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Ebert Partly Reverses Position On Game Art Debate

Film critic Roger Ebert has been vocal in his opinion that "video games can never be art," but now he's carefully backtracking -- albeit slightly -- admitting that "It is quite possible a game could someday be great Art."
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 be Art." 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."

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