Check out my latest column for GameSetWatch: Gaming and Confronting Our Humanity

It’s possible to write about games dispassionately, taking apart the storyline, the different technical aspects, and the gameplay features. It’s possible to give a game a numerical score in various categories, from sound to graphics to control. This kind of games writing has it’s place, and it may help a person decide whether or not a game is good enough to consider buying. Still, it falls short of really conveying anything meaningful about the game. For that, we need something more.

What we need is for games writers to convey how a game affected them on an individual level. Playing games thoughtfully, carefully, and examining what it is that makes them so compelling is what I’m trying to do every time I write about the subject. The medium’s interactive nature means that the games will often be compelling to different people for very different reasons, and that’s okay. The trick to making a great game is leaving the game open for that. It’s more than just letting the player have their own fun; it’s letting the player express themselves, intentionally or accidentally. Even better, make the player aware of how they are doing so and what the consequences are. Games that follow through with those goals are my favorites.

I write about this subject and point out some ways games have done this in my latest column for GameSetWatch. I’d be interested to hear what you think.