July 28th TWIVGB

Critical Distance

Ok, despite how I closed out last week’s TWIVGB, saying that Kris would be back, I did another one. She asked me if I was available and I was actually more free to do things, because I didn’t have to play 6 games over the weekend.

One thing I did notice this time around was how the style of criticism has changed since the beginning of the year. What was once popular, New Game Journalism, Personal Writing, Fractured Essays, are all genres that have waned in the intervening months. What’s been on the rise is my style of criticism, Thematic Analysis, Close Readings, Comparative Theory. In a few months I’m sure the winds will change again and more emphasis will land on things like Mechanical Analysis, Numeric Theory and Artist Explanation.

Everyone was so up in arms about criticism changing into something they didn’t like or understand. All of those various styles I mentioned above have always existed. It’s really just about what’s fashionable in the particular moment. And while I did make a few of those terms up, that’s only because a lot of it doesn’t have a set name like New Games Journalism. They’re names that give a vague idea of what style the criticism is in. The point is that they all exists and co-exist perfectly fine alongside one another.

Maybe if you only follow twitter trends or what gets talked about a lot you’d find video game criticism to be a monolithic place. The same is true about television programing if you only look at the broadcast channels. The view from up here, surveying the landscape as it were, is one of a patchwork of different areas, styles and influences. I only mention it now because of such a stark contrast to the yelling matches of earlier months.

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