TheGameCritique – a new website is here

The story goes like this: As time went on at Creative Fluff and I was found to be the main contributor for the game design section I was eventually made into that section’s content editor. We were looking into how we could expand the examinations of games. The first point we looked to was how were we going to handle reviews. Our esteemed Editor-in-Chief, Megalongcat, decided it should be on a five point scale and left the task up to me on what criteria would constitute our scores. We are a design web site after all, not a game review site. As I thought and worked on it, I realized that we either have to look solely at the mechanical functions of a game’s programming or as its effectiveness as a whole as a work of artistic expression. The problem with the first was, we are not entirely qualified to speak intelligently on that subject. The issue with the second is the fundamental idea that you can rate a piece of artwork quality by its cultural significance with a numerical score. Trust me I tried. Instead of numbers I assigned a concept to each number related to its effect. It makes more sense when fully explained, but not by much.

Then I thought, what if I turned it around. The review score is a conclusion reached from the text evidence of the written part where the reviewer relates his experience of his time with the game. What if I had the review score at the beginning of the concept and used it as a thesis rather than a representation of its worth. Of course after more consideration and discussion, if that is where we are moving with the idea of examining specific titles, then why would we need a score at all? Sufficed to say, the entire idea fell through. But it spawned a new one. I was still interested in exploring video games critically. That is when another of our contributors, Katharine O’Brien, stepped in with the question: why don’t we set up a sister site for the specific purpose of doing just what I had envisioned?

And so we are. From the writer of such articles as “The Portal Effect” and the “Single Player Game: Story vs. Gameplay” series, a new website devoted to the idea that games are an art form and that they should be examined critically. is up and running.

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Eric Swain

A graduate of Boston University, majoring in English and Creative Writing and has spent significant time studying story structure and theory in the mediums of books, film and video games. His articles offer unique perspective on deep game development and design through his eclectic prose. you can find his critical analysis on

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