Videogame Criticism

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Todinho
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Videogame Criticism

Post by Todinho »

So as I said in the news topic im sick and tired of the western gaming media having a drama every week that has nothing to do with games themselfs and only revolve around people shouting at each other for the stupidest of reasons so I decided to start a thread to share criticism about videogames!(what a novel concept!)I take everybody here started listening to the podcast because they wanted more of that so share away any video/writing/audio that you think is a good piece of games criticism!

To start off here's a video I saw talking about people separating the gameplay side from the art side in videogames:



You may disagree with him overall but I think he brings up some very good points on how sometimes gameplay is put to the side almost as an afterthought when discussing why a game is an example of art.

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Scrustle
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by Scrustle »

Very interesting video. I found myself agreeing a whole lot with it. It's the same kind of reason why I hold Brothers in higher esteem than a lot of other games in terms of them being pieces of art. It uses mechanics and the inherent qualities of a game to express something. And not just by simple interaction either, but real game mechanics that you use to overcome challenges. That's way more valuable in the medium of games than one which just has good writing and characters, but gameplay that feels like it's only grudgingly there as busywork so the player has something to do. Although I do still like "artistic" games which focus heavily on stuff like writing etc., I think what Brothers and games like it have managed to achieve is far more valuable and worthy of praise in the big picture of games as an artistic medium.

That point about "aestheticising violence" was pretty interesting too. I've always got a sense of something like that from the works of say, Platinum or Grasshopper. I often tend to think of Suda51, or just the games Grasshopper creates in general, as being kind of a Japanese videogame version of Quentin Tarantino. And I do feel like the style they bring to their violence does elevate above mere spectacle or, well, violence. There is some kind of expression there which can make you feel certain emotions depending on how it's presented.

And hey, a mention of Mr Btongue! I'm subscribed to that guy. It's a shame he doesn't upload more frequently. He does amazing stuff. I don't really like how they imply that Campster being a "lesser" critic there though. He does talk about themes and stuff, but also focuses on gameplay and things as well. That's why I'm subscribed to him too, and he's also done one of my favourite videos out there on the topic. Again, Extra Credits talks a lot about mechanics as art too. That's kind of unfair.

Since there was a mention of Mr Btoungue, I might as well share some of his work:



The Campster video I mentioned:



And one of the many gameplay focused episodes of Extra Credits. It's an early episode, and the first of a two parter, but here it is:



But the thing about Extra Credits is that they cover all aspects of games, as an artistic medium, mechanical design, industry stuff, and how games can be used to help education the world in general. That seems to have been their biggest focus as time has gone on, but they still do a lot of the other things too.

And here's something from another small channel that doesn't update nearly as much as I'd like it too. This is more a kind of dry dissection of game design, but still fascinating nonetheless.


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Todinho
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by Todinho »

Yeah Campster and EC do talk alot about gameplay but I guess he put them in there because they like to use big words from the dictionary and he doesnt seem to like that,I do agree with him however that Mathewmatosis and MrBtongue a probably some of the best people(in youtube atleast) producing this type of content if anything they tend to be straight to the point.

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Flabyo
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by Flabyo »

EC isn't really games criticism though, it's more general than that. There are very few episodes where they outright take on a specific game (the only ones I can recall are Spec Ops: The Line and Call of Juarez: The Cartel). Most of their fans are working developers I think.

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Todinho
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by Todinho »

yeah they talk alot about development and industry stuff but they also have episodes dedicated to game criticism maybe not as often but they are there and many of their episodes on how to design X type of game can have value to people that are not designers too just because it's interesting to understand why a certain game is good or bad.

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Scrustle
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by Scrustle »

I think the EC fanbase is much wider than just developers. Their quite broad subject matter probably has something to do with it. But even so, out of all of the people who do a more kind of analytical or academic look at games in a video format, I think EC is by far the most popular. They were definitely the first to get popular too.

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Flabyo
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by Flabyo »

I haven't watched him for a while now, but would Yahtzee count with Zero Punctuation?

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Scrustle
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by Scrustle »

I would say so. I've always thought of his stuff as being comedic critique rather than anything else. He does slightly more serious and in-depth stuff too, like with his Extra Punctuation articles and his podcast. It's more kind of casual soap-boxing I suppose, but I'd say that counts as critique.

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Todinho
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by Todinho »

This actually got me interested in playing the original game:


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Todinho
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by Todinho »

Interesting article about Shadow of Mordor: http://www.theverge.com/2014/10/1/68811 ... -terrorism ,I have many issues with the article but it does raises some interesting questions now I havent played Shadow of Mordor so I cant judge it in any way but what does everybody think about this? I personally think it's totally fine to want the player to assume a role of someone that does questionable and see the world through their eyes it's one of the things videogames do very well in my opinion put you in someone else shoes just by making you play as them ,it's also something that doesnt get alot of credit,but there's also the issue of many games(and all other media) glorifing questionable actions with no thought put behind it but is that ok?

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Electric Crocosaurus
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by Electric Crocosaurus »

A really interesting read, thanks for pointing it out Todinho. As you say, putting a player in someone's shoes and making them role-play as a character is something that video gaming excels at. When that character is acting in a way that is immoral there isn't anything wrong with that per se, but the all important word is context. In a film, the filmmakers have far more control over the presentation of that character: so in Raging Bull we are kept in thrall of De Niro's performance, but we're never invited to aspire to be like De La Motta.

Video games are trickier in that games will generally allow more freedom: it is hard for a story to attach any redeeming qualities to the leads of GTAV when the player has probably just killed ten people on the way to their next mission. Is the game glorifying these actions if the player is the one in control? Arguably the case is stronger with games like Shadow of mordor: you must kill and behave in this manner or you will be unable to proceed. Yet without playing the game and knowing what the consequences are for this character's actions it's hard to judge. It would be disappointing if there isn't some reaction to SoM's violence: the Lord of the Rings is, after all, rich with characters dealing with the consequences of their past: men who have never been trusted after Isildur's failure to destroy the ring; Frodo and Bilbo, who are unable to move on after the destruction of the ring; the race of Elves, unable to survive without the ring because of their lust for power when it was forged.

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Todinho
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by Todinho »

Reviving this thread a little bit to share a couple of interesting things I saw lately:

First is a interesting piece written by The Vanishing of Ethan Carter developer talking about the supposed Damsels in Distress in the recently released Dying Light and how to write interesting characters : http://www.theastronauts.com/2015/02/dy ... -distress/

Second is Superbunnyhop talking about the homogenization of AAA games or the Ubisoft effect as I like to say it,and the main reason I find most AAA games nowadays to be quite boring:

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Todinho
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by Todinho »

Once again an interesting post from the Vanishing of Ethan Carter dev talking about demographics in the games industry: https://medium.com/@adrianchm/women-and ... eb7a7d75fa

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Flabyo
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by Flabyo »

His good points are unfortunately buried by his being into the whole 'lots of other media have been ruined by cultural migration (i.e., feminists) so we need to protect ourselves' thing.

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ratsoalbion
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by ratsoalbion »

Flabyo wrote:His good points are unfortunately buried by his being into the whole 'lots of other media have been ruined by cultural migration (i.e., feminists) so we need to protect ourselves' thing.
Yup.

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Todinho
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by Todinho »

I dont see how his opinion on that ruins or undermines the facts he analised

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magicjoef
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by magicjoef »

I really liked some of the stuff Shawn Elliott talked about way back on the GFW podcasts. They used to goof around for most of their shows, which was really funny, but occassionaly he would lock into a subject and totally take a game apart (good and bad). He ended up making the switch to development so isn't really around much on podcasts any more.

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Scrustle
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by Scrustle »

I thought I'd share some stuff from channels I've discovered more recently.

This is from a channel that does a wide range of different series, so there's a nice variety of distinct content, but it's all good. Although this video is incredibly long (a lot longer than the usual stuff he does), it's definitely worth sitting through. It's an almost one hour long love letter to the Yakuza series:


From the guy who did the "This Is Phil Fish" video. Not much on his channel yet, but it's looking very good so far:


Here's a channel based around looking at games from more of a designer's point of view. Some really interesting insights to design in these videos:


And lastly this is a channel that tends to do reviews in a style more typical of Youtube reviewers, but with an intelligence and wit you don't usually see from most others. Also some more insightful content too, such as this:

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chase210
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by chase210 »

I'm a big fan of Matthewmatosis


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Flabyo
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Re: Videogame Criticism

Post by Flabyo »

Todinho wrote:I dont see how his opinion on that ruins or undermines the facts he analysed
Have a read of this.

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