With everyone weighing in on the “Are Games Art?” debate sparked by Roger Ebert, Tim and Jon of the Van Hemlock Podcast (to which you obviously subscribe, but just in case you don’t, do) decided that to properly tackle the subject needed a widely recognised expert in both fields, able to effortlessly leap from the merits of different weapons in Call of Duty to Constable’s use of light in Dedham Vale, from the legacy of Henry Moore in contemporary sculpture to Mortal Kombat fatality combos. Unfortunately Brian Sewell was busy playing the Halo: Reach beta, so I had to fill in instead.

As is probably obvious, my thorough and in-depth art knowledge comes mainly from Wikipedia (which is how I know Vincent van Gogh was a quadruped with four legs, a heart and a beak for eating honey, who lived in large rivers such as the Amazon [citation needed]), but I had a rather splendid time burbling away about narrative, interactivity, a proposed taxonomy of games and saying “aaaaah” (bonus game if you’d like to play along at home: every time we say “aaaah”, shout “No, not ‘aaaah’!”, and take a drink).

Ven Hemlock Show 102

If you’re particularly interested in the history of Ebert vs Computer Games, it starts around the time of the Doom movie:

Ebert in “Answer Man” on Doom (October 30 2005): “As long as there is a great movie unseen or a great book unread, I will continue to be unable to find the time to play video games.”
http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051030/ANSWERMAN/510300302/1023

Strangely enough that prompted a little bit of feedback, the subject being touched on a couple more times in following weeks:
http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051113/ANSWERMAN/511130307/1023
http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051127/ANSWERMAN/511270304/1023

Resulting in lots of good reader feedback:
http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051206/COMMENTARY/51206002
http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051208/COMMENTARY/51208002
http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051214/COMMENTARY/51214001

Christophe Gans, director of Silent Hill, was asked about Ebert’s stance in 2006, drawing another reply:
http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060430/ANSWERMAN/604300302/1023

Clive Barker took up the cudgels in 2007:
http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070721/COMMENTARY/70721001

And then there’s the most recent piece that kicked off the current round of the debate:
http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2010/04/video_games_can_never_be_art.html

Posted by Zoso at 12:17 pm