This past April, film critic Roger Ebert wrote a post called “Video games can never be art” that carried dogmatic statements like this:
“Let me just say that no video gamer now living will survive long enough to experience the medium as an art form”.
Alex Garland, author of the book The Beach and screenwriter of 28 Days Later, has taken the famed film critic to task, saying his comments were “insane”.
“It’s an incredibly stupid thing to say, though I say that without knowing anything about what he said beyond what you’ve just told me,” Garland tells Edge. “How could you anticipate where games would be in 30 years? How could you possibly do that?”
“There’s so many reasons why he’s wrong,” Garland added. “What he’s talking about is an artform at a very, very early point in its life… It’s just bullshit. It’s a stupid, ill-informed thing to say.”
Garland wrote a draft of the Halo film that was never made. He also wrote upcoming video game Enslaved: Odyssey to the West.
Ebert later admitted that he was a “fool” for mentioning video games in the first place. What I was saying is that video games could not in principle be Art. That was a foolish position to take, particularly as it seemed to apply to the entire unseen future of games. This was pointed out to me maybe hundreds of times. How could I disagree? It is quite possible a game could someday be great Art.”
Ebert still said he believes video games can never be Art. “But I should never have said so,” he adds. “Some opinions are best kept to yourself.”