Jason Della Rocca, outgoing head of the Independent Games Developers Association, wrote a mini-rant for the GDC developer's rant which he then posted to his blog. While it's been described as a 'back-handed apology' he addresses an issue that is very relevant to the Critical Distance project and videogame criticism in general. He apologises for
…not bringing critics under the tent and getting them to work at improving things.
Which I think hits on an important point: we criticise because we love, and because we actually want to see things change.
It's almost common wisdom, however, that while there are lots of people vocalising for change and “innovation” they often complain about the end result and the games usually suffer from poor sales (okay, huge generalisation, but you get the drift).
But I think what gets missed is that often us critics really like these (often buggy) weird, innovative and refreshingly different games. Pick a game that has been vilified by the general press, one that probably only scored a boring 60% in reviews, and I'm sure you'll still find at least one critic that loved it, that saw through the bugs and appreciated t less for what it was than what it dared to be.
So the message to game developers is this: Critics: we're here to help! Really!