Stop Calling Games Guilty Pleasures

The newly released Devil May Cry 5 inspired Tim and I to talk about the idea of games that some might consider “guilty pleasures”, and why sometimes that can be a little misguided. I’m totally fine with liking things that don’t necessarily qualify as artistic masterpieces and delving into what makes “trashier” games so damn good.

It’s the same reason I don’t go out every night ordering the finest filet mignon, nor do I only watch Oscar contenders whenever I want to duck into a dark cinema after a long week. Fast food and popcorn action flicks can sometimes generate fun discussions.

Tim cited Pauline Kael, whose famous 1969 essay “Trash, Art and the Movies” pointed out that sometimes we also have to appreciate the “trashier” side of entertainment.

Tim and I ended up talking about some of our favourite trashier games (and movies) and why we want y’all to quit calling things guilty pleasures. Seriously, it’s fine to like a thing that the critics don’t.

Watch the video above or read an excerpt here:

Paul: I always think about what wins “best picture” at the Oscars. I love Moonlight. I think it deserved its accolades.

Tim: Yeah, that was a weird case of a movie that was good winning. Good job.

Paul: Absolutely. Like yeah, you deserve that “best picture”. But when you think about what moves the needle most times, especially from a cultural perspective, you think about the Black Panthers of the world or Into the Spider-Verse. Things that are more palatable for a larger audience that we laugh and clap at or rewatch three times.

Like I’m probably not going to rewatch whatever depressing movie won “best picture”.

Tim: I think the line between what is art and trash at the movies is so microscopic right now. Something like Spider-Verse would have gotten thumbs down and two stars 20 years ago. I feel like critics, generally, have just chilled out. These Marvel movies always get in the 90s on Rotten Tomatoes.

Paul: It’s also why I own the box set of the Fast & Furious franchise, because those movies are so ridiculous and over-the-top.

Tim: They’re incredibly good. I saw Fast & Furious come up a lot when I was talking about Crackdown 3. I loved Crackdown 3, critics hated it. A lot of commenters were like, “Why do you like this game because critics hate it?” and I had to get all professorial and be like, “It’s OK. If you like it, that’s great.”


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