Thursday, 19 October 2017

Critiquing Critcism

Be warned this is more of a ‘this really annoys me’ blog than a discussions of themes and ideas. A couple of years ago a multiplayer online game called World of Warplanes(Here after referred to as WoWP) was launched. The company behind had previously had great success with a WWII Tank game and would go on to have further success with a WWII naval warfare game. WoWP though became the black sheep of the family, meeting devastating criticism on it’s launch and being generally regard as an unplayable mess. Most people who wanted to multiplayer air combat action stuck with a rival game called War Thunder, WT for short. Fast forward to last week and the makers of WoWP release a brand new revamped version of the game. Several well known youtubers who were painfully familiar with the original bit the bullet and gave the new version a try. Their opinions were by and large favourable, 2.0 might not have the depth of WT, but it was playable and more importantly fun.
This would seem a pretty innocuous conclusion, however the comments sections for these videos were flooded with people vehemently insisting that WT was far better, that the youtubers in question should be discussing WT instead and that WoWP 2.0 was clearly garbage, the latter based not on playing the game but simply on looking at a Youtube video of the game. 
This unfortunately is pretty good example of the kind of criticism you see far too much of on the net. Firstly a robust effort to ‘protect’ some cherished book/movie/game in the face of the mere suggestion that something else in the same genre might be worthy of people’s attention and secondly the willingness to attack, or praise, a work based on nothing more than second hand information or peripheral issues.

I may have been very negative about Star Trek Discovery in my blog Retcon Factor 5! But that was based on sitting down, watching the show and seeing what the show delivered in the way of characters and story. I hope at the very least I expressed a coherent view of why I didn’t like it. And that’s the thing about criticism, if enough people take the time to explain why they liked or didn’t like a work that can be good thing, a way for the creator to learn what did and didn’t work with the audience they want to connect with. That’s what makes it so frustrating when online communities seem to want to praise/destroy a work based on everything about it except it’s actual content.

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