Friday, December 2, 2011

History of Game Art Part 2: The Present and Beyond

For part 3 of the History of Video Game Art series, I decided to skip forward and focus on some semi-current events, as well as take a look at what the future holds for games as art. Let's begin!

On April 16th, 2010, famous film critic Roger Ebert made waves in the gaming community when he posted a blog titled “Video games can never be art”. In this blog, Ebert argues that video games are no different from sports or other games such as chess. He claims that the primary aspects of these games and sports are rules, objectives, scores, which are entirely irrelevant when it comes to art (Ebert, 2010). Ebert has received nearly 5,000 responses to this blog, with only 300 of them in support of his point of view (Sharkey, 2010).

On July 1st, 2010, Ebert posted a follow-up blog titled “Okay, kids, play on my lawn”. In this blog, he openly admitted that he has little to no experience with modern video games, and doesn’t have the desire to experience them. He acknowledges that he is completely unqualified to claim that games can never be art. (Ebert, 2010)

Great strides are being made for the games as art movement in 2011 and 2012 as the Smithsonian Art Museum prepares an exhibition titled “The Art of Video Games” (Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2011). In early 2011, the museum along with a group of advisors, game designers and developers, compiled a list of 240 video games with great art and allowed the public to vote on which ones they wanted to see in the exhibition. With more than 3.7 million votes, the polls were closed and the Smithsonian Museum began preparing the exhibition for the top 80 games. “The Art of Video Games” opens on March 16, 2012 (In-Game on MSNBC, 2011).


Ebert, R. (April 16, 2010). Video games can never be art. Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved November 30, 2011, from

Sharkey, M. (July 1, 2010). Roger Ebert Concedes Videogames Can Be Considered Art. Gamespy. Retrieved November 30, 2011, from

Ebert, R. (July 1, 2010). Okay, kids, play on my lawn. Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved November 30, 2011, from

The Art of Video Games. (n.d.). Smithsonian American Art Museum. Retrieved November 30, 2011, from

Choney, S. (May 10, 2011). 80 video games head for Smithsonian art exhibit. In-Game on MSNBC. Retrieved November 30, 2011, from for-smithsonian-art-exhibit.

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