The preeminent film critic and thumb-extender who once said that "games could not be art" is admitting that games aren't so bad, though he'd still prefer other pastimes.
Responding to a "year in gaming" discussion going on over at Slate, Ebert remarked in the comments section of his blog that though he remains wary of elevating games to any cultural status of import, he's not as adamant about it as before. "I am still not sure video games can be 'art' in the sense that we use it in this thread, but I am convinced they are getting a lot better," Ebert said. "However, if I had at the beginning of my career been told I would spend the next 41 years playing video games, I would have taken up professional knitting."
Why the sudden change in heart, though? It was a couple years ago when Ebert made his declaration that "games could not be art" and only last year when he participated in a fairly fierce exchange of opinions with Clive Barker, who argued the opposite. For most gamers, Ebert wrote, "video games represent a loss of those precious hours we have available to make ourselves more cultured, civilized and empathetic." He also defined all games as involving primarily either 1) shooting things, 2) fetch quests or 3) player control, and said that "I don't think these attributes have much to do with art; they have much more in common with sports."
So, what did Roger Ebert play in the last year that moved him enough to make him say that "games are getting a lot better?"
I'm guessing it wasn't Gears of War 2.
[Via MTV Multiplayer]