Remember when Roger Ebert said games aren't art? That not only set off a flurry of reactionary activity in forums and other online game communities, but those who make our games also took umbrage.
Fast Company has a great assembly of responses to Ebert's comment, all from major players in the industry. Some, like Ubisoft boss Laurent Detoc, actually agrees and says he isn't sure if even Hideo Kojima would consider video games to be "art." But others are on the side of most gamers. Here's what Joseph Olin, President of the the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences had to say:
"I honestly thought that he might respond to Flower or Flow in some way, based upon his much publicized remarks–but he obviously did not pick up a game pad and play; basing his argument on Kellee Santiago's presentation from a TedX conference. I would have to say that Clover Studio's Okami would be my suggestion (although many arguments could be made for Metal Gear Solid 3). Okami was Hideki Kamiya's game based upon classical Japanese history (somewhat filtered) whose story was about Ameratsu, the sun goddess embodied as a white wolf and Issun, a self absorbed artist who ultimately forge a deep relationship while trying to restore life and color to black and barren land that was cursed by 8-headed dragon Orochi."
And what about some of the biggest accomplishments we've ever seen? What about certain games that have pushed the boundaries of both technical and artistic achievement? Nick Earl, Senior VP and Group GM, Electronic Arts:
"I think Uncharted 2 is one of the most incredible, flawless entertainment experiences that I have played in my entire career. If he played that game, he would be able to get through it as a non-gamer, because you can't help but get through it. It is just so beautifully delivered–the dialogue, the story, the acting is world class. It will match up against any movie, in my opinion. I give them tremendous credit for what they did in that game. To me that is a beacon of hope for the industry, especially my group. I think it is art. It is absolutely art."
For our part, we're going to ask the same question we asked when we first heard of Ebert's comment: if the likes of music composition, drawing/artistry, animation, performance art (i.e., acting), writing, character development, etc. is all considered "art" – and by themselves, we're certain Ebert would indeed say that music, paintings and sculpture, and literature are all art – how can a product that includes all such facets not be art? …we're just confused.
Related Game(s): Uncharted 2: Among Thieves