I’m Sorry Ebert. You’re Just Wrong Today.

No this isn’t about Kick Ass… though you were wrong about that one too. But let’s get down to business.

I read your article saying “Video Games Can Not Be Art.” This is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve heard from a man I usually agreed with since I was ten years old and decided to go into movies and writing.

Ebert, I’m sure you’ve never sat down and actually played through a single game in your life.

This is certainly not art.

I can agree with you that video games have degraded a LOT in quality since the days of games like Super Mario World 2: Yoshis’ Island (left). However, you can’t say there’s not a equal amount if not more effort put into some games to truly make them beautiful. Why do you think Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg opened up game studios in the last couple of years? They’ve seen it’s a great output for creativity… and it’s quite profitable if you churn out a decent product.

I was correct when I wrote, “No one in or out of the field has ever been able to cite a game worthy of comparison with the great poets, filmmakers, novelists and poets.” To which I could have added painters, composers, and so on, but my point is clear.

Okay, I also have a little problem with this. Even if you look at some great artists, many of which didn’t get jack until they were dead or just died young anyway. We won’t know for many years yet how much influence Metal Gear or Sonic have on our films and our writing. One thing I can honestly say… the things I write, not all, but a lot have heavy influence from the games I’ve played over the years. Think of it as a movie where you have complete control over what happens. It can really get the ideas flowing during a bout of writers block… but you’ve said it yourself before, it’s not perfect, but you had fun. That’s exactly how it works for games and well is film. Not all movies are art… but some art. Most games are not art, but some really shine. Games are a new medium for storytelling. The first films weren’t complete gems, but look at them now. I’m guessing it was the same for music, and even the first cave drawings. But I’m rambling.

Besides, I wouldn’t dare compare any modern writer to Poe, any musical artists to Mozart or Michael Jackson, or Jackson Pollack to anyone. They’re all great, but it’s all apples and oranges… mmm oranges. I could use one right now.

I suggest Mr. Ebert you go play Heavy Rain on Playstation 3 and get back to me. But I don’t know if I can change your mind after saying Katamari and Braid… two of the most original and beautiful games I’ve played in years, aren’t art. That’s just crazy. Why don’t you give them a quick play. You might just like them, who knows.

I still look forward to your reviews and greatly respect you. But you’re just wrong today. I’d love to debate this farther with anybody.

EDIT: I forgot about the most beautiful game I’ve ever played… Okami

If this isn't art. I don't know what is.


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