The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for tea, working at hacking through your inbox and compiling a list of the fine (mostly) games related writing from across the week, while trying not to include a link to some elder statesmen of pop returning for one last little conceptual game.

  • Since it’s such a big talking point of the week, let’s give a proper less-sarcastic link to Ebert picking up his games aren’t art drum and beating it some more. To keep things brief, there’s always been a big hole in his argument: “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.” accepts the fact that you can compare them, so are art. His argument isn’t “games aren’t art” to “games aren’t as good art as cinema, literature, etc”. In other words, he’s admitted he’s 100% wrong inside his own articles. Since he’s conceded the point, we now have someone just saying he doesn’t like games, having never played the relevant ones, thinking watching a video of a fragment of one is a suitable way to judge one – which is equivalent to me reviewing the merit of the concept of movies from looking at their posters in front of the cinema.
  • Except, had an odd little thought. Could you contrast a game favourably to Hamlet? Trickier proposition, but I’d give it a shot. But I could compare a game favourably Timon of Athens. Though you could compare episodes of Eastenders pretty favourably with Timon of fucking Athens.
  • Remember Digital? Splendid interview with Christine Love about it. For those who don’t speak French, scroll down to see the English version. I probably write something else on Digital, as the Daft-Punk referencing Digital Love header still has to be used.
  • Midlife Gamer wonder who actually plays those trucking simulators. So they decide to interview creators SCS Software to find out. This is delightful stuff, and a wonderful portrait of a niche developer.
  • Splendid making of Halo 2 article over at Eurogamer. Considering the game was an enormous financial success, Bungie are agreeably candid about how troublesome the whole development was. It’s the sort of thing which could, if they wanted, get plastered over.
  • Tom Francis talks to Farbs about the future of the Captain Forever-project – basically, something with the scope of Elite – with special attention to how its business model is working. As in, pay one fee, and get all its micro-sequels.
  • That’s enough interviews for now. Here’s Bit-tech’s article on why everything is trying to be an RPG at the moment. For me, this is interesting – for all the whining about social games from hardcore developers, when they’re doing very much the same thing just as often does tend to undermine their position.
  • H+ Review of the Warcraft Civilization: Social Science In A Virtual World.
  • Following on from the Superbrothers‘ piece, Sinister Design has some thoughts about writing in games.
  • Nintendo made me Nympho. Quite.
  • You’ll probably have seen Pixels by One More Prod. If you haven’t, click-click away. Startling stuff.
  • Casanova was one of my defining comics of the late 00s. As far as something resembling a traditional American-format comic goes, my favourite. It’s now returning, in a recoloured format, at Marvel’s Icon imprint. If you follow comics, you should follow this. You will thank me.
  • On a comics tip, comrade McKelvie and myself had a book come out for the House of Ideas. Tying into the Siege crossover, we wrote a SIEGE: LOKI tie-in. There’s a preview of it here. It’s been enormously well received, but I think my favourite piece on it is the Comics Alliance round-table review, which is spoiler dense, but very funny. As in, probably worth reading even if you’re never going to read the comic.
  • Black Box Recorder are back! And then they’re gone! They’re releasing two tracks on Election Day for download, for one day. It’s a very Them thing to do. They’re streaming now on myspace. The one you’d want is Do You Believe In God?



  1. Naiive Melody says:

    You know, this is my favorite part of RPS. It always manages to catch articles that other blogs let fall through the cracks. Now, time to read the five tabs I just opened.

  2. Matt says:

    Those are voxels, the pixels are innocent!

  3. sigma83 says:

    @Kieron re: Ebert, Don’t you think your argument about the comparisons is a tad semantic? I adore your movie poster analogy though.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      sigma83: Yeah, but if you fall on such a basic point, it doesn’t exactly show that you’ve put any thought in it at all and you should be stomped on swiftly then ignored. If Ebert isn’t making the effort, I’m not sure I should.


    • Thirith says:

      While I still enjoy reading Ebert’s film reviews (while often disagreeing with him), I can’t get over his sheer arrogance and intellectual dishonesty in the whole “games as art” discussion – the way he’s perfectly comfortable passing judgment from a position of utter ignorance.

    • Lambchops says:

      Criticising something on fragments of video or on trailers can be valid but, and this is a crucial but when it comes to Ebert and games, only with experience of the medium. For example I’ve watched a lot of films so I’m quite happy to dismiss something like Date Movie based only on the trailer, or even on the poster! On the other hand I know absolutely fuck all sculpture; so show me a sample of somebodies work from an exhibition and I could perhaps make a stab at saying whether I’d enjoy wandering around the exhibition but I certainly couldn’t confidently make any sweeping statements about the work without more familiarity with the medium.

      So essentially I’m fine with Ebert not liking games and thinking they are a waste of his time and even find with him basing this on snippets but it seems somewhat arrogant to me that he thinks he can make a relelvant critical judgement on them without actually having more of a grounding in the subject.

    • Alan Paul says:

      The problem with most gamers arguing against Ebert, and the reason they won’t win the argument, is that no matter how little Ebert knows about games, he knows far, far more than the average gamer will ever know about art (I certainly don’t claim to be an expert on either, incidentally). It’s evident even here – an intellectual hotbed compared to the vast majority of gaming forums, let’s be honest – where there’s talk of Bioshock and screenshots from Just Cause 2 – if these are really the best examples we can talk about, then the Ebert argument has won.

      If you want to argue about games as art, maybe cite someone like Blast Theory. You might be of the opnion that it’s not good art, but Desert Rain, Can You See Me Now?, Uncle Bob All Around You and Day of the Figurines, as examples, are clearly both games and art. I’m sure there are many other similar examples out there.

      link to

    • Gap Gen says:

      I do tend to find intellectual dishonesty more annoying than someone simply disagreeing with me.

    • Wulf says:

      @Gap Gen

      An honest disagreement is something I really appreciate, and I truly admire someone who can show respect for someone they disagree with whilst still keeping to their own opinions.

      However, it seems to be hard these days for people to resist getting in a little dig or ten in–seasoned with some brown-nosing, intellectual dishonesty, and defamation just to be that bit more political–where they think they can get away with it (mostly due to the anonymity of the Internet). I admit, I’m not immune to this and I do it sometimes without realising it, no one’s perfect, but I do at least try to make an effort to show respect for people, since there are a lot of people I like, here.

      It gets a bit tiring though because one has to tackle those digs before anything else. If not for that, there could very likely be smiles, handshakes, and reasonable people agreeing to disagree. ‘Tis to dream.

    • spinks says:

      I’m kind of intrigued to know how Ebert feels about modern art. It’s easy to compare stuff with Shakespeare or Van Gogh but how about something a bit less … classic.

      I only say that because I’ve been to interactive art installations that definitely had elements of gameplay. Where the viewer was intended to play with the installation in some way. And art galleries (ie. the tate modern) thought they were art.

    • Michael says:

      This whole argument would go away if someone would just make a game that was obviously artistically brilliant.

      The challenge there is in combining great visual design, audio design, and drama with game design in a such way that they enhance each other, without losing personal vision and creative control. In short, I think the game is the most difficult artistic medium yet devised, by quite some margin. And there’s not a great commercial demand for artistically impressive games.

    • Kirian says:

      I get the feeling Ebert’s fallen for one of the basic intellectual fallacies. That ‘art’ is the same as ‘good’.

      In case anyone’s still reading, I don’t think games are/can be art either for entirely different, niggly reasons. I also don’t care whether they are or not. It bothers me not a whit.

    • merc says:

      Grim Fandango is art. Case closed, argument over.

    • Saul says:

      I don’t think Ebert knows anything aobut what “art” is. In high school art class was that art is about an interaction between artist and audience, something games do very well.

      As the semantic nature of Keiron’s argument– Ebert is guilty of exactly the same thing. He claims that games have a “victory condition”, but then admits that it may be possible for them not to have one, but claims they would not then be “games”. In doing so, he completely leaves open the possibility of an interactive computer artwork that is art, it’s just that he wouldn’t call it a “game”. He doesn’t use the word the same way we do– he’s limiting it to mean “something you can win”.

    • Saul says:

      Here’s the quote:

      “One obvious difference between art and games is that you can win a game. It has rules, points, objectives, and an outcome. Santiago might cite a immersive game without points or rules, but I would say then it ceases to be a game and becomes a representation of a story, a novel, a play, dance, a film. Those are things you cannot win; you can only experience them.”

      Enough said.

  4. James G says:

    I loved the SCS interview. A delightful honesty and modesty going on there. In some ways their conclusion was similar to Stardock’s, “Niche games can sell” but their attitude was almost the complete opposite. I may never buy an SCS game, but I’m very glad they exist.

  5. Metalfish says:

    Art is an ill defined term. The definition differs between individuals quite markedly. I’ll offer my own for what it’s worth: “Any endeavour that is not strictly scientific or of utility at the point of being experienced.” A slightly crap definition, I’ll admit, but to me games can be art just as much as books or paintings. I can’t see why interaction has anything to do with it other than being an arbitrary distinction.

    Not that I care, I play for entertainment. But I go to art galleries for the same reason.

    • Wulf says:

      I like you and your post, which I feel is actually exemplary and not crap at all. It’s a fair point.

      Almost anything can move a person, any kind of expression, and if it makes them feel, if it makes them want to talk about that experience, and it makes them want to throw their arms up in the air and exclaim it to be art then… well, why the bloody hell not, eh?

  6. Grey Cap says:

    “Nintendo made me Nympho. Quite.”

    Who is the joke on? The satire is over my head.

    • Grey Cap says:

      Edit: I mean the article, not the phrasing of the link.

    • James G says:


      I’m not sure if you’re joking or not but, well, it isn’t satire. The Daily Star is a British tabloid newspaper. While many of its stories are of dubious origin, and the paper is largely marketed as covering sport and celebrity gossip, it does so under the pretence of being factual. I’m not sure how many of its readers actually take it that way though, I think the Star is regarded as one of the least ‘serious’ of even the tabloid newspapers, and I’m sure most its readers are aware of this.

      Of course, more ‘serious’ newspapers also contain considerable amounts of sensationalism, exaggeration, miss-reporting and outright fabrication.

    • Alan Paul says:

      Of course, more ’serious’ newspapers also contain considerable amounts of sensationalism, exaggeration, miss-reporting and outright fabrication.

      You’ve read the Telegraph recently, I see…

    • Will Tomas says:

      This is all true, but then the Star does place tits as more important than facts. It’s a value judgement.

    • tome says:

      Christ, I didn’t realise it got so bad over in the UK.

    • Arathain says:

      It’s been that bad for quite a long while. On one hand, British newspaper journalism has a commendably strong streak of cynicism and a habit of questioning authority, rather more than in the US. On the other hand, British tabloids are mostly an unending font of misguided distortions and lies attempting to stir base emotions in undiscerning readers, masquerading as social concern. This leaks into the more respectable papers rather more often than one would like.

    • Radiant says:

      The Star has let me down.
      It’s mostly known for tits yet is there a picture of this nintendo nymphomaniac?
      Fuck no…
      Those bastards.

    • tome says:


      I’m sorry to hear that. I suspect that my laughter at the placement of the 2010 election coverage link (directly below that of “Retro Babes”) would be much shallower if I knew that that kind of thing could seep into the “nice” publications.

  7. Heliocentric says:

    To be fair i often judge movies by the posters and games by videos. Especially when i have extremely low expectations. But then, thats working as a consumer.

    Scs made bus driver, good god is that game well judged. Its a game where you while not really simulating being a bus driver allows you to really get into its head. My son loves that game, purpose and a nice easy pace. A kiss on the lips for SCS from me.

    • Jaz says:

      Like Lambchops said above, you can do that if you’ve played the type of game you’re watching. You’d never get away with reviewing it from a video, though, because playing is the only way to really crack a game open and understand it.

      It’d be nice if you could just sit him down and have him play Passage, but he’d probably be so desperate to remain smug and invincibly correct that he’d pretend it didn’t do anything for him.

      The fact is, if a dude sits down with an IDE and instead of thinking, “How can I make a rockin’ shooter” or “What can I do to maximise profit”, he thinks, “How do I convey this or that sensation or emotion through the mechanics and the level design”, it’s already art.

      Ebert represents a big loudmouthed anti-games lobbyist man, and that’s why, I think, people get so worked up about him. Ebert is really annoying because he’s not just some idiot blogger, despite what he’s actually writing. He’s this well respected critic. I read this sort of shite all day as I prune blogs from my RSS reader, but when I read his hundreds of comments it makes me boil a little more.

    • Wulf says:

      Bus Driver was buy SCS? Huh! I’m pretty sure that was the bus game I was talking about above, so it seems I have bought one of those games. I wrote more about my experiences with it in my post above, suffice it to say though, I quite enjoyed it and found worth in it.

  8. bill says:

    Well put about the ebert article. It about sums it up.

    Actually I like the guy, and I think he’s a good critic and a good thinker… but i think his basic lack of experience with the subject means he isn’t thinking clearly about it.

    It’s like me making arguments about the validity of Satre’s philosophy having never read the item in question. It’s just shots in the dark.

    • Lewis says:

      “Actually I like the guy, and I think he’s a good critic and a good thinker… but i think his basic lack of experience with the subject means he isn’t thinking clearly about it.”

      Wholly agree with all that.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Bill: Yeah, I do like Ebert. It’s just not his field.


    • RobF says:

      Which is why I find the obsession from certain game dev quarters of gaining Ebert’s validation utterly boggling. What Ebert thinks of games doesn’t matter a jot to anyone other than Ebert.

    • dhex says:

      What Ebert thinks of games doesn’t matter a jot to anyone other than Ebert.

      well, that kinda flips back to one of the points he made in that essay – why do people care about validation so much?

    • Thirith says:

      I don’t necessarily think it’s that people care about validation as much as they’d prefer not to have something they care about invalidated, especially by someone who gets a lot of attention and whose word people tend to trust, and even more so when he’s quite happy to admit to his ignorance on the subject.

      I don’t need Ebert to come out and say that games can be a valid artform. But I’d rather he’d stop his crusade against games as art. Not least because I find his intellectual dishonesty on the issue tedious and frustrating.

    • RobF says:

      But nothing I do -is- invalidated by anything Ebert says. It’s not invalidated by anything anyone says.

      Ebert is a film critic and a great journalist. He clearly doesn’t understand games, doesn’t want to either. That’s his choice and an opinion I’m happy for him to hold, he doesn’t have to think what I do.

      His two big pieces on the subject have come on the back of people telling him he’s wrong to think this way. It’s not a one way “Ebert attacks games” thing, it’s more “Ebert expresses an opinion on something, bless he’s out of his depth, someone is wrong on the internet – quick to the internetmobile”.

      Let him have his opinion, it hurts no-one, it invalidates nothing and it changes nothing. It’s just that, an opinion. One we can all happily ignore, agree or disagree with.

      The constant need of certain quarters to PROVE EBERT WRONG is infinitely more embarrassing than Ebert’s opinion. Waco fucking simulator? Fuck me.

    • Kirian says:

      The best reply in this case was Mark Kermode. After his unfortunate “I’ve never played one before and I hope to never do so again…” or something like that, he said “Don’t ask me. Ask the fans. I don’t know about them. There may be great things about them. It’s just not my field”.

      Of course he has some sympathy as games are going through the same sort of thing, on a lower scale, that the ‘video nasties’ did. And he liked those.

    • dhex says:

      I don’t necessarily think it’s that people care about validation as much as they’d prefer not to have something they care about invalidated, especially by someone who gets a lot of attention and whose word people tend to trust, and even more so when he’s quite happy to admit to his ignorance on the subject.

      i don’t follow. if you don’t care about validation, how can anything be invalidated?

      if i was going to draw a parallel, it would be a certain brand of critical music theory and essay work done in the 90s about how hip hop was so clearly totally artistic and culturally valid not because people in the culture took it as such but because it could somehow be connected to african musical styles from way back when. in addition to being hells of ridiculous/racist (deep bass drums = 808 kicks pulled out of the aether via genetic memory?), it slides over the more obvious fact that it was a valid thing because people took it as such.

      ebert may be totally wrong (he’s at least half wrong, but only for people already inside the form) but tons of people seem to really care about his fairly uninformed opinions because they don’t actually believe validity comes from within.

    • merc says:

      I’d say this reveals that Ebert isn’t a good thinker. He hasn’t studied his subject, and his arguments are extremely tenous and inconsistent. That’s not good thinking. He’s knowledgable (and opinionated) about movies, and that’s the extent of it.

  9. Hamish Todd says:

    Yeah, it’s sorta fair enough to draw a distinction between art and high art. Art’s just a word. If you can get a person to admit videogames are art, but only in the context of everything being art, you’ve achieved nothing. I wouldn’t use the phrase “high art”, but I might say something like it. Jon Blow thinks it’s obvious that games are art, but they can’t be held up among humanity’s greatest achievements, which is what art should do.

  10. Lambchops says:

    The SCS interview was pretty interesting although it sadly reminded me that I should be getting back to work as one of the screenshots was of Glasgow and I could see the university tower in the background (I’ll never be playing those guys’s games but I have to applaud their attention to detail!).

    But first I’ve got some balance boards to sabotage – my neighbourhood could do with some more nymphos!

  11. Gwyn says:

    Doesn’t Ebert himself concede that games CAN be art, just state that they never will be in our lifetimes?

    He’s wrong on the details, but his closing paragraph nails how I feel about it all too.

    • bill says:

      He tends to shift his definition of art between art, high art and good art, but he seems to basically feel that Voyage to the Moon is art.
      While that work was very original at the time, in terms of artistic value it’s definitely below bioshock*. (even if not in terms of impact). Bioshock has more depth (ha ha), more rounded characters, better acting, better art, better art design, better plot, etc… Eg: all the things that we judge movies on.

      And while it’s collaborative art, and aimed at sales and marketing, it clearly had a lot of love and imagination poured into it. If that counts for anything where art is concerned.

      *chosen because it’s the most recent game i played.

    • Gwyn says:

      Sure it does, but those aren’t qualities of the ‘game’, they’re elements of what makes a good visual story. The game itself is just a vector. I don’t think nearly as much of Bioshock as you, but I’ll use Psychonauts to the same ends:

      In this context, the best you can say of Psychonauts is that the nature of the gameplay influences your mind-state, greatly affecting your experience (in cinema, you’re only ever sitting on your arse watching a screen, after all). The worst you can say is that it would have been way better as an Adult Swim cartoon, with all the travelling, fighting, and collect-em-ups removed.

      Just as theatre adds a layer to literature, and cinema adds a layer to theatre, I think it’s fairer to say that games add a layer to cinema. The difficulty is in defining what is artistic about the ‘gaming layer’, given that all it adds is a controllable camera and a 500% price premium.

    • Robomutt says:

      Bioshock is a good game because of the look and story.

      It’s a great game because the themes interact with and reflect on the very nature of gaming itself. That’s art mate.

    • Gwyn says:

      Really? It’s a good game because it looks nice and has a good story? Is Citizen Kane a good game? Would it be if you added WASD controls, unfair AI and a wrench?

      I see your point about the gameplay being a comment on itself (not on ‘the nature of gameplay’ as you suggest, just on a strawman constructed from long-outdated FPS tropes) and I’ll concede that this constitutes art. All my criticisms pick holes in Bioshock’s argument, but in doing so I recognise what that argument is.

  12. Wilson says:

    The Midlife Gamer interview was indeed pleasant. Thanks for linking to it.

  13. Alan Paul says:

    Thank, Kieron, for highlighting the SCS Software interview. Pavel Sebor’s honesty is really quite charming, and it’s nice to have it confirmed that you can operate profitably on a budget of a few tens-of -thousands of pounds per title. A really refreshing antidote to the same old shite about Ubisoft, EA, Infinity Ward, etc, ad nauseam…

    And the city screenshots do actually look like Glasgow.

  14. asd says:

    Games aren’t art.
    They do not handle important themes, and when they try, they do it weakly. They do not say anything important about humans, their environment, etc. There is no artistic intent in games, for the most part, which is the major qualifier for a work of art, and where there is artistic intent, the game as a work of art is usually very juvenile.
    Games are only art in the way Harry Potter and the like are literature, and if you want to argue that way, well, what can I say?
    This isn’t to say that games can’t be fun, etc.

    • Lewis says:

      That’s Ebert’s argument, though, isn’t it? “The videogame can’t be art because current videogames aren’t good at being art.” Doesn’t seem to make much sense.

    • Metalfish says:

      Intent is more or less irrelevant in the real world.

      /Soulless automaton

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Asd: That’s the thing. By saying there’s no artistic intent, you undermine all the developers who – as we cover on this blog regularly – are explicit about their artistic intent. You then admit that there’s exceptions, and go down the Ebert hole and say that were it is artistic intent, it’s minor – in which case, you’ve also just admitted it is art.

      My response to you is the same as my response to Ebert: come back when you have an argument.


    • Alan Paul says:

      Ebert’s argument and the Sinister Design article linked above, both remind me of Graham Linehan’s observation on Gameswipe about games being created by people who watch films rather than people who read books (he was discussing, I think, the dreadful storytelling in games). Games will struggle to be good art so long as they’re made by people who think that good art is Star Wars, The Matrix, or the LOTR films.

    • Lewis says:

      But then the problem with that argument is that it’s still going with observed tendencies within the mainstream, rather than accepting that there are people trying to push boundaries elsewhere. I’m reminded of Heather Chaplin’s rant: “You’re all a bunch of stunted adolescents.” It’s kinda disrespectful to the great number of people who desperately want to do something different – many of whom, I’d wager, are restricted in what they can do by the nature of the market.

      Straying off-topic, though, I fear.

    • Kast says:

      The Path.

      Thank you, that is all.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I think something like “Today I Die” is probably a better example, if only because it’s more accessible and easy to load up (you just need a web browser). I mean, there are some games I love that are completely inaccessible to a lot of people – just like how there’s plenty of literature that most people will never be able to appreciate.

  15. Cinnamon says:

    What is art and what is an RPG in the same week? Blimey.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      It’s going to be Women In Games next week.


    • Cinnamon says:

      I miss joystick roundups.

    • Deston says:

      Wait KG; is that about women’s progressively influential role within all facets of the games industry, or a women’s foxy boxing oil wrestling tourney for X-COM Redux beta keys?

      It’s the sort of thing you need to clarify with that statement, you know… for science.

    • Mr_Day says:

      Only if you let Cobbett write it.

  16. asd says:

    Art CAN be made in any medium, but that doesn’t mean the medium is suitable for it, or that it lends itself to it. How about boardgames as art? Warhammer 40,000 as art? Drinking soft drinks as art?
    Some ‘art’ is worth more than other ‘art’, depending upon the idea of ‘art’ you have in the first place.

    • Mman says:

      @asd Posts like this are pointless if you don’t define WHY you think games are inherently a bad medium for art, as it is you’ve essentially said “games are a bad medium for art because”.

  17. Ebertoo says:

    Ebert thought Avatar was an epic movie and not too long.
    Read his review.

    If youstill attribute sanity or taste to him after that, then I really can’t help you.

    • Gunhover says:

      Heh, I always thought Avatar was the movie equivalent of Crysis – amazing technology preview, average film.

      Perhaps we just need to give Ebert a nanosuit and let him throw turtles around for a bit? :)

    • Mr_Day says:

      The only review of Avatar I liked was this one by Red Letter Media:

      link to

      He is not only very funny, but genuinely understands how films work. I pretty much came away from his reviews knowing more about film making process than a dvd extra ever managed.

    • Mr_Day says:

      Er, by which I mean, he understands how the film makers try to convey things to the audience.

    • the wiseass says:

      @Mr_Day: Oh boy I just wasted my whole day just watching this guy’s reviews. It’s like listening to Zoidberg criticising movies and it was totally worth it!

  18. Uhm says:

    Art isn’t about naming individual titles and/or artists though is it, surely?

    This Rembrandt piece is a fine example of art, I give it 3.5 stars out of 5.

    • the wiseass says:

      “This Rembrandt piece is a fine example of art, I give it 3.5 stars out of 5.”

      That pretty much sums it up for me.

  19. Zwebbie says:

    Concerning Ebert’s Game-aren’t-art thing: Just yesterday I read a bit of debate about history from about a hundred years ago. Back then, people were arguing – is History, as a profession, Art or Science? Funnily enough, art was seen as the inferior, science being where it’s all at. An interesting quote from Eduard Meyer: “If one can call that which History really is a science, she herself does not care at all. For History, it is enough that she exists and, as she is, fulfills a human need”. Replace ‘history’ with ‘gaming’ and ‘science’ with ‘art’ and you’ve got my opinion on the whole issue. Of course, it’s a shame that so few games tackle adult subjects and that violence seems to be the default state, but as the medium spreads and means of making games become cheaper, there should emerge more diversity. Right now, a game just costs so much that you can’t afford not to cater to 12-year olds.

    Concerning Bit-tech’s RPG article: I think the idea that people want rewards is spot on. At the end of the day, just adding bars that fill up makes a game instantly more addictive. It’s basic behaviorist psychology. It’s a bit scary that adding leveling elements, and other psychological tricks, might be more effective than good, inspired design.
    Furthermore, I’d like to point out that RPG =/= leveling. Plenty of games with levels do not allow you to pick any sort of role – MW2 and BFBC, for example, where you’re a murderous soldier no matter what – whereas games can also allow you to play a role without actually filling bars. The latter is highly uncommon, but I’m all in favour of them, so let’s get rid of the notion that RPGs have leveling by default.

  20. Kunal says:

    I’m not sure when the bit flipped inside Ebert’s head. He’d even written a review of game (The Cosmology of Kyoto) back in 1994 and seemed to praise it quite a lot – link to

  21. JuJuCam says:

    “Art” is a fairly nebulous term at the best of times. If we really want to consider a game with rules and players as art I think we need to dramatically rethink what is allowable as “artful” or “artistic”.

    Take from Ebert’s piece chess for example. Chess has a constant ruleset and has had a recognisably similar one for centuries. Insofar as a narrative can be constructed out of the chess ruleset, it can be seen on one hand as a battle between two opposing kings across a known battlefield pitting equal forces in a purely strategic combat. On the other hand it can be a battle of two opposing players across a known etc etc.

    The ruleset of chess allows for hundreds if not thousands of different games to be played out across different openings, midgames and endgames. Students of the game spend lifetimes understanding the myriad nuances of strategies that have grown from rules that take maybe an hour or two to learn. It’s cultural influence is potentially on par with some masterworks of the artistic world.

    But I doubt that anybody in the history of chess has campaigned heavily for the right to call the rules of chess a work of art. Maybe a particular game was artful, because one player successfully outmaneuvered the other. Maybe one particular set crafted out of crystal and designed after Star Wars characters was artful, because of the aesthetic beauty of it. But I find it hard to believe that anybody has said “the choices available to me as a player of this game are artistic, they move me to tears and I commend the creator for making it just so, bravo”. Maybe they have, but I’ve never heard of it.

    If you take a screenshot of a beautiful sunset over Panau and print it out and mount it, you’ve collaborated with the designers of the game who built polygons and drew textures to craft a photograph. It may be art. It may be just a beautiful and moving as any photograph ever taken in the real world. That doesn’t make Just Cause 2 a work of art. It makes it both medium and subject, but as a game its artfulness is still questionable.

    I’m not against calling a game art or calling a developer an artist. But I think there’s probably a thesis or two in the exploration and study of gameplay as aesthetic form before we come any closer to a resolution in this debate. Call it “The ‘W’ Key Moves Me (and my Player Character)”. I’d buy it.

    • IdleHands says:

      The chess analagy is a very bad one, chess has no narrative video games do. That completely changes things as there is artistic vision to bring a tale / message to life through a certain medium. Chess never tries to convey anything to players, you can consider the workmanship on the pieces as art though. You can complain that most games are tosh but you can say that about movies too, or even books or infact any artistic medium.

      It’s not about a still image from a game being considered art like photography (which funnily enough also had a tough time proving it was a ‘real’ artistic medium, and still does in some circles) but about the experience of playing. It’s not about the view it’s about experiencing that ingame.

    • James G says:

      I’d argue that game-play mechanisms in themselves CAN have artistic merit.

      Keeping with the chess theme, look at the way in which it has become so integrated into culture and language. Granted some of this meaning has been projected onto chess from the outside, but a) This is true of all art, culture doesn’t exist in isolation b) we still need a screen to project onto, and the game-play mechanisms provide that screen. Even if we remove what little narrative chess has (Largely given by the names of the pieces) I feel there is still meaning inherent in the properties of the pawn.

    • JuJuCam says:

      I agree that chess is probably a bad example but it’s worth speaking to nay-sayers on grounds that they feel comfortable standing on before we try to defend GTAIV.

      I also agree that Train is a good example of gameplay mechanics that convey a message apart from any art assets or external narrative. The trick is there’s a purity to the ruleset that isn’t found in a lot of video games. Most games don’t force you to make difficult decisions in a subtle yet meaningful way.

      I’ll put forward a game as an example of the type of thing I’m talking about despite having never played it. Defcon. It’s a game of nuclear warfare where you secretly build up a mass of nuclear warheads until such a time that you feel ready to launch, whether because you think you have more nukes in better positions than your enemy or because you think you’ve found your enemy’s largest stockpiles. Once a volley of nukes has been launched, there is some time before they strike in which you may choose to counterattack.

      If there isn’t a readable message to be found in that ruleset then I don’t know how much more artful and elegant a game can be made. And it being Introversion the viewable art is fairly abstract anyway, and so can’t get in the way of the discussion of the games mechanics.

  22. asd says:

    JuJuCam you put it very well.

  23. guess who says:

    Ebert is right, you know. Explanation!

    The key point is: art is communication. What is communicated is beyond the point. If you want to communicate something to someone, you have to first attract (!) and then support their attention. Games do the first by being visually and otherwise arresting, the second by being “playable”, having goals and interactivity and so on. Painters have to think about composition and line/movement of sight, jazz musicians worry about listeners’ audile memory.

    Note that Ebert thinks that games can be “art”, they just haven’t arrived at this point yet. He simply hasn’t yet seen the game that grabbed him the same way films do. That’s perfectly plausible. Means that no game was able to attract his attention, which proves his point.

    Every new form of art stretched the definition(s) a bit.

    • Spoon says:

      Ebert is right because art is communication and games speak a language he is unable- no, unwilling to learn? And the fact that one person thinks this way makes it true?

      You might as well say nothing in this world is art. I’m sure I can find a jock or redneck that is not impressed by the Mona Lisa. I mean, it’s not communicating to said redneck, so it’s not art, right?

    • Bowlby says:

      Ebert: “Let me just say that no video gamer now living will survive long enough to experience the medium as an art form.”

      Okaaaaay… so, there’s nothing principally stopping a video game being made in the future that may be considered art?

      “One obvious difference between art and games is that you can win a game. It has rules, points, objectives, and an outcome. Santiago might cite a immersive game without points or rules, but I would say then it ceases to be a game and becomes a representation of a story, a novel, a play, dance, a film. Those are things you cannot win; you can only experience them.”*

      Ah, so because games have rules and victory conditions, that precludes them from ever being art?

      Wait, what?! That sounds like a contradiction to me.

      Part of me just wishes Ebert would stop talking about this, as he clearly doesn’t understand the medium or its potential, and it doesn’t look like he will ever want to. I mean, just look at this tweet:

      “Have [sic] poker given more pleasure to more people than videogames? Is it art?”

      Uh huh. I rest my case.


      That’s the thing, isn’t it? If art is a form of communication, then you need the vocabulary to properly understand it; hence, there are right and wrong ways of cognitively playing engaging with art. My point is, there is a subtle, game-like cognitive process going on when we read a book, watch a film or listen to music, but it’s just that this process is way more apparent when it comes to video games.

    • Uhm says:

      I wouldn’t quite agree, but mostly using the term “communication”, as that implies a set idea from the artist to be received. And not all art is about that. Art is about engaging, perhaps.

  24. Alan Paul says:

    The key point is: art is communication.

    And if paint a masterpiece of expressionism then destroy it without anyone seeing it, or without even telling anyone it ever existed, is it not art?

    • Wulf says:

      I agree with you.

      The art is this and art is that don’t seem to have any solid basis for what they say beyond snobbery, when someone looks at an expressionistic piece of work, they’re going to decide whether it’s not art or not for themselves, and why it is or isn’t.

      Some might argue over it, and in cases of defending a piece of art from those who’d say it’s bad art I can understand, because everyone likes what they like, but to argue over whether it’s actually art or not invites the question of what art actually is, and to try and quantify art is a fool’s errand, which I happily leave to the fools to bicker over.

      As far as I’m concerned, and in my opinion, every person alive is somehow clinically insane (perhaps to varying degrees), a pervert (again, to varying degrees), and very peculiar/eccentric, some hide it, some try to deny it, but that’s just what I feel about the human race and myself, it also means that literally no two minds are the same, and everyone’s going to have their own perceptions. This seems like common sense, but when people try to objectify art, common sense needs to be applied.

      To this mind, absolutely anything could be art, and sometimes that’s games, but that’s never objectively or factually speaking.

    • Uhm says:

      No, it isn’t art. A painting that’s locked away is a painting.

    • Alan Paul says:

      A painting that’s locked away is a painting.

      How many people would need to see it before it becomes art?

    • Uhm says:


    • Alan Paul says:

      Uhm, are you contradicting yourself there, or am I misunderstanding you in some way?

      And is it art..?

    • Uhm says:

      There’s a difference between nobody seeing it and nobody being able to see it. If you remove its ability to engage (locking it away, say), it’s no longer being art.

      But there’s no reason you should listen to me.

  25. Tei says:

    Art & games.

    Not all buildings are art, but some buildings are art. Videogames are both craft & art. videogames contains art, like music, pictures, dance (?), and things. Much like movies, the videogame thing is a container for other arts. Saying a game is not art, is saying the music in it is not art, the background, the history, and the whole everything in a single thing. Foolish.

    And for a cine critic to say that, is weird. He must know better. Could be he protecting his “territory” from the new art? like a theatre critic saying cine is not art.

    • skalpadda says:

      I’d say the question of whether games as a medium are art or not is rather silly. If you turn it around and ask “Is there room for artistic expression within games” then I think only a madman or someone who doesn’t know what he’s talking about would say no.

      Using the rules that define how you interact with a game as a means to judge their artistic merit strikes me as being blind to the fact that games are far more than their rules. It’s like saying films cannot be art because to experience them you have to obey the rules of “sit in chair, watch screen for two hours”.

    • Alan Paul says:

      Great argument, kobzon…

    • Sagan says:

      Also the rules of a game can be art. I had written a longer reply with explanations about Brenda Brathwaithe’s board game Train, and links to this article (skip forward to Making Gestures Matter) and to this game from 2003.
      But I lost that longer reply when my browser crashed.
      Neither of these games is probably great art, but they do show how the rules of a game can be used to express something.

      Also: Rules of a game can be beautiful, and sometimes that is enough to be considered art.

  26. Jimbo says:

    Are Truck Simulators art?

  27. Gassalasca says:

    That Christine Love article…. I think I’m in love. :blush:

  28. Mike says:

    Speaking of the Sunday Papers, did anyone see the Sunday Times Magazine today? There was a potentially interesting article on gaming addiction that for me was rather undermined by a series of pictures of 10-14 year olds playing Modern Warfare and GTA IV. At no point in article (which was mostly about MMORPGs) was there a reference to these pictures, or to the fact that the games in question are both age-restricted.

    It’s almost as if they deliberately chose the most provoking pictures that they could find, even though they had nothing to do with the article…..

  29. WCG says:

    First, who cares if games are “art”? I certainly don’t. Why is anyone concerned about this? I agree with Ebert about this:

    “Why are gamers so intensely concerned, anyway, that games be defined as art? … Do they require validation? In defending their gaming against parents, spouses, children, partners, co-workers or other critics, do they want to be able to look up from the screen and explain, “I’m studying a great form of art?” Then let them say it, if it makes them happy.”

    Second, this argument depends almost entirely on your definition of “art.” Haven’t you seen the loony things in art galleries these days? The question is always, “Is that art?”

    And the answer is always, “It depends on your definition of art.”

    • JuJuCam says:

      It’s an important question right now at this point in history because there are increasing pressures to regulate the video game industry, and what it is and isn’t allowed to publish. Art in many Western societies is protected against censorship and a lot of people think that if we can squeeze games into this category our games can be offered the same protections.

      Apart from that it’s a pissing contest. But it’s an interesting one with multifaceted piss.

  30. Dr Lulz says:

    Clearly, Mr. Ebert has never played Big Rigs Over the Road Racing. Maybe if he did, he’d change his views on art… or more precisely, what isn’t art.

  31. Wulf says:

    Ebert is just another voice on the Internet, same as any other, there’s really no need to empower him by saying any more than that. He is one of billions with opinions, some of which are built upon falsities and shaky foundations, and that’s that. The humble opinion is a tool, you just pick the ones you want and use them for the job at hand, whatever that might be. Personally, I’ve never found any of Ebert’s opinions particularly useful or functional.

    Sort of the magnetic stud finder of opinions then, other people might find a tool of different form there, of course, but that’s the nature of opinions, isn’t it?

    @Tei: Well said!

    @Jimbo: It depends, really. Could be. If a person finds beauty in the form and function of a truck, then why not? Art is a very subjective and introspective thing, and for that reason it’s incredibly hard to even begin to quantify art. Some people will tell you that trucks are art, and they can be. It’s all about what people find beauty in. I’m of the opinion that the natural world is one of the best forms of art there is, ever growing, changing, adapting, and showing beauty rarely captured by an artist. Yet I know that there would be division over such an opinion.

    I do realise that was a joke, but it’s important to note that everyone sees things differently, so… whatever art is to you, enjoy it, and don’t let anyone stop you or tell you it isn’t art.

    Moving on but staying on the same topic, I found Pixels to be marvellously arty. That was actually the first time I’d seen that (I should start using StumbleUpon again), too. From the outset, the logo looking rather like the old Ocean logo, that stirred up some memories, but as a whole it was very impressive. I also liked how it showed that almost anything could be destructive. It isn’t the first place I’ve seen to hold the opinion that block-based puzzle games could even be nefarious (that would be Kid Radd), but it was perhaps the funniest. It also gives a new dimension to certain games; what if Pac-man was an out of control destroyer of cities, and the ghosts were simply the armed guards trying to protect their homeland? How many cities have you destroyed? More than anything though, it was a sketchy, trippy, fun and funny visual fest. I dug it.

    Farbs has my respect, I gave him money a bit back, before Successor was released because I knew he’d be capable of great things. I hadn’t quite expected an Elite-like future for the Captain games, but I can see how that would work. Also, his payment method is pretty much how olde world developers worked, and how some indie devs are working today. It’s the fairness equation of old, where a dev would either continue to support their game post-purchase or not. Notch is doing a very similar thing with Minecraft, and I really hope other devs will take note of this. If they can promise post-release support they could easily justify higher prices.

    In regards to truck simulators, I can’t say I’ve ever played them, but I have played a bus simulator, which I enjoyed for a large number of hours… and was then utterly baffled as to why I’d enjoyed it so much. I think it was just the scenic driving though, probably, more than anything else. That’s what I always loved about Outrun, it was just driving around scenic locales with a bit of half-hearted racing thrown in, it was fun. That’s also why I liked Fuel more than most people, I didn’t play the game, but I got my money’s worth just by driving around and looking at things, since it was absolutely huge. There were some truly beautiful sights in Fuel, where you could just park your bike and watch the sun setting over them, which is one of those rare romantic moments in videogames. And now I’m tempted to try a truck simulator, since they too might provide the same enjoyment, especially if I can drive around areas which I can’t actually physically visit. It’d be fun to drive around some wide, open areas.

    Bit-tech’s article was interesting because I’ve often wondered about numbers going up, since a high score is basically just someone repeating a repetitious act until they get good at it to make their number go up, this could be a level or a score, so the high score table has evolved into the level, and games which would otherwise have high scores now have levels? Hm… I think I’d prefer scoring, since with levels the continual repetitious act provides real gain, where a score is just (an admittedly respectable) badge of honour. To me, it seems that levels are turning scoring into a derogatory thing.

    And there’s always been that elitism element surrounding hardcore too, it’s just like pen & paper versus computer RPGs. I made the point before that I feel that D20 has as many restrictive rules as a computer game, and that it could be just as easily played on a computer with the right software. The same is true with casual/fun/art games and hardcore games, you’ll have people who’ll decry casual games as not being real games (and I don’t like that), but really, hardcore games are moving more and more towards the casual audience with each passing year, it seems to be the way computer games are going. So it makes the whole argument kind of redundant, so it’s like arguing against like.

    I liked everything about the Sinister Design piece except the first sentence: “What is with indie game designers who come out with one visually pleasing game, then decide that they are the Lords of Game Design, with the authority to insist that every game must rely on visuals to communicate its underlying message?” This bothers me, because it’s a falsity and it’s actually quite misleading. If someone shows that something can be done, are they insisting that it should be done? I can’t recall an indie dev ever saying that dialogue is bad, but rather that they’re simply experimenting with games that don’t have dialogue. That said, there are plenty of independently developed games which do have dialogue, such as VVVVVV and Trine. The rest of the article I like and agree with, but I think there’s room for games that have dialogue, and games that wish to restrict themselves to visual expression because that’s what they want to do. There are even those who try doing new things with dialogue by being exceedingly minimalistic, such as Star Guard. There’s room for all of it, isn’t there?

    Nintendo, you say? It was Disney for me.

    That’s my trauma quota met for the day. *dusts off hands.*

    Cassanova looks interesting, and I do like my interesting comics, I’ll check that out. Thanks Kieron!

    I’ll finish this off by noting that there’s some new Hoshi Saga funsies out that people might want to check out.

    • mcwizardry says:

      Someone should send Ebert a Hoshi Saga link ;)

    • Wulf says:


      Haha, that’s perfect! I wonder if I can find his email anywhere? If nothing else it’ll lead to more amusement.

      Ha, my first quest accepted from an RPS comments person. Off I go!

    • Wulf says:

      I went ahead and did it. >.>

      If I get a response, I’ll post back with it here. This is going to be interesting (and potentially very funny).

    • mcwizardry says:

      Let’s see what happens …

  32. SpoonySeeker says:

    To be fair, if the first game you’d ever played was this link to

    I don’t think you’d like them very much either.

  33. Wisq says:

    The thing about the “Nintendo made me nympho” article is, if you actually look closely at it, they’re not saying that it was caused by anything innately sexual about the Wii. Nor was it even caused by e.g. excessive Wiimote swinging or rumble vibration. No, they’re saying it was the Wii balance board … and in fact, a fall off the Wii balance board.

    So essentially, they’ve admitted that their entire premise is “woman falls down, goes nympho” with the Wii having had almost nothing to do with it. They might as well have said that she tried to stand on a rolling office chair to install a shelf and fell down, and hence that Business Depot and Ikea conspired to turn her nympho or something.

    It’s rather sad when a tabloid can’t even come up with a properly relevant way to say that a Nintendo made someone nympho.

    • Lambchops says:

      This is the Star we’re talking about here.

      Although it probably says something about the state of Britian when the Star is the only paper whose circulation is increasing . . .

    • Wilson says:

      @Lambchops – I’d suggest it says more about people in general than British people in particular. I would like to think so, anyway.

  34. bleeters says:

    “And now the slightest of vibrations, from mobile phones to food processors, turns her on”

    Let’s hope there’s no earthquakes any time soon, then.

  35. John says:

    Wait a minute. Ebert used to have a pretty good argument on the whole “games as art” discussion, what the hell happened?

    On another note, the whole discussion is having much more attention than what it deserves. It’s impossible to objectively answer it, has no practical use, doesn’t help anyone in making better games, and, more importantly, it does in no way give games the power to be something they’re not, we’re the question not answered.

    But really, this does not feel like Ebert talking. Something is wrong.

  36. PASTRIES says:

    ebert picked a good video to argue against – by using braid and flower and waco as examples, santiago is doing far more harm to her argument than good

  37. Wednesday says:

    You make a good point Alan Paul but the whole debate falls over on this wierd insitence of quality. Art is not by nature good. If Films are art, then Transformers is a film, ergo…

    That games might not be “as good art” as film and novels is a far better argument than “they’re not art because they’re bad art.”

    • Thirith says:

      Fully agree on that one. Quality shouldn’t ever come into any discussion of what constitutes art, because the moment it does, the discussion turns around in circles. One person’s affecting work of art is another’s pretentious piece of crap. Even if that weren’t the case, where would you draw the line between art and non-art?

  38. Wednesday says:

    damn that reply system to hell!

  39. Dante says:

    To me the ‘games are art’ debate has never been about, ‘was Deus Ex as good as Citizen Kane’ (clue; it wasn’t) it’s about are games capable of being art, and there is no reason why they can’t be.

  40. Davie says:

    The Daily Star? Real classy, guys.
    And I really didn’t understand the point of Ebert’s article. He basically went through and denied all of that woman’s points, not really voicing any opinion of his own. Just, “She said this, which is wrong, and this, which is also wrong.” He’s got quite the bias against games but not a lot of solid reasoning to back it up.

  41. A-Scale says:

    When will we be willing to recognize that Ebert is trolling for attention?

  42. sfury says:

    You stay away from that “Daft-Punk referencing Digital Love header” Kieron, I’ve already got a patent pending! ;]

    Joke aside – that reference really was one of the first things that sprang to mind too (‘specially with all the blueishness of the game reminding me of Daft Punk’s anime videos for Discovery). I’d love to hear more opinions from the RPS Hive about Digital – it still is the most memorable thing I’ve played this year after all.

  43. FernandoDante says:

    “equivalent to me reviewing the merit of the concept of movies from looking at their posters in front of the cinema.”

    The nail of the head. You hit it. And who named Roger Ebert King of Movie Critics, anyway? His reviews aren’t that good. He spends more time describing the plot than actually explaining why the movie is good or bad.

  44. Will says:

    Has this man never played Tetris? Art in action.

  45. Jason Moyer says:

    The only thing more pretentious than that Roger Ebert article are people who actually think the games as art argument is of any importance whatsoever.

    I also enjoy the general consensus that something like The Path or Braid is art while something like Halo or The Sims isn’t.

    • JuJuCam says:

      I think it’s important because I personally want to see more interesting and varied forms of gaming than “run forward and kill everything in your way”. If we’re locked out of respect from art world critics then there’s no motivation at all for investors to put money into anything that isn’t Brown WWII Corridor Shooter 6, because at least that sells well.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      I dunno that it really matters. Games that come from teams of developers are always going to be a commodity, and people who use game development as a means of creative expression are going to do it regardless of whether there is money involved or not. These things are true of any form of expression though.

      On a side note, I’m highly skeptical of games that are developed/marketed with “art” in mind to begin with. Actually, I’ll just reference my favorite Douglas Adams quote: “I tend to get very suspicious of anything that thinks it’s art while it’s being created.”

    • Wulf says:

      I don’t see why Halo or The Sims 3 couldn’t be art though, if that’s what art means to someone, because art can be just about anything, and as I’ve stressed in a few places elsewhere now it’s so subjective that no one’s really going to see it in the same way. If someone has an ‘art’ experience with Halo and calls it such… well, why not? I might not see it, but I won’t doubt their perceptions either.

      A wonderful example of this is the Linux code base, I believe that was accepted as art a while back, and I actually see that, I can see art in code, the elegance of function, the beauty of form, but to someone who’s not a coder, they might just see a jumbled bunch of words. It’s still art to those coders, though.

      So Halo can be art, all is in the eye of the beholder.

    • Wulf says:

      One last thought: If people crave new experiences, that’s good, but that doesn’t necessarily need to have an impact of what a person thinks of as art. I think it’s great that people want to experience new and interesting things, and that way they might find new kinds of art, but there’s no saying that there can be no art in familiar experiences, because my memories of hiking trips would disagree.

    • JuJuCam says:

      My point is that the big money in gaming is being thrown at developers that lack creativity because creativity isn’t valued in the gaming industry at this time. Nowadays it is acceptable for film studios to invest money in left-field directors and projects because there’s an understanding that critical acclaim will bring a return on investment even if the opening weekend doesn’t. Whereas the most interesting and creative games developers are coding out of their bedrooms and if they’re lucky living off donations. If games can be considered art and be praised by stuffy scholars in ivory towers and awarded meaningful prizes for excellence, then the business end of the industry will take notice.

  46. malkav11 says:

    Here’s the thing: I don’t personally care if games are or can be art or not, although in balance I think that they are and can be, and if they don’t live up to the great works in other media yet – debatable – then that’s just because they haven’t gotten there yet. And I think there are reasonable arguments in either direction. But I don’t think Ebert is qualified to weigh in on the subject because by his own admission he doesn’t have any experience with games. Watching a video of someone else playing certainly doesn’t count.

    And I get particularly annoyed when people like Ebert make the “games aren’t art” argument because it feels like an excuse to dismiss games as a lesser medium not worthy of our attention or time, and oh yeah, it’s okay to censor them because they’re for kids and all that other baggage that comes with that lack of respect.

  47. mathew says:

    I actually responded to Ebert in the comments by appealing to something that I thought might appeal to him, a discussion of the whole idea of interactivity within the context of Michael Haneke’s Caché:

    link to to.

    It was really not meant to be a definitive opinion, just something to spur some thought. I really haven’t been able to tell if anyone quite gets it, though.

  48. Bret says:

    So. Halo 2.

    Good to know why there were the problems there were, my opinion of Bungie as an alright bunch is confirmed, and all that.

  49. Thants says:

    “Why are gamers so intensely concerned, anyway, that games be defined as art?… Do they require validation?”

    This part is really disingenuous. You can’t attack the validity of an entire category of media and then act mock-surprised when people defend it. Let’s go back to a time when respected cultural commentators were dismissing film as worthless trash, and see if Ebert feels inclined to defend it.

  50. Hattered says:

    I wanted to link to Richard Eldridge’s essay, “Form and Content: An Aesthetic Theory of Art”, but I couldn’t find a free source. Here’s Arthur C. Danto’s “The Artworld” instead. Part of that essay would seem to frame Ebert’s attack on “videogames as art” as defense of “cinema as art”.