savage Land Pictures' crew is a collection of professionals who make their living in the movie industry. Apparently, Faith as a character and Mirror's Edge as a backdrop proved quite appealing for this project.

Get wowed by gorgeous videogame-inspired paintings

Metroid - Toxic Planet Orioto Fan Art

According to Joystiq.com, Orioto is a DeviantART power user. He has been creating videogame fan art for a while and has accumulated an impressive portfolio.

Man vs. Man: Kanji Tatsumi's sexuality in Persona 4

A young man in profile with long, silvery-blond hair and a black jacket and pants. He's looking up, and off into the distance.

In Sexuality and Homophobia in Persona 4 from Gamasutra, Samantha Xu examines the tension between Persona 4's "rough-and-tumble teen" Kanji Tatsumi and his flamboyant alter-ego:

Kanji is feared by the locals and maintains a confrontational machismo toward the other characters throughout the game. He is a loyal son and employee at his family's textile shop, and it's not until the debut of his alter-ego Shadow Kanji that we are made aware of his inner sexual turmoil.

Xu looks at how homosexuality is viewed in Japanese culture and interviews people at Atlus USA who worked on Persona 4, game journalists and Sex in Video Games author Brenda Brathwaite. Brenda likes many things about Kanji's portrayal, but one thing she dislikes is "the game's juvenile nature in dealing with his sexuality."

 

 

A digital art exhibit about disability

Time lapse sculptural image of Mat Frasier kickboxing (Copyright Simon McKeown).
©Simon McKeown

On January 24, the Wolverhampton Art Gallery will exhibit a "moving digital sculpture" that will examine how disabled people move. The exhibit, created by disabled digital artist Simon McKeown, is called Motion Disabled and uses state-of-the-art digital motion-capture technology to animate five disabled people doing things like walking, using the phone, kickboxing, and chopping vegetables. The actors include web developer Steve Graham, mayor Frank Letch and Mat Fraser, an activist, actor, writer, musician and comedian. (He wrote, composed and starred in Thalidomide!! A Musical and co-hosts the BBC Ouch! Podcast).

While not about gaming per se—I don't know if this project's artist is the same Simon McKeown who worked for Reflections Interactive on Stuntman and the Driver series or not—Motion Disabled uses digital animation to pose some critical questions, as the artist points out: "[D]o we value difference? How do disabled people's bodies fit into current versions of normality? And, is physical disability about to become Virtual?" In an interview with Dr. Paul Darke for the Outside Centre's radio show, he said:

[T]he disabled people I grew up with—the disabled children that I grew up working with—were becoming a rarity, in effect. That the effects of screening at childbirth and the medical intervention if you like...in the future...you won't be able to see how a disabled person walks because they won't be in existence.

"Nerd" proposes to girlfriend by hacking Chrono Trigger

This dude is lucky on two fronts. A) He found a woman who would sit through a play session of Chrono Trigger and B) he found a woman that was happy to say yes after said play session. There have to be easier ways to pop the question—hacking a game isn't child's play—but maybe it was worth it for this guy just to hack one of his favorite games. That the young lady said yes was a bonus.

Are Videogames Art?

Log onto any well frequented videogame-related message board on the Internet, and start a thread with the subject "are videogames art?" Within a matter of minutes, I guarantee you will be deluged with all kind of responses that range from manifesto-like essays to name-calling flames.

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