Ebert Hates Video Games

By Deane Barker on November 28, 2005

rogerebert.com :: Answer Man: At some point, Roger Ebert slammed video games. I don’t know when — I thought it was in the Doom review, but I couldn’t find it there.

Anyway, some guy emailed his AnswerMan column about it to defend video games.

I was saddened to read that you consider video games an inherently inferior medium to film and literature, despite your admitted lack of familiarity with the great works of the medium. […] Was not film itself once a new field of art? Did it not also take decades for its academic respectability to be recognized?

Email responds with some good insight:

I did indeed consider video games inherently inferior to film and literature. There is a structural reason for that: Video games by their nature require player choices, which is the opposite of the strategy of serious film and literature, which requires authorial control.

But, in the end:

That a game can aspire to artistic importance as a visual experience, I accept. But for most gamers, video games represent a loss of those precious hours we have available to make ourselves more cultured, civilized and empathetic.

And, once again, I can’t let an Ebert reference pass without mentioning that Ebert has emailed me. Twice.

Gadgetopia

Comments

  1. But for most gamers, video games represent a loss of those precious hours we have available to make ourselves more cultured, civilized and empathetic.

    He’s right, we should make ourselves more cultured by eating popcorn and watching such important movies as “The 40 year old virgin” or “There’s Something about Mary.”

    Not there’s anything wrong with those movies, I just have to roll my eyes when they are art and culture but a game like “Myst” is wasting precious hours.

  2. I just have to roll my eyes when they are art and culture but a game like “Myst” is wasting precious hours.

    Funny that you mentioned that, because when Ebert talked about how some video games could be considered art, Myst was the first one that popped into my head.

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