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GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 24 Transcript

Transcript of GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 24: Myths of Game Criticism

GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 24: Myths of Game Criticism

This week we challenge commonly held assumptions about criticism, writers, review scores, finishing games and much more. So much more, in fact, we had to split the episode in half. Plus, if you're a Borderlands fan, get ready to hate us. Our quick hit is less than flattering. Featuring Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, and Tim Spaeth.

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For your reference, the eight myths we discuss are:

  1. Critics should be required to finish games before writing a review.
  2. The goal of a "proper" game review should be to inform the reader as to whether they should or should not buy a game.
  3. Those who write about games are not journalists, rather, should be considered "enthusiast press" or simply "games writer."
  4. There is no difference between a "review" and a "critique".
  5. The explosion of blogs, podcasts, and Twitter has rendered formal game reviews obsolete.
  6. Individual game critics and review sites are under constant, unrelenting pressure from publishers to change scores.
  7. Game scores are often purposefully tweaked to either generate controversy or avoid it.
  8. A reader should not need to be familiar with the author of a review in order to derive value from it.

Topic and Game References:

X-Play's Guitar Hero: Smash Hits review explanation:

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Waiting for the backlash

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Screenshot

The Brainy Gamer blog featured a terrific post today directed at Infinity Ward's questionable "FAGS" advertising campaign, in which Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels decries grenade spam.  It's covert advertising for Modern Warfare 2, of course, although the acronym with which said message is provided is obviously the source of the most worry.

Modern Warfare 2 controversy, Demon's Souls Halloween goodness and Half-Minute Hero

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Screenshot

So the word is basically out, and the level that has been causing all the commotion has been revealed to be used as a scene-setting device—basically establishing some context for the player's actions in the rest of the game. That was pretty much what I expected, but… it was also relayed that wherever this scene appears in the final retail version, it will be preceded by a warning about "graphic content" and the option to simply skip it and jump right into the part where the player goes back to being a "good guy".

Brütal Legend Review

Sometimes Even An Umlaut Isn't Enough

Brütal Legend Screenshot

HIGH The world is metal.

LOW Almost everything else isn't.

WTF "Everybody thinks I'll betray them someday. Now gasp as I betray you!"

Brütal Legend Art Gallery

Click here for Brütal Legend Art Gallery

Borderlands Review

Stranded (And Bored) In The Wasteland

 Borderlands Screenshot

HIGH Millions of guns to choose from, theoretically...

LOW The "adventure" is pure contrivance, utterly lacking a soul.

WTF Where's the onscreen mini-map? Why do weak guns auto-equip?

Critter Crunch Review

Bland Name, Tasty Game

Critter Crunch Screenshot

HIGH A new, predatory twist on puzzling.

LOW The difficulty of the final third feels haphazard and unrefined.

WTF Rainbow-colored regurgitation.

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