Do you need to finish a game to review it? This is a question that has been asked over and over again by fans and professionals alike. But it’s by stepping back and asking what the whole point of a review actually is that we get to a clearer understanding of the topic.
We all have games that are old favorites. The games we grew up with. But how do we look back on those games? How are we supposed to engage in criticism of those games, given both the age of the game and what the game itself means to us? This essay explores some concepts of criticism as they relate specifically to older games, and how problems of nostalgia can impact our ability to discuss these games.
For people who play video games a lot, it can be common to run into games we don’t like. But how often do we keep playing those games once we realize we aren’t having fun? I offer a defense of playing bad games as a way of helping us to build up critical skills.
Sometimes we talk about games in terms of the intent behind them. Perhaps a part of the game isn’t fun, but the designers made it that way. But is that a good explanation? In this essay I argue that the intent behind a system should not be relied upon for deciding whether a video game’s systems are good or bad.