You may have read the headline above and come to an immediate and obvious answer, but bear with me. As you may have heard recently, an age old argument was reignited when a games journalist struggled to make it past the tutorial for the upcoming release of the Xbox One platformer Cuphead. This raised the question once more as to whether or not games journalists should be good at the games they are playing before casting any judgments.
My natural instinct would be to leap to the defense of Dean Takahashi, and with good reason. Sure, it was difficult to watch him struggle through the tutorial, but the reaction he received for the most part was massively uncalled for. He held his hands up to his faults, and rightfully many good people have rushed to his aid over some of the rather over-the-top backlash that he was subjected to.
I can see both sides of the argument, however. As people working in the industry, it’s our jobs to be familiar with the product we are working on, particularly when it comes to reviews. It’s reassuring to see as you may have noticed on certain sites that there is a disclaimer of sorts where we see how long the reviewer has spent with the game to justify the task of actually reviewing it.
Many would argue that you don’t have to make a film to be a film critic, or compose an album to be a music critic, and that you shouldn’t have to have made a video game to be a video game critic. This is where the waters get a little muddy in my opinion. Whilst the point sticks for the first two instances, in terms of video games there has to be some kind of actual physical parcipitation, and when working with a game there should be at least some knowhow in order to justify the judgment of a product.
I would personally class myself as a competent gamer. I’ve had experience in the competitive side of things with certain titles, and would always make sure to familiarize myself with whatever I was working on before judging it. This isn’t me tooting my own horn by any means, it’s more of a justification of sharing an opinion on the matter. But I can most certainly see both sides of the argument, and fall somewhere down the middle. I think as much as a lot of the feedback is unnecessary, there’s a reasonable expectation to be able to play the game you’re working on competently before posting your findings online.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Let us know in the comments section below.