Roger Ebert has written an article expanding on his earlier statement that “video games can never be art.” As might be expected, it has produced a comment thread many, many times longer than the article itself. I don’t find Ebert’s arguments that persuasive, and his concluding paragraph is particularly weak:
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.
The artists that Ebert mentioned in his article and in the comment thread (Cormac McCarthy, Shakespeare, Beethoven, Dickens, Picasso) were, as it happens, all making money off it. Making a living off of your art doesn’t mean that it’s not art, and Mr. Ebert is probably more aware than most of the amount of energy devoted to financial management in the film industry, which he allows does produce art now and again.
Arguments about whether X is art inevitably turn into arguments about the nature of art itself, but I honestly expected Mr. Ebert to come up with a more compelling argument on those lines.