Games as Art : Roger Ebert Relents Somewhat

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SOTCART While the debate over games as art will likely rage on for quite some time, one of its fiercest detractors has relented a bit.

Roger Ebert; famed film critic, filmmaker and writer has in the past fervently espoused his position that games are not art. Following the 4-and-a-half-thousand strong barrage of comments on his original article, he’s relaxed his stance a little and admitted he’d made a mistake.

He hasn’t completely reneged his position – he’s still of the opinion that games – as they stand today – aren’t high art, but that they someday might become art. He’s also admitted that it’s not a judgement he should have made – not having played many games to begin with. While he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of film, video games aren’t exactly his area of expertise.

“My error in the first place was to think I could make a convincing argument on purely theoretical grounds. What I was saying is that video games could not in principle be Art. That was a foolish position to take, particularly as it seemed to apply to the entire unseen future of games. This was pointed out to me maybe hundreds of times. How could I disagree? It is quite possible a game could someday be great Art.”

His tune may change a little more later though – he’s rather reluctantly admitted that he should experience the medium  more before he makes further judgements.

“Who was I to say video games didn’t have the potential of becoming Art? Someday? There was no agreement among the thousands of posters about even one current game that was an unassailable masterpiece. Shadow of the Colossus came closest. I suppose that’s the one I should begin with.”

That would be an excellent starting point.

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Last Updated: July 1, 2010

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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