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Revisiting Ebert — Games Can Be Art, But Are They? 278

Posted by Soulskill
from the beauty-is-in-the-rocket-launcher-of-the-beholder dept.
At the recent Game Developers Conference, industry vet Brian Moriarty spoke at length about the old videogames-as-art debate. Moriarty found himself reluctantly defending one part of Roger Ebert's infamous argument against the notion: "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." What followed was a thoughtful discussion of how games fit in with the definition of art and how the commercialization that almost universally surrounds them can inhibit true artistic expression. Quoting: "Unlike Mr. Ebert, I have played many of the games widely regarded as great and seminal. I have the privilege of knowing many of the authors personally. But as much as I admire games like M.U.L.E., Balance of Power, Sim City and Civilization, it would never even occur to me to compare them to the treasures of world literature, painting or music. ... Video games are an industry. You are attending a giant industry conference. Industries make products. Video game products contain plenty of art, but it's product art, which is to say, kitsch art. Kitsch art is not bad art. It's commercial art. Art designed to be sold, easily and in quantity. And the bigger the audience, the kitschier it's gonna get."
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Revisiting Ebert — Games Can Be Art, But Are They?

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  • by selven (1556643) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @07:09AM (#35501794)

    You are attending a giant industry conference. Industries make products. Video game products contain plenty of art, but it's product art, which is to say, kitsch art.

    No shit, Sherlock.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @07:30AM (#35501888)

    He's not Sherlock, he's Professor Moriarty ...

  • by biovoid (785377) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @08:37AM (#35502388)
    I am Reversebert. I have played thousands of videogames, and consider myself a well versed videogame critic. The other day I watched Transformers: The Movie. And I read a Mills & Boone novel. Then I played Shadow of the Colossus. Based on that, I have decided that movies and books can never attain the level of art that games have. I couldn't interact with the movie or novel in any way! I was a passive spectator and felt like both experiences were already determined for me. Based on such an unfair comparison, neither movies nor books can ever hope to attain the level of art that videogames have.

We can predict everything, except the future.

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