Features and articles by game critic Erik Twice. Discover the secrets of games, the people who make them and the community around them.

The ugliest move I’ve ever made in a game

I’m no stranger to mean-spirited games. The Republic of Rome sits proud on my shelf, bringing back memories of triumvirates and last-moment bribery. I love Dune and Cosmic Encounter but would not miss the chance to play a robber baron in 1830. And I’ve enjoyed my single play of Diplomacy, which should automatically label me as terrible people.

And yet, when I sat down to play to play Power Grid today, I did not expect it to turn so ugly.

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Often, games must be difficult

With the release of Sekiro we have been having the same old conversation about difficult games. Difficulty in games is a form of gatekeeping, they say. An unnecessary quirk of game design which ought to be abandoned. Difficult games are disrespectful, even, and good developers would add an easy mode.

And I disagree. I don’t believe some games being difficult is disrespectful, elitist or wrong but simply necessary.

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Do critics enjoy negative criticism?

It’s often said that critics enjoy writing negative reviews. At least, it’s a common stereotype of critics in media, which are often depicted as tearing up the protagonist’s work and enjoying every minute of it.

Of course, that’s a clear exaggeration. But still many people believe that critics have a particular liking for giving bad reviews or dishing out a rhetorical beating, perhaps because they are incapable of creating themselves or because they feel superior to the creators whose work they are reviewing. And I think that’s a belief worth discussing.

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Journalistic Distrust

journalisticdistrust-1-doritosgate I don’t trust game journalism.

I never have. By the time that shameful picture of Geoff Keighley surrounded by Doritos advertisments and reading lines for a commercial spread like wildfire two years ago, I was so desensitized by similar events that I barely reacted to it.

I was already tired of game journalists being flown to five star resorts or being pressured to the point of firing to give games a different score. Seeing another well-known figure sell his integrity on live TV was not so much a turning point as it was additional proof that something was rotten in game journalism.

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