“Music is better listened to than analyzed” – Duke Ellington
Recently an article from Kotaku.com came across our news feed entitled “The most popular games are dumb, can we stop apologizing for them now?” I will admit that I have yet to read the article, especially since we get over a hundred news feeds at this point. However it did remind me of something one of my professors said back in undergraduate school when I was studying fine art. The “prof” maintained that the arts were not made for the reviewer. Instead, he exclaimed, they were made for the common man – for the person who pays the admission ticket.
As for critics of the arts, those self appointed pundits who feel theyhave their finger on the pulse of the masses, they rarely seem to agree with the box office, book sales, or copies of games flying off the shelves. Woody Allen’s famous movie Annie Hall was panned by New York Critic John Simon:
“With Annie Hall, Woody Allen has truly underreached himself… his new film is painful in three separate ways: as unfunny comedy, poor moviemaking, and embarrassing self-revelation… It is a film so shapeless, sprawling, repetitious, and aimless as to seem to beg for oblivion. At this, it is successful.” –John Simon, New York
In one of my favorite moments from Annie Hall one of the movie patrons in line is pontificating about movies. When he begins to talk about Marshall McLuhan Woody can stand it no longer…
Movie Patron: I happen to teach a class at Columbia called T.V. Media and culture. So my insights into Marshal McLuhan have a great deal of validity.
…It is at this point that Woody walks off screen and actually gets Marshal Mchluhan.
Worse still is when we, the paying public, begin to believe the reviewer whether it be of movies, theater or a videogame. Like the Rich man of whom Tevye sings in Fiddler on the Roof, we think the critic must somehow “really know” because he or she considers themselves a “professional”. In the end the end the only person who really knows whether you will like a movie, book or video game is you.
See you online,