You may be surprised to find this out, since I’ve posted so many reviews, but I fucking hate critics. Even the “good” ones. Not just with games, but with anything. There have been maybe 3 or 4 critics who have had any kind of positive effect on their industry. The unfortunate thing about the occupation is that it so often results in people who feel that, because someone has found their opinion good enough to publish and send out to several people, that their opinion is somehow more valid or informed than anyone else’s. Again, in some cases, this can be true, but most of the time, these are people who aren’t any more knowledgeable about the quality of the art in question, or usually even any better at informing others.
An example: Nat Tate, a famous expressionist painter, had a launch party for his posthumous biography on April 1, 1998. Some of his work was exhibited, and David Bowie read from the book. Gore Vidal, who had written an endorsement for the book, was also in attendance as a special guest. Many of the most famous people in the art world, collectors, historians, and especially critics, were there, many excited to finally see such an influential painter honored.
If you haven’t guessed, Nat Tate didn’t fucking exist. His name was a combination of two famous museums in England, the National Gallery and the Tate Gallery. The event was on fucking APRIL FOOLS DAY, for Christ’s sake. But no, these various critics were too pompous (and too blatantly fucking stupid) to admit they had never heard of him. They just went right along with the hoax (which, for the record, Gore Vidal and David Bowie were in on).
A second example: Wine critics were once served two wines. One, the more expensive of the two, they described as “balanced” and “full”. The other, cheaper wine was “unbalanced”, “weak”, “simple”. Imagine how they felt when they revealed that both bottles were of the same cheap wine.
Finally, a third example: Recently, Roger Ebert again argued, completely unsuccessfully, as to why he doesn’t think video games are art. This was a mistake. The internet has completely lost its shit. And rightfully so, though I may disagree with the way some people go about doing it. He has no right to decide what is and is not art any more than I do, and that’s what critics do that offends me so much. I’m not going to flame Mr. Ebert, even though he is completely mistaken about his opinion, because he’s one of the few critics who I generally like. Not because I think he’s got some kind of insight into film that I don’t have; only I know what I like to watch. I like him simply because he is a good writer, and the way he presents his arguments is entertaining. Honestly, the funny thing is that I could really care less about his actual opinions.
And that brings me to my overall point about myself: there’s no reason you should actively want to know my opinions for any reason other than entertainment. My opinion should not help you decide to purchase a game, or think a game is good or bad. I just want you to be entertained. The reason so many people are offended at Roger Ebert’s comments is because they think for some reason that his opinion on games affects them. It does not. And that’s the way it should be. The entire idea of a critic is completely asinine; what training can you have to be a good music critic? What do you compare an album to? Your own experiences and tastes. The same thing applies to video games; who give a fuck how somebody from Game Informer feels Splinter Cell: Conviction compares to the other games in the series? He’s just some guy in California, he has no training or insight that makes him know any better than a 13 year old who has played every game in the series. What makes him different is that he has some kind of education or experiences as a writer, and that’s what he should be taken as. Someone who can express his ideas in an entertaining way through words (or, in Game Informer’s case, express Gamestop’s ideas in an infotaining way through a catalog for Gamestop’s products). And that’s all I can do. Hopefully I can make you laugh, or be reminisce, or what the fuck ever. Just don’t think that my opinion on something should mean anything to you (except on World of Warcraft; my statements about that game are not opinions, they are stone cold facts). I don’t have time to feel like some pompous, self-important asshole.