Ebert's latest dig at gamer's

You can find the entire article here

The Windmill Theater introduced nudity to the British stage through the brilliant expedient of convincing the Lord Chamberlain (who censored the shows) that a nude, if she did not move, was not “theater” but “art,” and fell under the same exemption that permitted nudes in the National Gallery. Oh, how I agreed. Faithful readers will have followed the controversy over whether video games can be an art form. If I argue that they cannot, how then can I claim that a nude model at the Windmill could be art? Anyone who can ask such a question has been spending too much time in the basement with a joy stick.

Edit 2: Thanks for the “go advanced” tip, but it only works on the post title, not the thread title.

Who wants to make a vandalize Ebert’s tomb pact? Not really out of being horribly pissed off that a fat man has engaged the gaming world in a flamewar, rather to simply to have a pact.

I’m in

It’s sort of a pity that Ebert is turning himself into a bete noir for videogamers. It’s fashionable to bash him but I enjoy reading him more than most movie critics, except maybe Anthony Lane or a couple others.

As someone who leans toward the “ludologist” side of things I almost agree with Ebert. Maybe videogames can be art and maybe they can’t. There’s certainly plenty of art inside them, as any devotee of Martin Galway and Rob Hubbard could confirm. What is of more concern to me is that the videogames that try most self-consciously to be “art” in their totality, are often the ones I don’t particularly enjoy playing – because they tend to impose authorial structure at the expense of gamers’ freedom and interactivity. What I have come to expect from a videogame is more in line with what I expect from a board game, a card game, or a sport, than what I expect from a movie or a book. But there are certainly grey areas and blendings. I will let posterity and semantics sort out the rest.

In short: up with Ebert! His review of Armageddon is delightful.

If I lived in Chicago, I’d seriously take a copy of Shadow of the Colossus or Okami to his house, sit him down and show him how off-base he is. I’m guessing the last game he played was Galaga or something.

Just a question–has he ever stated that he feels movies CAN be art? Because if he has, he’s being even more closed-minded.

Actually, I think that is a perfect example of why he’s right: Shadow of the Colossus was the best movie that I wished I didn’t have to play.

I’d say HE’S been spending too much time in HIS basement fondling HIS "joystick!


I don’t get it; that relationship there (Video games are art and nude posing in Brittan) is pretty random. I get the feeling Ebert is up to something, either attract readership or hopping on a bandwagon or SOMETHING.

It was totally natural to talk about VGs in the Doom review, I mean it’s Doom, but to bring it up here was pretty far out.

Chris Woods

Click Edit, then Go Advanced. Title is up there at the top.

Well, you could just as easily say that paintings or movies that try “self-consciously to be ‘art’ in their totality” are failures as well. An artist who sets out specifically to create art will usually fail in making something of lasting interest (with some great exceptions). There may be lots of arguments to be made against videogames as art, but every medium is plagued by creators with self-conscious aspirations to greatness, so that angle as a unique criticism against videogames doesn’t really play.

Games that impose an authorial structure are just borrowing the technique from pre-existing media, which is the first thing that happens when a new medium emerges; early television was just radio where you could see the people taking, but it gradually changed as understanding of the medium became more sophisticated. Linear structure is not a sign of some inherent failing in the videogame as a potential artform – it just means that it’s in an early stage of development.

The most annoying thing about that Ebert excerpt is the way he uses “nude” in a way that comes across as antiquated, objectifying and infantile at the same time. Saying that naked ladies are art and then calling anyone who questions the proposition a basement-dwelling wanker isn’t witty, its pathetic.

I’m not sure why it matters if “video games” are art or not. Does something have to be art to be worthwhile. Nevertheless, one needs to define art, because clearly it is a conceptually overloaded term. Is fishing an art? Is woodworking an art? Is comic book writing an art?

In my opinion, Ebert hasn’t adequately done this. So, we have to trust that Ebert is talking about the same thing we are and, moreover, that he’s right. But Ebert is a movie reviewer; what does he know about video games? And why should we care?

Anyone who denies that videogames can be art is a peepeehead with nothing but farts in his pockets.

To imply that one form of emotional indulgence and flight of fancy is superior to another because of the limitations and features of the medium is to say, “Where can I get some caca to smear on my dumb lips because I love to eat doody all the time.”

Is a painting superior to a monument, because no one can touch it? Is a poem superior to prose because it demands the reader put less of himself into his interpretation? Why is a song that few hear thought to be so much better than a song which easily finds footing in the souls of so many? Does Roger Ebert really have to get his underwear from Kmart? Where does Roger Ebert buy his underwear, now that most of the KMarts are closed? Does he wear the threadbare jockeys of yesterday and yesteryear, or does he go without?

Since he is a movie reviewer, why do we even care what he thinks? I would rather spend more time dealing with the things that directly affect my gaming.

I think this was one of Ebert’s attempts at humor that doesn’t quite work. He seems to have about one of these every month.

Well, Hideo Kojima agrees: http://www.1up.com/media?id=2565856

Why are we still talking about this fuck?

Edit: The fuck is Ebert.

My deepest apologies to Hiedo Kojima, who is not a fuck.

Yet he agrees with the fuck. As do I. For now.


I’ve been ignoring Ebert. He knows his shit within his field, but honestly, this feels like old media taking a shot at new media to me.

Games aren’t art in and of themselves, but it’s my argument that they can contain art. Yoshitaka Amano’s character design, for example, is art that exists because of games; so are some of the landscapes and bizarre imagery that games have created.

With that said, even though I have an opinion, this is a bullshit argument that seems designed to appeal to the kinds of people who need to feel oppressed or minimalized in some way. Shut the fuck up and pass the controller, flapjack, I’ve got zombies to kill.

No, hes making a totally different point - games which take away interactivity to force upon the player the author’s “vision” (which is often pedestrian and pretentious in the first place) tend to be the least interesting to play.

And your point about games being in an early stage of development makes no sense - the OLDER games get the LESS linear they are. Pac Man(1980’s) is less linear than PaRappa the Rappa (1997), Doom 1 and 2(1993-1994) are LESS linear than Doom 3 (2004), System shock 1(1993) is LESS linear than 2(1999), and so on. There are exeptions but that is the obvious trend. Besides, interactive entertainment has been in development for thousands of years.

I would LIKE to beleive what you’re saying is true, but sadly its obviously not the case. In general, more advanced technology has led to more scripting and rigid storylines.

I think you are correct. In a similar vein, many strategy games have moved toward well-defined scenarios rather than random maps. In general, games today are not more wide-open than they were a decade ago.