I think your trying to put words on yo_johns mouth. I have not seen him explicitly state that argument at any point. The closest statement is, "Just because YOU don't like it doesn't mean that the millions of other people that actually do are wrong." That is a lot different from saying millions of people like it, therefore it is a quality product. That statement is just saying that your opinion is not objective just because you claim it is.
Just to point out as welll, the standards we set for movies are subjective as well. I tend to agree with these standards, but they are still subjective. I also agree that The Hurt Locker is a better movie than Twilight, but this is just taking movies on the complete opposite end of the spectrum (one being universally acclaimed, the other being universally criticized). To make the subjective nature of movie reviews clearer, we could take recent movies that are critically acclaimed and debate which represents the objective standard by which all other movies should be judged. I guarantee you this debate will not reach any clear conclusion, and I would hardly call someone uneducated or irrational if they thought The Hurt Locker was a better movie than No Country for Old Men.
Just transplant this debate into arguments over gameplay mechanics, and games confront this same problem. There is no objective standard that judges the value of gameplay mechanics. It is easy to sit on the polar extremes and contrast the best games with the worst games and use this to argue that there is an objective standard for video games. Once you decend into the specifics, this objectivity begins to vanish. For example, I consider the battle system in Devil May Cry 3 to be the best combat system in action games. However, someone else can make a very good case for Ninja Gaiden I/II being the best, and I would hardly say one of us is more right than the other. It really comes down to what type of combat the user prefers and what they expect from a game rather than there being some Platonic form of gameplay mechanics by which all other games should be judged. This also applies to health regeneration v. health packs. Both sides could make good arguments, and I would hardly say one side of the debate holds the objective view on what makes a good video game.
Ok, now this I can work with.
I agree, No country for Old Men vs Hurt Locker would be very debatable on what is what. You also bring in DMC3 and NG, both of which have very satisfying combat systems. The thing is though, the gameplay blueprint in both is still very similar. Meanwhile regen health vs regen health changes the gameplay completely.
As I mentioned above, with regenerating health each encounter is completely discret. Even decisions during an encounter become discrete. You try something, it's is a terrible idea, so most of the time you can jsut hide behind a wall and try again later. Considering in most games, most not all, enemies don't have regenerating health you can even just continuously take bad actions without being penalized for them. Then at the end of an encounter you are back up to full. Think of it as having inifnite health in a level, except for the small period of time where you are getting shot. That allows you to do all sorts of mistakes, because hey, you got inifnite health.
Now without the regeneraitng health, you don't have that. Whatever you do, has a consequence. You can't just do someting bad, and then a few seconds later it's like you never attempted it. There is very real punishment because you have a finite health for a given level. Each time something really wrong is done, that finite health decreases. So the actual game part is finding a way through a level so that you end with a positive amount of health. There are so many countless times I'd end a level with something like 5 health in many different games. Furthermore, having low health, and knowing you cant press a button, wait, and get full health, brings a lot more tension to every encounter.
In your example, DMC3 and NG, you basically have the same level of care. With the movie analogy it's like having good acting, a good thoughtful story to tell, etc. all of which are very close to each other such that comparisons do become subjective. However the difference on gameplay mechanics between regen and no regen is huge. You can't even compare the two because the dynamics are completely different. There is no tension, there is no health "rationing" as I'd call it, there is no point of thinking of a creative way to face an encounter. Basically those are what is lost when you go from packs to regen. What you gain though is insignificant. In fact you don't gain it, the developers do. They gain the peace of mind that you will always have full health each encounter. So they stop carefully planning out their encounters, and just like with linear level design, encounters become monotonous. All of the sudden there isn't the whole "let's put this BAMF right here because it will reduce their health a certian amount if the player doesn't know what he is doing" instead it's "let's put 4 of these BAMFs because the guy will have a full health afterwards no matter what and then we can have 4 BAMFs and 2 ants."
The dynamic is completely different, nothing is gained besides accessibility and lazy development, meanwhile tons of core aspects of gaming are lost. That is why regen is such a terrible mechanic.
Edit: Basically the gameplay dynamic of games with health regen come down to finding a chest-high wall to hide behind for a few seconds without someone shooting you. Or if that is not possible, maneuvering the baddies in a circle so that you can create such a position.
Edit2: Having the regenning health is liek having a constant climax, since you will always encounter a large amount of enemies. There is no need for a buildup (having a few small enemies here and there to harass you), a climax (few huge battles to really wear you down) and a resolution (the few enemies at the end that might kill you by accident). Think about it, all other media has that. Novels have it, music has it, movies have it, etc. Any given book that is consistently action/steamy sex, any movie that is consistently action, or music that has that climax spread throughout the entire song, is considered bad.
Tag(thx fkusumot) - "Yet again I completely fail to see your point..."
HD vs Wii, PC vs HD: http://www.vgchartz.com/forum/thread.php?id=93374
Why Regenerating Health is a crap game mechanic: http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=3986420
gamrReview's broken review scores: http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=4170835