During the final boss battle in Cry 1 I fell through the floor, into an infinite sky. Way to go quality department. ^_^
Here is a hint to what I have most recently been playing.
"GAME OVER GAME OVER GAME OVER GAME OVER GAME OVER GAME OVER GAME OVER GAME OVER"
Games are a complex alchemical stew of input, and sensory data feedback. We are ludicrously complex alchemical stews of memory, experience, reflex, hormones and goodness knows what else. When we play a game our brains do something bizarre and inexplicable with all the inputs we're getting and produce a bunch of sensations which may or may not be positive. Whether or not they are depends on the hopelessly chaotic way the complex system of the game interacts with the complex system that is a human.
In brief, there's no guarantee that what it is enjoyable for me is enjoyable for you. As we see any time games are discussed, we all have very different responses to the same game. You might love Dishonored. Love it. Game of the year. You haven't had so much fun in ages. I might hate it and find every moment excruciatingly dull. Both of these are legitimate responses- they're honest reactions.
So then we approach the issue of criticism. When we go to sites like RPS, or read a discussion on a game on a forum like this we are often looking for the answer to the question "is this game good?" This is a substitute for something related- "should I buy this? Would I like it if I played it?" We've determined the latter question to be objectively unanswerable on an individual basis, but we can increase the odds of finding a game we enjoy by two means. Firstly, seeking out the opinions of as many people who have played the game as possible. Secondly, seeking out the opinion of specific people, or specific outlets, whose opinions we have found through experience match our own, or who are sufficiently skilled writers that we get a sense as to how we will feel playing the game from reading about their experiences. The critics' opinion helps you, the discerning gamer, avoid the pitfall of populist trash (which you mention in your last sentence), which a good critic will be able to help you avoid.
In this sense, a good game is one which fills two criteria: firstly, a lot of people enjoy playing it, and secondly, a large proportion of relevant, reputable critics enjoy playing it. Note that your personal opinion doesn't enter into it, except as a small part of the first criteria. You can play a 'good' game and hate it. You could play a bad game (i.e. one not many people like and not many critics like) and have it strike a chord with you. There's no value judgement there. It's just the way the make up of the game interacts with your unique character.
It's why I get annoyed when you get folk storming into a discussion of a 'good' game (as defined above) and saying it's bad, that it's badly designed, that the team that made it sucks, you know the drill. That's plain wrong- it's a good game you happen not to like. I (perhaps being oversensitive, because I'm annoyed) see the 'overrated' label as a manifestation of this. My impression of Mark of the Ninja is that the reaction to it from both gamers and critics has been very positive. Therefore it 'rates' highly. It doesn't do anything for the complex system that is DaftPunk. That doesn't mean there's anything wrong with him- his not liking the game is perfectly valid. But it doesn't invalidate MotN being a good game.
OK, that wasn't short.
You missed out all the "Begin"s! It's bloody good fun though, isn't it?
I can't get da-na-na-nah out of my head.
Excellent post, arathain.
For me, "overrated" implies a judgement that the people rating something are guilty of self-deception.
The only self-deception that rears its ugly head is when consumers are then called upon to defend their purchases amidst the inevitable backlash.
Surely to be a Hipster they have to be slightly obscure opinions. I think you can be a "mainstream hipster" too. I mean, I'm your stereotypical hipster, whose self-image is "the guy who has different opinions from most people". But there are also presumably the people whose self-image is such that they think they enjoy all the mainstream popular culture stuff.
There are people who like pop pap, but they may not necessarily be conscious of it. Hipsters are by definition conscious of their purchasing habits. Hence.
OK, I was talking about the unconscious side of things. I think everyone does some unconscious generating of opinions they don't really hold. By which I mean, if they thought hard and honestly about it they'd change their stated opinion.