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Game Devs on Ebert's Put-Downs 183

Posted by Zonk
from the interesting-folks dept.
Gamsutra has a writeup of a recent Austin Game Developers meeting. Damion Schubert, Allen Varney, and Scott Jennings took the stage to discuss games as art and Roger Ebert's opinions. From the article: "McShaffry then asked the panel to consider whether Ebert was picking on youth culture in general, and assuming technology wasn't an issue, whether popular games like Grand Theft Auto would be played 500 years from now, like the works of Shakespeare are enjoyed today? Jennings didn't want to speculate that far into the future, but he admitted to still playing and liking the Final Fantasy games released for the Super Nintendo."
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Game Devs on Ebert's Put-Downs

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  • Gonna say "No" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RyoShin (610051) <tukaro.gmail@com> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @06:59PM (#14920079) Homepage Journal
    There's a fundamental difference between Shakespear and GTA: one was on paper, one is digital.

    Five hundered years from now, we don't know what the technology will be like. Maybe they'll be calling "Quantum Computing" old and busted. Maybe they'll revert to Zip drives. Will the Playstation 128 be able to play Playstation 2 games? Will Sony even exist?

    But there will always be paper.

    Well, until we deforest the entire planet, but at that point I doubt playing video games from a half dozen generations back will be on our minds. So, while the concept may remain (assuming we don't have a Demolition Man-like future), the game will likely not be played except by the handful of "hardcore" hobbiests who procure working-condition units of the PS4. Don't rule out it being taught in game design classes, though.

    Mario is an entire other matter.
    • Re:Gonna say "No" (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tukkayoot (528280) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:07PM (#14920158) Homepage
      Plus there's the fact that Shakespeare wrote at a time when work would still enter the public domain, instead of being locked up in perpetual copyright.
      • Re:Gonna say "No" (Score:5, Insightful)

        by westlake (615356) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @10:49PM (#14921404)
        Plus there's the fact that Shakespeare wrote at a time when work would still enter the public domain, instead of being locked up in perpetual copyright.

        Shakespeare's plays were the prime assets of his theatrical company.

        He was part owner of the Globe theater, remember, and he functioned under a patronage system that settled teritorial disputes privately.

        Shakespeare's plays were never published in his lifetime.

        The idea that plays could be read for pleasure, that English drama was something more than disposable popular entertainment scarcely exists before the death of Shakespeare.

        • -1, It Just Ain't So (Score:3, Informative)

          by Haeleth (414428)
          Shakespeare's plays were never published in his lifetime.

          On the contrary, the majority of his plays were published in his lifetime, and often very soon after they were first written. Hamlet, for example, was probably written some time between 1599 and 1601: the first authorised printed edition was published in 1604, at most 5 years after the work was written, and some 12 years before Shakespeare's death.

          (Hamlet is an interesting example, actually, because it's thought to be a remake of a previous play by s
    • True, video game consoles don't last very long. Neither does film. Neither does paper. The only reason we can see Gone With the Wind today is because someone thought it worth the time to preserve and remaster. The only reason we still read Hamlet is because someone thought it worth the time to re-copy when his copy yellowed. If video games are indeed as enduring, we'll think of something. After all, I'm sure the atomic-vortex PS53 will be able to emulate Metal Gear Solid.
      • The Domes Day Book written in the early part of the last millenium is still readable.

        I doubt a CD or DVD left untouched would be 1000 years from now. Perhaps the gold master would be if it was kept.

        Also with film old they often go to the original and clean up the output (there was an article about how they did it on /. within the last year). I do suppose that a well kept gold master would outlast most types of film.
    • Hmm, something though to keep in mind is the existence of emulators and ports.

      I never played the Final Fantasy games on the NES (despite being more than old enough to have done so, if I had wanted to), but I've played their ports on my GBA.

      Likewise, I haven't owned a Super Nintendo in years, but I've been having a blast playing some of my childhood favorites on an SNES emulator on my brand-spanking-new state-of-the-art workstation with a USB gamepad.

      The oldest of computer games are still playable in some fo
    • I don't think that's quite the point. If a work of art is good enough, people will make it endure. With ROMs and emulation, anybody can play an NES game on their computer. With all the copies on the internet and on people's hard disks, there's no way anythign will be "lost".

      Now the real question is, will the work still be relevant, and interesting many many years from now? Great art is timeless. Shakespear will always be read and taught, because it's some of history's best literature, and there's a lot that
    • Re:Gonna say "No" (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Petrushka (815171) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:23PM (#14920297)

      But there will always be paper.

      Random dude 1000 years ago: "But there will always be parchment."

      Random dude 2000 years ago: "But there will always be papyrus."

      Random dude 3000 years ago: "But there will always be clay tablets."

      Hmmm.

    • Re:Gonna say "No" (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:51PM (#14920508) Homepage Journal
      There are many more fundamental differences between Shakespeare and GTA. GTA is a finished product, and apart from minor upgrades in performance like when you play a PS1 game on the PS2, it will look the same 100 years from now as it does when we play it today.

      Shakespeare's works are only scripts and stage directions, requiring countless other artists and performers to flesh out the material into a finished product. Something like that evolves rapidly over time and in countless directions thanks to the talents of the people currently involved.

      What Shakespeare on saw Hamlet's opening night may have been nothing like a recent performance by the Royal Shakespeare Company, the film version with Mel Gibson, the bunch of guys in jeans and t-shirts with Brooklyn accents who performed it in Central Park, or the mental imagery of the story experienced by someone reading the play out of a book. Those wildly different concepts were all Hamlet, but anyone playing "Vice City" now or in a ROM downloaded from future version of theunderdogs.org will hear the exact same music and voices, and see the same graphics.
    • What part of "assuming technology wasn't an issue" didn't you understand?
    • Your view is absurdly simplistic. By extension of your logic, the Mona Lisa is only art because it's on canvas. Would it be any less beautiful if it was created on a tablet PC? Would Michelangelo's eye for the human anatomy be any less impressive if David was a model of polygons? For that matter, would Hamlet be any less art if it were an ebook? No. Art is about capturing the essence of humanity, not about wether or not it's in a gallery to gawk at or taught in English class in a few centuries.
    • Yeah. It's like how we can't watch Casablanca at home any more, because we don't have 1940s projectors at home. Or how I can't play Pacman because the technology has advanced so far that video game cabinets are obsolete.

      Pretty much the first thing ported to any hardware platform is game emulators. You can get them for your iPod! I think that as we go forward, content will continually be adapted for new media. In fact, the cynic in me says that's one of the driving forces behind new media - the ability
    • Re:Gonna say "No" (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RedWizzard (192002)

      There's a fundamental difference between Shakespear and GTA: one was on paper, one is digital.

      That's a difference, but it's not the fundamental one. The fundamental one is that one is passive and the other is interactive. According to Ebert, interactive media cannot be considered art in terms of narrative. You can read his entire comment (about half way down) [suntimes.com], but the critical bit (and not quoted in TFA) is:

      I [do] indeed consider video games inherently inferior to film and literature. There is a stru

      • Re:Gonna say "No" (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Aceticon (140883)
        A couple of years ago (more like 15-20) there was at line of books where you could at certain points make choices of what the character would do. Depending on those choices you would carry one reading from a specific page and you would thus follow a different path in the story than if you had made a different choice.
        In other words, book based interactive adventures.

        According to that quote from Ebert, this kind of books are "inferior to film and literature" since "by their nature [they] require player choice
      • In addition to the points you made, I have yet to play a game that allows you to make any meaningful choices.

        For example:

        There are numerous routes through a given level of Super Mario Brothers, but they all end at the flagpole (or the mushroom retainer, or the Princess, you nitpickers. And let's ignore the minus world for the sake of argument...)

        There are many ways to arrange the blocks in Tetris, but the screen always eventually fills.

        There are lots of optional "plot cul-de-sacs" in Final Fantasy 7, but Ae
      • I agree with your conclusion, but I'd also say that a stage play is interactive. It is very much suspectible to the interpretations of the actors; a stage play is never the same twice. Ebert is a critic of the most static medium the world has ever considered art - the movies - and therefore fails to acknowledge dynamic art. I call it the most static because generally movies leave little to the imagination. Paintings are much freer to interpretation, not to mention books. His equating film with literature si
    • by Jacius (701825) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @12:18AM (#14921823)
      Five hundered years from now, we don't know what the technology will be like.

      I wonder if Mr. Ebert expects expects films to be viewable in their original media in 500 years. What with periodically-changing film sizes and speeds, and now digital video codecs, Ebert's own favorite art form doesn't seem particularly "eternal" either. In fact, just like video games, the only ways to appreciate old films are to 1) preserve the associated film player, or 2) convert the film to the new format. Sure, you could bust open the film reel, hold it up to a light, and look at it frame by frame, but that goes against the artist's intended viewing scenario, something Ebert considers extremely important.

      Perhaps Ebert realizes all this, but thinks that the contents of the film (if not the physical medium) is safe from the ravages of time. After all, there are works 100 years old which can be enjoyed by film buffs even to this day! ... And yet, the vast majority of people are not interested in these classic films, preferring instead the lastest and greatest blockbuster hits. Just like classic video games, only a relatively small group of people regularly enjoy classic films, this small group having a "deeper appreciation" for the art form. The general public just wants to see more explosions and/or more melodramatic love stories, and are not impressed by the efforts of the early film masters, whose works are quite dull by contemporary standards.

      Mr. Ebert might notice other points where video games are plainly different and not-at-all-identical to film:
      • Most of the best-selling titles are devoid of artistic statement, and simply exist to entertain audiences and make profit.
      • The market is currently (and has been for most of its history) controlled by a handful of big studios, who often re-hash ideas, bring back "stars" from previous titles, and inflate prices in order to make an extra buck.
      • Studios think that new titles must provide ever-increasing levels of special effects, features, and gimmicks in order to continue to attract new audiences.
      • Only a small number of independent producers exist, and most indie titles fly under the radar of the general audience, with only the very occasional title getting noticed and becoming a "cult classic" or even a public sensation.

      Which brings me to my point: does Ebert intentionally ignore the obvious similarities between film and video games, or is he simply too ignorant of the history of video games to see them in the first place?
      • Things like Akira Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai" are hardly dull by contemporary standaards.
        Some of the early animation movies remain funny.
        Charlot films are still comic.

        If for the so-called classics you pick-up films that where successful at a time when that style of movie was were fashionable (for example picking up dance movies from the early 80s or love movies from the early 50s) you will probably find most of them boring for the current standaards - after all they were their age's film equivalent of boys/g
  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:04PM (#14920128) Homepage Journal
    Heck, sometimes I can't even play games that are from this decade, or they want me to have a specific set of video drivers.

    So, given that I've got some Apple II+ computers sitting in my garage with floppy disks that are probably melted to goo now, I'd guess that the chance that any game from today will exist 500 years from now is close to nil.

    of course, most movies won't be around then either.
    • Games [tosec.info] will [gamebase64.com] survive [abandonia.com].
    • by XenoRyet (824514) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:31PM (#14920364)
      You can watch a movie based on Shakespear's works today. Same work in a different form. I suspect that will be the case with games, new forms, same ideas.

      However, as to which game? Not GTA, not Final Fantasy. It'll be Tetris. That game will never go away, it's made the transition to every new platform that has come out since it's conception, and it will contiue to do so indefinitaly. Tetris' combination of simplicity and addictivness will give it staying power well into the time where GTA's game mechanic looks antiquated and silly.

    • What part of "assuming technology wasn't an issue" didn't you understand?

      Man, the first two posts I see make the same basic only-skimmed-the-article error. You guys are so anxious to throw your voice in... Well, I have no problem posting basically the same comment twice.
    • So, given that I've got some Apple II+ computers sitting in my garage with floppy disks that are probably melted to goo now, I'd guess that the chance that any game from today will exist 500 years from now is close to nil.


      If they're not actually goo, I wouldn't be surprised if they worked. Low density magnetic media can last a really, really long time. I haven't had a 5.25 drive hooked up in quite a while (got a //e card for my mac LC in the closet waiting for some day), but the last time I checked, my 3.5
  • by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:09PM (#14920175)
    First, movies and television were often scoffed at by snobs for lowering the IQ of {America, The World, The Universe, etc.} A Movie critic arguing that games are dumb or "not art" (intending the same meaning) is not a shocking departure from the norm.

    Second, how many movies are art? Very few, fewer in reality than in the minds of those who made them for certain.

    Third, who cares? Unless you are trying to get in some university liberal arts curriculum, whether games fall under "art" or "entertainment" is purely academic. As long as any of the above entertains me, I'm interested. Art for art's sake has never appealed to my sense of functional technology. If it doesn't entertain me, I won't pay for it, and I won't go out of my way to see it. Worthless is a word that comes to mind.

    In terms of what time will view of any of these things, we just don't know. Movies aren't even old enough to achieve immortal status. How many people have seen "the classics" of movies? Probably only the older crowd (when they were first run), film students or movie buffs. Video games are in a more difficult position of sometimes being positively inaccessible due to technological means, in addition to only being 30 years old.

    Finally, do games matter? Do sports matter? Does gambling matter? Does drinking till you puke followed by casual sex matter? Yes, obviously. A sufficient number of people feel games are so powerful that people kill over them (not just video games, remember the Dungeons & Dragons nonsense?) They're in the media, a lot of money is spent on them. They matter. Will they matter in 100 years? It's hard to imagine there won't be video games then. Will they be the same games? Probably not in their original 8-bit NES implementation. However, is Romeo and Juliet a brand new work, or a from-scratch-rewrite of older books, the oldest of which I have read dates back to ancient greece?
  • by LeonGeeste (917243) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:13PM (#14920205) Journal
    would be played 500 years from now, like the works of Shakespeare are enjoyed today?

    Are Shakespeare's works seriously "enjoyed" today? How many people who have to study his works today in school enjoy doing it vs. playing GTA? And what's the deal with the "500 year standard", it's circular and self-fulfilling. We read/view performances of Shakespeare 500 years later, because they're so great, as evidenced by how people still read/view it 500 years later! Go us!

    How many people, as a fraction of the population, go to Shakespeare plays *purely* for the joy of seeing it, irrespective of the buzz behind them? How will that compare to the fraction who plays Rockstar games 500 years from now?

    (And it's more like 400, but whatever.)
    • And what's the deal with the "500 year standard"

      Double the age of the United States of America, rounded up to the nearest century, is one conception of an upper limit on what constitutes "limited Times" under the Copyright Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

    • There is something to be said for the mindshare that classic works still carry to this day. (I'm a musician, so the first things that come to mind are music related) I dare you to find someone who doesn't recognize the opening to Beethoven's 5th symphony, or the 4th movement of his 9th symphony. How about the Habanera from Carmen? Bach's Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor? People may not know them by name, but they will recognize thim if they hear them.

      What have we created recently that will be remembered
    • by NorbrookC (674063) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @09:03PM (#14920944) Journal

      Are Shakespeare's works seriously "enjoyed" today?

      Yes. Next question?

      How many people who have to study his works today in school enjoy doing it vs. playing GTA?

      I recall having to study many things in school that I didn't enjoy versus playing any game. Including Shakespeare. Interestingly, after I'd gotten several years out of school, I came to appreciate his works much better, and yes, enjoy them.

      And what's the deal with the "500 year standard", it's circular and self-fulfilling. We read/view performances of Shakespeare 500 years later, because they're so great, as evidenced by how people still read/view it 500 years later! Go us!

      No, it's not that they're 500 years old, it's that they're great works that speak to common themes in the human condition. Just as Don Quixote is still read and enjoyed, even though it's almost as old. Even as Beowulf is read and enjoyed, even though it's far older. The Odyssey, the Iliad. They're great stories, which deal with human conflicts and actions that are still going on. The themes carry on throughout the generations. That's what makes them great. We read them because they're great, they aren't great because we still read them.

    • Oh sure! Live theater gives you a show that's different every night, even if it's the same play. You don't have to sit through half an hour of commercials or get lectured by some brain dead stuntman about how people downloading movies are making it harder for him to get work. You're in an environment where the players are as likely to start a fistfight with disruptive audiences members as... well... I am. The acting is inevitably better than anything you'll find on the silver screen, and quite often the sto
  • Is Roger Ebert art?
  • I have a hard time calling storytelling (such as movies) art. I guess most people would define art as the expression of an idea. Some video games do this, some do not. Perhaps second life is closer to art, but that's not really a game, is it?

    Many or most video games are simulations (art immitating life?). The lifespan of a simulation ends when we can do a better simulation.

    Excluding simulations, I would compare video games to other games like chess, which people have been playing in one form or another
    • art is the work of an artist. I don't know the history of chess, but it is obviously of enduring value. A master chess player is an artist and specific famous gameplays are works of art, and classic in their enduring power to amaze and teach.

      Excluding simulations, I would compare video games to other games like chess, which people have been playing in one form or another for thousands of years. I have to believe that people will probably still be playing some form of tetris a hundred or more years from now.
  • Ebert is wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kohath (38547) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:33PM (#14920372)
    Ultima 4

    Also, there are lots of good games. Even if you don't agree that Ultima 4 was a classic, there WILL be classics.

    Video games have been around for 40 years or so. Saying there won't be any profoundly classic games at this point is like saying there would never be classic literature 40 years after writing was first invented.

    Also "making ourselves more cultured, civilized, and empathetic" is self-righteous and pretentious. Way to congradulate yourself, Ebert. Your entertainment doesn't just entertain, it makes you better than the rest of us. Bravo.
    • Exactly! Video games are a very young art form. Picture the same timespan in film's history.. if you had to judge the entire output of the medium of film by its first 40 years were all, you'd be watching nothing but jerky 15-minute-long silent films, some of which are of course still classics, but much of which would bore modern audiences senseless.
  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @07:46PM (#14920471) Journal
    Not to be crass, but Ebert can suck it.

    He mentions that video games are typically just a waste of time; I would posit that movies are just as much a waste of time. It's like asking a classical music critic to judge whether or not a certain modern sculpture is art -- don't ask a movie critic about video games.

    I've had plenty of "oh wow" moments in video games. I've also been affected emotionally in video games (which, I'm sure, was intended by the designers). I've also been stimulated to think critically about a topic by video games. All these things indicate that video games *can* be art.

    Yes, there are artless videogames, just as there are artless movies and artless novels. There is also "bad" art out there, in every media. I believe that as video games continue to be developed, very many more of them will be intended as art pieces, and will succeed in being considered art.

    /My 2 cents, at least as valid as Ebert's when discussing video games.

    Also, keep in mind that the movie industry is losing $$ to the videogame industry -- video games are eating away at film's cultural mindshare. Ebert, as a part of that industry, has a professional interest in promoting movies over video games.
    • Also, keep in mind that the movie industry is losing $$ to the videogame industry.

      This oft quoted statistic actually only refers to domestic box office, not including DVD sales, TV sales, rental releases, etc, all of which add up to significantly more than the box office. Generally speaking, movies are still much bigger than games.

      But other than that, I agree with what you're saying. One can waste a lot of time with a bad novel. One generally wastes a heck of a lot of time with Bad TV. But there are goo
    • Hanlon's Razor: "Never attribute to malice, that which is adequately explained by stupidity."

      Basically don't assume that Ebert necessarily is part of a conspiracy, when the same happens every day even with people without a vested interest. The fact is, in every generation there will be a resistance to what's new, and snobs arguing that the old ways were better. Even when there's really very little conceptual difference, there will be some snob going nostalgic about how in his day people were going to the th
      • I'm not sure where you see a conspiracy in my OP. I was speaking of Ebert's personal motivation, not any group. But it is true that he has a vested interest in the movie industry, and it is also true that the popularity of video games is, to an extent, a detriment to the popularity of film.

        I'm just saying that someone who depends on a certain media for their career, and possibly their major interest in life, is much less likely to be accepting of competing media.

        Thinking about financial implications !
        • Ok, the word "conspiracy" was the wrong one to use there, but still, you get the idea. I won't deny that he _might_ have financial interests there, but I'm just saying that he _might_ just be genuinely that retarded. He _might_ just be an arrogant snob genuinely resisting all that's new and threatening to his elitist view of the world.

          People can act just as retarded -- if not even more retarded -- for ego masturbation reasons (think "I'm elite because I watch artsy pretentious movies, you're all a bunch of
  • All digital media will disappear eventually due to technological changes and the emergence of DRM. Since we can not copy or migrate DRM protected content without assistance of the copyright holder, and they may or may not exist in the future or wish this migration, the content dies. How many movies have been lost forever because they were kept in a vault and not copied in time? DRM is a digital vault where artistry is left to die.

    So, all movies, music, and video games created today will eventually cease
  • Mostly no (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jisom (113338)
    some companies have open sourced there games such as Id. also infocom interpreters are avialable. So Unless a company make a effort a either keeping it up to date with technology , releases code or has a cult following of fans that reverse engineers it, it will die
    • Furthermore, most games have so many different strings attached to their IP that it could be pretty hard to put them in the public domain; rights could be split across the publisher and developer, plus any licensed properties used in the game, licensed middleware, etc, etc, plus when one of the rights holders becomes defunct it can be very challenging to acquire rights, even for someone with money and a profit motive, let alone a disinterested public service gesture. Each generation of games (both console
  • by grumbel (592662) <grumbel@gmx.de> on Tuesday March 14, 2006 @08:13PM (#14920639) Homepage
    Will people play GTA in 500 years? I would say no. That game, while not bad, doesn't really have much stuff in it that would survive a longer periods of time. The story isn't ground breaking, the gameplay could be done better (aiming, vehicle physics, etc) and in almost all aspects of the games you will have a easy time picking something that could be improved. And if I have the choice between something that is good and something that is better, I'd pick the better one and in a few hundred years we will have seen very many games that have cars and guns in them, so no reason to play GTA, except for historical interest.

    However that doesn't mean that games from today will be completly forgotten. Such games as Tetris or Pong will survive in mobile phones or other portable devices for a long long time. There simply isn't a reason why they would disappear, they are cheap to produce, simple and basically perfect at what they do. Graphic improvments won't help and the gameplay is also so simple that there is little room for improvment. Games such as SuperMarioBros are similar, even so a lot more complex, they do what they do almost perfectly. A totally different kind of game that will probally survive for quite a while are some adventure games, those LucasArts games, while quite old, are still among the best, if not the best, of the genre. And again, they do what they do close to perfection and new technologie can't do much to improve the game experience those games provide.

    So in the end many of the games released these days will probally completly forgotten in a few years, since there will be newer games that do, what they did, but simply a lot better. But all those games that focus on something that isn't limited by todays CPU power, be it pure gameplay or story, are here to stay Will they survive 500 years? Some might, especially those that broke new ground. But 500 years are a long long time and I doubt that many/any movies of today will survive for that amount of time.

  • When you come down to the differences between movies and games, there is really only one. Games require interactive participation while movies are entirely passive experiences. Adding interactivity to a movie turns it into a game - in fact quite a few developers tried to incorporate this into PC gaming in the mid 90's.

    The real question becomes whether true art is possible when there is a level of interaction with the viewer. The answer to this is clearly yes, in fact it is one of the key characteristics
  • Games that are in movies will survive.

    Think of:

    War Games (would you like to play Global Thermonuclear War)

    3D Chess (Star Trek, many others)

    and let's not forget the one in the movie Big.
  • Just making stuff up, but how about this: 500 years from now, movies will have long-since left the theatres, and will be games, played at home in your living room which you can't see because you're encased in a full-body VR suit. Others present with you have their suits on as well, and you're all networked into the story together. Safety issues are somebody else's engineering problem, I'm assuming you can somehow move about without worrying about running into your couch. You participate in the story, with
  • Ebert misses a major point- Art can be bad. Art can be really, really bad. As long as we think that for Art to be "ART", it must be good, we aren't understanding wat Art actually is. All Art is interactive. Movies, paintings, plays, symphonies all require your attention and grant the depth of meaning and expression based on your experience of them- which happens in time, causes thought after the fact, asks questions, gives sensations- ALL art is interactive. With out you actively watching the movie and
  • Again I'll point out that games and stories are opposite ends of a continuum. Either you're telling a linear, narrative story, or you're setting up a set of rules where arbitrary, unplanned activities can take place; they are not the same.

    So there's no point in contending that games can be like Shakespeare; they can't, and you don't want them to be. To make a game like what Shakespeare does, narratively, is to cripple what makes a game worthwhile.

    Ebert says "video games represent a loss of those preciou

  • Frankly as Ebert has a writing credit on this pseudo porn film I really don't think he's that qualified to decide what is art and what isn't.
  • Ebert might be right!

    Every year, dozens, maybe even hundreds, of films discussing the human condition, controversial topics, and important figures of the past, are released that, rather than providing simple entertainment, actually broaden the minds of the viewers and takes the taboo and makes it discussable.

    And what do we have?

    Halo 2's commentary on religous extremism, Final Fantasy's many, many, many discussions on what makes a person "human", Starcraft's look at the depths of evil and how it takes advant
    • If you're looking for thematically deep and nuanced games, look more to RPGs. Planescape: Torment is a good nominee, as mention in TFA. Most recent Bioware games, like KotOR and Jade Empire, aren't bad either. And Chrono Trigger is still the best thing ever.

      But is this even the type of criterion we should be looking at? A still-life painting is art, and it doesn't have a whole lot to tell us (explicitly) about the human condition. Expecting the EXACT same type of aesthetic experience from a game as you woul
  • Absolutely! (Score:2, Informative)

    by TheoB (859132)
    Five hundred years, people! Years! I mean, it's incomprehensible that something s frivolous as a game would remain a cultural staple that long! Name one game that people were playing 500 years ago that they still play today.

    I mean, except chess, which was also a product of the rennaisance. [wikipedia.org]

    And checkers [indepthinfo.com] which by some accounts predates the Epic of Gilgamesh by about a thousand years.

    And go [wikipedia.org], mancala [wikipedia.org], tic-tac-toe [adit.co.uk], golf, of course... [wikipedia.org]

  • As nicely shown in the movie "Renaissance Man". People have to be taught in order to enjoy shakespear. How is that for backwards compatibility. Shakespear's work is put on a high pedestral by the people that "like" it an shoved down the throat of children at school.
    Sure you can claim that a lot of stuff is based on the works of Shakespear, but if it wasn't for shakespear someone else would have thought of it. It could even be possible that Shakespear based his works on lesser known people who were lost in h
  • invalid comparison (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jack79 (792876)
    Shakespeare is still read and enjoyed today because he was a genius. Few other writers from his era are still read today because the vast majority of them lacked his talent. He was an anomaly, the kind of person a culture throws up only once every few hundred years.

    What percentage of literature produced today will still be read in 500 years? Not much, I'm guessing. And publishing sensation Dan Brown sure as hell isn't going to be - unless post-humans want to marvel at our primitiveness.

    And, oh yeah,

  • Games are fun. They're diverting and enjoyable pastimes. Sometimes they can provoke thought, other times they can be pure adrenaline-fests.

    What they're generally not, though, is art.

    At least, not at the level of Shakespeare. One person's art is another person's garbage, but you'll find the proportion of people prepared to state that Shakespeare and other works of literature are Art with a capital 'A' than you'll find people who actually play pretty much any single game on Earth. You think ten million people
  • McShaffry presented a slide on one of his own favorite games, Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar. Calling it a rare example of a role-playing game that "forces the player to be the good guy,"

    Are you fucking kidding me?!?! It's more rare to see a RPG that *DOESN'T* make you play the good guy.

    -Eric

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