The Alabaster Sock

We Will Fight the Threat with Fighting

Posted by Matt on April 17, 2010

Oh boy, Ebert clarifies his points about why videogames cannot be art. He will likely be barraged by vacuous counterpoints via comments and e-mail and all the dumb sites with nothing better to do will send their passive-aggressive remarks his way. No one will engage his points in an intelligent manner, because the people who can actually view games intelligently can’t be bothered getting into this endless scuffle again. The more gamers do to ‘defend’ their hobby, the worse they come off as.

Here’s my particular stance: I love playing videogame. I love the design aspects of videogames. I honestly don’t care if it’s considered art along the traditional lines. It doesn’t matter to me because I like the game aspect. That’s what appeals to me about games of all kinds. Yet you will never see Magic: The Gathering fans send angry e-mails to old film critics because they don’t recognize their hobby as a ‘work of art’ (or maybe they have and I just haven’t heard of it).

What is art? Well, at its base, it is the expression of an idea. But there’s obviously more to it than that, but I’m not the one to ask. Even after studying literature for three years, I don’t think I’m up to such a task. But I digress.

Here’s a key paragraph:

“Why are gamers so intensely concerned, anyway, that games be defined as art? Bobby Fischer, Michael Jordan and Dick Butkus never said they thought their games were an art form. Nor did Shi Hua Chen, winner of the $500,000 World Series of Mah Jong in 2009. Why aren’t gamers content to play their games and simply enjoy themselves? They have my blessing, not that they care.

Do they require validation? In defending their gaming against parents, spouses, children, partners, co-workers or other critics, do they want to be able to look up from the screen and explain, “I’m studying a great form of art?” Then let them say it, if it makes them happy.”

This is what I’ve been asking for quite a while. If you cannot answer this question, get the fuck out of the debate.

Edit: Devin from CHUD is forced to rewrite an article he did a few years ago on the subject. He brings up a lot more interesting points.

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