Film critic Roger Ebert has been vocal in his opinion that "video games can never be art
," but a landslide of comments from gaming advocates have motivated a slight change of heart.
"My error in the first place was to think I could make a convincing argument on purely theoretical grounds," he wrote in a Thursday blog post
titled "Okay, kids, play on my lawn." "What I was saying is that video games could not in principle
He added, "That was a foolish position to take, particularly as it seemed to apply to the entire unseen future of games. This was pointed out to me maybe hundreds of times [by gamers]. How could I disagree? It is quite possible a game could someday be great Art."
Ebert is open about the fact that he doesn't play games. The renowned critic said he played Myst
and Cosmology of Kyoto
, both adventure games from the 1990s, but doesn't play games currently. "I'd played no others because--well, because I didn't want to."
Over 4,500 internet-goers commented on his post that claimed video games "can never be art," the vast majority disagreeing with his sentiments.
He said most of the comments were "intelligent, well-written, and right about one thing in particular: I should not have written that entry without being more familiar with the actual experience of video games.
" [Emphasis Ebert's]
By admitting he doesn't play games, he left sizable hole in his argument, and he acknowledged that in his blog. "I was a fool for mentioning video games in the first place," he said.
But while he cuts gamer and game creators a little bit of slack, he doesn't seem to make a full concession to the pro-games-as-art crowd. "I would never express an opinion on a movie I hadn't seen. Yet I declared as an axiom that video games can never be Art. I still believe this, but I should never have said so. Some opinions are best kept to yourself."