Criticizing Game Criticism

Don’t know how many people will actually see this, but I hope at least Professor Sample does.

A game designer by the name of Dan Cook maintains this blog called lostgarden where he talks about the sorts of games he makes, in terms of the process of development and design, as well as what he would like to see out of the industry in the future.  We’ve talked about game criticism and the study of games the whole semester, and I believe we even touched upon the idea that games need some sort of “art critics” to be considered art.  However, Cook wants critics who understand the process of game development, and will push the medium forward.  Not simply “this feels right” or “I don’t like this” but hard evidence.  Not just “well this seems like film” but “this is how video games are.”  He actually makes a nod to Koster in his article, which made me feel excited and informed.
Still, people are starting to get pretty fired up about his claim that one should be a game designer to give a good critique of games as a medium.  What I assume he means is that you need to know how a medium works in order to critique it.  While I have not been the producer for any CDs, I can play reasonably well, and thus can offer a much deeper critique than someone who does not know a fortissimo from an accelerando.  Even if you can not play music, it is helpful to know musical terminology, the essence of what goes into the craft, when trying to critique it.
The comments are getting pretty flame-like, but I would like to see what other people have to say about this, especially Prof. Sample.  Please read the comments on the post before commenting, if you choose to do so, and keep it civil.

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