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GameCritics.com 10-Year Anniversary Special Podcast

Tim Spaeth's picture

Critics past and present join us for the ultimate retrospective as we celebrate 10 years of GameCritics.com. It's a fiesta so enormous we split it into THREE separate podcasts!

In part 1, we assemble the four original GameCritics for the first time ever, as Ben Hopper, Dale Weir, Chi Kong Lui, and Brad Gallaway discuss the birth of the site and how it changed their lives forever. We also catch up with husband and wife critics Erin Bell and David Stone, and Tera Kirk drops by to offer her congratulations.


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In part 2, Scott Jones of Crispy Gamer and Reviews on the Run reminiscences about his time writing for GameCritics.com. Later in the segment, we are joined by GC staffers, Brandon Erickson and Jason Karney.

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In part 3, Dan Weissenberger discusses the fallout from his controversial (and legendary) Halo 3 review. Plus, we get to know the newest GameCritic, Richard Naik, and our old friend Gene Park drops by to reminisce about the old days. In the final segment, Chi, Brad, Mike and Tim reunite and share a few final stories from the last ten years and give thanks to past colleagues and friends who helped make GameCritics.com the site it is today.

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What would an anniversary be without prizes?

The first person to correctly identify and post in the comments section here all the game music that appears through out the three parts of the podcast, will be awarded the following prizes: limited edition vintage GameCritics.com XL T-Shirt with our old tagline (only 25 were made), Halo Interactive Strategy Board Game, and the Hitman Trilogy (a staff favorite) for the PS2. I'll even throw in a historical copy of the Imagine magazine where my "Are Videogames Art?" article was printed. We may be able to dig up some other goodies to giveaway as well.

Former and current staffers aren't eligible and if you live outside of the United States, you'll only be eligible to win the T-shirt.


I was actually wondering why we made scores invisible. Seems a little pointless to still have them if we're going to do that, although I didn't know Metacritic would assign a score if we didn't provide one.


Just my luck that I recognize the music on the 1st show, but have no idea where it came from. It'll be a head-slapping moment when/if I find out.




You guys have been circling the drain for years now. It's almost as if you hung on for ten years just so you can celebrate a tenth anniversary.

Gamecritics has become a running joke - you've contributed very little to raising the level of discourse over the years and only manage to embarris yourselves with your continued existence.

Wake up, time to die.

The Contest

As the guy who picked out all the music, let me say this: I would be straight-up STUNNED if anyone got all ten tunes. I'll be impressed with five out of ten. The point is, even if you only recognize three or four of them, don't shy away from entering. That could very well win it for you.

I could

monkey, I could poke several jokes at your misspelling of embarrass, but I doubt I could add anything that would make it more amusing than it already is. Bravo.

I feel...

... a David the Grammar Nerd Vol. 3 coming thanks to Monkey.

Seeing as GameCritics has been an important part of a lot of well-known gaming journalists like Scott Jones and Kyle Orland (who, unfortunately, couldn't make the podcast), and continues to be important to them, I'd say that the site has made a sufficiently significant impact on the gaming world - let alone the content it continues to produce today.

Give monkey an unpeeled banana, and let's celebrate the achievement for what it really is: a huge success in the world of both internet existence and fostering a forum of intelligent discussion by a community with a real interest in talking about games as more than mere playthings.

So long as people keep reading...

monkey wrote:

Gamecritics has become a running joke - you've contributed very little to raising the level of discourse over the years and only manage to embarris yourselves with your continued existence.

So long as people keep reading, we'll keep writing.

To clarify: almost all of

To clarify: almost all of the people celebrating the site's tenth anniversary are the staff themselves?

Talk about patting yourselves on the back. Try not to dislocate those shoulders guys and gals.

And the lack of member (or vistor) commentary on the site's writing speaks volumes. You've been writing for ten years now, and failed to leave an indelible impression. Well, other than continued disapointment amongst a shrinking community. Most people celebrating ten years can point to something other than being caught in a feedback loop with dimishishing returns.

At any rate, the site's inability to fill a void is a matter of public record. You've become the very thing you claimed to distingush yourselves from. Many of us remember when the site had aspirations beyond being linked to other innane posts. And just as many continue to lament at how low you've sunk as you've lowered your sights beyond the pale.

If you were to do an honest appraisal of the site's contribution to public discourse, you would have noted how far you've strayed from your original mission statement and how difficult it has become to keep (and attract) intelligent posters. You know, the people who really kept the site going for years. Many of us were fooled by the statements of intent and false promises, and we all feel tainted by our association with a site characterised by delusions of grandeur and posturing.

You're certainly welcome to

You're certainly welcome to tell us how, specifically, you feel we've failed in our mission, but your comment offers no such constructive discourse. I can't help but chuckle at the accusations of "grandeur" and "posturing", when all we have ever striven to do is develop a diverse and accessible community of writers while treating games as creative art rather than mere products. That alone is a rarity in the industry. I also wonder who these others are for whom you presume to speak? Face it: your bitter, self-serving post offers nothing but bottom-trolling vitriol masquerading as informed commentary. If we've done enough to ward off petulant visitors such as yourself, we've accomplished plenty.

As Chi's links — which is a paltry sample of media recognition both within the gaming industry and beyond — clearly show, our writing has certainly received an impressive amount of recognition for a such a small, independent site with an all-volunteer staff. Nor is there anything self-serving about celebrating ten years of friendships, hard work, successes, failures, and perseverance. Until you have the wherewithal to offer valid and constructive criticism, I look forward to your absence.

Congratulations guys. I have

Congratulations guys.

I have been visiting the site and listening to your podcast for only about a year now. Keep up the good work!

Great Podcast

There is nothing I love more than listening to gaming podcasts while working. I appreciate the length of this one :)

I'm totally frustrated that I do not speciffically know any of the music used in the podcast. I thought the first piece in the first segment was from Final Fantasy 7 but I can't find any proof of it. I really just want to try the Halo Board game...

I'm pleased to know more about the staff and previous reviewers. Its always great to look back on the 'good ole days'. BTW, I loved the original Shadowman on the N64. Some of the creepiest gaming moments I have are from Shadowman. Shadowman 2 was part of the big disappointment of 3rd parties rejecting the Gamecube for me, though it turned out to be a good thing in most cases seeing how terrible most of those 3rd party games turned out to be.

So, great show. Looking forward to another 10 years.

Name one song, get a prize

Vince wrote:

I'm totally frustrated that I do not speciffically know any of the music used in the podcast. I thought the first piece in the first segment was from Final Fantasy 7 but I can't find any proof of it. I really just want to try the Halo Board game...

Since we have yet to award a prize, you get the Halo board game for correctly identifying one song. Send me your mailing address via chi (at) gamecritics (dot) com. If anyone else recognizes any of the other songs, name it and pick your prize. Tim, you want to throw out any hints?


Awesome! Address sent.

Man, I just love people who

Man, I just love people who rain on parades, those who yell "humbug" when others are celebrating.

But I'm gonna rain on Vince's parade (though for other reasons). That isn't even the music from Final Fantasy 7, but Final Fantasy 8! I'm just as clueless as he is about the other tracks used for the show though.

That aside, congrats GameCritics for making it through the 10th year.

Do I get anything from

Do I get anything from naming the tune used in other podcasts episodes (the silver surfer one aside)? Anyway, regardless, that tune used in intermission (the saxophone-y stuff) is from SNES Adventure Island. Am I right?

What's with the negativity toward ludology?

Hey Ladies and Gents,

First off, let me say that I've been following your site for several years and I am definitely a fan. I appreciate the unique approach that you take toward games, especially how you do not follow the standard, bland approach to reviewing games. I like the fact that different reviewers have their own games that they like to play and genres they like to focus on, from Tera's casual/disabled gamers approach to Brad's love of great independent games to Mike's obsession with all things horror. I find it refreshing that you accept the fact that reviews are opinions, and yet you write well and support those opinions with observations from the games, and how the games intersect with your own perspective. I've gotten into some interesting discussions with various posters in response to many of the articles here. I also enjoy the podcasts and will continue to listen to them.

Most, if not all, of you show a strong interest in elevating the discourse of games. In your podcasts, however, there is a strong reluctance to broach the topic of ludology and even some antagonism toward it. This confuses me a little bit, since ludology is the "discipline that studies game and play activities" (http://www.ludology.org/articles/ludology.htm). The entire purpose of the field is to study games and find out what makes them tick. You know, break them down and see what they're made of, and use that knowledge to create better games. I would have thought that was a goal you could get behind.

As an example, let's look at movies. At some point, people took a step back and said "Hey, we need to really study these things and see what makes them tick." Then movies really started being analyzed in an academic manner, and now we have film schools all over the place. Without that leap, we never would have gotten Coppola, Scorsese, Lucas, and Spielberg.

In your podcast you mention that discussion of ludology tends to make conversations boring. I agree that there is potential for that to happen, but let me suggest a different approach. The job of a game critic is not necessarily to determine the inner workings of all games. Feel free to leave that to the game theorists. However, why not take useful observations from ludology and use them to enhance your own vocabulary? Wouldn't that help the general population view games with more respect, or at least give your audience an approach they might not get elsewhere - essentially, elevating the discourse of games?

As critics and writers, you should be able to pick out the interesting bits of information and keep the discussion both enlightening and entertaining. Honestly, I think you could make a very interesting podcast based solely on ludology and essays written on the subject.

Keep up the good work!

Hey Odo, Thanks very much

Hey Odo,

Thanks very much for the praise, it's greatly appreciated. = )

About ludology, I don't think we really are against it as a concept, I think what you're picking up on is our reaction to ludology taken too far, or being discussed in a way that seems almost inapplicable to games… or perhaps the ‘common man's’ understanding of them.

One thing that we have always striven to do here at GC is to discuss topics in such a way that anyone coming to the site would be able to understand what we are getting at without having to pick up a reference volume or look up some things on Wikipedia. I don't want to speak for the other guys, but I would be willing to bet that their reaction stems from the same place as mine… we've talked to people who kind of get lost in the intellectual side, and there are few conversation-killers as potent as overly-verbose ludologists. ^_^

Seriously, though, I do agree with you. I think the field has a lot to offer and as a site, we would be well-served by dipping into it and discussing it in a way that is approachable to others. No argument here… though I think you'll still hear us taking the occasional potshot at the term.

Those mental scars are hard to erase. ; D


Wow, nobody really did end up taking a shot at guessing the show's tunes. The opening theme is, as previously mentioned, Liberi Fatali from Final Fantasy VIII. Also, the song that plays just before Gene Park's segment is from Super Smash Bros. (the bonus stage perhaps?). I know the song that plays after Gene's part is from The Legend of Zelda, but from what game in the series I am not entirely sure.

That's all I've got, thought I'd take a shot at it.

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