It was one hell of a week for game criticism. A new book, a new digital magazine and the biggest week I’ve had yet in a TWIVGB. Though not the largest one. That goes to Kris Ligman and the previous week.
This is suppose to be where I say something about the big issue that came up last week, The New Statesman piece. I responded in the comments and talked a bit on twitter, but I honestly am exhausted with the argument and all the related arguments that come with it at this stage. I know they have to be had and that not everyone has been talking game critically for 4 years now. It’s not even that. It’s that the idea that video game criticism doesn’t exist is laughable to me and the idea that it needs legitimacy by a mainstream outlet is an insult to video game criticism and the idea of legitimacy. Outlets don’t grant legitimacy, an audience does. The outlets themselves are only legitimate because the audience treats them as such.
Then there is the argument that games have yet to produce any work worthy of legitimate criticism. No. Just no. If you think that, then you have to get away from the AAA shooters and actually see what video games are. There has been work worthy of criticism around for years if not decades. We just didn’t have a critical literacy with regards to games. Something that is going to be far more important in the future as systems literacy becomes a necessity in the future.
The worst part of the whole thing was one particular tweet that makes me furious every time I see it. “Here’s @hellenlewis making (valid) broad points about game crit. And commenter missing them. [link]” I don’t know this who this guy is, but I now don’t care to having read that tweet. How something so innocuous could piss me off so badly I’ll never know. No disrespect to Mrs. Lewis, because she wrote out of ignorance, but she wrote out of ignorance. You cannot have a valid point if you don’t know what you are talking about. She has since said she is going to check out the places that were listed to her and I’ll take her on her word and hope she enjoys the work me and my colleagues do. But this guy, saying that the people trying to educate her by pointing out all criticism she missed with her “broad statements” missing the point is such a myopic (the rest of this sentence has been removed because I don’t want to go there.)
Another point is that the game criticism community needs to signal boost so that we are visible. It is a reasonable point until you do a minute of research. If you type “game criticism” into Google, Critical Distance, my blog, Dan Cook’s criticism essay and republished TWIVGB on Gamasutra are all on the first page. New Games Journalism gets you the wikipedia article on it, Kieron Gillen’s original manifesto, The Cage is Worms blog and a piece about the “new Games Journalism” prize that is going to happen later this year to reward the best writing in game journalism and criticism.
What’s even more depressing are the amount of defenders this piece had managed to gain. People who say they would love to read it, but then display such ignorance and hostility to the idea that game could ever be criticized as art. I hate people who base world knowledge on their own ignorance and know it.
Suffice to say. I don’t care to talk about any of this. But I know its the only thing people are going to remember.