Let's talk about Roger Ebert for a moment, since that's the hip thing to do. Roger Ebert is wrong, plain and simple. I know what art is, and I mean that in two ways. First: I know video games are art as a medium. I'm not displeased with what he's saying because I'm insecure of that fact, but for reasons I'll mention later. More importantly: I have a pretty good way of telling if something is art.
I think bad movies are art, if they're meant to be. They're just bad art. Same with all mediums, including video games. If the creator is actively creating them as art, they are art. Simple as that. The personal connection between the creation and creator make them art. I think you're being rude Mr. Ebert.
This is why Chess and Mah Jong are not art, they are games, skills, or sports. You will never do anything in any of these games that have not been done before and will not be done again. You're too bound by the rules. This lack of innovation excludes them as art.
By the way, why are we even talking about Chess and Mah Jong, Mr. Ebert? You don't seem to get it. We're talking about creating the game boards and the rules, and you're talking about playing them. Creating Chess was artful, playing it is not. Not that playing games can't be artful, but Chess is just too rigid for it. You're right Mr. Ebert. Playing Modern Warfare 2's multiplayer isn't art (Unless you're somehow innovating, which seems unlikely.) It's a skill. Creating that multiplayer mode? Art.
I acknowledge Hot Tub Time Machine as art and you can't even acknowledge the whole medium? At least give them a chance. You won't even play video games but you think you could know anything about them? That's just arrogant.
Also, how could something that is composed of several acknowledged forms of art, that is intended to be art, and has one major unique element not be art? Video games include:
All of which are art. That one key element that's different? Interactivity. Which is what makes life so unique and emotional by the way. That personal connection we have to it. There's that personal connection again.
It's harmful of Ebert to say video games are not art. It's rude to the creators, who I'm sure consider it art. You downplay the talent of the creators and the merit of the creation. This discourages people from continuing their work and in some cases even beginning it. It's odd how few talents in the movie business even acknowledge the video game industry's existence, and I'm sure negative stigma like this is the part of the issue. Why create a video game when you can create art?
In closing, until Ebert slays a colossus (Shadow of the Colossus), saves the Sandersons (Chibi-Robo), or goes to bed (Terranigma), or has any number of other personal experiences, I wish he would just stay quiet on the subject.