Videogames As Art – The Battle Continues


While it doubtlessly remains an key element of my existence, sometimes I find it increasingly difficult to protect the gaming community. Let me explain.

A while ago, movie critic Roger Ebert reported that games may not be art, and usually a sea of angry players swelled up, giant and menacing, to show him the mistake of his techniques.

Recently, Ebert reiterated his point, much to the dismay of the countless people who partook in the attack against him the first-time around; and in his newest website, he reverts back (albeit briefly) to the same matter.

This brings me to my matter, and I’m directing this towards a rather particular demographic; namely, those who opposed Ebert’s argument and took a very vocal, insulting and/or patronising approach to telling him thus. The matter I talk of, for need of the greater word, is just ignorance.

There is a measurable difference between disagreeing with somebody and striving to discredit their opinion based on your. Opinions are inherently subjective — inevitably, one’s standpoint on any topic can compare with another’s; this really is the nature of free-thinking. Presenting arguments for and against a certain viewpoint is the all-natural method of going about these aspects. Conversely, telling a individual they are incorrect, without any factual support, is ignorance.

Unfortunately, a sizeable part of those who disagreed with Ebert’s statement took the ignorant approach to making him learn, many striving to either undermine his credibility or personally insult him, alongside a selection of the more arrogant people who took to providing patronizing affectations over the lines of “he really doesn’t understand”.

Personally, I don’t agree with his position, but I regard it and wouldn’t think of telling him he was incorrect. There are others who share my view and similarly my technique of expressing it; I see they providing up thoughtful arguments, provoking smart debate and it reasserts my belief in the community. Then I see somebody attempt another fruitless attack at Ebert’s intelligence and again I lose a small hope for the medium of games progressing as an art shape.

Art doesn’t have a singular, obvious description, and what does or refuses to qualify as creative is continually topic to interpretation. As these, there is not going to be a consensus found on the complete “games as art” debate, so the entire thing appears somewhat useless.

What pests me is the fact that the folks who might argue to the finish of the Earth and back never recognize the idea that their attitude speaks of their own insecurity over anything else.

Should the opinion of 1 guy actually bother you that much? As I implied earlier, I firmly believe that games are a modern and exciting shape of art, and that puts me in direct opposition to Ebert’s opinion. Does that frustration me or upset me? No, it doesn’t, and alike it shouldn’t spoil anybody else’s day either.

It’s value recalling that Roger Ebert’s expertise lay in cinema, and as a result his views found on the gaming globe absolutely shouldn’t reach you. His being a fairly well-known figure doesn’t lead to the validity of his claim, it just succeeds in attracting a better amount of attention to the debate.

In theory, that’s a positive thing — gaming must constantly be moving forwards and achieving a wider audience. The Nintendo Wii has proven that folks who earlier had no interest in vide ogames could really be amused by them, with so-called “casual” gaming being that much-needed beginning point for individuals unknown with all the medium. What’s to stop a enthusiast of fresh and creative art being enticed in much the same technique? Folks are a small too hasty to criticise Ebert for his obvious ignorance, without stopping to consider how he can have completed the gaming globe a favour.

The thing that endears me many to Roger Ebert is the thing that looks to have everybody else so wound up, and that’s how he may take his position based on pretty small actual gaming experience. He’s well open about that truth, meaning that he is forming his opinion only on what he sees as “art”, instead of any predetermined idea he can have about games. Again, that’s a positive thing, because it signifies he might effectively change his way of thinking could he invested enough time really interacting with a movie game, instead of just viewing footage.

Speaking of the footage he was shown, even for me it was somewhat unconvincing. The games Kellee Santiago mentioned as “art” were at right questionable at worst totally un-artistic, with all the potential exception of Braid. Had I provided the presentation myself, I might have opted to display games like Shadow of the Colossus and Okami, that are both decidedly more concurrent with pre-conceived creative conventions. As it turned out, it appears Kellee grabbed the incorrect end of completely the incorrect stick, and displayed indie games that leant more towards thematic indulgence than creative expression, leading to a fairly weak show.

I nonetheless think it’s very probably that at some point in the close future somebody will introduce Roger Ebert to a movie game system. I couldn’t perhaps state how he’ll respond afterward, but maybe if handed the correct titles we can have another sceptic being prepared a believer.

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