A piece of art, in an artistic world, full of evoked emotion.
If you don’t know what I’m about to talk about, you’ve been ignoring the gaming world. If you have been ignoring the gaming world, then know that six days ago, the monumentally and stunningly wrong Roger Ebert wrote an article (or in Tycho’s words “reeking ejaculate”) in response to Kellee Santiago talking at TED about video games being a medium for art. Somehow, someway, when you have artists working in groups, creating art, directing art, editing art, writing art, and combining all that art into one tasty ball of art-on-a-plate, it stops being art.
Because it can be won.
Overlooking the logical fallacy that the presence of an objective a participant can strive for instantly negates the ability for a medium to be art, I have to join the rank and file of gamers everywhere in echoing a resounding, “WTF?”. It seems at points that he jumbles around, flailing like a decrepit old man who lost his cane, striving for a definition to latch onto. A declaration to pin down something that, by its very nature, avoids definition.
Most interesting to me, was when Ebert delved into the world of video games, and tried to wrap his understanding around what video games are, and their intended goals. He displays a stunning lack of knowledge of the market and the medium in his evaluation of the game flower. He seems so hell-bent on the concepts and ideas of a “score” or goal, that he completely misses the reality that a game is sometimes meant to just be played, with no greater or less reason than the joy of participation.
The cap to this blistering diatribe of silliness is his devolving into some type of pop-culture, psycho analysis of the community that makes up “gamers”. Idly pondering on our need for “validation” as he dismisses the genre without ever having made any actually insightful and studied reasons. The articles leaves the reader with the understanding that he did no true research before making his opinion known, and merely responded at face value to what it was that Santiago said. Ebert definitely has a history in the movie industry as a critic, and is known nationwide for his work in the field. That said, his ability to judge and be a voice worth listening too outside of his realm of practice seems to be absolutely nil.
Santiago was too kind and generous in responding to this article that portrayed itself as nothing greater than a burning pile of dog shit outside the doorway. She puts the conversation to rest the best in this line:
“Similarly, it’s time to move on from any need to be validated by old media enthusiasts. It’s good for dinner-party discussion and entertaining as an intellectual exercise, but it’s just not a serious debate anymore.”
The debate is no longer whether video games CAN be art, or if some games ARE art. The debate is, what else can we express with them, and how else can we evoke emotion with them.