Videogames as Art

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Videogames as Art

Yahtzee responds to Ebert's claim of "videogames are not art."

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If the "games as art" people really had confidence in their position, they would just ignore Ebert.

I heartfully agree Mr. Croshaw. While people are crying about Ebert's opinion about "Video Games are not art", Ebert has some good points about it.

But what happens if we do convince Mr. Ebert that Video Games are Art? It's not gonna change anything.

I quote from Jerry Holkins from Penny Arcade:

Also, do we win something if we defeat him? Does he drop a good helm? Because I can't for the life of me figure out why we give a shit what that creature says. He doesn't operate under some divine shroud that lets him determine what is or is not valid culture. He cannot rob you, retroactively, of wholly valid experiences; he cannot transform them into worthless things.

So what if a famous movie critic says that video games aren't art? That doesn't make it true.

I pretty much agree with this article. While I don't agree with Ebert's view, I'm not going to get up in arms and start spamming his email in response to it.

I don't agree with Ebert because his main point is that a video game is something "you win" Well in a movie doesn't the protagonist conquer the antagonist and "win." Just because you interacting with the hero in video games doesn't exclude them from being art. The amount of work that goes into them is the same as any other media that is considered "art"

I read his article and I found it to be somewhat humorous that his position hasn't changed and we pretty much equate him to a Scrooge. Some of the rapid responders to the scene of the supposed 'crime' were all complaining about how there is so much beauty in these games, the experiences they imbue.

I don't really find any arguments that actually make me say games are art. Moving pictures is a whole mess where every 5 of 7 movies are crap, and the two quality ones don't have as much grasp as the other 5. It's the same for games. For every 3 games someone references, I can point to a million more that are bomblasted by corporate interests, blatant copy pasting of level, weapon, or concept design, and All around rushed games.

Ebert's right, They're not art right now. They are amazing experiences that rival that of the biggest motion pictures of today and last 3 times as long. However until the preconceived notions of what a video game is are shed, and the archetypal characters are done away with, we'll never move on from "tough-guy-with-gun/sword" and "tough-chick-with-frisbee/giant tits"

And another thing? Who cares. This is the same thing with Steve Jobs, we feel the need to add fuel or respond in a way that says "OH HE MAD" or "OH HE RIGHT". Let them hate us so long as they fear our nerdly powers of pissing away our time.

Dishwasher babies... lol

I agree with the article - A film critic making a declaration about games is hardly cause for concern.

Art is any created work that provokes strong emotions in you, personally. And trying to impose your feelings on someone else is as pointless and time-consuming as trying to impregnate a dishwasher.

That makes a lot of sense... but trying to sell that to passionate gamers is not an easy battle to win. Gamers (I know it's not the case for everyone, so don't get me wrong here) are still arguing about which is best between PS3 and Xbox360. Your definition of Art is true for everything from buying a car to marry someone. It's a personal decision and you shouldn't impose it to anyone else. The opposite is true. No one should be making judgments on your personal preferences. I'm not saying you can't judge someone buying a polluting car, but you get the point. When it gets to passion, people are rarely rational about it and I guess it's a double edge sword... no passion means no excitement... so you can't blame someone for not always being fully rational about their statements.

Yahtzee, you're right.

You're not funny when you're not being mean. :-P

Anyway, my feelings after Ebert's claim was less about the fact that he declared video games aren't art and more about him feeling qualified to define what art is. That's a rather arrogant attitude to take, in my opinion, but history has proven us nothing if not that the most successful people in life tend to be the biggest dicks, so shine on, Mr. Ebert.

Really good article Yahtzee, art is very subjective; some people look at Pollock's paintings and say they are just messes while others see artistic quality to them

As a great man once said, "It's all true from a certain point of view"

nice
but as far as Ebert's opinion goes, i just dont agree completely
i personally hold things like Mass effect 2 or Psychonouts as works of art
and have yet to see a movie that had me as engaged as some of the cutscenes during the suicide mission

a movie critic who clearly doens't PLAY games
and who, at best, watches them, can't really give a credible review of the medium

Spot on. I never saw why I should care what one guy thinks about games. At least he isn't trying to do something stupid like banning them or censoring them like other nitwits do. Just one man sharing one opinion that doesn't change my own opinions at all. No reason for me to even care about him whatsoever.

Finally someone with some sense! Ebert's opinion is just that, an opinion. Everyone I was talking to was thinking "Oh, Yahtzee is probably going to word rape that stupid Ebert's entire article." I think gaming gets a black mark in the art community because of our more extreme fanboys who would rather burn the Mona Lisa than admit that Ebert can have an outsiders view of video gaming. That said, I disagree in the extreme but not to the point where I'll go burn his house down for being the wrong kind of critic.

I already said in previous threads about this "incident" - why would I care about anything that man says? So everything in the article rings true to me. Why are we still even discussing this?

This is probably the best Extra Punctuation I've read so far.

Anyway, why should every medium strive to be validated by our culture by being awarded the badge of "art"?

I think infinitely more effort went into creating Silent Hill 2 than Jackson Pollock ever put into creating what essentially looks like the dust sheet of a particularly clumsy painter and decorator, but you wouldn't find me ranting about the symbolism of weirdly sexualised zombie nurses to an eminent art historian.

i agree with the whole, everyone to their own opinion thing, i just found this one sentence odd

"Let me just say that no video gamer now living will survive long enough to experience the medium as an art form" - an extract from the quote Yahtzee took from this Ebert

couldn't i just re-word that to say
" Let me just say that no movie watcher now living will survive long enough to experience the medium as an art form"
or
"Let me just say that no painting-viewer now living will survive long enough to experience the medium as an art form"

i find that sentence somewhat stupid... but maybe i'm just the stupid one and have misinterpreted it...
I am sure, afterall, that people have spent much more time playing one singular game, then any person has ever spent looking at a painting... i may be mistaken however (i am sure the artist looked at it longer)... i cannot say, with confidence, that people spend more time on a single game than another person would spend watching a single movie... i swear my little sister has capped 30 hours+ watching a particular chick-flik

I like and agree with all of this, but especially am glad that someone else has pointed out that "games as art" has less to do with narrative, quality writing, or pretty landscapes and more to do with adding in the interactive element.

Tharticus:
I heartfully agree Mr. Croshaw. While people are crying about Ebert's opinion about "Video Games are not art", Ebert has some good points about it.

But what happens if we do convince Mr. Ebert that Video Games are Art? It's not gonna change anything.

I quote from Jerry Holkins from Penny Arcade:

Also, do we win something if we defeat him? Does he drop a good helm? Because I can't for the life of me figure out why we give a shit what that creature says. He doesn't operate under some divine shroud that lets him determine what is or is not valid culture. He cannot rob you, retroactively, of wholly valid experiences; he cannot transform them into worthless things.

So what if a famous movie critic says that video games aren't art? That doesn't make it true.

Ah, ah, ah. Movie reviewer. Ebert isn't a critic. At the end of the day he has to sum up his feelings with a thumbs up (yes, I recommend you go see this movie) or a thumbs down (no, you should not go see this movie). You can review anything from movies to video games to toilet paper brands. A critic needn't sum up his feelings with a purchase recommendation. Critics write about their medium because they love their medium. Although, Ebert is very knowledgeable about films and cinemas and can speak about them intelligently (even though I disagree with most of his recommendations), I see Yahtzee as more of a critic than Ebert, simply because Ebert smacks of that bitter tangy "sellout" flavor. ("Pick a number Yahtzee." "Fourk you.")

This is definitely the most intelligent response to the subject I've read so far. It comes across as much, because it's the only non-biased, fact filled angle anyone has taken. Art is absolutely subjective, which is one of the wonderful things about it. In my opinion, video games are just as much art because of that emotional investment that is so often times gained by playing the games. It's quite easy to develop that sense of emotional attachment, especially when you are an interactive part of the story. It's what separates games from film, in my eyes, what sets it that next bar higher. While the majority of games we might play really can't come close to the sense of art that others achieve, I'd have to say that there is much more room to create art in games than film, for the simple fact that you take yer own direction in the games, you make yer own experience, thus in making it yer own, it separates the experience from that that the next person might have, including the developers that created the game themselves. But as you said, it's all subjective, it's what each person perceives, thus there is no right or wrong answer for it either way.

This is a pretty well done article I thought and yeah I agree, if games are art or not it's pretty much up to your personal point of view. I mean there's also no real universal describtion of what art actually is... that also explains some of the pieces hanging in a Modern Art Museum...

yourbeliefs:
I pretty much agree with this article. While I don't agree with Ebert's view, I'm not going to get up in arms and start spamming his email in response to it.

I give Edert the same treatment I give everything I don't like, I ignore him. Don't see any reason to care what he thinks.

yahtzee is correct and if i listen to ebert its about films because that is wat he knows. I listen to yahtzee for video games... and sometimes i don't...

How can he be Ebert's "videogame equivalent" when he hates almost everything and Ebert actually likes some movies and hates some movies, I've only seen one or two games Yahtzee actually likes

Not mean enough, and actually pretty valid and reasonable.

This was not written by Yahtzee. Maybe by that sissy Croshaw, but not by Yahtzee, no sir.

Branches:
complaining about how there is so much beauty in these games

Bahahaha!

Gz Yahtzee, I would have said the same thing; but I couldn't be bothered.

Is someone else going to do an inflammatory anti Roger Ebert article?

Great heaven almighty am I sick of seeing Shadow of the Colossus thrown around in this debate.

I frankly think the fact that the gaming community is making such a big deal about Ebert's comments in fact gives the man more credibility than he deserves. As Yahtzee says, Ebert is a film critic with minimal knowledge of video games. He makes arguments that are unfounded and don't hold a lot of wind. I respect his opinion, of course, but why are we so bothered by it?

Edit: Oh, minor note. I don't mind that Ebert is so dismissive about video games, because again, what do I care. What I WON'T stand for is that Ebert recently said via tweet that he may be "too well-read" to understand video games, implying that the medium is for the illiterate. Which is ludicrous and insulting. I'm amazed a man as intelligent and articulate as Ebert would sink to such levels; he is literally trolling.

I must say I enjoy this version of the article much more than what I was expecting it to read like. :-)

CyricZ:
Yahtzee, you're right.

You're not funny when you're not being mean. :-P

Anyway, my feelings after Ebert's claim was less about the fact that he declared video games aren't art and more about him feeling qualified to define what art is. That's a rather arrogant attitude to take, in my opinion, but history has proven us nothing if not that the most successful people in life tend to be the biggest dicks, so shine on, Mr. Ebert.

And it makes it all the more arrogant that his own medium (film) was only very recently in a similar "it's art/no it isn't" type of debate. In terms of "accepted art forms" he chose the infant of the group as his subject of choice, and now he has the right to declare what art is? No.

Personally, I feel sorry for Ebert on this.

Not because of his viewpoint or anything else, just that he hasn't seen the depth of emotion that people here have seen; and never will.

But as Cracked said, the reason people are getting upset about it proves that it's art to some.

When something is defended this vigorously, you know it's raised a lot of powerful opinions in people - and that's the core of art.

I guess only those who actually play games consistantly can really comment. I would be like me judging a dog show. I've seen a good few kanines in my time but i have no idea what constitues a winner. He is commenting out of his area and based on faulty assumptions.

Ok maybe the Dog analogy was a bit odd, it's more like juding a car before actually driving it. Then loudly declaring F1 isn't actually a valid sport because you use a car. It's slighly assanine and definately makes you look like a bit of a shouty pillock to the initated.

Only those who patricipated in a race can know how skillful good driving is and only those who have played games can tell you what they evoke.

Oh and the Dity Bed is utter bullshit. I could shit in your eye in a gallery and call it art by that definition. Every time someone comes out with the new poncey, superiour arse brained 'modern art' idea i have the distict urge to kick them repeatedly in the spleen until they stop moving.

In an age when simple ideas can win prizes as art why exclude interactive media?

yahtzee: seriously? a TL/DR? can we not read a single page article now? dont include a tldr for those lazy sods who cant be asked to read a full page article. it weakens your peice, by telling us that what you wrote isnt worth reading, beacause all the main points can be summed up in a single sentence. good article as always. just was irked by the TLDR thing.

You may not get the dishwasher pregnant, but it is fun to try.

I said some thing on the same lines as Yahtzee here... though I don't have a cult fan following or an internet show (yet) so I guess my words went into the fucking wind. I'm glad Yahtzee shares my opinion on this... you'll listen to him. Now excuse me I'm going to scream at a wall.

Redlin5:
Finally someone with some sense! Ebert's opinion is just that, an opinion. Everyone I was talking to was thinking "Oh, Yahtzee is probably going to word rape that stupid Ebert's entire article." I think gaming gets a black mark in the art community because of our more extreme fanboys who would rather burn the Mona Lisa than admit that Ebert can have an outsiders view of video gaming. That said, I disagree in the extreme but not to the point where I'll go burn his house down for being the wrong kind of critic.

All things have an extreme fanboy group... unless they are genuinely accepted as crap by everyone. What's lame about this is... he's just another fanboy, albeit of movies. Obviously though, since he has more influence, people just like to jump on him.

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