Can we talk about games without talking about ourselves?

I’m sure you’ve heard the complaint before. All art is a subjective experience. So what place do we have pretending to be “critics” when objective criteria for analysis doesn’t really exist? Leigh Alexander raises the question in an interesting Edge piece:

People don’t talk about Ocarina in terms of graphics or level design; they talk about it in terms of the context in which they remember playing. Everything about the game spoke directly to those who were intended to enjoy it, and as such it was intangible things, shared culture, that made it brilliant and beloved – not the sort of things you could ever hope to quantify on Metacritic.

Games seem particularly vulnerable to this dilemma, as the sense of a critical distance and corresponding lexicon necessary for something like “ludology” to take hold is a relatively recent development pushed forth by academics and game journals. But games might have a particularly problem here since they invite themselves to be taken as highly subjective experiences. After all, that’s what games are. Right?

-Yannick LeJacq

[via Edge]