But why do we even need game criticism? Because criticism enriches art. There’s something rewarding about watching a film, reading a piece of criticism, re-watching and the film and feeling like you get it. Likewise, there’s an immense pleasure in being a critic and unlocking a complex piece of art. Criticism is an empowering form. Which brings us to the main question: If criticism is so great, why is there no great game criticism?

via The House Next Door: The Alligators Have Good Graphics: Beginning Game Criticism, Vol. 1.


  1. Granted, I haven’t had enough time to offer them full attention, but from the cursory review I was able to give, these sites largely traffic only in writing about videogames and videogame culture intelligently. Now that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it can be very good. Intelligent writing, however, is not necessarily criticism either.

    Of those mentioned, I think Hit Self Destruct comes closest to devoting itself to criticism. But even that seems more devoted to just intelligent treatments of the topic.

    And this isn’t a bad thing. Gaming absolutely needs intelligent, well-considered treatment of itself. It also needs critics. Not reviewers or people who can write well about games, but people who can offer full-bodied analysis of the games themselves, discussing their place in gaming history, their place within their immediate context, their motivations and unrealized goals, what they are saying both overtly and via subtext. I want to see for gaming criticism rise at leat to the level of what people like M. Leary do for film.

  2. p.s. I played a few levels of the Braid demo. That definitely seems worth the fifteen bux. Though of course, like any other puzzle game, it won’t be worth more than one replay…

  3. Told you it was worth it.

    But yeah, I played it through once and I’m done with it, even though there are supposedly some sort of stars or constellations or something to find. I just can’t bring myself to do it.

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