Ebert, Roger. “Video Games Can Never Be Art | Roger Ebert’s Journal | Roger Ebert.” All Content, 16 Apr. 2010. Web. 11 Aug. 2015.


There are those that argue whether or not video games would be considered works of art, and one of the biggest advocates on the topic is Roger Ebert. In the article “Video Games Can Never Be Art” by Mr. Ebert, explains his reasoning behind his decision for making his outrageous argument. As much as I respect him for what he has done in the past, I’m going to respectfully disagree.

Mr. Ebert starts on by saying that he still stands by his principle that videogames cannot be art. Even after a fellow writer urged him to watch a video by a game designer who was explaining why video games are art, he still declined the notion. Kellee Santiago, the fellow game designer who was the speaker in the video, was explaining how just like how visual art have evolved from cave paintings to something as grand as Michelangelo’s ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, video games have evolved to something more than just visuals in a screen. He argues that video games do not fall into this notion, by basically saying that the cave paintings the Kellee portrayed (the Chau vet-Pont-d’Arc in southern France) were forms of art because of the creativity of the artist behind it. He explains that the painter back then who drew these portraits where considered geniuses at the time because they didn’t have anything to build on in the first place.

Yet, he doesn’t realize how much creativity and skill developers need to have in order to make a videogame. Game developers have to use their creativity to create characters that are relatable and interesting to the player. They also need to have the skill to create the environment and scenarios for the character to interact with to feel the emotions that they want you to feel. They are very brilliant minds and talent behind the “mindless videogames” that Ebert does not see. Such as Shigeru Miyamoto, many of you may not know him by name, but he is the creator of Super Mario Bros. He was able to create a timeless character that everyone can recognize and the game franchise that has last 3 decades which still brings many smiles to many people in the world. In the gaming world, he is considered a genius because of this.

Later on he goes on to say that, “One obvious difference between art and games is that you can win games. It has rules, points, objectives, and an outcome. Santiago might cite an immersive game without points or rules, but I would say then it ceases to be a game and becomes a representation of a story, a novel, a play, a dance, a film. Those are things you cannot win; you can only experience them.” In a way this is kind of ironic because Roger Ebert is a big advocate to film, and many including himself have argued that movies can make you go through emotional experiences. So why say videogames can’t? This isn’t true now a days due to the fact that many videogames are more than just games with a clear objective, they ARE experiences that focus on choices. There are many games nowadays that make you go through many arrays of emotion throughout the game with the choices you chose. Such as “Final Fantasy XIII”, one of the main aspect of the game was to make you feel a connection towards the characters. So whenever something happened to them, you would generally feel mad or even upset because the fact you made them go through their scenario through your choice. Sure it’s true that many games are just mindless entertainment, however we cannot characterize those early games with the majority of games nowadays. That’s like saying a movie like Scary Movie is on par with Citizen Cane and Casa Blanca (which many considered to be the greatest movies of all time by the way)

So as much as I respect the man as a well-known critic, I have to disagree with his notion. Video games have evolved to be more than just simple games. They are works of art that can take you inter journeys that you can’t always experience in the real world. Whether it’s the bonds you make with your fellow soldiers in the Call of Duty franchise, or the friendships you formed with Donald and Goofy in Kingdom Hearts; video games can make you think, and feel through their engaging stories. Just like how a painting can make you think and feel the same way.


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  1. Briza

    I also agree with you that video games should be considered a form of art. I believe that video games are like movies in that they both require large amounts of crew members and staff to make them work. More and more video games are becoming stunning displays of visual art with modern technology that allow for fine detailed elements on screen. Because of all the talent and work that goes into them, video games should not be dismissed as silly.

  2. Are video games art? Is nascar a sport? Terms such as sport or art are very broad. Video games can be considered art. I have played some very very extensive games. Red Dead Redemption, Skyrim, etc. Some games take years to make and I do think they should be respected more

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