Roger Ebert Eats his Words

When film critic Roger Ebert declared that video games can never be art, he set off an internet firestorm.
At this moment, 4,547 comments have rained down upon me for that blog entry. I'm informed by Wayne Hepner, who turned them into a text file: "It's more than Anna Karenina, David Copperfield and The Brothers Karamazov." I would rather have reread all three than vet that thread. Still, they were a good set of comments for the most part. Perhaps 300 supported my position. The rest were united in opposition.

Today he reversed his position. NeatoGeek has more.

(Image credit: Taylor Evans)

Ebert wrote:

"I declared as an axiom that video games can never be Art. I still believe this, but I should never have said so."

That's not the same as reversing his position. That's "I believe what I believe and I wish you people would shut up about it."
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I really have a hard time understanding how anyone could begin to say that video games aren't art. It just confuses me. Pollack can splatter house paint on a canvas and its art? Uwe Boll can film monkeys sleeping and its art? But thousands of visual artists, code artists, musicians and others put their skill and creativity into a single work and some how it can't be considered art? What gives? If anything, I would say games represent the next step in art in that they embody all of the other major "arts" all in one while including the "viewer" directly in the experience. They become the conductor of the artwork.
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Didn't he once say he never played video games to begin with? With this, he has the gall to say they are not art without even experiencing them? There are at least a dozen games released within the past decade that transcend the normal mold and are definitely works of art.

I don't care how respected Ebert may be as a movie critic, but he really needs to shut up already about videogames. It's like he took a page from the John C. Dvorak book of journalism trolling.
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Well, to be fair, Roger does say that he lacked a good definition for art, and that for the players, the games may well BE art.

But yes, the whole conversation has been rather artless.
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The less coverage for the chump, the better all round.

Shortly after the first ever video game, this debate was settled in the minds of all thinking people.

We are just listening to an old man work through his prejudices in public.
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I don't know. Maybe Ebert should ask this guy: Shigeru Miyamoto.

It has always been my impression that video games only got good the minute they became art. I think the original Legend of Zelda is a pretty good example of this, especially if you read about Miyamoto's inspiration for it.
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Don Draper said it best: "You're a non-believer, why we should we waste out time on Kabuki??"

From what I read, he didn't even play or see the games in action (even though he was offered).
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