1. I have to say, that’s not a very well-worded or well-thought-out essay. I’ve read the piece twice and I’m still not really sure what his central thesis is. He spends a lot of time explaining how current essays about gaming are bad, and then proposes what he wants to see in good game writing, but he doesn’t make a convincing case that those two issues are linked. Dismissing a majority of writing as a “waste of time” is simply unnecessary to make the argument that more writing should be about “mastering new perspectives that are fundamental to the art and science of games” and improving the craft of game-making. You can argue a lack of something without criticizing what’s present; the internet is not a zero-sum game. The “deluge of essays” Cook mentions is not preventing anyone from writing a different set of essays.

    If he had framed the piece as “there is an insufficiency of games crticism that does [X],” I think a lot of people would agree; but he’s not doing that — he’s saying “all this work that people have done is bad and a waste of time because they should be doing [x],” which, of course that’s not going to go over well.

  2. Dan’s essays are usually excellent and well thought out, but this rant was really weird and out of character. And the fact that he keeps editing the original post isn’t helping any. It has started some good discussion, though, so I guess that’s a plus.

  3. And, upon further consideration, I also think Cook gives very short shrift to non-games criticism. It feels like he’s never read serious art criticism. Take this quote:

    Purely evocative media as music, video, writing or painting can often be reasonable well described using tools from the humanities and the personal reaction of an individual. If I want to understand a novel, a single sample has limitations, but it can convey the essence of the experience surprisingly well.

    Where to begin with this? Firstly, there are many examples of music, videos, writing, painting, etc that are not “purely evocative” and it’s either ignorant or insulting to claim otherwise. Secondly, to state that these media “can…be reasonably well described using tools from the humanities and the personal reaction of an individual” is likewise limiting, and — for a certain scope — false. It might be true for Cook that these things are sufficient, but for many people they aren’t. It’s strange and myopic to state them as absolute fact in an article that itself calls for greater examination of games.

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