The “Games as Art” Meta-argument

Roger Ebert has written another piece in the “Games as Art” – debate, admitting he might have been wrong to enter the debate in the first place. The first paragraph sums it up quite well;

 “I was a fool for mentioning video games in the first place. I would never express an opinion on a movie I hadn’t seen. Yet I declared as an axiom that video games can never be Art. I still believe this, but I should never have said so. Some opinions are best kept to yourself.

Reading the entire thing provokes some thought about why the “games as art” – argument is in the state that it is. Ebert was criticized for saying that games can never be art without defining what art actually was, he then admits to failing in trying to find a definition for art that would both satisfy him and include all of what is generally considered art.

Ebert also says that he is not interested in playing games to find out if there is indeed something there to fit his definition of art, and is thus prepared to agree that there might be and it is not for him to deny it. In a sense, returning to his former conclusions the concept of “art” seems more personal than what he might have originally thought, and as such one who actually enjoys games to a great degree might with them have a similar experience to what Ebert has when he enjoys what he calls art. Maybe art has so much to do with your own emotions that you are unfit to judge the artistic value of a medium you do not like.

Sure, what essentially boils down to “everyone has their own opinions” is not really a groundbreaking conclusion, but  reaching that conclusion in an uncommonly rational way is a refreshingly clear contribution to a muddy debate.

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Posted on Jul 01/10 by Saint and filed under Gaming culture | No Comments »