Is objective journalism possible?

ACE-magazineAt Medium, Jay Allen deconstructs the demand for "objective game journalism" sometimes found among those uncomfortable with their hobby's growing status as an art form.

Reviews of art relate the experiences and opinions of the critic. As art is engaged emotionally and playing a video game is an experience unique to each person, that engagement is a one-off experience. Any attempt to describe that experience, no matter what the critic may intend, is deeply personal.

There are no objective metrics to describe this experience. With apologies to Terry Pratchett, there is no atom of emotion, or molecule of entertainment. While scores out of 10 or ratings out of five stars are popular in criticism of consumer art, they are arbitrary evaluations. Contrast this with the sort of benchmark testing Consumer Reports does on dishwashers, which are experiments measuring physical qualities under fixed conditions.

The belief that games (or movies, or books, or anything else) can be evaluated by objective criteria perhaps strikes you as laughable. If so, you might pause to remember that many people sincerely believe that only objectively-measurable things are worthy of reflection. To them, games may as well be dishwashers.