BlogPopular film critic Roger Ebert (who writes for the Chicago Sun-Times) is standing by his previous argument that "video games can never be art".
He refers to a talk by Kellee Santiago (video game designer, producer and President & Co-Founder of thatgamecompany1) who made various points against Ebert's claim. His core argument is:
No one in or out of the field has ever been able to cite a game worthy of comparison with the great poets, filmmakers, novelists and poets.
He also said:
Why are gamers so intensely concerned, anyway, that games be defined as art? Bobby Fischer, Michael Jordan and Dick Butkus never said they thought their games were an art form. Nor did Shi Hua Chen, winner of the $500,000 World Series of Mah Jong in 2009. Why aren't gamers content to play their games and simply enjoy themselves? They have my blessing, not that they care.
Do they require validation? In defending their gaming against parents, spouses, children, partners, co-workers or other critics, do they want to be able to look up from the screen and explain, "I'm studying a great form of art?" Then let them say it, if it makes them happy.
Santiago cited games Waco Resurrection, Braid and Flower (which was made by Santiago's company thatgamecompany2) as examples of art. She also argued that early silent films like "A Voyage to the Moon" (1902) are "equally simplistic".
Ebert has my respect as a film critic as he normally reviews films based on the target audience and therefore often rates films higher than his own personal view of the film. Yet clearly he does not view video games as art. Personally I do not really mind, no matter what your definition of art is at the end of the day it is your definition and your opinion. Same as film criticsm people can view games and pretty much anything else however they choose to.
Yet in the comments to his article a large number of people felt they had to jump on and cite various games and examples as to why he is wrong. As Ebert points out, why are gamers so concerned about the media being defined as art? Does it really matter what the wider community thinks? Games while more mainstream these days (especially with casual gaming from platforms such as the Wii and iPhone) still are not integrated enough that your average person would consider them art.
Do we have to argue about the merits of games? I don't think so, I'm happy enough to discuss them with someone that will listen but if someone disagrees that's fine. I'm sure not every game I like is liked by all that I know, and vice-versa. A lot of the films Ebert loves I no doubt do not, and that's fine with me.3