As a gamer, I pay a lot of attention to what game critics say - I might not agree with all of them, but in the main my views tend to fall into line with average, relative opinion of what are the games to look out for within a genre. However, I was struck recently by how much this really doesn’t work for me with films in a lot of cases.
For example, we recently watched Hancock, which was in general panned by the critics (RottenTomatoes score 39%), but my wife and I really enjoyed it. It’s not the deepest of films, but it brings its own unique elements (what if a superhero was a drunken bum?) and I thought it was totally worth my time. It’s not the only film that’s had average or lower reviews that I actually quite liked.
It got me wondering - obviously lots of ‘average’ games get bought by the truckload and people presumably enjoy most of them (unless they’re unlucky enough to get a real stinker), despite the critics and ‘savvy’ gamers shaking their heads in dispair - and I often join them. It occurred to me that when it comes to films, I’m in the opposite camp, one of the ‘regular Joes’ - that is to say a little more relaxed about my selection criteria. I don’t seek out Oscar winners, lauded art-house films etc particularly, unless they’re also appealing to me in other ways. No doubt film critics look at me and shake their heads in dispair that I watched Hancock instead of something like Revolutionary Road.
So it’s all about perception - next time I have the urge to deride someone for buying averagely-rated games, I’ll remember the fact that I liked Hancock and think twice about it. As experienced critics and officionados of a particular medium we sometimes get a little too snobby about these things.