Pretentious game journalism

What a load of whiny crap:

Translation:

What you like is stupid. You should like what I like.

It doesn’t take a genius to determine why mainstream titles sell better than esoteric “art” games. There is obviously much broader market appeal for high-quality 3D graphics and familiar gameplay, compared to low-res 2D graphics and confusing interactivity.

Since when is Passage objectively better than Assassin’s Creed? And why should the average mainstream gamer be held accountable for their subjective preference – not donating money to support stuff that they don’t like?

I’d love to see more people embrace games like Passage… just so that pretentious game journalists lose their perceived moral high ground and have to find some other cause that they can champion and feel superior about.

Note: Obviously, people should donate to indie developers if they want to support them. Calling mainstream titles crap, and talking down to consumers for buying them, is clearly not the best way to go about encouraging people to do so.

8 thoughts on “Pretentious game journalism”

  1. Well, he isn’t really calling mainstream titles crap and he isn’t saying we should donate to indie developers whose game we may not have liked. He is saying that if we’re prepared to pay an arm and a leg for a mainstream title for the possibility of enjoying it and then complain about how crap it was (if we think it’s crap, of course), why don’t we donate a few bucks to the developer of a game that we already know is a good game because they’ve been generous enough to release it for free? And if we’re prepared to pay $60 or more for the potential of a great game, why aren’t we prepared to pay $5 for a game that we already know is great and that we know totally deserves that financial support because we’ve seen it first hand? That’s not really whiny, is it?

  2. Your brief and concise synopsis of the underlying point isn’t whiny, but the video unfortunately is.

    He grossly detracts from the point by asserting that the low level of donations for Passage must be due to zombie consumers who are willing to pay for whatever they are told to, rather than being willing to pay for what’s actually good.

    His malicious condemnation of Assassin’s Creed and unequivacol praise of Passage belays a complete disregard for people who probably find Assassin’s Creed fun enough to pay $60 for and plainly just didn’t enjoy Passage (and only tried it out because it was free).

    Would I pay $60 for Assassin’s Creed? No, I don’t think it’s worth it. Would I pay $5 for Passage. No, I don’t think it’s worth it.

    It isn’t productive to lambast people, assuming some great injustice, when there is a more reasonable explaination: Maybe there just aren’t enough people who value Passage enough to make it economically viable. Saying he thinks it is a great game doesn’t make it so to everybody.

  3. Dear Mr Rant,
    Passage was not fantastic.
    Passage was a mediocre idea executed simply.
    Today I Die was a good idea executed simply. It was actually poetic. It had some depth and abstraction, but I’m still not going to throw out $5 to just any arty game that kills a few minutes. Instead I’ll remember the Today I Die guy and if he makes a commercial length release my ears will be perked.

    I totally agree with what you’re saying, Nick. This Rev guy’s a joke.

  4. People who complain about the market always frustrate me – they’re using their own anecdotes and opinions to predict the overall population, when there already *is* hard data describing the opinions and decisions of the overall population.

    Assassin’s Creed was the best-selling single-player only game of 2007 in the US. Now, some of that can be attributed to the marketing campaign, but I am confident it wasn’t the most expensive marketing campaign of that year. So something about that game made millions of people buy it or convince their friends to buy it.

    I think the problem with independent game fans is that they mistake their artistic valuation of a game with a financial valuation, and mistake “my favorite game” with “a game many people will like.” I doubt even Rev here would pay $60 for Passage, and I’m confident less than a million will ever play the game, even for free. Coca-Cola gets the most sales – something inoffensive that appeals to the greatest number of people, even if it’s nobody’s favorite.

    In every other media, the progressive, challenging, and most compelling works of art are because of those very definitions relegated to being least widely-appealing and least profitable. We should push for and celebrate that independent, artistic gaming is getting so cheap and easily distributable that someone *can* make Passage by themselves, without needing any funding. You can’t make and distribute an independent film that cheaply, and neither are ever going to be huge mass-market successes.

  5. (About Assassins Creed) “So something about that game made millions of people buy it or convince their friends to buy it.”

    That would be Jade Raymond.

  6. I thought Passage was hardly fantastic, and Today I Die was amusing for about ten minutes… Assassin’s Creed on the other hand, was a complete experience of many hours. It was shit, but let’s not get into that, because the fact remains it was the complete shit experience that an indie game could never deliver.

    Based on the idea that I, having acquired for free a product that was always intended to be free, and after only tiny amount of time, came away slightly amused, should now be required to donate money to its creator, I think it’s time I started taking donations from people for reading my fucking blog. The logic is the same. Hey, you found my free product amusing. Give me some fucking money.

    I approve of the general idea that if you think something is worth paying for you should pay for it (no way!), but this guy’s understanding of what makes a game, why that’s different to what makes a marketing and public relations experience frankly boggle my tiny insect brain.

    I don’t know about you guys, but personally I find high concepts coupled with neat execution to be better than high concepts Frankensteiningly-crowbarred together with shitty indie execution. Call me crazy.

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