Siskell’s lesser half still refutes games as art, calls Barker a 4-year old

I’m sure the world at large is well aware of who Roger Ebert is. Although, what the rest of the world may not know, or care about, is his position on whether or not video games are art.

In case you were wondering, his position is an emphatic: No. The near-lifelong movie critic had posted a rather highly publicized entry on his blog last year, stating that medium that we hold so dear – is not art.

The reason that this news has once again become relevant is because Mr. Ebert has recently taken the time to respond to some criticism he received about this opinion. Criticism that was expounded by novelist, painter, screenwriter, and all around artist: Clive Barker.

Way more after the jump. 

Barker, it seems, had taken offense to what Ebert previously had said about video games, and made remarks about Ebert’s point of view at the last Hollywood and Games Summit.

Via his blog, Ebert has since replied to the comments that Barker had made. Through his responses to Barker, Ebert continues to proselytize the idea that games are not art, or at least that they, “could not be high art, as I understand it.”

Ebert then follows that statement by categorizing the entire breadth and history of gaming into just three genres. Apparently, all games are either: point and shoot games, games in which you hunt or scavenge for treasure “as in Myst,” or ones in which the player controls the outcome.

He then later goes on to defend his opinion by semantically attacking certain quotes of Barker’s. Even going as far as to teach him the definition of the word prejudice and, at one point, equate one of Barker’s statements to that, “of an honest and articulate 4-year old.”

Impressively mature, Mr. Ebert. Maybe later we can all play a game of I know you are, but what am I?

Ebert eventually throws Barker a backhanded bone by saying that Barker’s Undying could be art; that is, if it had been blessed by the hands of the late Andy Warhol.

Andy Warhol was, by the way, an artist. Clive Barker is currently an artist. Roger Ebert, though, is not an artist.

But for him to claim one artists work isn’t art unless another artist touches it, is a clear and direct insult to Barker. One in which I hope that Barker responds to with even more venom than this reporter can muster.

Personally, I have no idea where Ebert gets off telling the world what is, or isn’t, art. Especially when he passes these judgments on mediums he, quite obviously, doesn’t understand.

This is evidenced by his rather bold claim that all video games can only fall into one of three categories. This statement shows that he is either profoundly uninformed or, quite possibly, ignorant of the video game world at large.

I suppose that’s why he called Myst a treasure/scavenger hunt.

It would seem that Mr. Ebert and I must have received different copies of Myst, because I’m pretty sure that the version that I played was a story driven puzzle game. It’s quite possible that my memories have lied to me, but I think this miscatagorization has more to do with the fact that Ebert has a very narrow view of mediums that are completely unfamiliar to him.  

For example, I did go see a movie the other day. I would have described the film as a period piece, with riveting performances and dramatic undertones. Although, were I to describe it in the same way Ebert sees video games — I would have called it a “Western.”

In other words, Mr Ebert, stick to what you know, and leave the art of gaming to the artists.

[Via, Actiontrip]