Protoss: "Snobbery Has Arrived"
I mentioned it in chat with him the other day and he said he may have changed his mind about it. The money isn't really in that kind of criticism, at least not yet. But we still have it. It's still in operation. Braid is a game many would not have heard of had the critics not jumped out and said "OMG BRAID! LOOK HOW BEAUTIFUL!" Maybe not everyone is an artist, and maybe not everyone looked at it for very long, but many people went to the exhibit.
King's Bounty and World of Goo. Man, World of Goo has been all over my twitter feed and were it not for Michael Abbott or RPS's frequent references to it, I'd have not known about it. I once saw a trailer for it a very long time ago, but I'd long forgotten the name. And how would I have found it? Little Big Planet? A bit bigger scale, yes, but the buzz and prereviews have to have boosted its reach. Partially due to shows, events, and meetings that only game journalists and writers get to go to, sure, but still.
Blogs like Leigh's, Mitch's, Tom's, Michael's or N'Gai's will sometimes politely and quietly turn me on to hits before many people, even Internet readers, hear about them. And the Twitter feeds! Oh man. Yakuza 2, a recent PS2 exclusive, fits this pattern. Note the comments and where people say they are hearing about it.
Onion AV, Paste, Variety and of course Penny Arcade are financed operations that will still cover some of the bigger titles, but also make sure to find gems for you too. As in, "Hey, here's this one. Did you guys know about it? It's actually quite good. I don't see anyone talking about it. Sad, because I need some to talk about it (or play it) with."
There are plenty of "gamers" who have played so much that they are demanding and wanting to see the new big thing. This isn't because they are picky (even if they are), but because they have seen so much that they have a vampire's hunger for the blood of the new and sensitivity to the blindness of the redone or reused. Whenever another freaking first person shooter comes my way, I am always sniffing for the difference.
Game criticism has really gotten somewhere. If you say "I didn't like Braid," that's like saying you don't like the Dark Knight or that you didn't like Ulysses. This may sadden us, but really, if we've gotten to game snobbery where it's cool to like or dislike something, it means games are being taken more seriously.
Obsessed with innovation? I think not. Games are not nearly as broad or diverse as other forms of entertainment. They are also expensive. Why would we use money, time, and even perhaps emotion or curiosity on something so similar to what we already have? This type of criticism may not have the money in it, but just wait; the demand for this will inevitably grow.