Article Tags / criticism (2)

Keep Liking What I Don't Like: Art, Kitsch, and Video Games

A comic in which one person is watching sports, a second starts mocking this, and the first covers the second's mouth and says, 'Let people enjoy things.'

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQJRw2ygflf/

Oh no! You just found out that somebody likes a thing you don’t like. What do you do?

If your answer is “keep my mouth shut so they can keep enjoying the thing even though I know it’s trash,” then I congratulate you for at least mastering the first step of basic civility. But there’s another step beyond that one: open-mindedness. It’s recognizing that you almost certainly don’t know that the thing is trash. It’s genuinely seeking to understand what it is that people enjoy about the thing. And if you master this step too, your life can be much richer.

I’m going to explain why this is the case, but first I need to talk about kitsch for a minute - after all, “kitsch” is practically shorthand for “art only liked by people with worse taste than me.“

I Wrote This So You'd Know I'm Smart: Games Criticism and The Beginner's Guide

The Beginner's Guide

Spoiler warning for The Beginner’s Guide.

The Beginner’s Guide is a short (ninety minutes or so) narrative game by The Stanley Parable creator Davey Wreden. I like it a lot and recommend it to folks interested in how we create and talk about games. If you’re intrigued by the game but haven’t played it yet, you might want to do so before reading further. The game has generated a lot of analysis and discussion - my personal favorite being Ian Danskin’s video essay The Artist is Absent: Davey Wreden and The Beginner’s Guide - but there’s a trend among some critics that I find troubling and want to dig into.