Journalism Versus Criticism

L.B. Jeffries over at Banana Pepper Martinis has apparently had it up to here with the 'how to write reviews' debate, and it sounds like the upcoming roundtable was maybe kinda the last straw.

Instead of arguing about reviews and criticism, he argues, maybe people should just set aside a little space and do criticism. A lot of really talented journalists already do this in their own blogs, and it's always nice to read. And what about the kerfluffle over reviews?

Nor is talking about how to review games even relevant. They're fine. IGN writes good reviews, questions about their scoring aside. Nor does anyone need to care or start suddenly doing things the same way for reviews. Hell, my views on games are completely batshit: I don’t think game design has to innovate to be relevant, I factor in outside reviews, and I need to beg Ralph Koster to forgive me if I ever meet him for being such a brat about not liking mastering rules. But my take on reviews doesn’t matter because I don’t consider them criticism. They’re consumer reports on the elements of a game that advise the person of what they’re buying.

I sort of agree; on the other hand, I don't see any reason other kinds of reviews couldn't move toward the 'criticism' side of things (that's probably the academic in me talking). Whether people would want them to is another matter. I think we can all agree that debating about things is all well and good, but it comes down to action or inaction, as the case may be.

Louder Than Words [Banana Pepper Martinis]