How to Give Criticism

My reputation for blunt map reviews often precedes me, and with good reason.

I simply just don’t care.

Pull up a chair, sit down, and let me tell you why having a reputation for brutal honesty doesn’t bother me.

First things first: I’m no stranger to receiving criticism.

I’ve been creating custom content for video games since 1998, and I hold myself to incredibly high standards because I am incredibly passionate about this medium.

Nineteen years of developing content in highly critical communities will teach you how to have a thick skin. I understand how to interpret all kinds of criticism into useful information.

This is a learned skill. Developing a thick skin took time and focused effort.

Despite my two decades of experience in game design, the most useful tool I have in my arsenal came from writing and performance workshops.

I primarily wrote spoken word poems, and edited them down to be three minute. As I reached higher levels of competition, learning from others through workshops, group editing, and performance critiques was necessary and expected.

That is where I learned to kill my darlings; to look at the work objectively and cut away anything which was distracting or not serving the purpose of the poem.

We did this through rigorous “work-shopping” of the piece. Every line was picked apart, every word was brought into question. This process was brutal, honest, and has reduced many poets to tears.

The most useful part of this process was this question:

“What kind of feedback are you looking for?”

This is not a trick.

There’s no hidden meaning.

By asking someone what kind of feedback they’re looking for, you force them to be objective about what they think may be an issue.

It takes time and focused to develop a thick skin.

Receiving criticism on what you may consider your best work is an incredibly difficult task to endure. This question helps both the artist and the critic(s) to begin a dialogue about what kind of feedback the artist is open to.

This question helps put aside personal feelings, allowing everyone to be objective about the game they’re playing.

Everything following that simple, elegant question will be useful information.

One comment

Comments are closed.