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This is an Article for People Who Like to Have Fun
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on February 09, 2005   |   Episode 46 (Show Archive)  

   

What's fun for one person isn't always fun for somebody else, as demonstrated here by the U.S. Army!
Doctors say young children that don't know how to specify for what they want often resort to crying, biting, or anything else that can get them attention. Video game critics have a similar stand-by when they run out of words to explain their thoughts; they simply say "it's for people who want to have fun."

I probably shouldn't call out any of the guilty parties on this site, but needless to say it's common enough to warrant a further examination of this trend. You see these kinds of quotes pop up a lot when explaining children's games and in just about every Nintendo review of all time. But is this really a valid compliment? Should game critics be able to resort to such a vague and divisive statement?

After digging through years of issues of Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro, Game Informer, and other publications, I realized that whenever somebody says the game is "for people who like fun," they are often referring to cute games, games that might be classified as guilty pleasures by an adult critic. It's similar to when you're friend tells you the newest big budget action film is "a good popcorn film." But of course we're

"Well wouldn't you know, Regis was right, your hair really IS softer than a panda bear's ass."
not talking about your friend, we're talking about people that get paid money to write specific thoughts about games they played.

There is nothing more condescending that being told what "fun" is. It's actually worse than somebody telling you that a game is only for hardcore gamers, which is an awfully arrogant act in and of itself. These games critics are paid to tell you what they think about the game, not what is fun and what isn't fun. There are plenty of people that can overlook the faults of bad games, even if the critics can't. But it's not the job of the reviewer to define fun, it's their job to explain what is good and bad about the game and let you make the decision on how fun it sounds.

Ultimately you're the only one who knows what fun is, the power is up to you to experiment and see what fits and what doesn't. If you're a paid game critic and you can't come up with something better than "it's for people who want to have fun", then perhaps it's time for you to change professions ... perhaps write for an ABC sitcom.
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