Just a quick time-out from all the Halfway Through 2010 celebrations to draw your attention to something that simply can't wait. After harrumphing about how video games are not and can never be considered art - stirring up in so doing comments by the thousands, complaints, challenges, blog posts and probably a few death threats, too - noted film critic Roger Ebert has finally backed down. Kind of.
From his journal:
"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."
"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."
The man eats humble pie like a pro. Ebert's post in its entirety makes for very fine reading, and not only to those who might like to gloat about how wrong he was. I urge you to pop on over to his blog and read the gent's confession in full.
I really do wish he'd taken Sony up on their offer of a PlayStation 3 and Flower, though. It's one thing for Ebert to say perhaps he shouldn't have framed such opinions as unassailable fact when he wasn't willing to do the legwork to actually prove his point of view; had he made the time to sit through a few hours of Flower, however, I feel like we'd be hearing a very different story. Not just a retraction, but a complete turnabout. Because that game... that game is art, no doubt about it in my mind.