Post Singularity, but Post Office Speed

Dec 11, 05:53 by IROSF
Please comment!
Dec 11, 07:01 by Erin Hoffman
Great, a game reviewer who starts us off by saying he's doing this because he's not qualified to do anything else. =/ And who thinks the form is in its infancy. Rolling Stone was printing articulate and insightful (and *concise*) commentary on the growing world of video games in the late seventies; this field is now over twenty years old.

I will endeavor to have higher hopes and expectations for the future of this column.
Dec 11, 15:12 by Bluejack
Well, uh, what did you think of the actual article?

In fact, our Corey, while modest, is widely talented, highly respected, and deeply experienced in the field. (Long-time gamers may recognize "Corey Rixle" as an in-reference.) You will note that the column is *not* about video games, it is about the story aspect of all games: the first column is a pen and paper rpg, for example.

We welcome criticism, but welcome it even more when it's relevant.
Dec 11, 23:04 by Marti McKenna
Heh. Good thing our Corey's got a thick skin, 'cause that's a hell of a welcome. :)

I've been working in the games industry for over 20 years, and I enjoyed this. Also, I think if one reads past the word "infancy," one finds that the claim is a fair one: literary criticism has certainly been around far, far longer than game criticism. And as Bluejack pointed out, this column is not just about video games, but all games.

Oh, and you can take my word for it, Corey is well-qualified to do much more than this, and does so daily. Self-deprecation is one of those things writers do.
Dec 12, 02:33 by Janine Stinson
I admit that word "infancy" made me think, "um, what?" a la our first commenter. Then I remembered that Adam Sessler and Morgan Webb reviewed *only* video games on "X-Play." I'm not a gamer by any stretch of the imagination, but I did enjoy "X-Play" as critique. For me, this column is a bit long, but for those interested in all gaming forms, it's probably just right. :)

The only time I ever played D&D, it took me three hours to get into the game (be allowed in via the game play, that is), and less than that to get killed off. I've heard that a good DM is worth their weight in gold, though, so I haven't given up on the game entirely.
I'm definitely a fringe observer for now.

Because of the fictional content of SF/F/H games, "Gamenivore" is a good fit for IROSF, and thanks to Corey Rixle for taking it on. Maybe he could interview some content creators as well? Just a thot.

Dec 12, 06:50 by Erin Hoffman
Hi Marti. Yes, I did take it for granted that anyone writing about games would have thick skin. :) Let me try to articulate my frustrations in a more civilized way, and I'll try to be brief.

I'm a game designer (a maker of alleged "blocks of heroin", actually) with ten years' professional experience. I'm also a game journalist and regular contributor to an award-winning pro-paying game (video and otherwise, and popular culture) magazine, and that's real world pro, not spec fic pro. I also work with academics and have contributed to academic publications on the study of games.

Corey's words about game journalism's "infancy" might have been true ten years ago, but they are wildly out of date, and for a field that has been fighting for serious treatment for the last decade, it's deeply disheartening to see this antiquated assumption reiterated without attention to recent advances in the field -- from someone who is claiming to now enter it. _Game Informer_ is eighteen years old and has 3 million subscribers (USA Today has 1.9m); comparatively new print magazines like _Play_ (ten years old) run insightful commentary under a higher production value every month than any speculative fiction magazine on the market. This is not "a handful of magazines", and if he thinks that most game reviews are lists of features, he's going to the wrong websites.

If we look past "infancy", while you and Corey's friends may be thoroughly convinced of his brilliance and sway, I, who have never heard of him, am getting my introduction to his debut column with the message that he isn't well-read enough for general commentary and so he's falling back on writing about games. This isn't about self deprecation but how a professional introduces themselves to an audience. My conclusion, based on his self description and his comments about my field, is that he needs to do quite a bit more reading -- about, I am to understand, his own field.

To wax academic for just a second, the further statement in "why game criticism is impossible" (again pretty insulting to people who make a living at this, but let's not dwell) that "games change after repeat play" is not only false but categorically counter to what a game _is_. I understand what he's saying as he further explains, but writing (as you know) is about precision. And what defines a game is a rule structure itself that does not change -- allowing a game like chess to be experienced identically whether near its inception in the middle ages or today. This is what makes a game a cultural artifact unlike any other. And this isn't new, either -- it was laid out by Dr. Elliott Avedon in 1971 in his _The Study of Games_. If we're to talk about _game_ commentary as opposed to _video game_ commentary, not only does it go back fully as long as literary criticism (in time, not volume -- there were games before there were books), there are entire "recreational studies" programs in universities devoted to them, alongside their incidental study in sociology, archaeology, and cultural anthropology. The statement reflects lack of knowledge of the history of the medium. As game developers we may not necessarily have or need this level of detail, but a game commentator and would-be game critic should be held to a higher standard of knowledge, especially if they're going to denigrate the field out the gate by calling it young and unexplored.

I understand that he is your friend and I'm quite willing to believe he's capable of better than this, and I hope you'll understand my wanting to hold a newcomer to games journalism to a higher standard. So welcome, Corey. :) The pond is big now, and the water's fine. :)
Dec 12, 18:27 by Marti McKenna
Erin, thanks for your insightful post. I'm aware of your work, and Corey himself is a fan. I appreciate you taking the time to make your points, which you did with aplomb.

I'm looking forward to seeing how Corey answers the challenges of taking on this column, and I hope you'll continue to be a part of the discussion.

   

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