“Good Robot was co-developed by Shamus Young, best known for his work at the Escapist Magazine (Stolen Pixels and the recently ended Experienced Points) and his own personal website, Twenty Sided. I’ve been a regular reader of Young’s work for about two years and consider him to be one of the biggest influences of my writing, both in terms of style and content. While standard video game review sites tend to be concerned with driving pre-release hype machines (and aggregating the superficial aspects of new releases into point systems so they can be further aggregated on Metacritic so they can serve as some sort of proxy to evaluate a game’s critical success in the most superficial way possible), Young tends to write long-form analyses of games which situate their qualities within the video game medium as a whole. He is less interested in describing why a game is good or bad, or whether or not someone should buy it, than in figuring out what makes video games work and not work, how narrative and mechanical properties can be skillfully integrated, and how the medium as a whole can be improved over time. (He describes his commentary approach here.) Along with pundits like George Weidman, Campster, and Yahtzee, Young is one of the few video game commentators today who makes real intellectual contributions towards moving video games forward as an artistic medium.
(It’s also worth noting that Rutskarn worked on Good Robot as well, and I like a lot of his stuff too.)
So of course I was excited to get my hands on Good Robot, even though I honestly wasn’t really sure what to expect of it. I didn’t know how Young would or could incorporate the insightfulness found in his hilarious take down ofFallout 3’s moronic story or his seemingly endless walkthrough of the Mass Effect series (which is up to Part 42 as of writing this) into a relatively simple game about shooting a lot of robots. I was also concerned about how my perception of the creator would affect my evaluation of the game. Would I be overly-disappointed at every minor error because I expect more from a creator I admire? Or would I unfairly ignore faults because I want the game to live up to my expectations?
Ultimately I have no idea if my evaluation of the game is skewed, but regardless, I’m happy to report that after seven hours of playtime, I am loving Good Robot…”
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