...and he talks about it right here.
1. Chuck Klosterman is a genius, even if you don't read this article.
2. I sometimes wonder what the demographic spectrum is for people who actually READ reviews, versus people who buy games without reading reviews. I suspect it's actually quite different.
3. For example, a 14-year-old kid isn't going to scour every website to see if the new DragonballZ game is any good - they're simply going to buy it.
4. As another example, when I was 5 years old I played E.T. on my Atari 2600. I didn't read any reviews about it, nor did I care to. I also didn't know the game sucked; I just assumed I was terrible at it, but didn't recognize that it wasn't my fault.
5. My point: I would imagine that most game purchases are made by casual gamers who don't really care about reviews; they'll buy Madden anyway, they'll buy the next GTA anyway, etc. etc. Thus, game criticism has never seemed to be particularly IMPORTANT to the vast majority of game purchasers.
6. Also, you have lots of stupid crap sites like IGN who can hardly be bothered to even spellcheck their reviews, so it's not like you can take what they say seriously. (At least I can't.)
7. Klosterman's penultimate paragraph is telling: "If nobody ever thinks about these games in a manner that's human and metaphorical and contextual, they'll all become strictly commodities, and then they'll all become boring. They'll only be games. And since we've already agreed that video games are the new rock music, we'd be facing a rather depressing scenario: This generation's single most meaningful artistic idiom will be—ultimately—meaningless." I disagree that videogames are the new rock music; generally speaking, videogames are made by large groups of people with huge budgets and have to pass through tons of corporate BS to get to each milestone in order to get released; the act of songwriting is considerably less involved.