Why Ebert Is Right: Games Do Not Have to Be Art

From the feature editorial:

"Many gamers have heard of, and whole-heartedly disagreed with, film critic Roger Ebert's latest argument against the "video games are art" statement (find the entire article from his blog at the end of this paragraph). Many a word has been penned in response, both from gamers who vehemently argue that games are the greatest art form ever, and from those intellectuals that claim that gaming is only for brain-dead morons. Having finally gotten around to actually reading Mr. Ebert's long-coming substantiation of his argument, I admit that at first my response was something akin to rage - upon first reading I felt insulted, berated, and condescended upon. How could he have qualifications to judge if games are art or not, not having actually played any? However, I then took a step back. I caught my breath, counted to ten, and all that stuff that's supposed to calm someone down (which for me naturally involves playing video games, of course). I then had the brilliant idea to actually read Mr. Ebert's piece again, to see how I can pick apart his arguments. Then something strange happened…upon this second reading, I actually found myself agreeing with him. Not entirely, of course. There are still plenty of points he asserts that I'd fervently disagree with until my last breath."

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UltimaEnder3731d ago

Video games aren't art, just fun - games are fun and that's all that matters - Ebert knows only about movies, plus he can't talk anymore right?


Games are art to me. As a matter of fact, I think that anything that is created from human emotions are art. I'm not going into detail about it and unlike these people trying to convince Mr. Ebert that he is wrong, I'll be enjoying art in motion...

bnaked3729d ago

Art: the products of human creativity.

Ebert is wrong..

SaiyanFury3729d ago (Edited 3729d ago )

To be honest, the author makes a few interesting points, and a few to disagree with. Lord knows games are far more creative than a lot of the crap that's been coming out in the "art" of cinema for the last several years. Only a few movies that have come out in the last few years I would consider "art". Things like Avatar are nothing more than Hollywood's hate of humanity and their love affair with tribes that are in tune with their planet. I've not seen the movie, just read about it. But from what I read, I gleamed what I did. Movies like Transformers are not art, they're a medium to entertain people largely who don't appreciate a deep story. My wife and I watched the original Transformers movie and we were bored by the lack of real substance and plot. Maybe it's a personal note here, but I prefer a great plot like in Gran Torino and Hayao Miyazaki's recent Ponyo. Miyazaki is a big greenie, but at least his movies have a lot of great substance. I'm not calling Ebert an idiot, and I won't argue in his language that games aren't art. I will argue that modern games have substantial investment in artistic accomplishment, and games like Uncharted 2 have amazing art direction. Just look at the Himalayan snow cliffs you must find your way through. Truly jaw dropping.

Riv4L3729d ago

Art is heavily subjective to opinions and bias; bringing perspectives such as these into gaming is only going to give more fuel to the fires.

Aery3729d ago

I respect all opinions and taste, but games are ARTS. It's a fact.

Inside_out3729d ago

Of course games are " art "....Mr Ebert wants to know why we care?...I want to know why " HE " cares...I doubt he plays any games...He thinks in the atari 2600 kind of way...

Remedy should send him a copy of Alan Wake....breathtaking scenery and have changed/come a long way since the " good ole days " would think this guy would spend the time he has left in a more positive way....sad really....

Qui-Gon Jim3729d ago

I think that's the mistake in Ebert's argument. He thinks of video games as being games in the same sense as other games. He thinks that video games are about "winning" by being the first person to achieve some goal. His criticisms of "flower" reveal that misconception. He doesn't know that video games are becoming a story-telling medium as much as movies. Not all video games are art, in fact very few are, but neither are most movies.

I agree that video games have a lot of growing up to do, but they are an art form with a lot of potential. ESPECIALLY BECAUSE OF their interactivity. For example, a movie can pose a moral dilemma to the protagonist and challenge the viewer to question what is the right choice (one of art's most important roles, imho), but only a video game can make that decision YOURS. A certain chapter from Heavy Rain did that, and I think it is where video games can really differentiate themselves from other media as a unique art form.

nycredude3729d ago

Technically speaking, there is more "art" that goes into making a game than there is a Hollywood movie!

This guys should just stick to what he thinks he knows and stfu about what he obviously don't know!

RememberThe3573729d ago (Edited 3729d ago )

Lets take a look at's definition(s) of "Art":
1. the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.

5. any field using the skills or techniques of art

12. skilled workmanship, execution, or agency, as distinguished from nature.

Now some from Webster:
1 : skill acquired by experience, study, or observation

3 : an occupation requiring knowledge or skill

4 a : the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects; also : works so produced b (1) : fine arts (2) : one of the fine arts (3) : a graphic art

It is clear the Mr. Ebert is wrong as proven by the very definitions of the word itself. Apparently Mr. Ebert wasn't well read enough to actually know what the word meant when he said it.

+ Show (6) more repliesLast reply 3729d ago
LaurenKB1233731d ago

Roger is an idiot, well written piece though....

PepperJack3730d ago

yeah, it's bad enough that they're always trying too hard to make films appear arty without doing it with games too

Myst3730d ago (Edited 3730d ago )

With the passage itself I kind of agree, but what I don't agree with is that games could never be art. To me games are like a video art project in a way at various instances. Take for example this scene: Aerith's Death in Final Fantasy VII [I know I know a lot of people are probably tired of hearing about it, but honestly this was a good scene].

Now as it stands this has been and always will be my favorite scene in any video game. The emotions it enlisted as it happened was quite amazing. The musical score that plays is quite beautiful, and the scene direction [ especially at the end is really nice. ] Now whether Mr. Ebert would agree with this or not I honestly don't really care. To me that was art.

Forgot to say that no games do not have to be classified as 'art', but they pretty much are depending on who you ask.

Qui-Gon Jim3729d ago

I had forgotten just how well that scene was done.

Anon73493730d ago

It's either art or tools, or even possibly both.

Video games are rarely have practical uses, so they're pretty much all art or practical art(Brain Age).

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