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  • Katamari Damacy – A Critique: Part One

    - Ryan Stancl
  •  Introduction

    Many people claim to be video game critics. Hardly any are. They are video game reviewers.

    There is a clear distinction between a review of a work – a movie, a book, a piece of art, or even a video game – and a critique of one. Movies, literary works, and pieces of art all have critiques written about them all of the time, so why not video games?

    It may have to do with the fact that a lot of people still view video games as for children, that games don’t really have anything to say, any depth to them.

    But whatever the reason (I’m not exploring that issue here), video games are made by a team of people, and each of those individuals wants to leave their mark in some way or another. With so many people coming together to create one thing, how can there not be layers, hidden meanings, subtext behind the work?

    These meanings may be planned or not, but it is the critics’ job to point them out or, quite possibly, to ‘create’ the artistic work by coming up with meanings simply from critiquing what is there in front of them.

    For example, it has been argued that the art critic Clement Greenberg made Jackson Pollock famous by championing abstract expressionism to the American people, seeing something in those paintings that not everyone did. He did so by critiquing them.

    Video games now, more than ever, need to be not just reviewed, but critiqued, because of their negative image in the press, in politics, in the general public, and quite simply because they are so ripe for critiquing.

    Games aren’t just for kids anymore, and it’s not because of the sex and violence.

    Over the next few weeks I will be introducing you to eight schools of criticism – Biographical, New Critical, Marxist, Structural, Jungian, Psychoanalytical, Feminist, and Post-Colonial – giving a little history behind each, and showing how they can be used to critique the video game Katamari Damacy for the PlayStation 2.

    And who knows, maybe in the process I’ll even ‘create’ a work of art.



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