I’ve been resisting posting about Roger Ebert ever since he’s become as silly as those Epic-Verse aficionados Aristotle dissects in Poetics, but following his latest reiteration of his thoughts on games in his review of the Hitman movie, I decided it was inevitable I’d have a crack. Except I now realise I don’t have to. Following the thread on Rllmuk – where I steal Dapple’s splendid line for this post’s title – The Bag links to Splinter Cell Creative Director Clint Hocking’s extensive, elegant and intricate rebuttal. Which despite dating from August, I hadn’t read before. I probably should have, because it’s extensive, elegant and intricate. Also – whisper it – agreeably bolshy.
“If Haggis’ Best Picture winning Crash was 100 hours long, and contained 100 different interconnected plots all echoing the same themes of racial tension from different perspectives, would it suddenly lose its status as art? It probably wouldn’t be a very good movie, because 100 hours of movie is painful. In any case, no matter how long you make Crash, you will never fully explore the domain of the themes of racial tension in modern America. 100 hours is just 50x what the movie already offers, and is no closer to the infinite depth of the theme than is the existing 2 hour film. GTA: San Andreas on the other hand – which I played for a good 100 hours or so, gave me such a world transforming view of racial tension and inequity in early 1990’s California, that I have been shaken to the core, and have been forced to re-examine a huge part of my world view.”
On the same topic, I wrote a justification for games-as-expression back when the Escapist launched, which I think still stands up and explains that Poetics bit in the intro if you’re wondering if That Gillen Guy has gone and went a bit funny in the head again.