Two weeks ago I had dinner with Mitch Krpata, the games reviewer for The Boston Phoenix, who also contributed to the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die, and who blogs at Insult Swordfighting.
While most of the evening involved my picking his brain for advice on getting started in this industry (for which I would again like to express my gratitude should he be reading this) there were a couple of subjects which we didn’t have time to delve into too deeply and which I hope we can take up at a later date, such as the value of the terms “hardcore” and “casual” in defining different kinds of video game players, the nature of game reviews vs. critiques and whether they need to remain separate or coexist within a single piece, and the existence of the “larger conversation” I want to be a part of.
That “larger conversation,” in my mind, revolves around substantive discussion of video games. Historically my conversations with friends about games have revolved around whether I liked a game or not, and were based in personal feelings and opinion. I never spoke about design decisions and game mechanics in a general sense, or how developers and publishers related to one another, or how the industry worked in general. None of that was relevant to me as a pure consumer.
Clearly things are different now, and it feels like peeking behind the curtain, an evolving process of dissolving mystique. It’s very similar to my experience as a film student at Boston University, and that worries me a little. Tony DaSilva expressed a similar concern over on BitMob recently, which is what inspired me to finally finish this piece I began after dinner with Mitch two weeks ago.