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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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

--- Maurício 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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Andrew EisenIf you do, I hope you can provide some examples of people (again, other than random no-name numbnuts on Twitter) who are genuinely trying to dictate what should and should not be allowed so far as themes, topics, language, plot devices, etc. go.07/01/2015 - 9:43am
MattsworknameI'd go into why I think it's a bigger problem then most realize, but nows not the time really. I'll catch up with everyone later07/01/2015 - 9:42am
Andrew EisenThat's the thing though, rarely is anyone (again, other than random numbnuts on Twitter) attempting to dictate what can and cannot be said or done.07/01/2015 - 9:39am
Andrew Eisen"Don't write rape scenes" is being offered as advice (along with reasons for that advice) not a mandate.07/01/2015 - 9:37am
MattsworknameOh, on that last one andrew I wasn't talking about the article, I was being more general, lately it seems like all the news and media is trying to decide what is and isn't proper to say. Thats what i was refering to.07/01/2015 - 9:37am
Andrew EisenPerhaps you should consider reading the entire article. Despite quotes you can pull from the intro and conclusion, the author isn't arguing that you can't or shouldn't be allowed to cover a certain topic.07/01/2015 - 9:35am
MattsworknameOne of the things I hate right now is that people are trying to be the deciders of what is and isn't proper to be said. It's political correctness to a level that makes me angry.07/01/2015 - 9:29am
Mattsworknamemake them, i just tell peopel that I think what they did sucked. Just cause I dont like what they did, doesn't mean I can tell them "You shouldn't wrtie that" cause thats just another step on the way to telling them "YOU CANT WRITE THAT".07/01/2015 - 9:24am
MattsworknameNo, but you or I aren't the one to tell someone else what they can or cannot do beyond EXTREMELY narrow limits. Telling a person then shouldn't write something or say something. I may hate certain movies or music, doesn't mean I dont' tell peopel not to07/01/2015 - 9:23am
E. Zachary KnightHasbro is taking steps to fix its Dinosaur gender issues. http://io9.com/the-jurassic-world-dinosaur-toys-are-clever-girls-again-171513589607/01/2015 - 9:20am
TechnogeekImagine that level of accuracy, only applied to something that has actually caused physiological and psychological trauma in more cases than just whatever the equivalent of the CD-i Zelda games would be.07/01/2015 - 8:40am
TechnogeekThat's the issue I see as well, E. To put it in terms anyone reading this site will likely understand: you know how any time video games show up on TV, they feature absurdly outdated 3D graphics and/or audio from the Intellivison era?07/01/2015 - 8:40am
InfophileWell, you CAN go to a crowded streetcorner and tell everyone who passes by your social security number and bank account PIN, but you shouldn't. Is that censorship?07/01/2015 - 8:36am
E. Zachary KnightSo if it is going to turn out to be a bad scene, why even bother writing it?07/01/2015 - 8:07am
E. Zachary KnightMatts, Goth, The article, and others I have read making the same conclusion, state that most people fail in their attempts to write rape scenes without being overly offensive or overly incompetent in their attempt.07/01/2015 - 8:07am
Adam802http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Ex-Sen-Leland-Yee-may-be-headed-for-a-plea-deal-6358941.php07/01/2015 - 7:12am
Adam802Possible plea deal in Yee case: http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_28408532/leland-yee-case-plea-deal-appears-likely07/01/2015 - 7:11am
MattsworknameInfo, Im with goth on this, the moment people start saying "You can but you shouldnt" thats a slow slide into censorship07/01/2015 - 6:05am
InfophileIn other words, you stopped when you found out it was arguing for a position you disagreed with, but before you found out why.07/01/2015 - 5:29am
Goth_Skunk"In short, anyone can write a rape scene—but should they? Chances are, the answer is no." And that's where I stopped reading.07/01/2015 - 5:11am
 

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