Friday 14 May 2010

A civil guest will no more talk all, than eat all the feast

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.”

Strangely enough that prompted a little bit of feedback, the subject being touched on a couple more times in following weeks:

Resulting in lots of good reader feedback:

Christophe Gans, director of Silent Hill, was asked about Ebert’s stance in 2006, drawing another reply:

Clive Barker took up the cudgels in 2007:

And then there’s the most recent piece that kicked off the current round of the debate:

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