Thursday, March 15, 2007

Why I "pwn with style"

I've never written an opinion piece for Variety before, but I just had to this week after reading the negative review of "300." It's not that I per se mind that many top critics trashed the movie, it's that they casually compared it to a video game... as if that's self-evidently a bad thing?!

Sure there are plenty of crappy video games, maybe even more than there are movies than books. But that's probably understandable given that it's only a 25(ish) year old art form, but it's already highly corporatized. That being said, there are lot of amazing video games that are clearly great art and outshine the vast majority of movies, like Shadow of the Colossus, Okami, Resident Evil 4, Katamari Damacy, any Zelda game, etc. etc. Even Gears of War, despite its inane plot and non-stop violence, has amazingly well designed levels that impress me as artistic creations in their way.

Anyway, I'm really proud of this piece, so I've got to urge anyone who happens on this blog to check it out. Here's the key point:

For today's movie critics, videogames are the new MTV musicvideo, a shorthand insult for any movie deemed too heavy on effects and visual panache at the expense of plot and coherence.

Anyone who has spent much time playing videogames -- a category in which, it seems safe to assume, few established film critics fall -- knows the comparison is both artistically demeaning and substantively wrong.

There has been a lot of discussion about my article online, especially on videogame blogs. But this is my absolute favorite thing anyone has said. I may even want to have it inscribed on my gravestone. It's from the comments in response to John Davison's blog at

"This fritz guy. He pwns with style it seems, me likes him."

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