You must also remember that people like Ebert are increasingly becoming the minority. Games are only getting more mainstream, and as our generation rises to become the next breed of critics, politicians, newscasters and parents, the acceptance of gaming as a legitimate art form is a complete and total inevitability. Ebert is 67, and those who think like him aren't much younger. They are fossils. Leftovers. They are nearly all dead. In a few years time, nothing that Ebert has said will matter because Ebert won't be with us anymore. You might as well already be arguing with a corpse when you engage any of these old men who sneer at interactive entertainment. It's a thoroughly pointless endeavor.
Gamers are a defensive lot, and again, I cannot claim to be innocent. I bristle and boil when pathetic "experts" go on TV and pretend that videogames are a corrupting influence on our unspoiled children. I engage in heated debates about whether this game or that game deserves more respect. However, I think it's high time we let the "games and art" debate go. It's a waste of time. Nobody will ever admit defeat, so it becomes a war of attrition, and since gamers are younger, it's a war we're destined to win.
Ultimately, it shouldn't matter what anybody else thinks about something you enjoy, provided that you still enjoy it. Whether Ebert says games are art or not will never invalidate the experiences you've had with the medium. Whether you choked up after fighting The Boss in Snake Eater, or laughed childishly at The Great & Mighty Poo in Conker's Bad Fur Day, there is nothing Ebert can say that will take your fun away from you. To me, fun is the highest form of art. Anything that entertains in this miserable world is worth putting in a gallery and cherishing for years to come, if you ask me.
That's the key phrase, though -- if you ask me. If you ask me, I'll tell you that games are art. Games are because I say they are art. That's how art works. It's what you, the individual, can take from it. Not what some obsolete stranger says. By all means, disagree with Ebert's statements. Laugh at his absurd commentary or disregard him entirely. Hell, agree with him if you think the guy has a point. However, let's stop getting so damn angry and bitter because an aged film critic doesn't respect videogames.
If Ebert wants to betray his own ineptitude, let him. If this old man who should know better is intent on acting like a twelve-year-old Internet troll, that is his prerogative. But whatever he says about videogames doesn't matter. If anything, its his opinion on art in general, and his attempts to narrowly define it, that should be taken as the gravest offense.
Let the art world get offended by that, however. Let us, as gamers, do the best thing we can do to prove Roger Ebert wrong... ignore him, and enjoy our damn games!
Apr 19, 2010