Ebert: "Games have more in common with sport"

Film critic hits back in Barker debate

Film critic Roger Ebert has continued his debate with novelist and game creator Clive Barker, insisting that games certainly can't be described as 'art', and that videogames do in fact have "more in common with sport".

Barker, speaking at the Hollywood and Games Summit, had previously described Ebert's take on the medium as 'prejudiced', to which Ebert has responded in his column for the Chicago Sun-Times: "The word 'prejudiced' often translates as 'disagrees with me'. I might suggest that gamers have a prejudiced view of their medium, and particularly what it can be.

"Games may not be Shakespeare quite yet, but I have the prejudice that they never will be, and some gamers are prejudiced that they will."

For Ebert, you see, the definition of 'art' is all about authorship and authority, the very nature of interactive entertainment, for him, detracting from any end product the creator had envisioned.

"That said, let me confess I enjoy entertainments, but I think it important to know what they are," the critic confesses. "Barker is right that we can debate art forever. I mentioned that a Campbell's soup could be art. I was imprecise. Actually, it is Andy Warhol's painting of the label that is art.

"Would Warhol have considered Clive Barker's videogame 'Undying' as art? Certainly. He would have kept it in its shrink-wrapped box, placed it inside a Plexiglas display case, mounted it on a pedestal, and labelled it 'Video Game'," Ebert concludes.

More 'games as art' debating soon.

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