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My Response To Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert does not play video games yet he again declares video games are not art and may never be art. My response:

Dear Roger,

As you know, I wouldn’t even be a critic if it weren’t for you. I STILL read you with envy. How are you so compelling, day in and day out?

But how can you be so wrong about an entire field of art? You don’t play games. That makes you an expert on contents within?okami

Your "games aren’t art" forays remind me of people who criticized "The Last Temptation of Christ" without seeing it. Which is why you wrote at the time, "The critics of this film, many of whom have not seen it, have raised a sensational hue and cry …"

Imagine 80 years ago, someone saying, "The moving pictures cannot ever be art, bah humbug." This is what you sound like when you write about games.

If Sarah Palin said books aren’t art, so she doesn’t read them, you would be cool with that?

Over the years, as a game reviewer, I have pointed out many games that are great art, that posit compelling artistic statements, that appear as art in motion, that are art in theory, that are interactive performance art.

I have Twittered you a starter list of 10- to 20-hour games for you to play through. (We still need a less-dumb word than "Tweet.")

As I wrote in a review recently, which will make your head spin: "God of War III" is more compelling as art than every Martin Scorsese movie I’ve seen, and I’ve seen most of them. It’s more enjoyable as art than every Rolling Stone song I’ve heard, and as a former music critic, I’ve heard them all.

Yes, you must think I’m crazy for saying that — just as the people I watched picket "The Last Temptation of Christ" thought film lovers were crazy for seeing it and deeming it art.

See, that’s where your logic is quite obviously off the rails. You are basing your opinion on a principal without testing the principal. You are theoretically condemning a tangible thing about which you are willfully ignorant (according to your own boast). That’s a little flat-Earth-y/Rehnquist-y, don’t you think? I mean, you know the old court line, "I know it when I see it." YOU ARE REFUSING TO SEE IT. We gamers see it, we touch it, we look at it, we play it, and we immediately recognize with our eyes, ears, hearts and fingers: This is art.

P.S. That lady in that video you posted is talking out her butt. She has no charge to concede on my behalf that no one in the field has cited a game worthy of comparison to traditional art masterpieces. I HAVE BEEN DOING THIS FOR YEARS in a nationally syndicated column. Others have been doing so, too. This makes both you and her subjectively wrong and, worse, objectively uninformed. So there.

Please tell me your gamer tag when you sign up for "Call of Duty" online.

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