Over at PopMatters, the capstone of a nine-part series by L.B. Jeffries; this edition's topic is the problems with game criticism today. Reviews and critical pieces are generally worlds apart — and critical reviews should be providing feedback for the makers of games in a way that a standard review can't:
It gives developers feedback, real insights into their game, so they can go back and improve their work. There simply isn't a way for people to properly explain criticism in the current culture of "I'm not having fun" reviews. Nor is there a way to reward innovation or successful elements of games beyond gushing "I'm having fun" praise. It's one thing to say you like a game, but figuring out a way to go beyond that gives developers a better understanding of their audiences reaction.
In any case, it's an interesting essay that ties in with a lot of other criticism of the gaming press at large; the other eight parts are also a good read, if you're not scared off by the "Zarathustran Analytics" in the title.