Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Games Entertainment

Why Ebert Was Right 102

Posted by Zonk
from the large-man-big-ideas dept.
Next Generation reports has an article examining how, in some ways, Roger Ebert was right when he criticised the artistic merits of gaming. From the article: "But Ebert cannot be discounted, because, while he may not be the foremost authority on videogames, he knows a great deal about storytelling. He's not even completely ignorant on the subject of gaming; in fact, Roger Ebert is credited with at least one game review, a piece on the obscure Cosmology of Kyoto published in Wired in 1995. He reviewed it positively - he said it was wonderful."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Why Ebert Was Right

Comments Filter:
  • by snuf23 (182335) on Monday December 05, 2005 @06:02PM (#14188758)
    Citizen Kane is overrated. And Touch of Darkness contains lame cliched stereotypes of Mexicans and pot smokers.
    Ebert can bite me. He is probably less qualified to comment on games than I am to comment on movies. I'm sure I've watched more movies than he has played games and read more books on film and hell even edited broadcast video.
    The art in games is not just the matter of telling a good story. Games are not experiences where you passively absorb a story that is dictated to you. Game mechanics and design are just as important if not more important than story, art or music.
    Ebert tries to interpret games in the same manner that he does movies, as a visual and aural experience. He completely misses the point. Which isn't surprising given where he's coming from. Just wait another 30 years and games will be an excepted art form just as movies are today. Recall that when movies came out they were considered inferior to stage plays. As TV was considered gimmicky compared to radio dramas. It's just the old guard's reaction to a new medium.
    • That's one of the problems though...how do you determine who's qualified to rate anything. I'd say 90% of the reviewers who work for print mags and 99% of online ones aren't qualified to rate games either. Just because you play games doesn't mean you are qualified to tell other people whether they are good or not. A reviewers job should be, ideally, to filter out the bad from the good for the people who dont' want to have to dig through all the garbage to find the good stuff. Unfortunately most reviewers ju
      • all the entertainment mediums are going to shit right now

        I'd say that television has been going through a period of renewal and several quality shows have been appearing over the past couple years (or the past several years if you add in HBO and Showtime). I've heard various theories that it is a reaction to reality shows or simply new time slots opening up as the reality shows wane in popularity, but there seems to be a nice trend toward quality recently.

        --
        Evan

        • Still, for every good show that comes out there are 30 awful ones released too. That's not a very good ratio (even if I did just pull it out of my ass) ;)
          • I don't disagree. It's just that the top quality seems to have gotten better, and the ratio of good to bad has gotten better.

            --
            Evan

          • Guess you weren't around it the seventies when they were making shows like the Brady Bunch and the Partridge Family. It doesn't get any worse than that. Same goes for movies. They sure as shit didn't have anything like Lord of the Rings back then, but they certainly had their share of mundane cop shoot'em ups.
            • Well... Star Wars did come out in the 70's, and the Godfather parts I and II, and Jaws...

              There were a lot of crappy movies, to be sure but so there are now. For every Lord of the Rings you get tens (or more) Dooms.

              Now, TV shows, I can't comment much, except the cartoons that I see on that cartoon network retro channel. They suck, mostly. Cartoon "violence" was being eliminated, so you get Tom and Jerry working together to save fluffy puppies and the like.

              And Citizen Kane is an overrated movie.
              • Well... Star Wars did come out in the 70's, and the Godfather parts I and II, and Jaws...

                There were a lot of crappy movies, to be sure but so there are now. For every Lord of the Rings you get tens (or more) Dooms.


                Seriously, there were a lot of great movies made in the 70s, maybe more than in the 90s. Sure the 70s had its share of embarrassing fashion trends and awful television moments ... but so did the 90s, the 80s, the 60s, the 50s -- and the '00s will too.

                90% of everything is crap, this hasn't changed
      • I agree that the majority of reviewers in the industry are pretty useless. I also don't know why half of every magazine has to filled with re-written press release previews. Well, I do know why and it has everything to do with advertising dollars and nothing to do with quality reporting on the industry.
        To be fair, just because a game may be "good" doesn't mean everyone will enjoy it. It's all subjective. What I usually look for in a review is explanation of the gameplay itself. That's about the only informa
    • excepted art form

      Ummm, games ARE and excepted art form. That's what Ebert is saying. I think you should look forward to the day when games are an accepted art form.
    • Citizen Kane is overrated. (...)

      No.

      The thing about Citizen Kane is that, in addition to being an amazing technical and creative achievement, is that it's actually a damn fine movie. By anyone's standards, or anyone who isn't predisposed to be against it by its reputation. It's not some (f|shm)ancy art house flick, it was seriously made to be entertaining, and it is.

      It's told with energy, style, and it's got a surprising number of laughs too. That musical number at the party was stuck in my head for a wee
      • Which is exactly the point I'm trying to make because I've heard plenty of people say "Citizen Kane is boring" etc. It may be subjectively so in their opinion but they are not necessarily qualified to critique the film within the greater context of movie making as a whole.
        As Ebert is not qualified to critique gaming.
        • You've heard people say Citizen Kane is BORING?

          Let me guess, they think appreciatively of Armageddon?

          But while it's true that Ebert doesn't have the knowledge to compare a game against another, it is untrue that he is biased against gaming. I myself remember seeing him and Gene Siskel playing NES Tecmo Bowl on a TV special once. Their verdict, if I remember correctly, was thumbs down, because it was too addictive.

          Further, he has a right to speak about games, because 1. he is definitely a thinking individu
          • "You've heard people say Citizen Kane is BORING?
            Let me guess, they think appreciatively of Armageddon?"


            That's probably about right. There is a reason a lot of crap movies come out of Hollywood, apparently a lot of people enjoy crap.

            "Further, he has a right to speak about games, because..."

            Sure he does. I would never say that he didn't have a right too. I am merely saying his opinion on games is not worth all that much. It isn't his field of expertise. He can talk all he wants but when you hear what he has t
      • Oy, now why did someone thing my post was -1 Overrated THIS time?
    • You're thinking of "Touch of Evil".
    • In brief, take a look at the Mona Lisa. A sitter is posed with an odd look on her face. Nice background, use of sfumato. A good bit of realism. But does it tell a story? Does it make a point? We can contemplate it, sure, does that make it art? We can study it and come up with dozens of theories about the silly look on her face, does that make it art? Does the fact that it was painted make it art? Micheangelo's David isn't painted, is it not art? Was my yearbook picture art? I've got a silly grin.
    • Nah, citizen kane isn't overrated. It just has a hell of a lot to live up to. You go into a movie like that expecting the greatest thing since sliced bread without a bunch of context and you're going to be disappointed.

      Ebert's big thing is that he favours the 'auteur' theory of filmaking(the best movies are made under the artistic control of single individuals[Kubrick, Kurisawa, Hitchcock, etc.]). Games, well, whire there are a few designers like that, it's really too drastically different a medium to re
      • "Nah, citizen kane isn't overrated. It just has a hell of a lot to live up to. You go into a movie like that expecting the greatest thing since sliced bread without a bunch of context and you're going to be disappointed."

        Exactly my point. You quite simply refute the opinion I state by saying it's based on ignorance. And to say "Citizen Kane is boring" is based on ignorance. Obviously a well thought out response from Ebert on the film would be more useful. It's his area of expertise.
        I think that there are "a
        • by snuf23 (182335)
          "I just don't feel that his analysis of gaming (at least what I have read) shows him coming from an outsiders viewpoint."

          Duh. This should be:

          "I just feel that his analysis of gaming (at least what I have read) shows him coming from an outsiders viewpoint."

        • I can't really refute your opinion. I agree with it anyway. Citizen Kane is boring. But then again, at this point having any surprise over what rosebud is is akin to being shocked that Jesus gets crucified in the Passion of the Christ, so yea, that tends to sap the entertainment value unless you're a film geek. What I can refute is if you claim it's not a great piece of film, it is, I can give technical and artistic reasons why.

          Ironically, Ebert is an outsider to film review(english and literature, not
          • "How did, say, super mario brothers, pirates, doom, black & white, MGS, or civilization make you reflect upon the human condition(we're coming from an english lit background here, remember gotta work in that phrase, "human condition")?"

            Anonymous coward had a pretty good reply for this, I'll add in some comments from personal experience.
            As with films, not all games are going to make you "reflect upon the human condition" or more generally expand your thinking process (although I would argue even a twitch
    • Ebert tries to interpret games in the same manner that he does movies, as a visual and aural experience. He completely misses the point.

      "That a game can aspire to artistic importance as a visual experience, I accept." [suntimes.com]

      He's saying games can be works of art visually, but that what has come so far isn't yet good enough. He doesn't talk about the possibility of 'gameplay' being an artform, but I would suspect he would claim that even if it was an artform it also does yet not match up to the art of other media.

    • this word excepted, it doesn't mean what you think it means. ebert is more qualified to criticize art than you, it's what he does for a living. ebert is basically an art critic.

      I'm with ebert. games themselves are not necessarily art, at least not in the same way as a painting or a film.
      • games themselves are not necessarily art, at least not in the same way as a painting or a film.

        Well, obviously. Neither is a book or a musical piece. Each medium has its own "language" and it's obviously futile to expect another medium to use the same language. Games convey messages completely different than movies do. A game can nudge you into a direction and make you see the message while thinking you thought it up yourself. A book can do the same but a book does so in a different way. Games also interact
  • by general_re (8883) on Monday December 05, 2005 @06:07PM (#14188798) Homepage
    ...Roger Ebert is credited with at least one game review, a piece on the obscure Cosmology of Kyoto published in Wired in 1995. He reviewed it positively - he said it was wonderful.

    Anybody play that one? How was it?

  • subject (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frizzle Fry (149026) on Monday December 05, 2005 @06:08PM (#14188810) Homepage
    Anyone who says "To my knowledge, no one in or out of the field has ever been able to cite a game worthy of comparison with the great dramatists, poets, filmmakers, novelists and composers" has never spent serious time playing Tetris.
    • Squaresoft? ;)

      Seriously though, when I played Final Fantasy VI (FF3 in the US) for the first time, I realized what a great possiblity there is for gaming to become the ultimate art form one day. It takes all prior art forms, rolls them into one, and then lets you interact with it.
      • Not as long as the art is spoiled by running around in circles to level up, or figuring out which repetitive combo of spells is the most effective.
        • FYI, you don't have to level up in Final Fantasy games...that's optional. I don't ;)
          • Not anymore. In FF2 I got to a cave with a poisonous floor and had to run in circles for 3 or 4 levels to gain "levitate." Turns out I'd been too speedy and hadn't been killing as many baddies as the designers expected.
          • That doesn't explain why I'm stuck at a boss in FFX that can wipe my party with one attack because I didn't level enough.
            • addendum: You don't have to, but it'll make things easier ;)

              PS. Which boss? I didn't do any extra leveling and remember having a pretty hard time with Yunalesca
              • Seymour, second (?) reincarnation, in the snowy area after the catmen mountain. Right after a looooooooooong path without branches or points of interest, random encounters every five steps (which I ran from after an hour or so of being annoyed and bored, that was half a dungeon, shouldn't have made enough of a difference that I'd survive his attacks, I'd need almost twice as many HP) and a fifteen minute (when skipping as much as possible) cutscene before the boss fight. That was the point where I decided t
    • Re:subject (Score:3, Insightful)

      by xenocide2 (231786)
      When you speak of great dramatists, poets, composers and filmmakers etc, you speak of literature and art. Things of high social impact.

      While Tetris is a fine game, and perhaps one of the best we've ever witnessed, it has nothing to say. It has as much impact on culture and thinking as the game Tic-Tac-Toe. Sure, common culture might reference terms within the game such as "Cats game" or some such, but as a work of art it communicates nothing to the player, and most if not all attempts to claim the opposite
      • Well, it's a philosophical issue so I don't think I'm going to convince you otherwise, but rest assured that for many of us the purpose of art isn't to be a narrative that is designed to spoon-feed a simple message or story. Art is beauty and is an end to itself. If the best way for the artist to achieve that is through represntational art or narrative stories, that's fine, but abstract movies, music, games (Tetris), etc., can certainly be great art as well.
        • Certainly a beautiful creation in some way is a reflection on the human condition?
          • If you're a follower of Freud you'd say it's all related to sex in some way. The "in some way" qualifier means that even an absurd explaination will be accepted and I'd call that useless. It's like saying "everything is in some way related to the number 23". Sure, there are always some strange ways of computing that number but when the way there becomes too complicated it might be worth questioning whether that is really the point.
    • But the thing about Tetris is that, its richness is largely played out.

      Unlike chess (which arguably is a work equal to the classics by virtue of its longevity), Tetris has been mathematically exhausted. We know that, given an infinite time frame, that all players are doomed to fail at Tetris, for there exist block sequences which cannot be survived. Indeed, there are versions of Tetris you can download that purposely try to give you the worst block you can get. Which is an interesting variant, perhaps, b
      • I don't understand the argument that Tetris is "mathematically exhausted" because each game of Tetris must eventually end, while chess is somehow different. Every game of chess must eventually end also. That doesn't change whether it is beautiful. Why is the inability to last for an "infinite time frame" relevant? I think that is part of what makes the game great. You must last as long as possible and do the best you can while you are still there, like in life.

        Quite the contrary actually: If it were possibl
        • That exhausts Tetris, sorry for not saying this explicitly, because there aren't a large number of possibilities for game within that space. Tetris remains interesting for a while because of its action-oriented nature. Meanwhile in Chess, even relatively minor changes to many positions can have profound consequences for the game, and the game's movespace has never been exhausted even by very powerful computers.

          Depth plays the greatest role in the longevity of a game, just as depth (of a different sort) pl
      • As far as art goes- the fact that you won't see people making gadzillions playting Tetris is a point in its favor, not against it. Art is not about making money. Its about art for art's sake. Having commercial implications neither makes it art, not eliminates it from being art.
        • But my point about people making money playing Tetris isn't directly about finances, and more about the depth of the game. Chess, which is a closer parallel to a lasting game design achievement than comparing games to movies, does have that depth. Tetris, for all its strengths, does not; it's already been superceded by other Tetris-type games, like Puyo Puyo, as far as competitive play goes.
          • Three thoughts in response to those statements:

            1. Although tetris has been superceded in competitive gameplay, it was one of the most innovative games ever created, and definitely qualifies as one of the most important game design achievements of recent times.

            2. Chess went through quite a few changes to become the current game we now know as international chess. I choose to believe that "chess-type" games such as the ancient indian Chaturanga, and chinese chess (Xiangqi), are important works of art and d
            • Those were some well-thought-out responses, I thought. Let's see about responding to them:

              1. Yep, it's certainly innovative, and a milestone game design. No one's arguing otherwise. Whether it'll be looked back upon, in the future with the kind of intensity that we use to look at classic works of literature, or even movies, is less likely.

              2. Chess ancestors and variants. Of course Tetris has value as an ancestor of other games. And whether those games are better than Tetris is a matter of debate, for I
    • Has anyone asked? I could name a couple that I would rank very highly. I just got done playing Shadow of the Colossus, and felt that it was a very artistic game.

      I think that he also forgets that movies in the past were equivalent to what games are now. And Shakespear's plays were originally equivalent to a Hollywood blockbuster of today. They were written to entertain people too.
  • Ebert may be onto something when he says that gaming is an inferior method of storytelling -- it may well be (depending on perspective). However, this isn't the whole picture behind Ebert's contraversial statements.

    Ebert has been claiming that he doesn't consider video games an art form in the same way that he considers movies, books, music, or even comic books to be art forms. This and his storytelling statements are quite dissimiliar and should be treated as such. Nice try with the trollish title th

    • Uh, they deal with that cricism, and he (Ebert) gives a solid reason for his claim: That viewer-based progression is inferior to author-based progression.

      While I don't disagree with this in practice, I do disagree with it as a theory. You may have a version of, say, Price and Predjudice (for instance), where Darcy decided he was going to be honest about his past to Elizabeth from the start. I would argue that it would be possible for it to be a fine novel still if a user were given a choice, as Darcy, in a
  • agreed. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by The NPS (899303)
    I agree. While there's nothing artistic about Burnout 3, and there's nothing artistic about countless Diablo 2 runs, some games contain sweeping scenary, beautiful music, timeless storytelling, and wonderful character developement. Sure, those games that integrate all those factors are few and far between, but they're still there.
    • If there was ever a game that I would call artistic, Katamari Damacy is it. THAT is, ultimately, what the future of games should be.
    • Keep in mind that there is nothing artistic about Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.
    • The problem is, you're trying to force the art of games into the same form as other visual arts. The art in gaming is not about music, scenery, visuals, etc, or even storytelling and character development. Those can be pieces of it...elements.

      But the art in gaming is making a GAME to play. Making something that people want to play. Some other poster talked about tetris....that is one butt-ugly looking game, and some variations had some nasty music and sound as well. And there's no character development
      • How many would call Chess or Monopoly art? To be good at them requires skills, but art? Then compare them to the "art" of swordfighting, then Chinese martial arts that are realistically only meant for performances. The artistic elements relate to dancing and expressiveness. Hollywood swordfighting has expressive elements, but fencing, not so much. Coming back to Chess or Monopoly, there's little expressiveness, so they aren't arts, and neither is Tetris.
      • I didn't mean to insinuate that a game could only be artistic in a visual or aural way ... but sometimes videogames qualify as art based on those criteria. I think that anytime someone puts something human in a peice of work, something genuine, it can be art. In Tetris' case, it's an intuitive and fun game that appeals to most everyone and is fun to play. I would call that art as well.

        I just think that even when based on the criteria of a movie, book, picture, or peice of music video games frequently su

  • The problem isn't with gaming as an artistic medium like Ebert suggests, it's with almost all media made today. Nobody cares about artistic merit anymore...all people really care about is sales, including consumers...most people won't go see a movie if it's doing poorly at the box office, or won't listen/buy a CD unless it's already in the Billboard top 200. Sure there are a few of us who care, but the vast majority don't...and that's the real problem.
  • Beg to Differ (Score:3, Informative)

    by ReverendLoki (663861) on Monday December 05, 2005 @06:12PM (#14188855)
    "he knows a great deal about storytelling."

    As one of the poor unfortunates who has sat all the way through Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls [imdb.com], I respectfully disagree on this point.

  • I thought that Ebert said that "games are not art."
    The author here is saying that games aren't the best medium to tell a story with... I agree, but that's not the same as saying games are not art. Games are art, regardless of how well they tell a story.

    -manno
  • The Problem (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Apreche (239272)
    Ebert was mostly right. His only problem was in his over generalisation. There are indeed games that I would consider great works of art. And the fact is that 99.9% of games are complete shit. Maybe you can call them art, but only if you recognize they are bad. I've played quite a few games in my time. I've had joystick firmly in hand since the Atari 2600. There have been many games I've enjoyed over the years, but very few I can consider good works of art. In the past two years I can only name Katamari Dam
    • Re:The Problem (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Shadow of the Colossus should definitely make the "art" cut as well. It's not just the graphics or cinematic treatment - every little bit of the game contributed to an atmosphere and experience that was complete and immersive in a way that few games can even aspire to. Sands of Time and RE4 certainly approach this level of immersion, though the constant pausing to switch weapons in RE4 hurts it just a smidge.

      Though for my vote, Super Smash Bros. Melee is the absolute best piece of game art out there. The
    • "Disagree? Make a list of which games you would put in a museum and hang them on the wall for people to play hundreds of years from now. Divide by the number of games that exist. I rest my case."

      But that same problem falls upon movies, music, and books too. "What is art?" has always been a long going discussion, and unfortunately, then games of today or the last couple decades that really were art, won't be decided till many many years from now once they've stood the test of time.
    • Re:The Problem (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ayaress (662020) on Monday December 05, 2005 @07:02PM (#14189319) Journal
      Now, do the same thing with books, movies, paintings, poetry, and plays.

      It's like comparing Vanilla Ice to Beethoven. The argument could be made taht Vanilla Ice was indicative of the state of music, at least in its genre, but can the same be said of Beethoven? When Beethoven was alive, new symphonies came out like movies do now. A few new ones each week, if not more often than that. Some of them were ok, some were excellent, some didn't get the recognition they deserved because the composer couldn't get a venue to play it, some weren't that great, but were made by a locally popular composer and got much more attention than they were really worth.

      What we have now is the music of that time that survived the test of over a century.

      A better example would be movies. They came out even more rapidly years ago than they do now. Ask your grandparents: They'd go to the theater and watch the newsreel, a movie they'd never seen before, a few serials (usualloy half-hour TV shows, but on the big screen), and then another new movie. You can do this every saturday, and there were usually still choices. Saginaw had three theaters back then: Temple, Court, and another one on the east side that's been torn down. Often, each one would have a different set of movies running.

      How many of those movies do you still see on DVD or the classic movie channels today? Not many. You see the ones that have stood the test of time and were accepted as among the best of their respective time. Not everybody agrees. Just like you find people who enjoy obscure classical music you've never heard of, there are people who prefer one of Carry Grant's hundred-some-odd movies you don't see in the DVD racks.

      Books are even moreso. There are thousands of books written any given year. If you were to accept the books you see refernced in most discussions of classical literiture as the entire artistic output of their time, then it would lead us to believe that only a few hundred books were written in any given century. It's just not the case.

      Some people comment that most modern art doesn't look as good as older works of art, but it's the same effect. People have always produced weird and stupid stuff and called it art. Five years later, it may still be remembered, but fifty years later, a lot of it is forgotten. Time distills the vast creative output down into a relatively small subset which could be considered best, or perhaps most representative.

      Some bands were popular ten years ago, but now we're all ashamed to admit we even listened to them, let alone that we can still recite Vanilla Ice lyrics on demand. Two hundred years from now, few people will even recognize the name Vanilla Ice, but they'll still recognize Beethoven or Bach, and they'll remember some subset of singers from the last twenty years.

      The same will happen to today's playwrites and authors, directors and actors, and even to our games. Some of games will be remembered some day as works of art, some just as simple fun, others may be studied to see the core aspects of the genre, the same way a professor today will pick apart Chopin to demonstrate the overall style of music, or Michelangelo's David to see the thousands of very simmilar works of religious art from the time. And then again, the other thousands of them will probably fall into obscurity, and some may even be lost entirely over time.

      Heck, a few may even be remembered for being complete travesties. Some of the worst movies ever made have earned the same immortality that the greatest have.
  • Grim Fandango had an excellent story and characters. Remove the puzzles and it would be a great interactive movie where the player felt like he was moving things along, and clicking on objects to hear the inner monologue of Manny Calavera's thoughts. But it's the puzzles that detract from the art. One definition of art is that it explores the human condition. That is why great movies like Casablanca or The Godfather are considered art. By some in the art world, any game that includes puzzles or other d
  • The problem to me is that Ebert is automatically dismissing games as an art form because they cannot tell the stories that the greatest novels and the greatest movies have in the way that books and movies do. I can agree that a game trying to be a movie is probably better off as a movie. However, games as an artistic and storytelling medium have the added dimension of being interactive, something that film and word cannot claim. As a result, a player can take an active role in the story, and likewise the
  • The question of whether games are art or not is a BS argument. Games are art, interactive, auditory, visually, and tactile. Compare a game to a painting. Both involve composition, use of lighting, and the same techinical skill applied to the subject matter. Some is crap some isn't. No one claims that a Jackson Pollock painting isn't art because it lacks a coherent narative voice. Similarly, no one claims that modern interpretive dance fails to be art, because each dancer contributes their own interpre
  • I wonder if Brechtian theater that seeks to involve the spectator and intentionally breaks the Fourth Wall is less art according to Ebert than traditional theater. Asides, there are enough art theories that make the reception and interpretation, which are (re)actions by nature, an integral, sometimes even neccessary, part of art itself.

    Ebert's opinion is just his opinion, and his theory of art is his theory of art, which makes it just yet another one.

    I like some of his commentaries and some of his review

  • Spare me the 'there is no definition of art' cliches. But art does have a definition, and Ebert is using the wrong one. Ebert believes art is a passive 'greatness' that everyone else absorbs. Art is not the 'finished product' but the act of creating it; art is holding the mirror up to Nature.

    The art of a statue is not the statue but the sculpting of it. The art of a symphony is not listening to song but the playing and composition of it. The art of literature is not the reading of the book but the writing o
    • The reason why academics can never create art is because they never have 'fun playing around'.

      Bullshit. I know plenty of academics who have fun playing around. It's just that their media is art. Mozart riffed on musical themes, Shakespeare riffed on humanity (as he saw it), and I've known academics who riff on Mozart, Shakespeare, TS Elliot, Jesus, and plenty of others, and had a ball doing it.

      Your definition of academics as "people who don't have fun" is blatantly wrong.
      • No, my definition of academics is not people who do not have 'fun', it is people who do not 'play'. It is impossible to 'play' with the academic mindset. Of course academics 'riff' the greats. It is common for common people to tear down great people just to elevate themselves.

        Here is a sample of Einstein quotes on academics:

        "The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education."

        "It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education."

        "Education is only a ladder to gather fruit from the tree of
  • David Jaffe makes a few good points [typepad.com] on whole are games art discussion.

    Here's a couple of relevant quotes on The Sims:

    At a conference I went to, Will Wright talked about how the SIMS was designed to be read as a metaphor for greed and how as you got more and more and more stuff, it became more of a hassle to take care of it all and eventually things began to break down.

    ...

    games can- by USING THE INTERACTIVE MEDIUM (not using film technique) SAY something via play/interactive mechanics...

    Now this

  • If you're going to let the game lead you around, like the example from the article, you're not experiencing art. To some point, the gamer is responsible for developing his own playstyle. A game as it sits on a store shelf is an incomplete set of materials. Both the developers and the gamer must be the 'artist'.
  • "There is a structural reason for that: Video games by their nature require player choices, which is the opposite of the strategy of serious film and literature, which requires authorial control."

    So undermining the authorial control leads to something not being a work of art? Are video game designers not 'artists' because they cede this control to the player?

    Elitist asshole. Go masturbate intellectually more.
    • So undermining the authorial control leads to something not being a work of art? Are video game designers not 'artists' because they cede this control to the player?

      Yes. What's the #1 complaint people have about Xenogears? Endless dialogue, because the player has to sit through it and has nothing to do in the meantime. But by the classical definition of "art", Xenogears is closer to "art" than practically any other game. So do we tweak the definition of "art" to encompass this new medium (games)? W

  • If I want to read a story, I'll read a book. If I want to watch a scripted sequence of explosions and dialogue, I'll watch a movie. If I want to see acting and dialogue, I'll go to the theatre. If I want to stare at scenery, I'll go to an art museum. If I want to stare at scenery from every angle, I'll go outside (or get one of those 3d/panorama quicktime thingies).

    If I want to challenge my brain by stacking 4 square linked together, I'll go play Tetris.

    I really wish the industry would get off its kick
  • I for one typically don't play games for stories, but I understand that is the goal of many games.

    I agree that games are sort of opposed to story telling. The more story telling the worse the gameplay.
    There is a balance there. Or at least that is the best we can do right now.

    But games can do something movies, books, etc.. can not. They can create stories. Especially in MMOGs. And of course there is a whole struggling genre of Dynamic Story telling in games.

    Can games tell stories, yes. Can movies create
  • Ebert is simply being territorial. Blame him for being a film enthusiast -- it's like hearing an energetic sushi chef tell us that Japanese food is better than French cuisine.

    One common point between viewing movies and playing video games is the "pleasure of encountering surprises". When we watch a movie, we may guess that A, B, C might happen, but in fact, X, Y, Z occur, and if the director is smart, we may feel gratified by the unpredictable twists, which is a sensation similar to, during a video ga
  • I'm surprised nobody's mentioned that cloud game [thatcloudgame.com]. If that ain't art, I don't know what is.
    • If that ain't art, I don't know what is.

      All I know is that it makes me go "what the fuck was that guy smoking? I want some!" ... Which is true of a lot of art as well. ;)
  • Games like MGS and even Snatcher have some very interesting character development and plot twists, not to mention music and dialogue that pips much of what Hollywood has to offer today. The "codec" implementation alone is pure genius.. Other stellar titles, like Shadow of the Colossus and Grim Fandango demonstrate how much the industry has advanced since the days of Pong and Pacman. Those delusional/senile elitist psuedointellectuals like Ebert really get on my nerves. I mean, by contrast most paintings do
  • ...video games are an "inherently inferior" storytelling medium. He writes, "There is a structural reason for that: Video games by their nature require player choices, which is the opposite of the strategy of serious film and literature, which requires authorial control."

    In other words: "the way video games tell a story is inferior, because they do it differently than the mediums that I am myself used to."

    Ebert fails to do one thing: explain why authorial control is a requirement of a good story, and why pl
  • I think the article misses the point. I dont think Ebert said games arnt art because the stories need to be improved for it to get there I think he was saying games arnt art because the act of playing a game isnt artistic.

    As an example the majority of games tell you a chunk of story which can often be brilliant. You then go in to the game play for a while and then it gives you another chunk of story. The story is fine but its told through movies and text, two mediums that are already recognised as art. The
  • If the movie version of DOOM is Art, then so is the game it was based on.
    It's not much of a stretch to extrapolate from there.

Neckties strangle clear thinking. -- Lin Yutang

Working...