A middle finger to Ultor and lazy games developers
February 18, 2009

Trust me to churn out something like this.

I kind of wish I was involved in a competition at the moment, as this would make for a good entry - that is to say, it's another ridiculously pompous, experimental non-review that I'm really pleased with, and a few people will think is awful.

I've been toying with this idea for, ooh, about four years now, so it feels good to finally have it written. I've started and failed in the past, perhaps due to having not fully formed the argument until now, perhaps something else. Secretly (or, not-so-secretly now), I'm still a little concerned that the argument is a little convoluted, as I'd struggle to apply it to any other crap game off the top of my head. But hey! I felt it. It's gotta be worth something, right?

(As an aside, it marks the second time in as many days that I've linked Kieron Gillen's "The New Games Journalism" essay. Does that make me some sort of freaky superfan?)

Posted in the User Reviews section for obvious reasons. Do have a read, if you get the chance.

Most recent blog posts from Lewis Denby...

EmP EmP - February 18, 2009 (08:49 AM)
Enter it in Zapps, you lovable pretentous bastard!

I loved the review, by the by. Even if it is seemingly in the way of further Penumbra works.
Lewis Lewis - February 18, 2009 (08:56 AM)
Oh cock, I actually forgot about those.

Very difficult to review each one individually. How many words d'ya need for each?

Are you still doing Big Bang Mini for Res, btw?

Also: Christ, yes, this fits in exactly with Zipp's contest, dunnit? I'll get this involved, then?
EmP EmP - February 18, 2009 (09:02 AM)
As many words as feels applicable. Be thankful I'm the world's most understanding and laid back editor there is.

And, yeah, I'll still do Mini. Remind me of deadline?

Also, check your mail in a few. Workings, and such.
Lewis Lewis - February 18, 2009 (09:39 AM)
A week Friday. 5pm on the 27th.
EmP EmP - February 18, 2009 (10:08 AM)
Oh, easy, then.
bloomer bloomer - February 19, 2009 (06:16 AM)
You don't have to worry, you have explained yourself very well in the review. But would you go through the effort required to say this each time you felt this way? For instance it's how I feel about many dodgy games I nevertheless applied myself to and feel attraction to (EG Pax Corpus), but to say at this length that, essentially, I gave myself to the game and thus felt X anyway, I would not consider to be very helpful or readable more than once from myself, or any one person.

I don't want to generate a huge discussion on this subject as it could go on forever, but summarily I'm not enamoured of Kieron's vision of the new games journalism, or 'bow nigger' or of everyone making a powerful effort to become a supra subject of their review. This probably isn't surprising as I'm not big on gonzo, or Thomson or Hemingway either :) For reasons I can't shortly explain they cumulatively give me this sensation of free jazz, drug-quaffing, beat poety no-disciplined indulgence that doesn't gel with my world view.
Lewis Lewis - February 19, 2009 (03:39 PM)
"to say at this length that, essentially, I gave myself to the game and thus felt X anyway, I would not consider to be very helpful or readable more than once from myself, or any one person."

Interesting. I tried to juggle this one a bit. I mean, on the surface, it's not really a review, so it's no mandate to help anyone. But, even acknowledging this, I actually managed to shoehorn in a fair chunk of review-like elements. In other words, it's a piece that says "these are the things that are wrong with this clunky game. Yet, as an argumentative aside, this is why I remember it really fondly."

And, y'know. If you actually go through line-by-line, you can probably extract something resembling a 'standard' review from it - but it'll come out cripplingly negative. I suppose that's almost the point. I'm sure you know of my feelings towards striving for objectivity in games journalism. This - and Kieron's notion of games being about the gamer - is an attempt to demonstrate why it doesn't always work.

Bow Nigger is a fantastic piece. I understand the whole scene might not sit nicely with you, but I hope you can appreciate how important that article was to many games journalists at the time. I remember reading it back in, um, whenever it was (2002?) and thinking... I'll NEVER read anything like this in a games mag - how sad. And then PCGUK had the guts to actually buy it and print it in its entirety. Games journalists didn't do intelligent critique in this way before that. Whether you like it or not, you've got to admire its ambition.

You have to remember that the key to Kieron's NGJ "manifesto" was that, for it to work, it has to sit alongside the traditional 'news and reviews', not replace them. It's not really applicable to 'reviews' at all. 'Critique and analysis', but not 'reviews'. It isn't helpful or informative writing in the usual sense: no one's likely to buy JK2 based on AB's piece, or Red Faction based on mine. But it might encourage people to think a little differently about their hobby. And I'm always up for encouraging that.

Honest Gamers has no 'features' section. So it's a 'User Review', even though it isn't really.

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, I really appreciate it.

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