A piece at Girish Shambu’s blog dealing with film criticism for the 21st century raises the issue of there being two separate crowds who consume writing on cinema and looks for examples of critics who can build bridges between the camps:
For Ray, film studies resembles the Civil War in having at least two distinct audiences: academic scholars who only or largely read books and articles written by other scholars; and a non-academic cinema-interested audience of readers who typically don’t read academics. Ray proposes that we need scholars who can devise a “”narrative synthesis” that will “propagate professional knowledge about the cinema” to a non-academic audience-at-large.
What is meant, exactly, by the term “narrative synthesis”? I would say that, in the context of film writing, it names an approach that does two things: (a) it is simultaneously “high-level” (broad in scope–drawing upon a number of specialized subfields within cinema studies) AND “low-level” (paying attention to individual films and their details); and (b) it weaves together a “story” of sorts–just like a good piece of film criticism always “tells a story”–that interests and engages the non-academic reader.
Though videogaming lacks the history and curricular support that film studies have evolved over the years, it would appear that writing about games could also stand to benefit from an increase in the sort of work described here. Shambu goes on to cite some examples and asks his readership to note others that are already extant–and there recieves the usual thoughtful response his commenters are known for. Are there current writers in the videogame arena who are working in a manner described by Shambu for film writing?