Sessler's Soapbox: Game Reviews Need Reference

Posted: August 26, 2009
Sessler's Soapbox: Game Reviews Need Reference
Adam explains that, like art, game critiques must include works of the past and present in order so the reader has a frame of reference.

Comments are Closed

  • MisterDomino

    A post-structuralism reference? On a gaming website? That was pleasantly surprising.

    With all due respect, G4TV doesn't exactly strike me as the kind of place that's crawling with Foucauldian scholars. Maybe a few of you secretly worship Derrida - you know, strictly for the purposes of sacrificial rights - but I understand now why there's a perceived disconnect between gaming journalists and their lectors.

    I guess we should refer to you as "Professor Sessler" now.

    Posted: January 15, 2010 8:55 PM
  • DeadSpaced

    Oh and yes, I agree, Adam is one of the brightest minds in game criticism. Indeed, he is the Harold Bloom of the video game industry.

    Posted: September 23, 2009 2:05 AM
  • DeadSpaced

    Aw, poor Sess. We're past the post-structuralist world. Identity is whatever the "I" perceives it to be. Logic rides again, etc., etc.

    Posted: September 23, 2009 2:03 AM
  • zlo2

    Videos like this are a proof that X-Play really needs to be an hour-long show. Adam has got to be one of the most interesting and intelligent people in the video game industry but unfortunately the audience doesn't get to see that because of the limitations of the show.
    I don't mean to offend Kevin and Olivia but you see them every day talking for 20-30 minutes about all kinds of garbage that nobody cares about, and all Adam and Morgan get is 30 seconds in the end of the show before the credits start rolling. It simply isnt fair. I don't believe that the general audience of G4TV would rather listen to Olivia talk about vacuum cleaners for 10 minutes than giving Adam Sessler few extra minutes to say something intelligent.

    Posted: September 2, 2009 11:27 AM
  • turtle21

    That was very true about review and Sessler avery good point.

    Posted: August 31, 2009 10:16 AM
  • QUIK_LA_420

    this guy iss funny

    Posted: August 31, 2009 12:49 AM
  • QUIK_LA_420

    hahaha funny Azz guy! studer mouth, hes great

    Posted: August 31, 2009 12:47 AM
  • BlueCrow24

    There are not nearly enough intellectuals as yourself doing reviews. I love philosophy and I loved the linking between existentialist subjective views (very Sartre) and gaming. It's quite true, we need to look and judge upon the common frame of existance. It's the sort of "without light there's dark" view, that we need these common characteristics to compare, and without compare we simply lose meaning (that's going into Nietzsche, though kind of anti-Nietzsche in a pure meaning v. metaphorical existance sense). So again, great video comrade and I hope it helped to enlighten some ignorant review commenters who bitch and moan that you are unfairly comparing games and not looking at them alone (you wouldn't be able to review if you only looked at it without compare).

    Posted: August 30, 2009 10:42 PM
  • ggguun

    HAHAH this video is amazing. Well done.

    Posted: August 30, 2009 8:39 PM
  • blueshadow24

    refrenceing other games actually helps others understand the game in question better...

    Posted: August 30, 2009 11:01 AM
  • jjdubs13dabesteva

    This soapbox was right on the money video games do need reference but what people fail to realize is that it not just used to criticize(whats up with my spelling)the game but also to give it some credit. Most are playing follow the leader taking ideas used in other games to better themselves. Even ideas some games seem original are actually cliched, but thats what you expect, everythings not original.

    Posted: August 30, 2009 9:38 AM
  • jasons1

    This is why I support the reviews on X Play. Adam is the front line for adult gamers. He holds his ground against the general perception of what gamers are and challenges gamers to use some head muscle as well.

    Posted: August 30, 2009 6:22 AM
  • jhnnybgood_2001

    Alright people, let's not make this soapbox some deep/intellectual kind of thing. What's important here is that video games, like any other form of art, need a point of reference for us to judge or measure it by (just like science). imagine going out to see the latest crime family drama out in theaters. For many people, images of the Godfather or the Sopranos immediately come to mind. Why is that? Because people naturally compare things to other things we are more familiar with. Take professional basketball for instance. Many fans get excited about players like Kobe and Lebron, even going as far as dubbing either of them the "next Jordan". Why is that? Well, Jordan set a high standard for future players to strive for, which is not very different from video games. Every year a newer, bigger and badder video game comes out that pushes the envelop. We as consumers expect it. We expect innovation because of all the predecessors that have come before. We measure a new game's value based on the quality of similar games that have come before.

    Adam occasionally makes references to other well-known games in his reviews in order to give the viewers a better idea of the point he is trying to make. If the viewer has never played the game, it is not his fault. It's like when you ask your friend if he or she has heard the latest new Hip Hop track to hit the airwaves and your friend has not. The song is available for all to hear and enjoy, but he/she just hasn't heard it yet. You may not have played the game he was referring to, but there is a significant amount of people that have. A majority of the games referenced in most G4 reviews are fairly mainstream titles. Nothing too obscure for you self-professed "hard-core" gamers. In any case, it would be ridiculous if Adam did NOT compare a product to a similar piece of work. How else would viewers who have not played the game yet be able to understand it? Imagine trying to explain computers to someone who has no computer knowledge. A lot of people relate them to functions of the human body, like "the CPU is the brain of the computer." Not everyone has a computer, but everyone has a body. We need something familiar to compare and contrast with to in order to make any sense of things.

    Last but not least, let's not forget that a professional review is basically just an "expert's" personal opinion on the piece. Video game journalists do their best to avoid bias in their reviews, but it is impossible to be completely objective about anything. The thing that gives professional reviews a lot of weight however(at least in Adam's case) is the fact that he has much more knowledge and experience on the matter than your average gamer. He's got a much broader view on which to base his opinion. It's his job to know what he's talking about. It's OUR job to decide whether or not we agree with him. That being said, we need to judge his reviews and not his character. Some people think he's really great and others think he's just a media puppet. I think he is a man that works hard to keep up to date in his field, and uses sound reasoning based on his long experience in the video game journalism industry to make his judgements on games. Keep y'all's baseless negativity and narrow viewpoints to yourself. It just makes you look stupid in the eyes of the world.

    Posted: August 29, 2009 6:46 PM
  • Busterbeam

    I made an account just to comment on this.

    First of all it was wonderful. I really wish that video games were talked about in this light more often. I mean really getting down to the core concepts and structures in place on a philosophical level.

    I would also like for this to be broadcasted on TV and not just on the web because I really think that dialogues like this would go a long way in shattering the image that video games are mindless and so are the people that play them. That's a bit harsh bit still, those stereotypes do exist.

    I know people mentioned this before but it really did remind me as well of a university lecture, even the structure of Adam's arguments was like a properly formatted essay, complete with the astute conclusion at the end.

    Thank you for this. I will be checking this 'soapbox' a bit more often now.

    Posted: August 29, 2009 5:53 PM
  • Ugotmefuctup

    After seeing that episode, I had considered making up a new type of coded slanguage similar to it.

    For instance: "Pink cookies in a plastic bag got crushed by tall buildings last moonrise" would mean "Hey man, I scored with that chick last night! I totally dominated it!!!" lol.

    But I decided not to go forward with that idea..

    Okay, I'm finished with this thread now.

    Posted: August 29, 2009 4:29 PM
  • Ugotmefuctup

    @ Sigil

    You forgot: 'At the Battle of Tanaub' lol.

    That was such a goofy ST: TNG episode, but then again, so many of them are (albeit, entertaining).

    Posted: August 29, 2009 4:24 PM
  • Ugotmefuctup


    Way to Go Sess!.....???

    Posted: August 29, 2009 4:17 PM
  • Sigil

    Also, for those who are not privy to the "Am I real" argument that Adam mentions at the end of his multilayered and well thought proving argument, you can always watch the Anime Evangelion for an introduction... =)

    Posted: August 29, 2009 12:50 PM
  • Sigil


    Rai and Jiri at Lungha. Rai of Lowani. Lowani under two moons. Jiri of Ubaya. Ubaya of crossroads, at Lungha. Lungha, her sky gray.

    "Darmok" Start Trek The Next Generation

    Couldn't some readers be as lost as Picard was in most of this episode?

    Your Friend,


    Posted: August 29, 2009 12:40 PM
  • Sigil

    I'm assuming that I was one of those people. Is this true Adam? There is much validity to Adam's rebuttal. However, even if I acquiesce to some of his argument, I still believe there is an over reliance of "referencing" in the Batman review. So much so that to some it would seem to be encrypted. Adam, do I need the Rosetta Stone for reviews now? Is the Batman review just for those who played those games? They aren't privy to the motifs in those games. Reading some of these comments is your rebuttal for "everybody or would it resonate more in the halls of academia?" Adam you are both "real" and not real, because there is no self.

    Posted: August 29, 2009 12:30 PM