Because it’s topical once again: are games art? Who cares? We won!
The knee-jerk reaction to get up in arms whenever someone- let alone a famed and respected voice like Roger Ebert- takes a shot at this form of entertainment we all hold so close to our hearts just goes to show how insecure and juvenile we still are.
The argument itself is an elitist one, and something I’m not sure we should be so eager to enter into. Is (blank) art? What does that even mean? Why must something be removed from the whole and elevated to have value, meaning, or validation? At it’s core, isn’t this debate just an excuse for people to make themselves seem important, or better (on some quasi-intellectual level) than those around them? There are no absolutes except for the material in this world. “Art” is subjective. “Art” is an idea- one that changes in scope and meaning from person to person. Like most things in life, to try to define it is to already have failed.
For me personally, art covers just about everything crafted by mankind. I can see the artistry and craftsmanship in a table or car just as much as a film or painting. So of course, for me, games are clearly art. And I guess it’s because I’m comfortable with myself, and my beliefs, that I don’t feel the need to defend video games. You think they’re absolute crap? Great, good for you… doesn’t affect my life in the slightest, and chances are nothing I could say to you would change your mind any more than anything you say to me will change my mind on the subject. So, let’s go grab a Coke.
If you must, take comfort in two things.
One: every great form of art was written off as nonsense when it was in it’s infancy. Books, film, television, everything. They were all looked at as “lesser” works that could never possibly produce anything of merit. You can see how silly those beliefs are now in today’s day and age.
Two: against the voice of Roger Ebert, and a few others out there who just don’t get it, there are, for the first time in the history of games, millions and millions of people from all walks of life playing video games. Farmville, Wii’s, DS’s, MMO’s, and so on. If that isn’t validation, or vindication, even, I don’t know what is. Let people have their opinions, because at the end of the day that’s all they are.
Rest easy, everyone… we won.