Usually I take the criticism silently and appreciatively and I still do, but after more than seven months I’m still getting the same comment. “I can’t wait to see where your going with your blog.” It is a little annoying that after all this time my blog still feels schizophrenic enough that I haven’t fallen into any sort of groove yet. I felt that I had to spend some time examining my thoughts and my opinions of critiquing in a way I have never done so before and probably should have done in the first place. I sat down and thought about what exactly where I want to go with this site. First I want to clear up something that for the most part isn’t a problem, but I think in some cases it is causing some subconscious determinations about me. It will make sense in minute.
The name of the site is what it is, because when I was setting up everything I needed a site name and URL. I couldn’t come up with anything decent that wasn’t already in use. A friend of mine, who coincidentally is also the man who set up most of the behind the scenes infrastructure and my editor over at the CreativeFluff design blog, suggested GameCritique.com. A straight to the point name and almost a mission statement unto itself. It was taken. TheGameCritique.com was not. I laughed at the time that the name made me sound overly pretentious and I even wrote, when introducing it elsewhere, that you could not find a more pretentious name. Recently after a talk with Corvus Elrod on IRC some months ago that rather than the name be ridiculed or chuckled at as I thought it would be, I was being taken more seriously and it seemed more was expected because of the name than I was delivering or could. In other words to some people the name of the site made them think I had the answers. I’m sure most of you think that that isn’t the case, but I think the name is subconsciously affecting the people I discuss and debate with.
Which in the most roundabout way to lead me to my point. I do not know everything or really much of anything. If you second-guess me, then you can be sure that I am second guessing myself. I am learning on the job as it were. Back in November I could not have argued the thematic relevance in Prince of Persia, in January when I wrote that post I could not have argued and defended my theory of populous power in Beyond Good and Evil and when I wrote that one I’m sure I could not argue whatever is coming up next. I am continuing to evolve, so yes it may always be ‘I can’t wait to see where it goes.’ Doesn’t make it any less annoying that it’s always about where I’m going and never arriving.
However, I do take criticism and I like to think I take it well. I am going to address a few of criticism of my site.
QWERTY is now on indefinite hiatus. While previous entries had some point behind them, mostly ridiculing the argument of the week. Though this was lost on a lot of people, as he never gave context or back information for the satire, a problem in itself. And at the end of his run he wasn’t even trying and wasting my time as well as yours. I said at the beginning it was an experiment and was on a trial basis. The trial is over and QWERTY is done.
I have been told I have a fear that some bloggers have of giving specific examples. This has mainly to do with the fear of spoiling stories for people. I don’t like it to happen to me and I transmit that desire to others. When talking directly to a single person I can limit myself to what is necessary, because I either know or can ask if they’ve played a game and/or how far they’ve gotten. On the internet, however, anyone can read it and understandably it causes more fear of spoiling anything. It’s never been brought to my attention that I was doing this, so yes I will make an effort to stop doing that.
Finally the comment that made me think the most, and gets at the heart of what I want this post to express. I was told I don’t cover design aspects of a game when talking about them. This comment to me was saying that somehow I was doing it wrong. That my criticism was weak or invalid for not talking about them. Two things, one in certain arguments the design may have nothing to do with the argument. Secondly I rarely do arguments that have to do with design. I don’t feel I know not enough about it to discuss it intelligently.Â Plus, when I do focus on it, I have an agreement that such posts go to CreativeFluff.com.
Which leaves me to explain what is left for this site. I said before I am an English major, that is how I will approach TheGameCritique. I look at video games as cultural artifacts. I look at them from the culture and creator that produced them. I look at the work to see what it is saying about the world and culture around it. Video games are the next art medium that is a fact. What that means or what it will look like when it comes to pass is another matter and another discussion entirely. My critique is not about is it good or bad, but what and why.
It is important to know where a critic is coming from when they critique otherwise they’re just sound bites. Critics do come from somewhere and look at things in certain ways. If anything I think I focus on Animist and Iconoclast nature of criticism. That will loosely associate with the bottom right and top right respectively in the graph above. I leave Classicist and Formalist readings to others.
Thank you for putting up with me for the last thousand or so words. I needed to get that out of the way before I can continue on and get back to work. If it got a little too ivory tower there at the end I apologize, but links to the various terms are provided if needed.