In defence of Game Critique

BlueBottleBlueBottle Australia Join Date: 2018-02-03 Member: 236674Members
Negativity about a much loved game can really piss people off. More negativity ensues and is counter-reacted against. Maybe a flamewar. Potentially an apocalypse, millions of trolls perishing needlessly.

Fear not gentle reader. By 'critique' I don't mean just blunt criticism. I'm not a fan of that either. I mean those Steam reviews baldly telling you "Game X is crap, don't waste your cash" are about as useful or interesting as those cheering it on, also for no apparent reason. Likewise Youtube rants pointlessly counting down disappointments, or alternatively those that are little more than a fan's febrile hagiography. Those I'd all put in the same wastebasket.

Critique on the other hand - Yay!

By critique I mean, weighing up the many good and the many inevitable questionable aspects of a game, within the unavoidable constraints of its development (e.g. it's budget, available tech, consumer expectations etc). No game can be perfect, but game development is moving ahead in really interesting and unexpected ways through these experiments.

Back to down Earth, for me these are the payoffs of good critique:
1. Meaningful reviews - these help me find the games I really want to spend my cash on.
2. Extended player involvement after they game is played out - OK this doesn't float everyone's boat, but it works for me. Maybe a good reason to set up a fan forum.
3. Vicarious involvement in the craft of game development - ditto
4. Consumer influence on an emerging art form - beyond the blunt power of the dollar (Ok, ok, maybe that's a long shot).

Anyway, video games have come a long, long, way since I first discovered Donkey Kong, expecting little more than bells whistles. I think by now this art form is surely worthy of the same scrutiny that novels and movies are given as a matter of course.


  • AnomalyDetectedAnomalyDetected Alterra Housing District: Planet Vicaron Join Date: 2017-04-19 Member: 229741Members
    I fully understand what you mean. Game critiques are an important part of the development process. They are commonly used as a point of reference for the general buyer. They aren't rude (usually) and are actually quite helpful.

    Game critiques are like a more officalized game review service. They play the game (hopefully better than they did on cuphead) and they give honest ideas and opinions on it. This leads to a game needing to work to get a 7 or higher, as that's what most consumers would typically look for. This in turn makes the game more popular, and then leads to success.

    I also agree on how bad steam reviews can be. Some have the worst grammar to exist, and they sometimes mention how "the game won't progress" because they forgot to do something like craft a radiation suit. Theres also the ones where it's just people crap-talking the game for having no weaponry. At least there are some actual reviews.

    Anyways, nice info, thanks for sharing.
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