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Author Topic: Roger Ebert Is Hating On Games Again  (Read 25049 times)
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FortNinety
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« on: April 17, 2010, 01:58:12 AM »

http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2010/04/video_games_can_never_be_art.html

Once again, I fail to see why this guy gets so much respect and adoration, and this stems well before this crusade of his. So dude has semi-decent taste in films and is able to articulate his opinions well enough. Big whoop. But that's my attitude towards most critics, so there ya go.
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dmauro
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« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2010, 03:07:41 AM »

Quote from: Ebert
I allow Sangtiago the last word. Toward the end of her presentation, she shows a visual with six circles, which represent, I gather, the components now forming for her brave new world of video games as art. The circles are labeled: Development, Finance, Publishing, Marketing, Education, and Executive Management. I rest my case.
Buuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrnnnnnnnnnnnnn
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isfet
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« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2010, 12:12:49 PM »

i mean, it doesn't really help that the people he speaks to about this idea are generally pretty fucking clueless individuals
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dhex
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« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2010, 04:46:22 PM »

he's thoughtful and engaging, regardless of what one thinks of the end result.

games as art is just...weird. why do people care about it so?
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dhex
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« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2010, 11:09:39 PM »

more to the point dude wrote beyond the valley of the dolls and now has to talk through a speak n' spell so...
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FortNinety
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« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2010, 01:53:47 AM »

So... he deserves a pass for everything he writes from this point on, no matter how lazy it might be?

Sure, dude wrote a great movie, I'll give you that, but I still fail to see why his film criticism is so universally beloved. A friend could only muster up his "heartfelt love of cinema" as Ebert's greatest character trait. Big fucking whoop. He's not a horrible writer mind you (under normal circumstances), but I'm still convinced that people love him so much simply because he's able to better articulate why such and such movies are good or bad.

It's also worth noting that I generally agree with all his opinions on movies. But in the end... it's just fucking movies, and this coming from a diehard cinephile. Maybe if his pearls of wisdom was spent on something that's more important in this world, like politics or something. I dunno. Then again, I find most critics irksome.

Though that being all said, I guess what I find most offense about this particular piece is how lazy it is, like someone else wrote it. Then again, perhaps he felt no need to try considering the argument he was countering, that being Kellee Santiago's presentation, which was kinda worthless. Hence the easy zinger at the end.
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The Drunken Samurai
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« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2010, 02:58:35 AM »

but...but he was on tv! also the skinny one's been dead awhile no once cares about him
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dhex
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« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2010, 08:08:03 AM »

i think you can call that essay many things, but lazy isn't one of them. besides, i think this is completely on point:

Quote
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.

i've never read any of ebert's film criticism, but i think his general draw was as a down-to-earth populizer of film criticism. the games thing is a recent windmill that seems to have come out of nowhere.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2010, 08:10:21 AM by dhex » Logged
Fitz
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« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2010, 03:26:59 PM »

\He's not a horrible writer mind you (under normal circumstances), but I'm still convinced that people love him so much simply because he's able to better articulate why such and such movies are good or bad.

Um...

Wouldn't that be exactly the quality you'd judge a film critic by?
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FortNinety
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« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2010, 10:22:47 PM »

I guess so? Which again begs the question as to why he gets so much love and adoration. Some people act like he's just as important as the filmmakers themselves. And while its true that criticism is essential in any form of art (or so they say, I don't entire buy that myself, just repeating the popular consensus), some folks have a raging hard on for the guy.
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Fitz
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« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2010, 12:31:52 AM »

I guess so? Which again begs the question as to why he gets so much love and adoration. Some people act like he's just as important as the filmmakers themselves. And while its true that criticism is essential in any form of art (or so they say, I don't entire buy that myself, just repeating the popular consensus), some folks have a raging hard on for the guy.

To a large extent he's outlasted a lot of the folks working in the film industry at least in terms of continued output and longevity. When was the last time you cared about William Friedkin's output despite him having made two of the most important films, in terms of influence, of the 1970s? Or Francis Ford Coppola for that matter?

Plus Ebert has been able to cross over into popular culture and become someone who is known in his own right and not just as some guy with a semi-regular feature in a local paper. As a result he has become the general measure of Film Criticism.  That his "school" of criticism includes the notion of judging a movie based upon its own intents and purposes rather than some absolute measure of art makes his work accessible to the average movie goer. This isn't something universally beloved by Film Critics. Armond White for example has something of a monomaniacal need to take shots at Ebert and his approach any chance he gets.

Although probably outside of the scope of this thread I think the core of this particular issue has to do with tenuous definitions of art that rest mainly upon relatively contemporary notions of what "art" encompasses.
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FortNinety
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« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2010, 01:02:37 AM »

Well, that certainly goes without saying. Hence the primary confusion, though my biggest beef is how is how his negative attitude towards gaming is not altogether different than the hate film got during its infancy. I'm assuming Roger must know his film history. Which I know has been voiced about a billion times as well.

Also, a colleague of mine just informed me that he used to actually review games for Wired? This I'd love to see (I hear he actually did a very good job to boot).
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dmauro
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« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2010, 09:32:22 AM »

Where's he is wrong is in his assumption that no one alive today will see video games elevated to the level of art. He is probably not taking into account the very possible advancements in medical science that will keep many of us alive longer than the previous generation. Tongue only somewhat in my cheek here.
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Fitz
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« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2010, 10:52:05 AM »

Well, that certainly goes without saying. Hence the primary confusion, though my biggest beef is how is how his negative attitude towards gaming is not altogether different than the hate film got during its infancy.

I don't think the attitude is negative to gaming just negative to the notion that gaming is or can be an Art in the formal sense.  I think that is the key reason why he keeps coming back to the example of Chess, a game that has been of vital importance to many but for which no one ever considered attempting to argue that it was an art in the sense of the Western Tradition of Art. That doesn't mean it cannot have artistic aspects, aesthetic value, etc. but that its primary concern is not that of Art.

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dhex
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« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2010, 11:07:41 AM »

the disconnect, i think is that "art" means "important, meaningful, morally good" and whatnot to the audience, while ebert is using it in the far more formal sense fitz has pointed out.

and on that point i think ebert is basically correct. he misunderstands the intricacies of the form, but not the more general role of games in human life, i think.
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