Relax Fellow Geeks and Nerds. Roger Ebert Has Apologized.

Jul 5, 2010 · 10170 views

I must admit, I am a bit of a “gaymer.” I own a Playstation 3, know who Adam Sessler is, and can explain why the Wii’s technology is actually only popular, not technologically advanced. Like many in the gaming community, I was rather upset with Roger Ebert’s declaration back in April that “Videogames can never be art.”

Ebert has expressed this sentiment multiple times before, but with the internet culture we live in today, it went viral this time leading to an astounding 4500 negative comments on his Sun-Times blog post. Despite what you might think, the controversy was not necessarily in what he said. The controversy was whether he, as a film critic who has never played a video game, has the right to make such a declaration, and more specifically that it can “NEVER” be art.

Geeks be praised, he has apologized. On July 1st, 2010 he penned a lengthy apology titled “Ok kids, play on my lawn” that he posted to his blog. As he mentions in his blog, him making such a declaration without having ever experienced a video game is akin to “reviewing a film he has not seen” and that “never is a long, long time.”

What do you think?

How do you feel about video games?  Are they, or can they ever be “art?”

Should Ebert have apologized for his original post?

    Comments

  1. alex says:

    video games can TOTALLY be an art.

    The game that made me a believer in this was Ninja Gaiden 2 for the NES.
    Incredible story line, awesome (at the time) scene animation, great gameplay and control. It was the first game that I ever truly loved and I will forever consider it to be a work of art.

    • RyanJustice says:

      Thanks Alex for your input! I totally agree! I had that game back the day and wish I still had it! The game I always consider to be a current manifestation of “art” in the industry is the Bioshock franchise. Not only is the art direction and sound design some of the best I’ve experienced, it’s story is better written than most films today.

      • Blueboi says:

        Bioshock is a beautiful game. I was kinda disappointed with the sequel though. It didn’t feel as new & original.
        The Special edition box was definitely a work of art. The packaging is absolutely beautiful :D

      • RyanJustice says:

        Everyone keeps saying that about the sequel, but I kind of have to disagree. I think the industry gets too wrapped up in what is “new” vs. what is “good.” Frankly, I think for reviewers it almost discredits their opinion by using this we’re not as impressed because its not the first time being submersed into a game environment. Are we supposed to believe that in the first one “X, Y, and Z” gave the game a 10/10, but for the sequel those same things only get it a 7/10?

        Wow I just rambled, but do you see my point. While innovation is great and necessary, it shouldn’t be the basis for a game’s review if the original was already spectacular. Any review of anything should be perceived as a stand alone, not compared to other things.

      • Blueboi says:

        HMmmm…Eeeeeehh….i agree and disagree. Originality and innovation shouldn’t be the sole merit a game (or anything for that matter) is judged on. However, it should count for something.

        I guess It really depends on what view point you’re looking at it from.

        For me, as a developer, Bioshock was refreshing, beautiful and exciting. A real fresh of fresh air. It was fun to play, and by the end it felt like a journey worth playing.
        Bioshock2 was still a great game, but it didn’t feel as thrilling and exciting. It really felt like the new developer had simply tried to re-create the first game instead of try to push the story and original ideas forward.

        I really like the old review systems where they’d break it down to multiple criteria eg. Enjoyability, visuals, Originality, Replay value etc.

  2. Blueboi says:

    As an artist currently working for a video game studio i’ve seen first hand how much of an art form a GOOD video game can be; just like any GOOD movie.

    This guy obviously has no clue what he’s even talking about.

  3. I think video games are a bit overrated though. Still he’s entitled to saying a couple of grouchy things, right?

    • Blueboi says:

      As much as i’m entitled to critique something i’m not all that familiar with.
      Everyone’s entitled to their opinion.
      As a “professional” FILM critic he should know better. It’d be like writing about a restaurant he thinks is crap in one of his film review columns.

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