I’ve come across this guy in my research, Tim Rogers. He’s a video game director that also reviews games in his spare time, and he may be insane. He’s known for being obsessed with what he refers to as “friction,” which I could try to describe as the types of conflicts, reinforcements, rewards, and feedback a player receives while playing a game.
He’s created a huge vocabulary of the different types of frictions he’s encountered in games. However, he doesn’t typically use these terms in his reviews. Instead, he tends to use creative metaphors and analogies to describe the feeling that these frictions give a person playing the game.
This is the second paragraph from a review he did, which can be read in its entirety at action button dot net.
The goal of God Hand is to extinct the tar out of any moving human body, be it male, female, transvestite, or wearing a gorilla costume. God Hand is a videogame based both on the film “Frailty” (in which the “god’s hand” killer intones, “I don’t kill people; I destroy demons“) and the idea of throwing bucketsful of baseballs, one at a time, hard as you can, at a barn-side-sized cube of maple-syrup-sticky Styrofoam.God Hand is alternatingly the friction of repeatedly dropping a bowling ball into a massive cardboard box full of delicious bubble wrap, its sweet vinyl scent like Jesus’s kid sister, and the frustration of bending at the knees to pick that bowling ball up again, thirsting only for the next sticky drop. God Hand is the friction of an electric knife through a frozen ham. God Hand is the friction of a baseball bat against an oncoming Toyota Prius. God Hand is the friction of a cricket bat against an oncoming Harley Davidson. God Hand is, occasionally, a NASCAR broadsiding a freight train. God Hand is a stick of butter so hard it will break your teeth if you think it’s a candy bar. God Hand is the Pringles of videogames. Though God Hand is usually like poking holes in a watermelon with a chopstick for the best reason (“no good reason”),God Hand is sometimes like using a pizza cutter to eat ice cream. At its best, God Hand allows you to indulge in your curiosity re: how hard you would have to flex to break a Canada goose’s neck.
If that was enough for you, believe me when I tell you that the rest of the review reads exactly like that. If that wasn’t enough for you, check out this tome he wrote on Kotaku, in which he details every kind of friction he can recall, where his obsession came from, and why it’s so damn important.
So, this is flat-out fascinating to me. He’s only concerned with reviewing the game’s ability to illicit a physical reaction in the player, and what that feeling is.
I’m including this guy in my final paper. I’d like some insights from others, regarding how his style of criticism maps to the schools of thought we’ve discussed.