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Video: Game critics step up to the soapbox and rant at GDC
March 1, 2013 | By GDC Vault Staff

Notable online and print game critics roast the people who make games, the journalists who write about them, and the people who play them in this free video lecture from GDC 2009 courtesy of the GDC Vault.

Highlights of the rant include N'Gai Croal's take on the hardcore gamer and suggestions for new labels beyond 'casual' and 'hardcore.' Stephen Totilo offers four things ("not including lists") that should be banned in games writing, which would then provide clearer and more convincing work.

Later in the rant is Heather Chaplin on how game developers, not the art form, are stuck in adolescence, and Adam Sessler on Metacritic's score-molding practices and publishers using Metacritic as a gauge to reward developers.

The free video is available here.

Session Name: Burned by Friendly Fire: Game Critics Rant

Speaker(s): Eric Zimmerman, N'Gai Croal, Heather Chaplin, Adam Sessler, Stephen Totilo, Leigh Alexander, Jason Della Rocca, Tom Chick

Company Name(s): Independent, Hit Detection, Independent, X-Play, MTV News,, Perimeter Partners, Quarter to Three

Track / Format: Game Design

About the GDC Vault

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent GDC events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers. Those who purchased All Access passes to events like GDC, GDC Europe, and GDC China already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscriptions via a GDC Vault inquiry form.

Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company. More information on this option is available via an online demonstration, and interested parties can find out more here. In addition, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault admins.

Be sure to keep an eye on GDC Vault for even more new content, as GDC organizers will also archive videos, audio, and slides from other events like GDC China and GDC 2013. To stay abreast of all the latest updates to GDC Vault, be sure to check out the news feed on the official GDC website, or subscribe to updates via Twitter, Facebook, or RSS.

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Jorge Ramos
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This may be one of the few times I am in full and unconditional agreement with Adam Sessler.

I think it is ridiculous that publishers out there are using metacritic as some kind of gauge or criteria to determine how to recompense developers. The notion is absurd, and it shouldn't be allowed to happen.

Aggregates like Metacritic shouldn't ever enter the discussion of how and who should get paid.

The video as a whole was good, but I would confess that Sessler's portion toward the end stood out, and really impressed upon me that there is a somewhat likeable guy under the cover of G4 and the like, and how unbelievably awful the likes of CNet are to try and reinterpret such reviews, along with publishers using those reviews as some sort of criteria.

Even though it is old (technically this was from GDC '09), it is worth noting how incredibly relevant the rant is now.

Uzoma Okeke
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I agree with Heather's rant about how the industry is being flooded with the same repetitive gameplay, and has yet to fully develop, but I disagree with the reasoning behind it being ran by men (and I disagree with her definition of what a man is as well). I would guess that it's more related to the focus of profit versus progress, and how the pattern of "if you make a sequel or a game just like this AAA success then you pretty much are guaranteed to make money off it" has not been, overall disproven, if it has been disproven at all.

I believe Clint Hocking's brief statements further support this as industry games and indie games are both pioneered by males in the game industry. Yet indie devs have shown more development and pushed the gaming industry further recently than it has in the last several years.

It isn't that I disagree completely with heather, just her generalization of the male species under such an ignorant description of who we are. That, and I cannot fathom how people who cannot relate can speak on something as if they know. Men should never pretend that they know women, just as women should never pretend that they know men.