The Unreviewable

It’s no secret that there’s a thick vein of criticism of criticism present in, well, pretty much every artistic medium. Journalism’s great defence is its ability to buy ink by the barrel, and journalists love to talk about themselves, their peers, and their enemies. That this culture exists in videogame criticism isn’t surprising, but that doesn’t make the criticism (of criticism) wrong. Lords knows we’re guilty of it here at Irony Exports.

The argument is pretty simple; existing videogame review and critique primarily serves as a form of advertisement for the product, typically financed by advertising for that product. Reviewers are put under pressure to be timely, and games are primarily reviewed based on marketing cycles. this pushes reviews to focus on numeric scores and the opening impressions of any given game.

If we accept, however, that the culture of reviewing videogames is, as established by convention, wrong, or at least, not right enough, we can open the gates to reviews and therefore, promotion for games that don’t fit conventional models, or try interesting or different things. Games that really can’t be reviewed by the conventional standards of Game Journalism.

The plan had been to provide an in-depth review of a game here, but in an effort to widen the conversation, we at Irony Exports have decided to provide some micro-reviews of games obtained through the excellent promotion service of Forest Ambassador.

  • Blocks and Lots; a game that informs the player while providing a classic balancing-act gameplay model. Score: 4/5 Disgruntled Industrialists.
  • Emma; a game that juxtaposes haunting black-and-white imagery with seemingly meaningless text. Score: 5/5 Heavily Projected Narratives.
  • Clockwork Cat: An introductory platformer with charming mechanics, an easy play-through and interesting puzzle-solving. Score: 4/5 Immediate Intuitions.
  • Ladylike: A short dialogue puzzle about winning an argument with your mother about the proper role of girls. Score: 0/10 Actual Solutions

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