Roger Ebert’s been causing a bit of a stir among the online community when he said about video games:

"I believe books and films are better mediums, and better uses of my time.”

Chris Remo of shacknews takes a great position on this:

“Ebert's rather crass response seems to suggest a limiting definition of what art can be, as well as an unfamiliarity with the sort of control game designers can in fact have over their audiences. Just as in the other forms Ebert mentions, in games that control can be expressed through narrative means or simply through a crafted experience.”

While I don’t think the response is crass, I appreciate the examples Shacknews lists.


The fundamental problem that Ebert raises, in my view, is likening video games to those “choose your own adventure” books I read as a kid. Not all games are like that, and some games don’t even have a narrative. Game creators have much more than a great narrative to worry about, but the best games in my book will incorporate a compelling story-line to get me hooked. Yes, I spend all the time love the movie/cut scenes in video games, and for me, that’s the pay-off in finishing a game, watching the narrative unfold. Before hitting “start” I wait for a while to see what exposition work in the plot a video game will reveal. I wanna learn about the dragon sword, or the history of the Warriors in New York.  


I’d give Shacknews’ take on the issue a thumbs up, except the thumbs up/down is a trademarked symbol - and I’m not about to go there. . .