The Guardian has been covering video games for more than 20 years. Over that time the games, their creators and their players have matured and diversified — and so has our approach to criticism and analysis

The comedian Dara Ó Briain has a funny routine about video games. He talks about how no other form of entertainment purposefully withholds content until it considers that you deserve to see it. There are no books that test you at the end of the chapter to ensure you have appreciated all the themes correctly; films don’t end if you fail to spot a visual gag. But this is how most games work. If you’re no good, it’s all over.

Which makes reviewing a game a very different experience to reviewing a movie or a book. Peter Bradshaw doesn’t need physical dexterity or pinpoint hand-eye coordination in order to see the ending of Transformers: The Last Knight, but if a critic wants to write about the closing moments of, say, Rise of the Tomb Raider, you have to earn that opportunity – and it may take 30 hours to get there. This is only one way in which writing about video games for a living is pretty weird.

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