CCW 3.43: Roger Ebert versus the Gaming World

Posted: May 3, 2010 in CCW TV, Geek Culture, Opinion, Video Games
Tags: ,

  1. generaldark says:

    I agree with ebert. video games are not art. BUT some are like art. bioshock comes to mind, mainly for its enviroment and how it makes you feel like it is a real world. ocarina of time comes to my mind to but this is my opinion tho. some are art mainly the older games. the games now a days are NOT art.

    • There are only a few video games that I would argue are in fact art. This is one of them:


      • Chris says:

        Games don’t have to look like “art” to be art.

        Wikipedia says “Art is the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way to affect the senses or emotions”. Video games deliberately affect your senses and emotions.

        Liking art is totally subjective though, so Ebert can dislike the video game art form. But trying to argue that video games aren’t art is WRONG. I’d agree with him if he said that most video games are bad ART.

        But: bad films are art, bad music is art, bad fine art is art, bad modern art is art and bad Video Games are art – even Madden is art.

  2. Rob F says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments in the video. It’s not even acceptable for people to agree to disagree anymore, there seems to a notion that any intellectual debate is a massive struggle that must result in bashing your opponent to pieces so that your own ideas win. And with most of the discussions going on in a forum, it’s all the better to slander and insult when your rival remains words on a screen.

    Then again, I don’t totally blame the kids in this regard, I think that their parents consciously decided to overindulge them to the point where they don’t know how to respond when they don’t get their way. And in this world of instant gratification, they better get their way right this minute.

    As to the video games as art, that’s too huge a question for me to get a handle on. I’ve been in classes where we spent weeks just trying to wrap the word art into a definition that we could all stomach. That would have been my one comment to Ebert’s proclamation on video games as a whole: do you think it’s impossible for video games to be art or is it merely that they haven’t progressed to that point yet?

    • I agree 100% with you Rob. Great comment.


    • littlekingryan* says:

      I’ve always been more attracted to the artistic side of video games. That is to say, their creation vs. their execution (or playing them, in other words). I’m not sure you can invalidate a medium which requires character design, level design, computer modelling, and all manner of other skills which involve creative input to a greater or lesser extent (is programming art? Skill? Is there a difference?) by simply saying, “Oh that stuff’s not art.” They certainly involve art to create a finished product. That would be like saying comics are not art, even though they involve artists at all levels of production.

      • tomstewdevine says:

        When you put it like that, LKR, video games should be considered art. There obviously a lot of artist working on a video game, but are the little things the artists are doing coming to together to present one piece of art. I don’t think so(in most cases). Today’s video games are far superior to the games of the past, and as the medium progresses so will the artists involved. So in my opinion video games could be art in the future but at this point, not so much.

  3. littlekingryan* says:

    Hmmm…do I have anything to add? Without going into semantic particulars about the definition of art, not really. I’m not much of a gamer myself (well, at all, really…), but I hope people can respect Ebert without jumping down his throat too much (perhaps that’s a bad choice of words). Too late. Seems they’ve already attacked. Personally, I’ve always liked that dude. And as you pointed out, that’s not the same as agreeing with everything he’s ever said.

  4. aidan mc irish says:

    i must say you guys are getting very deep in these videos has your world view suddenly changed jose are you starting to get much more negative view on the breakdown of the human collective psych. personally i think you guys will still be making these videos in fifty years time with you older but be on an iv drip of red bull and elliot in a wheel chair just a deceaying mass of flab using a computer to talk.

    • I wouldn’t say that my world view has suddenly changed. This is how I’ve always felt. I think what you are seeing in these last couple of videos are what Elliott and I are really like as individuals. These videos videos are a bit more “real” than us just doing comic reviews I think if that makes any sense.


      • aidan mc irish says:

        deep man very deep like a whale’s vagina

        • Ya, that is not a good thing I take it?


          • aidan mc irish says:

            no it’s good but i dunno man sort of interesting to find out you and elliot’s views on politics plus i love the fact that on one board i’m complementing you on being very philosopical (sorry if thats spelt wrong) and on another i’m slagging you about your choice in

          • tomstewdevine says:

            No J. this is a very good thing, that’s why it’s called comic CULTURE WARRIOR, not J. and E.’s Friendly Review Show. I don’t feel like this is anything new Mcirish, I mean you have always been a cynical.

  5. JMenjivar says:

    roger ebert is a dinosaur who hasnt played a video game since centepede. we should just ignore him and let him retire.

    i was really looking to shoehorn ‘jaw dropping’, or something similar, into this, but no dice.

    • Ignorance is bliss, huh? Nice outlook on life.

      Well, I actually played Centipede in the arcades when it was new myself. Are you calling me a dinosaur and for me to retire too? Also, your jaw dropping comment is kinda juvenile and crass. Just saying…


      • tomstewdevine says:


      • JMenjivar says:

        roger ebert knows a LOT about movies, and theres no doubt in my mind he has valid views on that subject. but he has no knowledge on video games and has expressed no desire to learn about them, so i think it would be wise for the video gaming community to just ignore him when it comes to this.

        im not calling for his immediate retirement, im just saying his opinions on video games arent really valid as anything other then just a mans opinion. rock and roll never asked for the publics approval but i think we can all agree it has artistic merit. video games are a relatively new media and theres going to be some bumps on its way to the acceptance it clearly desires. they just shoulnt let one mans opinion bother them so much.

        also if you were a dinosaur, youd proably be a stegosaurus.

        the jaw dropping comment was absolutely juvenile and crass. i do feel pretty bad about that. i should have been more respectful, so yeah, sorry roger if youre reading, and i doubt you are, but on the off chance he is…

        • Ok, I see where you are coming from now. We also stated that his views on the subject are not valid and the video game community should also just ignore it. I did not know in your initial comment that that was what you were referring to. I thought your comment was just about Ebert in general and not his thoughts on video games. Sorry for the confusion.



          Stegosauruses are pretty cool, aren’t they?

  6. IronMuskrat says:

    Gamers are the extreme example of the hypersensitive, polarized society we live in now. Everything now is about picking sides, belonging to an certain group, long gone are the days of respectfully disagreeing with someone viewpoint.

    Ebert wasn’t being attacked solely because of his views on the artistic merits of video games, he was being attacked because his views pushed him across the imaginary line drawn on the internet that marked him as being disrespectful to the fanboy gamers way of life. It’s the whole you’re either ‘with us’ or ‘against us’ mentality taken to the extreme.

    I shouldn’t single just gamers out, just about any niche group on the internet now seems to have the same attitude.

    Conservatives vs. Liberals
    PC vs. Mac
    Xbox vs. PS3
    Jacob vs. Edward

    All sort of silly things to fight about, but people do fight about them, and in some rather vicious ways.. I don’t know, I am trying to maintain a good attitude about the internet. It was suppose to be this great place to bring people together so they can share ideas and make the world a better place.. still waiting for that to happen.


  7. AvS says:

    It’s OK, when the young gamers get old and become the establishment they’ll be able to turn around and call the stuff the kids in the future listen to ‘not music’ the stuff they read ‘not literature’ and everything else ‘not art.’ They’ll get their chance; it’s the circle of life. All paths lead to owning a lawn and some kid inevitably walking on it.

  8. Mike F says:

    Games have revolutionized storytelling. I am not even a hardcore gamer and I think games are a fun way to stay busy.

    I’ll say it again, Heavy Rain is art. Its well-thought out storytelling, with exceptional directing and a very original interaction between the player and the game. I play a few games a year, (mainly because the prices -_-) but I think they are very much art, people just think its a lazy form of it. Roger can say what he wants. I love some of his reviews, but I am just saying I feel they are art. That’s me. For ever person who thinks Heavy Rain ISN’T art, I feel like the game is more to myself 🙂 and I have it all to me!! Ahhh ha ha!

    *puts on agent orange ring*

    lol, but yeah, good review guys.

    • Locusmortis says:

      Video Games have revolutionised story telling? Are you kidding me? Most games are just digital versions of the choose your own adventure books that were around when I was a kid (I bet Eliot and Jose will remember who Steve jacksson and Ian Livingstone are), its just do this to get x or do that to get y, its not that sophisticated at all.

      There is some art and a lot of skill to video game construction but its still to early in the history of videogames to label it an art form. Games now are like comics back in the 40’s or film back in the 1920’s, the makers are still finding their feet when it comes to what they can do with them.

      • Mike F says:

        Mmm. I have stated before that RECENT games like Heavy Rain revolutionized storytelling. And I stand by my statement. It has. Heavy Rain is better than every single comic Brian Michael Bendis wrote in the year 2009. But, I’m sure people would argue Comics are more of art-form than video games.

        And they have actually been around for a while now, and we’ve seen enough bad games to know whats not art, but in the past few years we’ve seen some phenomenal games that pushed those barriers. Yes, your right, its a new medium, and people have been exploring with it for over 20 years now. How far-fetched is it that in 2009/2010, creators have reached that next level?

        Its the same with the Metal Gear Franchise. Which has been around for a while now. The reason I said HR revolutionized storytelling was because of the way you interact with the characters and thus alter the story with every choice you make. Its a beautiful script, and I can see every aspect of the story the way I want to. Most movies, comics, books, songs, plays, animes, musicals, operas, poems, paintings don’t do that. They don’t let you see the beginning/middle/ending you want. This is something new.

        Thus, a revolution of new experiences.

        • Mike, I am very disappointed that you didn’t bring up Kid Niki as an excellent example of how video games have revolutionized storytelling.


        • Locusmortis says:

          I don’t necessarily think that letting the end-user have that kind of control is a good thing. How many ordinary schlebs have any kind of artistic bone in their bodies? How many of us can pencil comics, write operas, direct musicals, most people coudln’t even write a decent haiku.

          Art IS something that only a few have, Michelangelo, Jack Kirby, Stanley Kubrick. I bet if most people looked at a Piet Mondrian picture that they’d think they could do something as good…but they couldn’t, most people would fuck it up so that it would look shit. Look at what tv has become since they let more people have an input, fucking reality tv. Thank god for tv stations like HBO or Showtime for giving a home to great scripted tv, what we need are more game companies like HBO and less like Blizzard and EA.

          • Mike F says:

            I agree with you about TV and yes, thank god for HBO. But, this is what makes it different. I have control. I can build the story the way I want it, and see the outcome I desire, I want, I need. The resolution I want. Just because some people fuck up good stories doesn’t mean I will or Jose will or you will. There are still alot of people who want to see a good story. That’s why its important. Because, you literally can see every aspect of it. When a great movie ends badly, well then, fuck. It might as well not be a great movie. But, when you have a say in it. It’s just something special… It makes the resolution feel stronger, feel more rewarding. Its been over 20 years since games have been created and I can safely say, that as of 2010, something really spectacular has been made.

            Just like cable has a lot of bad shows, there’s a lot of bad games out there. Which is why HR is the equivalent of HBO. Its that proof that someone out there wants to do a good job. Not for money but for the sake of art. Because its important to him.

            • Yes. I agree with this.


            • Deemar says:

              Dude you almost made me wanna become a gamer…almost.

              Very appealing arguement

              • Venom829 says:

                You should…it’s alot of fun! 😛

                • Deemar says:

                  Not enough time in the day, I wish I had the luxury.

                  Plus I just started back college Yay me! I’m 3 classes away from a BA and I figure might as well do it and finish.

                  Night School!!!! I’m tired

            • Locusmortis says:

              Its a decent argument and you put your case well….but I still don’t think it makes it art. It may be satisfying but so is a kitkat or a bottle of beer and I don’t think the majority of people would call them art.

              I have yet to be convinced although I’m not dogmatic about it.

              • Mike F says:

                I think the level of satisfaction is different from candy and beer to investing your time and money into a video game. When Mark Millar writes a really bad comic, and you see something you don’t like you can’t change it. So what did you get out of your money?

                When you play a game like Heavy Rain, you have a say in what happens. Actually you have a say in just about everything that happens. You invest yourself into the game emotionally, and feel rewarded when certain characters have good outcomes. Because you helped it happen that way. You take it seriously, not a way of just sitting around being lazy, this is a game where you have to think about every choice.

                If I may quote Alan Moore “You have to give the reader what he needs, not what he wants.” When Mark Millar gives me what I don’t want, I feel dissatisfied. When I play Heavy Rain, I am in control. If I pay attention and take it seriously, I get the outcome I need. I see the resolution my heart truly needs to see. Thus, I get my moneys worth.

                But yeah if you not into it, its cool. But if you ever come across this game, don’t be scared to give it a go. Its without a doubt fun 🙂

              • “It may be satisfying but so is a kitkat or a bottle of beer.”

                OK…I’m going to finally have to step in here and disagree with you Locus. That analogy does not fit at all and is quite a bit demeaning to video games as a whole. I have found certain video games to be satisfying on many levels: emotional, thoroughly engaging, thought provoking, making moral choices and seeing the consequences, giving you a certain sense of accomplishment, etc. None of these experiences feel hollow at all. I have felt all of these things when watching films or reading comics and novels. To dismiss these things entirely is a mistake. Just my opinion though.


  9. Mike F says:

    and FYI – NEVER GO ON XBOX LIVE!!! I Swear I’ve never seen so much racism, homophobic, sexists remarks in my life. I had to sell my xbox just to avoid such assholes. Wow.

    • Pobra says:

      My brother just surpassed 100,000 gamer points (?) or some such nonsense. I take it that’s good? He’s ranked #2 in all of Ontario or something.

      • I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s “good”. 🙂


      • Mike F says:

        Gamer points come from the games you play. Not technically how well you play with people online.

        You can never play with people on line and get that many points. and You’d be better off since you won’t deal with the worst assholes in the entire planet.

      • Pobra says:

        Yeah, that’s basically him. Just 11 years older. I fear X-Box has destroyed any future he might have possibly had.

      • aidan mc irish says:

        do you think that if aliens came near the earth and scanned or comunications thiking we shall share the wonders of the universe with this society they are truly advanced and civilised and then they see that i small child shouting at the woman who brought him into this world to bring him some chocolate milk while he take plessure in the act of murder and they say fuck it lets try mars

    • Venom829 says:

      I have XBOX-360. Just not XBOX LIVE.

    • Deemar says:

      Ya’ know it makes so much sense why Bendis loves Xbox live.

      He’s in his element

  10. Stamps says:

    I personally think something is classified as “art” if it is art to you.

    Elliot definitely hit it on the head with the women getting treated different by gamer-fanboys. They are really rude and verbally abusive when they figure out you’re a girl. With the comic-fanboys it’s mostly that they totally ignore your opinion and act like you are invisible when they realize you’re a chick. It’s really frustrating.

    One of the things I love about this blog and the people on it is that no one ignores me just because I’m not a guy.

    …okay now group hug everybody.

  11. Jack says:

    I present Penny Arcade.

  12. Venom829 says:

    I think video games are art, but in it’s own form. Like music is an art in it’s own form.

  13. Venom829 says:

    If you guys were to start talking about cars, at least you’d be talking men stuff 😉

  14. Deemar says:

    I believe games can be art, no doubt ECO and Shadow of the Colossus are artful.

    Eberts a good guy, but yeah he’s from another generation

    • Venom829 says:

      Totally! I just hope he has good things to say about Iron Man 2.

    • Mike F says:

      I think its not so much about Games themselves, its more about how a lot of overweight kids only play video games instead of going outside and being fit and in shape. Its a bad image, but its a real one.

      So they get this rep that games are making kids fatter and lazier…

  15. Deemar says:

    I’m gonna say something off topic and which I’m sure will get my if not killed, possibly marked with a scarlet letter.

    Here goes……

    Khoi Pham’s art is growing on me!

    I said!! damn it and I feel sick

  16. AvS says:

    This belongs all over the place just above but I’m gonna put it here:

    Many snaps were doled out that fateful day.

  17. AvS says:

    Did I kill this thread?

  18. kurumais says:

    ebert doesnt like 3d movies and i agree with him

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