This Is Why We Aren’t Respected

The whole industry is a joke

There’s a question that keeps me up at night: will video games critics ever be respected? I have a feeling that the answer is probably yes, but how long it will take for that to happen is probably the saddest answer to that question. There are many reasons for this, such as the negative stereotyping of gamers as a whole, but the fact that the most popular video games critics out there are largely immature, ego fueled morons who soil the profession just by putting pen to paper is most likely the main reason. One of the worst offenders as of late is the illustrious Spoony of spoonyexperiment.com.

I believe that an over inflated ego does nothing but hurt the work of a critic. Once you insert yourself as a person into your work, it destroys any value or insight that you have. Beyond being reasonably eloquent and erudite, a critic must be mature, as their opinion should be looked up to and respected, not derided and challenged simply because you dislike the person that wrote it, which is impossible when these video games ‘critics’ decide who they are as a person is a very large part of their reviews. It’s obvious that their personality may dictate their opinion on a game, but ego and personality are separate.

Unfortunately, Spoony has a giant ego.

On the 5th of August, Spoony posted a video review for the downloadable Xbox Live title Deadliest Warrior. The very first words we’re subjected to are “this game is fucking retarded”. Oh, great, a critic with the vocabulary of an angry teenager. The review goes on for about 5 minutes and addresses what are some pretty valid points, albeit in a tone that conveys just how right he thinks he is. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of confidence in one’s opinion, but the tone implies that the very idea that you could disagree with him is absolutely ludicrous. He criticises the game for ‘senseless gore’ which is ironic, considering his rather gratuitous use of ‘fuck’. I love to say fuck, when used appropriately for emphasis, it has a way of punctuating an idea that few words can equal. But with Spoony…it’s just there. Senseless gore, if you will.

That’s all fine, I can deal with that. It irritates me that he’s so popular and it drags down the perception of critics as a whole, but fine. Whatever. Some critics are bad, I can deal. I swear to god I can deal with it.

But what follows is quite the tale of cognitive dissonance. The absolutely unthinkable happened, people disagreed with Spoony – on the internet!

People dared to challenge and poke holes in his review, which Spoony decided to respond to directly. Literally. He used a camera is a basically what I’m getting at. His initial review only had about 4 minutes of actual content, but his rebuttal, with said camera, lasted an excruciating 22 minutes. 22 minutes. In it he addresses what are no doubt the most major dissenters, picking out choice quotes and telling them why exactly they’re stupid and wrong. The worst thing about this is that many of his insights are valuable; they’re just presented in the absolute worst fashion. There’s no decorum in it, no tact. It’s an obnoxious ego fueled rant coming from a perpetually pubescent caricature of a real person.

During the 22 minute rebuttal, Spoony mentions that the developers of Deadliest Warrior responded to his review.

“Thanks folks, we know the game is not perfect and are working to fix things in the TU. These kinds of reviews from people that don’t really give the game more than a glancing look are discouraging but the feedback on these forums helps us as developers see what real gamers think about the game. It was discouraging that nowhere in the review was mentioned the price point, the dodging, stamina or parry systems but oh well… you can’t please everybody.

The fact that DW is even in the same sentence as Tekken, SF, MK is good enough for us. Even if they are only comparing them to tear the game apart. If we had 20 million dollars and two years to build a game I wonder what that would be like? Oh we can dream… When you pay for milk and expect honey you’re going to end up with milk and be pissed about it. It’s not our fault that you are delusional.

I’d love it if someone on this board made a comment on spoony that shed some light on what this game is all about.

But thanks again for your support!

cheers,
Spike Games.”


He carefully responds to the major points raised, but for some reason, in the written article after the posted video, his ego rears its ugly head.

“And next time, Spike, spell my fucking name right. It’s Spoony. With a capital S. As in, your game is Shit with a capital S.

Remember it, because people listen to what I have to say.”

And it’s a fucking shame that they do.

Further reading: http://spoonyexperiment.com/2010/08/06/deadliest-warrior-the-game-follow-up/

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10 Comments

Filed under Critical pieces

10 responses to “This Is Why We Aren’t Respected

  1. i think the negative stereotypes will be gone when the old generation gets replaced by the new generation. in other words, when the world population consists of people who are born during and after the birth of the video-game era; because they are going to be familiar with them.

    • That’s definitely what I had in mind. It’s pretty much the only way humanity actually achieves any real progress.

    • Josh

      I disagree, there are a large number of young people who don’t engage in any sort of video gaming.

      Then there are those who enjoy social, mass marketed games such as the Call of Duty franchise. These people arguably have no need for games journalists and critics as they buy games based on past experiences and popularity, rather than any sort of artistic merit. There’s nothing wrong with how they operate, but although they play games you wouldn’t really call them ‘gamers’.

      Following that, you have the niche enthusiasts who play and enjoy a variety of games, seeking out the best of the best and playing old, obscure games in search of little nuggets of gold.

      To use a similar example, how many people do you know who own cameras? How many of those folks actively read reviews, are aware of prominent (or even obscure) photographers? How many of those people would identify themselves as photographers?

      Just because lots of people play games doesn’t mean that they all take it as seriously as each other. In my opinion, the negative stereotype will exist until gaming is able to move away from being seen as the domain of children.

      • Eldorr

        I agree totally as long as gaming is considered a child’s pass time the whole crowd of over 18 gamers aren’t going to be taken seriously.

        First things first tho lets get a R18+ rating in Australia.

        Also its such a shame that “Spoony” with the ego that he has still can raise the attention of the game’s developer them selves, I guess in this day an age all you need to be popular on the Internet is a camera and a obnoxious loud mouth.

      • Lots of people have no need for critics, especially gamers. But many people listen to music, watch movies or TV shows, based on what they like rather than what a respectable critic said.

        But, the people that do like to see what critics have to say have a large collection of good writers and respected critics to choose from.

        However, if you look at critics as people that just write reviews, then you misunderstand the profession. TheEscapist aren’t a very well respected magazine, yet they publish probably the largest amount of critical pieces in the business. It might have something to do with the fact that most of the writers are pretty bad and the topics are boring, but there’s absolutely not respect in what they do because of the crowd they attract through their videos and other content like Zero Punctuation, the family guy of games criticism.

        I plan to be writing quite a lot of critical pieces in the blog and I think my insight goes beyond whether or not a game gets 2/5 or 3/5. Critics should be respected for their ability to identify a bad trend, criticise it, and influence a change. I don’t think video games critics can do that at all.

      • Josh

        “First things first tho lets get a R18+ rating in Australia.”

        I fail to see a connection between gamers being seen as mature and gaming being seen as a legitimate pastime, and the need for more explosions and gore.

        Of the games so far refused classification, I wouldn’t expect any of them to further the plight of videogamers. If anything they’d just be paraded by children and manchildren alike as being ‘cool cause you can blow shit up’.

  2. Josh

    On a side note, apparently anyone who disagrees with spoony is part of some ‘lunatic fringe’ and are that ‘nutter 10%’.

    So 90% of people agree with spoony? Funny, his comments don’t exactly reflect that.

  3. Homemaster

    Critics aren’t for the gamers, they are for the game makers.

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