NEA to allow grants for video games as art

I couldn’t Google up an existing thread on this, so apologies if there is one.

I have a friend who’s going on FOX and Friends this Saturday to discuss the NEA grant story that broke a few weeks ago and I’m trying to help him cover his bases.

Roger Ebert has famously argued that video games aren’t art, and I couldn’t recall (or locate) and really good rebuttals in that aftermath. I’m also looking for good examples of video games as art or video games that contain art; Braid comes to mind as an obvious one but I’d love to have some more ideas.

Thread over.

ha, ha! Think what we would be looking at if that dev had received federal funding!

You’d greatly improve his life by just murdering him now.

Hey now! I kind of like my life!

You know you are not going to have a discussion on it, right? The talking head thing is about zingers and talking points. You could literally make up statistics just to shut the other side down, and no one would contest you.

Anyway, good luck. This sorta thing is exactly why the NEA just needs to die, already.

“Games help you develop critical thinking.”
“Games are not a passive exercise such as watching movies or looking at a painting.”
“All new art forms are criticized by the elite establishment.”

Repeat incessantly, no matter what they say in response.

Hey, if you can get the blonde lady who isn’t Steve Doocy to say something completely inane, you could get the clip on The Daily Show!

Ask her what games she likes to play ;)

That’s a good point, the opportunities for trolling here are immense.

Hey Ryan,

Clive Barker gave a keynote at the 2007 Hollywood and Games Summit rebutting Ebert. I can’t find a transcript of that, but maybe your google-fu is stronger. Here’s Ebert’s response:

Kellee Santiago gave a TED talk rebutting Ebert:

Ebert responded:

Ebert then decided to stop talking about it:

And Brian Moriarty came out for Ebert in a talk at this year’s GDC:

There have been responses to Moriarty, but nothing particularly high profile.

It looks like Ebert more or less won, but now the NEA says he’s wrong, so there’s that.

I updated that picture with a nice artsy name.

More red meat for the right wing crowd.

This is kind of beside the point, since it’s not like you’ll be given the opportunity to present visual aids, but what does this question mean? “Video games that contain art” is, well, all of them. It’s a visual medium. There are huge, glossy picture books with concept art, in-game models, backgrounds, etc. for pretty much any genre you can think of.

If you want games that “are art” but are targeting a Fox News crowd (probably older, less tech savvy), it invalidates a huge swath of stuff that speaks to the nature of games themselves and interactivity. Even Braid loses a lot of its oomph if you can’t appreciate the variations on the core gameplay grammar that make it interesting.

For that kind of crowd, just talk about Ian Bogost’s Persuasive Games and other “serious games” stuff, if given the chance. That’s what you’re supposed to talk about when discussing this kind of grant.


There’s also the “player agency makes it never-art” thing of Ebert’s. To which you might say something like “but it’s fake-agency”, because players can’t do stuff the creators didn’t intend.

To use his own example from his Clive Barker rebuttal; that Romeo & Juliet is a game doesn’t necessarily mean Romeo & Juliet gets to live happily ever after. Silent Hill 2, for example, tasks the player with saving a girl that cannot be saved, and even the happiest ending isn’t very happy at all. Because that’s not the experience the creators wanted to give the players.

Looks like he had all of 60 seconds or so to get his points in, so there wasn’t much that could be covered. Under the circumstances, I’d say this is the best possible outcome:

The bald guy scares me.

Those bastards just HAD to start it off with sensationalist bullshit by saying “Should videogames like Call of Duty get federal funding?” and then cue video of virtual soldiers being blown away by grenades.

“When you think of video games you do think of Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto, exactly who will be getting these taxpayer dollars?”

Playing CoD scenes the whole time Brian is trying to talk.

And of course the bald dude (Neal Asbury) is a complete sensationalist asshat. So of course he goes STRAIGHT to the budget problems for scare tactics, and then doesn’t even respond to the points made by

Fuck FOX News. Fuck any son of a bitch that watches this bullshit.

I’m so sorry they had to pick him to be your counterpoint, Brian.