What Exactly Am I Doing Here?

This morning, a friend posted what appeared to be some sort of video game reviewer’s manifesto.  Long-winded and heavily antagonistic, it attempted to take to task video game reviewers who had the audacity to all laud the same games that he felt were entirely boring and unoriginal.  Bioshock Infinite, for example, he deemed a 2nd rate shooter without a single original idea or concept.  Now, while many people didn’t feel the same overwhelming yawp of joy that others did when playing Infinite, most everyone who played it felt that it was a great game.  This gentleman was furious at that fact.

Ironically enough, rather than form his own opinions of the game based on his natural, unencumbered feelings, he felt the need to review Infinite by responding directly to those who had already made their feelings known.  Italicized quotes from other reviewers are the bones that the meat of his feelings cling to.  His review isn’t a review so much as it is righteous indignation: fury that so many enjoyed and applauded a game that he gave a 2 out of 10.  The whole thing felt incredibly forced: an uber-hipster explosion in the face of a game that made him sigh and shift his legs.  I’m not going to post a link to his blog here, because I don’t think he deserves the traffic.  The whole thing was an immensely long-winded outpouring of verbal diarrhea.  To paraphrase Truman Capote: that wasn’t writing–that was typing.

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“You wear those shoes and dare to say that Skyrim’s graphics are overrated? Can’t say I’m surprised, sweetie.”

The online gathering of nerds was predictably hen-like, and we got our nerd rage out of the way and move on to squawking at the latest miscalculation Microsoft was up to.  But the whole experience left me wondering: Just what exactly am I doing here? So with that in mind, I thought I would give you, my readers, something of a Mission Statement, while this blog is still relatively young.

We live in a fascinating age.  With the advent and popularity of the internet, more and more people are able to express themselves in various, creative ways.  We have more and more places and ways to make our opinions known.  So much, in fact, that some reviewers believe that their opinions (once freely given) should be compensated retroactively.

I’ve been inspired by many people over the years, and it’s all led up to this.  Like friends Tyler Meier at The Arcade Philosopher and Gabriel Ricard at Drunk Monkeys, to the established excellence regularly produced by people like Leigh Alexander, The Nostalgia Critic, and the crew at Extra Credits, I am aiming to exercise my observations with a degree of research and intelligence.

Over the course of more than one superfluous degree, I have grown to know and understand critical theory and the criticism of the arts as an important part of creation.  Many people will laugh at that notion, and that’s because criticism doesn’t mean what they think it means.  Amazon, Yelp, Travelocity and many other websites have turned reviewing and criticism into a parody of Siskel & Ebert, except that Siskel & Ebert were trained in film and film history.  Reviewers have essentially been taught that they don’t have to bring much to the table to criticize–that their opinions are enough.  “I’m entitled to my opinion.”

No you are not.

You’re allowed to have an opinion.  But you are only entitled to something you can put together with logic and a handful of braincells.  Now that I’ve gotten that opinion out of the way, more than one of you have already noticed that my website does more than review and criticize (at least in the traditional sense).  And that’s true.  What I’ve set out to do is create a record: a series of thoughts and musings on everything that I believe falls under the umbrella of a phenomenon called “geek culture”.  Games, books, music, art–all of those glorious things that we obsess over.  I’m going to obsess too.  And I’m going to put my obsession out in the public eye to encourage thought, discussion, anything you want.

Maybe it’s a little self-indulgent, sure.  So to counteract that notion, I’m going to do my best to keep it as entertaining and/or amusing as possible.  And as it goes on, I encourage you to tell me what you think and what you want to hear about.  I shall do my best to please.  And if you catch me using a numeric scale to review books or games on, you have my permission to kick my XBOX in the crotch.

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