It’s been floating around for a while, but I finally got around to reading Roger Ebert’s argument for why “Video games can never be art” and I have to admit: I’m stunned by just how resolutely bad his arguments are.
Here is a man who can’t be bothered to even attempt to play any of these games but still finds it within himself to say things like this:
These days, she says, “grown-up gamers” hope for games that reach higher levels of “joy, or of ecstasy….catharsis.” These games (which she believes are already being made) “are being rewarded by audiences by high sales figures.” The only way I could experience joy or ecstasy from her games would be through profit participation.
The three games she chooses as examples do not raise my hopes for a video game that will deserve my attention long enough to play it. They are, I regret to say, pathetic. I repeat: “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.”
Kellee Santiago, who gave the original talk which Ebert is referring to in this article, wrote a response to his response.