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.

Tim Spaeth

Tim Spaeth

Cleveland native Tim Spaeth grew up in a happy household – a household with a father whose major client happened to be an Atari games distributor. This led directly to Tim's first nickname: "The kid who got Atari games before anyone else." Indeed, he knew Pac-Man and E.T. were colossal bombs weeks before the rest of the world, and the resulting celebrity brought him great pleasure.

Through the years every aspect of Tim's life has been touched by gaming. He mastered typing thanks to Space Quest, honed his poker skills on The Sierra Network, and learned to hate after a particularly traumatic game of Tecmo Super Bowl.

Today, Tim lives in Chicago with his three kids and strives to find that perfect balance between family, career, and Warcraft. He enjoys broadcasting, martial arts, rock and roll, growing and shaving his beard, singing show tunes to the homeless, and losing at Mario Kart to his lovely, talented, and amazing girlfriend.

In late 2008, Tim became the producer and host of the GameCritics.com Podcast, and he's thrilled to be bringing GameCritics' unique editorial voice to a brand new medium.
Tim Spaeth

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14 Comments on "GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 24: Myths of Game Criticism"

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quietID
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quietID
6 years 8 months ago
It would be interesting to hear your explanation of that comment (single player needing to be really solid and fun if they include it), I do understand where you’re coming from. I just disagree, and I understand the style of play they’re trying to subscribe to here really well so I doubt my opinion will change. For one specific reason. This type of game would be really hard to pull off if you had to play online with someone at every moment you were playing the game. Also you’re always going to get the kids/teens/hicks in the sticks who can’t… Read more »
Brad Gallaway
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Brad Gallaway
6 years 8 months ago
Hi Quiet. Thanks for your comments. I guess the first thing that I want to make clear is that I actually did play the game in multiplayer. Not 100% of the time, but I did give it a run-through and got a good feel for what it’s like with another person, so I hope you (or listeners) didn’t get the impression that we didn’t even try the multiplayer. That’s not the case. As for the issue about a game needing to be fun in single player as well as multi-, I’ve gotten a lot of feedback on this and I… Read more »
quietID
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quietID
6 years 8 months ago
I have Borderlands sitting in a drawer full of other games while Forza 3 gets played, and played, and played. Uncharted 2 as well, but that’s because it’s stuck in my PS3 that YLoD’d day after I bought it (the game not the PS3 which I’ve had for over two years), but that’s another story. Anyway To Tim and Brad, you both expressed how you feel a game should be as fun in singleplayer as well as multiplayer. Completely and utterly disagree on that one. If someone is focusing their resources on an exciting multiplayer experience that’s great. I bought… Read more »
Chi Kong Lui
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Chi Kong Lui
6 years 8 months ago
Tim Spaeth
Guest
Tim Spaeth
6 years 8 months ago

Part 2 is now available on iTunes, Zune, and http://ctpodcast.libsyn.com/. Should be on the front page soon. We dive deep into myths 6, 7, 5, 8, and 9. YES! NINE!

lachs
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lachs
6 years 8 months ago
great podcast, touched on some very interesting notions regarding the role of the reviewer. although, i am a bit pissed that you didn’t get to myths 6 or 7, which seem to be the most interesting 😉 to be honest, i’m not sure what motivated the myths in the first place. does it come from some insecruity or percieved inconsistency about what is you guys actually do from a professional perspective? there’s no unified, standard definition as to what constitutes a review, so it seems logical that you could take any approach you wanted. and the point was raised that… Read more »
David
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David
6 years 8 months ago
Good vs Fun definitely sounds like an interesting topic in gaming. I can name a few games that I enjoy very much but don’t consider particularly “good” (guilty pleasures like Postal and Samurai Warriors). In the same way there are games that I really don’t enjoy but still consider good or high quality in certain aspects. Although people can argue how “good” and “fun” are mostly up to personal opinion, I think there are certain qualities that most of us agree video games should have. Just as well there are certain design flaws that are almost unforgivable. I think a… Read more »
Mike Bracken
Guest
Mike Bracken
6 years 8 months ago

That could be the lead-in to the long-awaited Too Human discussion…

Tim Spaeth
Guest
Tim Spaeth
6 years 8 months ago
I will not retract one word of my Borderlands comments in this podcast. That said, I cannot stop playing it. I hit level 20 and kept right on going. The “fast travel” kicked in and expedited the questing and leveling. I finally have what I would consider “cool” weapons and that’s made the killing more interesting. I wouldn’t say I’m having “fun,” and I still maintain the game isn’t very “good.” I guess I’d call it “satisfying.” We touch on “good” vs. “fun” in Part II of this show but I think we could do an entire podcast about “Why… Read more »
David
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David
6 years 8 months ago
I liked this podcast. I’m new to the site but I’ve been looking through previous articles and I like your perspective on things. The podcast was very insightful and entertaining, and I like how you guys are looking at gaming in a different level than most other people. Also, I’m sure many of us want to see video games become a legitimate and respected art-form. But as much as I love well written stories and rich atmospheres, they are not as crucial to games as they are to other forms of media. For the most part, gameplay is what really… Read more »
Anonymous
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Anonymous
6 years 8 months ago

Chi Kong Lui,

That’s good to hear. Thank you for the answer.

Chi Kong Lui
Guest
Chi Kong Lui
6 years 8 months ago

[quote=Anonymous]Is a transcript possible? I know it’s a lazy question to ask (if one weren’t hard of hearing, of course), but I’d really like to able to think about whats being said and it’d be faster (more convenient). Just wondering[/quote] Yes, a transcript will be made available in about a week or so depending on how long it takes our wonderful transcriber, Tera Kirk, to complete it. I haven’t posted the transcript to the previous episode yet.

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
6 years 8 months ago

Is a transcript possible? I know it’s a lazy question to ask (if one weren’t hard of hearing, of course), but I’d really like to able to think about whats being said and it’d be faster (more convenient). Just wondering

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
6 years 8 months ago

Only a prefrontal lobotomy could make Borderlands boring. I’ll admit, it is pretty damn empty and basically a framework for questing, but you have a lot of variety with which to approach the game at your fingertips.

While the plot was lacking, I did like a lot of the characters I met. Scooter is pretty awesome. The last boss was a giant joke. Why did you have to be there to stop it when all these other guys who were kicking your ass up and down the barren landscape could have done it more easily?

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