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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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  • Re:No, it's bullshit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jhoegl (638955) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @07:51AM (#35502018)
    Who defines art, but those that admire it?

    Games are their own art, to put it into a classical sense is nonsense.
  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Wednesday March 16, 2011 @08:53AM (#35502588)

    Follow this line of reasoning Mr. Ebert (and any other skeptics): "Final Fantasy: Spirits Within was a movie. It was considered 'art' by many critics, but was the storyline any good? Most say it was dull and not worth a second viewing."

    "Now consider Final Fantasy 10, a video game. Many claim this is not art, but what about the story? Was the story better than the movie? Of course it was. It was an amazing storyline, better than typical. ----- Therefore if a movie with a mediocre story is considered art, so too should a game with a superior story be considered art."

    BTW:
    In the 1920s and 30s many critics also dismissed movies as "trash" rather than art. No doubt Ebert would vehemently disagree with those critics, and yet he's falling into the same trap of dismissing a technology just because it's new.

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