Roger Ebert is a very smart man and a very sharp and entertaining writer who just happens to think very, very poorly of video games.
Sometimes our gamer discussions leak out into the mainstream, as recently happened with Michael Thomsen’s piece on Slate. In his article, as we reported, Thomsen challenged the idea that a lengthy game — in this case, Dark Souls could ever be worthwhile. One could, he argued, get all of the real meat of a game in the first five hours. Like eating too large a meal, where the taste wears off before the plate is empty, he argues that a lengthy game is “diluted into a thin, tasteless nothing by the time you’ve invested yourself in completing it.”
The counter-argument, as articulated by our own Kirk Hamilton, is that the process and mechanics of playing a game are a part of experiencing its worth: “I look at the countless hours I’ve devoted to these strange digital contraptions over the years and I feel I can say with certainty that games have meaning. Length has nothing to do with it.”
Ebert, alas, seems to land on the side of the negative opinion.