Thursday, September 29, 2005

enthusiastic about being jaded

I was cleaning up my blog posts and saw that somehow this one was never published! I wrote it May 12 2005.

From time to time I like to google my name and see what comes up. Recently I discovered that some time after my friend Francis had written his reaction to the game Syberia and had noted that it was similar to mine, his friend Todd had commented that he found me "a rather hostile and jaded reviewer."

Compared to a lot of game critics I suppose this is true. If you see where my rankings fall at Metacritic they are often the least enthusiastic, and I am often battling Gamespot's famously hard-to-please Greg Kasavin for the lowest ranking of a generally favorable review.

As a critic I am certainly not a cheerleader like Roger Egbert, who seems to love almost everything he reviews, judging by metacritic. I don't take Egbert seriously precisely because he seems to love way too many movies, making him a better fan than critic.

So I'm more jaded than Egbert, but I don't consider myself hostile. I hold games up to higher standards than most critics. I have seen reviews of games that said, this game has an interesting story and good graphics so even though it's kind of boring to play I will rank it 8 out of 10. That's nuts. There are also way too many decent but unexceptional movies that critics laud as perfect, like Doom 3. I ask more of games. I ask that they be great. When a game is great, like The Longest Journey or Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines I say so, but I still don't let them off the hook for their flaws. I believe a critic should go beyond just saying, this is good, this is bad; they should look at the possibilities of their subject and say, why did this game fail where that one succeeded.

I am neither jaded nor hostile. I simply see the potential of games, and I see very few games that reach that potential.

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