Robert Ebert came under a lot of fire from gamers recently when he made made several sweeping statements about gaming as a medium, and why it could never truly be defined as art. Apparently, Ebert has felt the need to to backtrack on his statement in an effort to douse the fire. “I was a fool for mentioning video games in the first place,” writes the famed movie critic. “I would never express an opinion on a movie I hadn’t seen.”
This follows an April blog post which created quite a stir due to him making several generalisations, and generally looking down on gaming as a form of storytelling: “Let me say this now. No gamer will survive long enough to experience the medium as an art form.”
Quite a few gamers drew issue with that, as his blog commanded over 4500 comments, most of which voiced disagreement with him. Now, he has attempted to explain himself:
“My error in the first place was to think I could make a convincing argument on purely theoretical grounds,” he writes in his latest post “Okay, kids, play on my lawn”. Continuing, he adds, “What I was saying is that video games could not in principle be Art. That was a foolish position to take, particularly as it seemed to apply to the entire unseen future of games. This was pointed out to me maybe hundreds of times. How could I disagree? It is quite possible a game could someday be great Art.”
Of course, Ebert still is unwilling to believe games will ever be art. But, he adds, it is an opinion that he should have kept to himself.
Of course, kudos to the man for having the guts to step down, when a man of his stature could have stoicly stuck to his place.
“Who was I to say video games didn’t have the potential of becoming Art? Someday? There was no agreement among the thousands of posters about even one current game that was an unassailable masterpiece. Shadow of the Colossus came closest. I suppose that’s the one I should begin with.”
Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. While you’re at it, go try out Okami, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, Metroid Prime and Bioshock as well.