Text 21 Apr Games Can(not) Be Art

Roger Ebert’s most recent diatribe regarding games as art:

Mike Thomsen’s rebuttal:

Brian Ashcraft’s rebuttal:

Kellee Santiago’s rebuttal:

It’s not even that these rebuttals do a great job of getting to why Ebert’s recent essay turned me inside-out with rage, but it’s nice to get a few viewpoints.  I think Thomsen got closest for my money — pointing out that Ebert is making his assertions upon viewing brief streaming videos.  It would be akin to calling Citizen Kane “boring drivel” after watching the original trailer (if there even is one).  For the record, Citizen Kane might be boring drivel.

It might be.  Don’t jump down my throat.

Ebert seems to be confused why gamers are interested in his opinion.  I wasn’t interested and I’m still not, really, but when I hear a bollocks argument about the credibility of something I love from someone in a high-status position, I tend to pounce.

Ebert offers a parting argument that is so laughable in its construction that I almost feel sorry for picking on it.  He notes that games cannot be art because, for a game to be successful (according to Santiago’s presentation about games as art), games have to involve things like financing, marketing, executive management, etc.  By that logic, only the most amateur of student films would classify as art — films that are never seen, never distributed, never marketed.  He’s an idiot for asserting that marketing (which some would say is the great artistic medium of the 20th and 21st centuries) kills art.  Some may disagree, but the box office gross of a film does not make it less artistic, and vice versa.  Art is subject to evolution, and Ebert is looking an awful lot like a creationist right now.

That’s all I got right now.  I can feel my ocular fluid starting to boil.

Posted by John Warren

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