Why We Might Need Roger Ebert

July 2, 2010 -

While many have celebrated the fact that film critic Roger Ebert backpedaled (thanks to E. Zachary Knight via the Shoutbox) ever so slightly this week, saying that videogames could be considered art given some sort of miracle, somehow, someday (but not in our lifetime), game critic Gus Mastrapa laments Ebert's return to the shadows of videogame criticism. Why would he do that? Because, Ebert was a worthy adversary, unlike politicians, a certain lawyer, children's advocacy groups and talking heads on TV; he inspired thoughtful, well-crafted arguments by columnists and gamers that we don't usually hear, and in turn, made us look better.

At least that's Mastrapa's theory. And like those well created arguments from gamers that games are already art, Mastrapa's opinions on the matter are important. In our struggle with so many uninformed outside forces, we often revert to childish arguments, pretty name calling, and character assassination instead of explaining in emphatic and clear terms that games are, at the very least, important to our culture.

I'll leave you with a good portion of Mastrapa's lament (I encourage you to read the whole thing here):

We need Roger Ebert, because our usual enemies -- politicians, censors and one lawyer who need not be named -- tend to bring out the worst in us. They raise our ire. We babble incoherently at their threats, embarrassing ourselves more than redeeming ourselves.

But then along came Ebert, who graciously took on the role of the professional wrestling heel. Leaving us, for the first time, to be the face -- the good guys fighting the good fight.

And boy did we live up to the challenge. We wrote our little hearts out. We got introspective. We looked long and hard at the combined works of all game designers living and dead and we re-assessed their merits. We argued and debated so long that we bored ourselves and others. But oh, the rigor and passion Ebert evoked.

And just like that we're probably going to revert back to the knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing, Neanderthals that Ebert secretly suspects we are.
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Comments

Re: Why We Might Need Roger Ebert

That's funny.  I thought, for the most part, we were playing nice with the decision-makers (the ECA's petition to the Supreme Court as an example) whereas we offered Ebert our unbridled scorn and derision.  Maybe it was just me?

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Fangamer

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Fangamer

Re: Why We Might Need Roger Ebert

Um, Eberts lamentations about games were not much more ignorant, rambling, or self-contradicting than most other arguements against games.  Ebert only got extra attention, and perhaps restrained respect, because of his reputation.

In the end he is just another old man talking shit about something he had zero knowledge and experience of.  He even (almost) admitted as much in his half-hearted retraction on the issue.

Involving the attention of Ebert will do little to change the overall view of games and gamers- gamers are doing most of the legwork in making the medium look like crap.  The fact that most game discussions, websites, and publications are still rife with juvenile humor and petty fanboyism indicates that the gamers still haven't grown up enough.

Re: Why We Might Need Roger Ebert

"pretty name calling"

What the *snowflake* is this *rainbow* going on about? Of course video games are art, you *unicorn*. If I see one more *splendid* critic giving video games *northern lights* about not being art, I will personally *give them a handshake out of respect and brotherly love*.

Seriously, I believe he made mention about giving Shadow of the Collosus a try after talking to some folks.

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Re: Why We Might Need Roger Ebert

Indeed, some people make me *frumple* and make me want to *dance* with them, unlike Ebert that inspired me to *play* and *chase* him.

 

criadordejogos.wordpress.com

--- MaurĂ­cio Gomes twitter.com/agfgames

Re: Why We Might Need Roger Ebert

I'd really like to show them Okami(especially the guardian sapling revival scenes!). Maybe then they could consider calling at least some games art.

 
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Matthew WilsonI think its a good article, and devs can take some lessons from life is strange.04/24/2015 - 10:24pm
Andrew EisenI tinyURL'd it. The world is safe!04/24/2015 - 10:23pm
Matthew Wilson@AE my bad there is nothing I can do about that.04/24/2015 - 10:21pm
Andrew EisenLooks like the spoiler is right there in the URL.04/24/2015 - 10:20pm
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Matthew Wilson@mech no just she, nor her co workers have not. she never said it is not real.04/24/2015 - 8:58pm
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Andrew EisenWell, that is indeed crappy and nonsensical.04/24/2015 - 3:45pm
Matthew Wilsonshe got attacked for saying that she personaly has not experienced the harassment some other female devs have, and she got acused of defending GG and ignoring harassment. she ended up getting dog piled because of it.04/24/2015 - 3:43pm
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Matthew Wilsonit was several weeks ago now, and I will admit to not saving it.04/24/2015 - 3:36pm
Andrew EisenAttacked HOW and by WHOM for not writing off WHO as evil? Do you have a link or anything?04/24/2015 - 3:31pm
Matthew Wilsonthat is the whole point she was not attacked for saying anything. she was attacked for being willing to debate in the first place, and not just write them off as evil.04/24/2015 - 3:28pm
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