Teksti, jonka olisin halunnut kirjoittaa

Tevis Thompson kirjoitti jumalaisen tekstin, joka lähtee Bioshock Infinitestä ja laajenee peliarvostelujen ja arvostelijoiden kritiikiksi. Thompsonilla on raakaa sanottavaa muun muassa siitä, miten lässyjä kriitikot ovat ja miten kriitikot yrittävät peittää objektiivisuudella omat etuoikeutensa ja valta-asemansa:

Objectivity is very convenient for the straight white middle class male gamer.  Videogame culture encourages him to see his own subjectivity as the standard, as objective.  He’ll invoke science, economics, statistics, and all manner of folk wisdom to defend his little kingdom.  He’ll decry any challenge as ‘politics’ or ‘bad business’ or ‘whining’ or ‘here we go again’.  He never considers how often objectivity is a cover for a dominant subjectivity, for a subjectivity that stays in power by not being recognized as such.  He fears what will happen if the established order breaks down and the Vox take control.

This cult of objectivity has it exactly backwards.  They want it to be one way.  But it’s the other way.  A good review is openly, flagrantly, unabashedly subjective.  It goes all in with the reviewer’s biases.  It claims them for what they really are – not tastes, not mere opinions, but values.  It is a full-throated expression of one person’s experience of a game.  This is the authority it claims – the player’s.  And how could it be any other way?  How can a reviewer get outside him or herself?


Here’s the trouble with subjectivity – you have to own it.  If your subjectivity encompasses a love of bloodletting, of feeling relentlessly rad, if it conveniently espouses equanimity in the face of injustice and over-sympathizes with the aggressors, then I can understand why you might want to cower behind objectivity.  The straight white male gamers so untroubled by BioShock Infinite, whose ideology and privilege are in fact perfectly reflected in it, are just not up to the task of reviewing on their own.  Their subjectivities betray complicity.  It’s a dead end, the good old boys speaking to their bros, and only by diversifying in every way possible can the review community thrive.

This means more women, more people of color, more queer and transgender folks, more reviewers from diverse social, economic, and cultural backgrounds that don’t neatly fit the lifelong gamer mold.  Not simply because we need reviewers to match the shifting demographics of those playing games, but because diversity is of clear and obvious value to any community and any discourse.  We don’t speak often enough about values in gaming, but every game and every reviewer possesses them.  And unless we make this discussion public and get different people involved, then the values that inform the power fantasies and self-gratification of the highest-rated games will continue to go unquestioned.

Thompsonin arvio Bullshit Bioshock Infinitestä on täsmälleen sama kuin omani: BS Infinite ei ole ”videopelien Citizen Kane” vaan pikemminkin yritys olla pelien Birth of a Nation, rasistinen eepos, jolla turvataan valkoisen miehen kokemusrakennetta. Puhumattakaan siitä, miten tylsä ja geneerinen BSI on kokemuksena. Aivan kuten iso osa peliarvosteluista…


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