Roger Ebert recently said in a blog post that "video games can never be art." After readers flooded his blog with 4,547 mostly critical comments, Ebert penned an apology post entitled "Okay, kids, play on my lawn," in which he reexamined his position and addressed many of the responses.
"I should not have written that entry without being more familiar with the actual experience of video games," Ebert stated. But he remained critical of games-as-art, writing:
I was a fool for mentioning video games in the first place. I would never express an opinion on a movie I hadn't seen. Yet I declared as an axiom that video games can never be Art. I still believe this, but I should never have said so. Some opinions are best kept to yourself.
He also maintained that he did not--and does not ever--want to learn about video games. Therefore, he concludes, he never should have broached the topic.
I had to be prepared to agree that gamers can have an experience that, for them, is Art. I don't know what they can learn about another human being that way, no matter how much they learn about Human Nature. I don't know if they can be inspired to transcend themselves. Perhaps they can. How can I say? I may be wrong. but if 'm not willing to play a video game to find that out, I should say so. I have books to read and movies to see. I was a fool for mentioning video games in the first place.
Ebert, hardly one to shy away from controversy, boldly called 3D movies "juvenile" earlier this year.
See a retro video of Siskel and Ebert playing a video game below: