GWJ Conference Call Episode 266

Conference Call

The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Special Guests Justin McElroy and Jeff Cannata, What To Do When The Trilogy is Done, Our Tribes: Ascend Contest Winners, Your Emails and more!

This week Shawn, Julian and Elysium are joined by Justin McElroy and Jeff Cannata! We've called in the big guns to talk about Skyrim and what developers should do with all the trilogies wrapping up.

To contact us, email [email protected]! Send us your thoughts on the show, pressing issues you want to talk about or whatever else is on your mind. You can even send a 30 second audio question or comment (MP3 format please) if you're so inclined.

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Weekend Confirmed
Tribes Ascend
Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
Skyrim Mod Thread

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Main Theme - The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - http://www.elderscrolls.com/skyrim/ - 37:25

Chandra - (b-sides) - workbench-music.com - 56:28

Comments

Ok guys, I was disappointed that not a SINGLE PERSON on the podcast was willing to really contemplate my e-mail about the difference between film critics and game critics and blockbuster IP. All four people dismissed the premise outright, which is pretty unusual for this podcast in my experience. Nobody expressed a view that was willing to even entertain the idea for any length of time.

I think this is particularly ironic given that the segment previous to this was about trilogy franchise fatigue, which all of you apparently are feeling. Yet all of those trilogies and the third game in them received glowing reviews as usual. So the question remains, if franchise fatigue is setting in, why do these games continue to receive glowing reviews? I feel like your previous segment addressed the very thing I was talking about. Yet when I put it in no uncertain terms, it gets dismissed outright.

About two years ago I started really contemplating where my anticipation for new shiny games came from and I realized that it was growing up reading EGM and Gamefan and craving "the next big thing," which was often quantified based on improvements in production values over what came before. I seriously wonder if much of the game industry can't see past this issue of production values. As Justin pointed out in the earlier segment, we have been playing the same games all generation. Halo Reach is still "Halo." Yet it still receives glowing scores despite not offering anything new or inventive.

The thing I respect about film critics is that they try to trend makers and taste setters. They often challenge the status quo. The status quo isn't good enough for them. I have a theory that this is because (at least traditional film critics) come from a classical liberal arts education where they are holding the things they judge up to a higher standard--up to the standard of classical art and literature. They rate Transformers as crap because they know film is capable of more as a medium and that it can do powerful things the same way a Dostoevsky novel or a Shakespeare play can. I don't feel game critics come from the same mindset. I don't feel that they are largely concerned with the human condition or what games have to say or how they say them. If you put a pretty Skinner box in front of them with high production values, they are happy. They rarely demand anything more. There may be the Tom Chicks of the gaming world, but unlike in film criticism they are the huge minority, not the standard. That was part of what I was alluding to.

I'm thinking more and more about this as I enter my midlife because videogames have been such an important part of my identity. Nick Sutner recently brought to my attention the idea of the "TUD" principle or the "time until death." It's a harsh way to put things, but I think it really does present a good perspective for critical assessment. What are games offering me that is new, that is worth my time, that challenges the way I think or see the world (whether the game world or the real one)? At 34 do I really want to invest 200 hours into the shiny version of Oblivion 2.0? After playing Skyrim for 20 hours, my conclusion is that I'm not sure I do because I can totally see through what is going on when I play it. I can see the machinations behind the drip feed systems of reward and I'm very uncertain that the game offers me anything at all that I will consider in any way relevant in 20 years beyond the idea that I had fun playing it.

The way you guys didn't even entertain the underlying question I was asking put me in two opposing mindsets. My first reaction was to assume that perhaps gaming culture really is pretty shallow and that there is little hope for this medium evolving behind a pastime of entertainment when even the smarter podcasts aren't willing to ask hard question about what they value in games and why. The other was that it made want to enter gaming criticism myself because I think the perspective I am trying to offer is so frequently under-represented and too frequently dismissed. I played most of the blockbuster games this year, as I do every year. I'm not some hipster who is "anti" whatever is popular. But I really feel like game critics aren't willing to challenge big budget games to offer something more meaningful than a way to pass time until we die. In other words, I want critics that are willing to ask questions of games beyond "are they entertaining" because that is precisely what critics in other mediums do on a regular basis.

That may sound like a high criteria for judgement, but it is the very criteria that separates high art from popular entertainment. I would like to think that this industry has the potential to be more than just popular entertainment, but it requires game critics that are willing to ask hard questions of the type that I don't see being asked. If anyone in game criticism was willing to take a hard look at that question, I would have thought it would have been this podcast.

Scratched wrote:
EternalGamer wrote:

(has any Hollywood film ever made as much as MW3 just did in a week's time?)

I just looked that up. In their first weeks, MW3 made $775m, and The Dark Knight made $239m

:shock:

Thanks for doing the math for me. I think what that shows is that gaming is on its way to becoming a dominant medium, which means it also becomes one with a prominent cultural influence and that it replaces much of the leisure time people would spend with other mediums such as books, films, and television. Because of this, I think the types of critical conversation surrounding them (by both critics and enthusiasts) becomes all the more important.

I think there is a role for criticism and a role for buyers guides. People magazine generally reviews movies like a buyers guide. "This movie's dumb, but its a blast." Critics, who write 1000 words about a film, are more likely to do what your talking about.

There *is* a division in games, you're just expecting it out of IGN and such. The critical work is ALL OVER the darn place on the web, and in a few places (Kill Screen) in print.

I'd actually argue that many casual filmgoers have an issue with the way movies are "scored" by metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes, where critics scores skew automatically low for action/big budget movies, and skew towards 100% for indy darlings. Immortals gets a 38 from RT, but a 75 from users and HUGE box office.

So I'm not sure one system is superior.

rabbit wrote:

I think there is a role for criticism and a role for buyers guides. People magazine generally reviews movies like a buyers guide. "This movie's dumb, but its a blast." Critics, who write 1000 words about a film, are more likely to do what your talking about.

There *is* a division in games, you're just expecting it out of IGN and such. The critical work is ALL OVER the darn place on the web, and in a few places (Kill Screen) in print.

I'd actually argue that many casual filmgoers have an issue with the way movies are "scored" by metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes, where critics scores skew automatically low for action/big budget movies, and skew towards 100% for indy darlings. Immortals gets a 38 from RT, but a 75 from users and HUGE box office.

So I'm not sure one system is superior.

You're right that there is the type of criticism that occurs in gaming but it is extremely on the margins whereas in film it isn't: in film it isn't some obscure website, it's the review for New York Times or Time magazine or the Chicago Sun Times. In the world of professional film writing, those are the "IGNs" of the world. They are the most main stream film reviews and they look at film from a critical viewpoint, as you indicate.

Is that better? In my opinion, yes it is better. The role of the professional critic should be to write from an informed perspective of an expert and try to help others understand that perspective. When I was 18 I didn't know the first thing about film and had it not been for Stanley Kaufman and Roger Ebert--two mainstream reviewers challenging me to see more in the films I watch and to demand more of them--I would have never have grown intellectually as a viewer of films.

There is definitely a gap between the average film goer and the average film critic (as I think their should be--they are, again, supposed to be the experts giving you an informed perspective). But I think that perhaps the more important role that film critics give is the feedback they provide for the people involved in making films. A producer might be happy enough if a film does really well at the box office, but I can guarantee you that most people involved in creating the film (writers, actors, directors etc.) still hold in high esteem what critics say about their work. So even though the average movie goer may dismiss film critics, I doubt the average person involved in making the film does. In fact, David Jaffe discussed this very thing in his keynote at the recent Penny Arcade convention. He specifically mentioned how film critics challenged film makers in the 1970s and formed a symboiotic relationship with them whereas he doesn't see that happening at all in modern game critics. He blantantly stated that he doesn't think they are willing to take a critical eye to games like Battlefield 3 (which he mentioned by name).

And I think Jaffe was right. Given that so much of our time and money goes into our consumption of media, we need critics in popular culture who are willing to turn the conversation into more than a conversation about what we should buy and how we can amuse ourselves until we die.

Tom Chick (say it three times in the mirror and he appears behind you) addressed fatigue and developer complacency in his Gears of War 3 and Uncharted 3 reviews, and even here on the GWJCC it reared its head with regards to the combat system in Arkham City (specifically from Shawn and maybe Zacny?). Chick's carved out an interesting niche where he can do stuff like that within a buyer's guide system, and he gets a lot of sh*t for it. I don't think he's that contrarian, really (he's already given two perfect scores this release season, to Batman and Saints Row 3), but he's got a strong point of view and seems to relish using it.

Great show by the way! Justin is my favorite.

Actually, the equivalent to what your talking about is not Kotaku or IGN, it's -- the NYT and the Chicago Sun Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/16/ar...

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/20/ar...

While I don't think Seth is a genius, isn't that in the same realm of a normal NYT comparison of a few movies and where they fit in current culture? And there's not even a score. What am I missing here?

I also don't think Joe is a genius, but isn't this essentially how they cover movies too:

http://www.suntimes.com/entertainmen...

The SERIOUS criticism going on about movies -- the really deep contextual stuff -- is going on way out in the edges too, at places like thefilmjournal.com.

The equivalent to the sometimes breathless boosterism people complain about in enthusiast game press is actually Variety. http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117...

I honestly think that because we're all so deep in this end of the pool, we get our heads so far up our own asses (me included) that we don't recognize how MOST of the world gets information about video games.

Yeah, I like Tom Chick's stuff a lot (even when I disagree with him). I should read him way more often than I do. I definitely think we need more like him.

Eternal,

For my money, right now the video game industry is providing better entertainment and content as a whole than the film industry both in the mainstream and independent markets. Taking your assumptions as a given (which, I still don't) I fail to see how decades of strong, desirable film criticism has led to a better end result. For my money I think critics in every medium give themselves vastly too much credit as arbiters of taste and directors of the form.

It's a topic you're clearly passionate about, but frankly I'm not at all. Sorry if we/I let you down on that one.

Certis wrote:

Frankly, I don't think we'll be talking about game reviews again for a while. I'm actually a bit surprised we're asked about them so much considering we don't really review games on GWJ.

It might have something to do with the fact that GWJ publishes a number of "thinkpieces," many of which often comment on the industry at large, and some folks think that the role and effectiveness of criticism is an important topic for the industry.

I honestly think that because we're all so deep in this end of the pool, we get our heads so far up our own asses (me included) that we don't recognize how MOST of the world gets information about video games.

Thanks for those links. I actually have to admit that until you posted those links, I have never read a game review from NY Times (except that frequently linked to piece of hyperbole on GTAIV a couple of years ago). I agree that pieces that you linked to demonstrate a type of critical perspective about games that is very similar to the same publications discussions about films.

But I'm not sure about the assumption that this is how the majority of people read about games. As you point out, they don't even have a rating system and therefore don't show up on the all important Metacritic rating page.

Yet you have made me realized that maybe I am barking up the wrong tree. Maybe it isn't so much critical discussion about videogames that I find unsatisfying and lacking in perspective. Maybe it really has to with the larger issue of a movement away from a older form of print culture and what print culture was--the realm of the cultural expert. Certainly websites like Aint It Cool News review films with the same kind of perspective I am deriding in videogame writers on the web. I don't like the fact that the "expert" in our culture is now frequently reduced to someone who tells you what you want to hear (whether it is the cable news channel telling you your politics are right or the reviewer of popular entertainment who doesn't try to challenge your perspective).

In that case, I'm just sorry that videogames "missed the boat" by arriving too late in the cultural cycle when the role of the expert was already on its way out (heavily faciliated by electronic media where suddenly anybody can be an "expert"). I think this artform could really benefit from the type of cultural critique that existed in mainstream publications in the 19th and 20th century.

Elysium wrote:

Eternal,

For my money, right now the video game industry is providing better entertainment and content as a whole than the film industry both in the mainstream and independent markets. Taking your assumptions as a given (which, I still don't) I fail to see how decades of strong, desirable film criticism has led to a better end result. For my money I think critics in every medium give themselves vastly too much credit as arbiters of taste and directors of the form.

I would actually agree with you about videogame industry providing overall better entertainment in recent years to a certain extent. It has been a frequently discussed frustration of even well known directors and actors that it is hard to get material that they care about greenlighted in the era of the 3D superhero film. If it ain't CG animals, super heroes, or gross out comedies, it's hard to get financing. Mainstream production companies aren't putting out stuff like The Last Picture Show, Five Easy Pieces, Clockwork Orange, Midnight Cowboy, Network, and Being There like they were in the 1970s.

But I think is a problem with assuming that just because the current state of the film industry is pretty dire that therefore the decades of strong film criticism had no impact. It had a lot of impact in those decades and I think a lot of people involved in making films would agree (the Neo-realist film movement being a prime example).

And yet while I somewhat agree that gaming has been more "entertaining" than most major film releases in the last few years, I can't think of a single game that I would say is as important or meaningful to a cultural conversation as any of those films I just references a couple of paragraphs above. Without critics having the conversation and without games that elicit them, we seem caught in a catch 22.

EternalGamer wrote:

Mainstream production companies aren't putting out stuff like The Last Picture Show, Five Easy Pieces, Clockwork Orange, Midnight Cowboy, Network, and Being There like they were in the 1970s.

And here I'm the one that usually gets accused of false nostalgia. I just don't think those are demonstrably "better" films than The Departed, Kill Bill, Pan's Labrynth, Mullholland Drive, most Wes Anderson or Coen Brothers stuff, Eternal Sunshine, etc. And they've all gotten broad box office, and major distribution. Esp if we're tossing critical darlings/commercial failures like Being There into the mix. Moonraker outsold it by 10 times in 1979. Clockwork orange was made for $2 million and Ebert is notorious for giving it 2 stars and hating it.

I spent years in hollywood, as I originally wanted to write for film. I still have many friends who are actively making films. I think you've got massive rose colored glasses both for the current and previous state of the film business vs. games. I actually think far MORE useful, interesting, critical stuff gets done on games than gets done on film these days. I seek out both. I find much more on games. It's where the "action" is if your an academic or a writer.

For my money, right now the video game industry is providing better entertainment and content as a whole than the film industry both in the mainstream and independent markets.

I think this is an interesting point. I studied film in school (albeit, I opted for a more useful major -- I followed the Benjamins and picked up a philosophy degree), and I found that the creative drive behind film, especially from the 60s through early 80s, was culture. It reflected back, to varying degrees of competence, societal fears and hopes. Five Easy Pieces, to take one of the examples up-thread, was as much about the struggle to comprehend the culture war as it was a character study vis a vis Nicholson.

Pre-60s, we have melodramas and (now subversive seeming) Rock Hudson-esque films. Before that, we get more technical explorations than narratives or character pieces (although I'm painting with a broad, fairly inaccurate brush here). Post-80s, we can see a trend in Hollywood towards more post-modernism and conscious genre rehashes.

Think about that: there's almost a century of film we could study, following a thread of creative evolution from medium exploration to post-modern self-consciousness of what's come before. Games don't have that. They aren't harkening back to a tradition of theater that has roots in Hellenistic society. In fact, until the 90s, you'd be hard pressed to talk about the emotional resonance in ANY game; the technology just didn't support it.

Reaching for a games-like-film criticism style is (in my opinion) lazy. The medium is too new, and we haven't even figured out what's fully possible yet; at best, we're poking at the edges of "technical/formal exploration" with some of the artsier games that are coming out today. Expecting cultural reflection is probably a bit premature.

Joe Cowley's reviewing games? Oh, it's a sports game. Fair play for sports writers to cover sports games.

Meanwhile, I haven't been particularly impressed with how the Sun Times has handled games. Probably has something to do with Ebert being across the newsroom, and his stance on the medium.

TheHipGamer wrote:
For my money, right now the video game industry is providing better entertainment and content as a whole than the film industry both in the mainstream and independent markets.

I think this is an interesting point. I studied film in school

Side note: Ebert, compared to academic film theory, isn't terribly deep.

Wordy --

My point is that saying that "Mainstream Media" is grey-lady newspapers for films but that "mainstream media" for games is IGN and GameInformer is just wooly thinking. Either you think people get their mass-media from an outlet or you don't.

wordsmythe wrote:
TheHipGamer wrote:
For my money, right now the video game industry is providing better entertainment and content as a whole than the film industry both in the mainstream and independent markets.

I think this is an interesting point. I studied film in school

Side note: Ebert, compared to academic film theory, isn't terribly deep.

(warning, major ramblings ahead)

Yeah, Ebert was actually a pretty early adopter of the "watch movie, form opinion, express opinion" school of critics that Eternal seems to be disillusioned with. I'd disagree that he isn't particularly deep though, because I think that gives way too much credit to a lot of the absurd, overblown analyses I had to sit through in film school -- and Ebert knows all that stuff, he just generally ignores it.

As an aside, I once sat in on a Q&A with Werner Herzog (and Ebert was there too, speaking of). A woman told him that the beginning of Aguirre (where the villagers are coming down the mountain) was very elemental, like rainfall, and asked if this was intentional. Herzog's reply was something to the effect of "Hell no! That was the only angle we could get on the mountain because we were too tired to hike any further that day."

I've always thought that answer pretty much summed up my opinion on some of the more "serious" film criticism out there. I actually find stuff like Brainy Gamer to be a lot smarter and more useful than its filmic analogues.

Bottle, I agree with your take on Ebert in so far as he is a sort of "every man" critic that largely eschews what he sees as an alienating theoretical discourse. But I don't that is the same as saying it eschews the traditional function of the critic. His reviews are frequently think pieces on how a film relates to a particular cultural or political attitude. At the very least it reflects a lot more traditional critic sensibilities than something like say Aint It Cool News. He is constantly involved in discussing the meaning or importance of a film, not just how he "feels" about it on a gut reactionary level.

rabbit wrote:

And here I'm the one that usually gets accused of false nostalgia. I just don't think those are demonstrably "better" films than The Departed, Kill Bill, Pan's Labrynth, Mullholland Drive, most Wes Anderson or Coen Brothers stuff, Eternal Sunshine, etc. And they've all gotten broad box office, and major distribution. Esp if we're tossing critical darlings/commercial failures like Being There into the mix. Moonraker outsold it by 10 times in 1979. Clockwork orange was made for $2 million and Ebert is notorious for giving it 2 stars and hating it.

While I do think the films I listed like Being There and Network have far more merit as cultural commentary than anything you just listed, I won't argue that the list you provided aren't great films with substance.

However, my comment was mainly a response to Elysium's comment about games/films in the last couple of years. Most of the films you listed are substantially older than that. It is very possible that people like Darren Aronyfsky and David Lynch also have "rose tinted" glasses when they talk about how difficult it is to get new projects greenlit today, but I mainly am going from my personal weekly trip to the cinema. Since moving to MS and having to depend on the local megaplex, I have found my options most weeks to be somewhat depressing. I was actually excited to see something like Knight and Day--a movie I would have completely ignored a decade ago--just because it wasn't another super hero origin story.

I spent years in hollywood, as I originally wanted to write for film. I still have many friends who are actively making films. I think you've got massive rose colored glasses both for the current and previous state of the film business vs. games. I actually think far MORE useful, interesting, critical stuff gets done on games than gets done on film these days. I seek out both. I find much more on games. It's where the "action" is if your an academic or a writer.

It is compeltely possible that what you say is true. Maybe I simply don't know where to go to find the good stuff in gaming.

Here's what I know: after I go and see a film I can spent several hours on Rotten Tomatoes reading reviews that I find pretty thoughfully written that don't just focus on the aesthetics or how "fun" the experience is. They can range from all kinds of personal introspection to political and cultural commentary on the film.

When I go to read game reviews on Metacritic, in my experience, I rarely anything like that.

I would totally dig a list of game writing websites that do more of what I'm getting at if you or anybody else would care to provide them.

TheHipGamer wrote:

I found that the creative drive behind film, especially from the 60s through early 80s, was culture. It reflected back, to varying degrees of competence, societal fears and hopes. Five Easy Pieces, to take one of the examples up-thread, was as much about the struggle to comprehend the culture war as it was a character study vis a vis Nicholson.

Interesting point. But while I certainly recognize the cultural and national identity anxieties of the 60s and 70s as a very dominant influence on media and commentary, are you implying that modern society is more comfortable and therefore complacent? Because when I look at all the huge issues facing Western culture in general and the U.S. in particular, I'm not so sure.

Think about that: there's almost a century of film we could study, following a thread of creative evolution from medium exploration to post-modern self-consciousness of what's come before. Games don't have that. They aren't harkening back to a tradition of theater that has roots in Hellenistic society. In fact, until the 90s, you'd be hard pressed to talk about the emotional resonance in ANY game; the technology just didn't support it.

But why aren't games an EXTENSION of the same cultural/artistic traditions? Film wasn't traditionally considered directly in the line of any of the arts either at first. I recall reading essays by Graham Greene where he constantly defended film as a viable artform against those that argued that it was, at best, a muddled medium that was more of a technological fetish than it was a means for serious cultural engagement. It is not as if videogames completely eschewed the baggages of things like narrative, even "gameplay" as narrative follows the traditional trajectory of Hellenistic tragedy in terms of conflict, climax, and denouement. Games have been trying to do something along the lines of traditional narrative involvement since at least the NES era when they moved away from being solely a type of competitive high score competition.

I don't necessarily think that conversations about games should directly mirror or pick up the language of film criticism or any other criticism. But do wish the conversations forwarded by game reviewers involved more of an effort to discuss them as cultural and historical artifacts given how much of a cultural presence they clearly are becoming.

Bottle wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:
TheHipGamer wrote:
For my money, right now the video game industry is providing better entertainment and content as a whole than the film industry both in the mainstream and independent markets.

I think this is an interesting point. I studied film in school

Side note: Ebert, compared to academic film theory, isn't terribly deep.

(warning, major ramblings ahead)

Yeah, Ebert was actually a pretty early adopter of the "watch movie, form opinion, express opinion" school of critics that Eternal seems to be disillusioned with. I'd disagree that he isn't particularly deep though, because I think that gives way too much credit to a lot of the absurd, overblown analyses I had to sit through in film school -- and Ebert knows all that stuff, he just generally ignores it.

As an aside, I once sat in on a Q&A with Werner Herzog (and Ebert was there too, speaking of). A woman told him that the beginning of Aguirre (where the villagers are coming down the mountain) was very elemental, like rainfall, and asked if this was intentional. Herzog's reply was something to the effect of "Hell no! That was the only angle we could get on the mountain because we were too tired to hike any further that day."

I've always thought that answer pretty much summed up my opinion on some of the more "serious" film criticism out there. I actually find stuff like Brainy Gamer to be a lot smarter and more useful than its filmic analogues.

Rambling way off topic: Herzog may consciously be claiming that, or he might be speaking sincerely. Either way, once you start digging into that kind of criticism, authorial intent is secondary; the piece exists for whatever combination of motivations and happy accidents brought it about, and it warrants criticism as it is, not why it is.

rabbit wrote:

Wordy --

My point is that saying that "Mainstream Media" is grey-lady newspapers for films but that "mainstream media" for games is IGN and GameInformer is just wooly thinking. Either you think people get their mass-media from an outlet or you don't.

Ah, but in this case I think the "mass-media" outlet is quickly becoming the aggregation site.

Aggregation for film reviews on Rotten Tomatoes still has a huge presence of traditional "grey lady" newspapers as you call them. Aggregation for game reviews on Metacritic has almost none, as you yourself pointed out. That is why I view mainstream film criticism as being associated still largely with print culture and main stream gaming journalism with websites like IGN.

Moreover considering everything an outlet produces as having equal weight in the collective conscious is, I think, an example of "wooly thinking." I would be willing to bet a lot more people read A. O. Scot's film reviews in NY Times than read the game criticism published in the same paper. Same is probably true for IGN. I would guess a lot more people read their review of GTAIV than read the NY Times piece and that way less people read IGN's film reviews.

A major difference is that with films, Metacritic will ASSIGN a score to a review based on their interpretation of it. For games they will not include a review if it doesn't have a score.

Sites of substance in gaming (off the top of my head, and not every article at every outlet):

GamersWithJobs.com
http://dubiousquality.blogspot.com/
brainygamer.com
killscreen.com
critical-distance.com
gamasutra.com
newyorker.com (check out http://www.newyorker.com/online/blog...)
unwinnable.com
popmatters.com
rock paper shotgun
gamepolitics.com

And then, you have folks like Leigh Alexander and Kirk Hamilton who write for places like Kotaku, or Justin's stuff at Joystiq. Or Paste. Or Slate. Again, not every time, but more often than not.

Hey guys, this isn't mentioned in the tutorial or anything but on the PC version of skyrim you can set hotkeys to things in your favorites menu. Just open it up and press 1-8. It will change your life. Peace.

TheHipGamer wrote:
Bottle wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:

Side note: Ebert, compared to academic film theory, isn't terribly deep.

A woman told him that the beginning of Aguirre (where the villagers are coming down the mountain) was very elemental, like rainfall, and asked if this was intentional. Herzog's reply was something to the effect of "Hell no! That was the only angle we could get on the mountain because we were too tired to hike any further that day."

Rambling way off topic: Herzog may consciously be claiming that, or he might be speaking sincerely. Either way, once you start digging into that kind of criticism, authorial intent is secondary; the piece exists for whatever combination of motivations and happy accidents brought it about, and it warrants criticism as it is, not why it is.

Heck yes. If you're going to speak intelligently about art, you'd better quickly learn that what a creator intended doesn't mean beans.

rabbit wrote:

Wordy --

My point is that saying that "Mainstream Media" is grey-lady newspapers for films but that "mainstream media" for games is IGN and GameInformer is just wooly thinking. Either you think people get their mass-media from an outlet or you don't.

Absolutely. I wish the Sun Times just did more, better, smarter stuff about games, is all.

Related: I would have to brush up my CV.

wordsmythe wrote:

Heck yes. If you're going to speak intelligently about art, you'd better quickly learn that what a creator intended doesn't mean beans.

I feel I've been indirectly insulted, so I'd like to point out that I agree. I just worded my earlier point poorly. It had nothing to do with authorial intent.

TheHipGamer wrote:

Either way, once you start digging into that kind of criticism, authorial intent is secondary; the piece exists for whatever combination of motivations and happy accidents brought it about, and it warrants criticism as it is, not why it is.

I don't disagree. But that doesn't change the fact that I find that kind of analysis more or less useless and silly. Looking at things like social impact (as Eternal pointed our Ebert is known to do), emotional resonance, broader human themes, and the techniques that bring those things to life is much more valuable to me than getting into the painfully abstract symbolism and metaphorical stuff.

Serious game criticism, when it's good, covers all those bases AND has the bonus of dissecting the mechanics, which generally vary a lot more from game to game than from movie to movie. It gives me a lot more substance to chew on.

Bottle wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:

Heck yes. If you're going to speak intelligently about art, you'd better quickly learn that what a creator intended doesn't mean beans.

I feel I've been indirectly insulted, so I'd like to point out that I agree. I just worded my earlier point poorly. It had nothing to do with authorial intent.

Don't worry, that just means wordy likes you.

Bottle wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:

Heck yes. If you're going to speak intelligently about art, you'd better quickly learn that what a creator intended doesn't mean beans.

I feel I've been indirectly insulted, so I'd like to point out that I agree. I just worded my earlier point poorly. It had nothing to do with authorial intent.

I'm quite sure no insult was intended. But I love the fact that someone can legitimately be insulted here for feeling falsely accused of arguing authorial intent. God bless GWJ.

rabbit wrote:
Bottle wrote:
wordsmythe wrote:

Heck yes. If you're going to speak intelligently about art, you'd better quickly learn that what a creator intended doesn't mean beans.

I feel I've been indirectly insulted, so I'd like to point out that I agree. I just worded my earlier point poorly. It had nothing to do with authorial intent.

I'm quite sure no insult was intended. But I love the fact that someone can legitimately be insulted here for feeling falsely accused of arguing authorial intent. God bless GWJ.

And think, rabbit: were this an EA forum, arguing authorial intent would get you banned. So much power, and you're not abusing any of it.