Culture Clash: The War of Art

In this month’s edition of Matthew Sakey’s column, Culture Clash, he rebutts film critic Roger Ebert’s assertion that games cannot be art. Ebert’s commentary caused quite a bit of stir in the games community a few months ago.

Ebert said:

I believe books and films are better mediums… Because I have recently seen classic films by Fassbinder, Ozu, Herzog, Scorsese and Kurosawa and have recently read novels by Dickens, Cormac McCarthy, Bellow, Nabokov and Hugo, and if there were video games in the same league, someone somewhere who was familiar with the best work in all three mediums would have made a convincing argument in their defense.”

Apparently, Sakey is the man for the job.


  3 comments for “Culture Clash: The War of Art

  1. Skanderberg
    17 January 2006 at 08:44

    Games are not art…if they were art then chess would be appreciated as an art.

    I like being didactic.

  2. 17 January 2006 at 10:14

    One could argue that some videogames, such as ones that are heavy on the nararative content, bear a similarity to other narrative forms, such as film — which many consider as art.

    Do you think that videogames, employing artists to render imaginary locales and characters, are devoid of artistry? Even sports games, which I would not call works of art by any stretch, contain artistic content, in that they feature the creations of professional artists. I guess that you could argue that a corporate marketing brochure contains the elements of art, in that graphic designers worked on its appearance, but as an artistically inspirational piece of work, it fails.

    There are too many different kinds of videogames for your answer to be so clear-cut, in my opinion. You have chess computer games, which fail to be inspirational or thought-provoking as most pieces of art seem to do. But you also have videogames which do this — inspire thought, inspire emotion, and inspire a response to the aesthetic content, whether it is based on how well a story is told, how good the graphical elements are presented, or how well the gameplay facilitates the aims of the game.

  3. Skanderberg
    18 January 2006 at 02:14

    OK I dont have time at present to answer properly.
    But! in essence my point is games are a system/mechanic as such they are not art.
    Ps I know a better answer is due but please hold

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