March 6, 2012 at 1:16 PM ET
Once again, respected film critic Roger Ebert has made it clear he has no patience nor love for video games.
Gaming's advocates have long sought acknowledgement, even validation, from those in more established and respected forms of art and media, such as cinema. Perhaps more so than any other form of entertainment, it is universally celebrated. So to have one of the preeminent voices in film criticism state the medium of video games is not worthy enough to be considered art has been sore point among many for years now.
The most recent example of his sentiment is courtesy of a recent tweet, a reaction to an article recently published in the Slate, one focused on "Dark Souls." Known for its brutal length and difficulty, the title was on many best of 2011 lists among gaming outlets, but the author of the piece, Michael Thomsen, who spent 100 hours playing the game (which is the average duration to reach its conclusion, according to many) believes the praise is completely unwarranted.
He believes “Dark Souls” is an experience ultimately devoid of any logic or satisfaction. According to Thomsen, the game gets everything it needs to get across in just 5 hours, and the other 95 that the game covers is overkill.
Thomsen goes on to question why anyone would subject themselves to what he believes is torture, and even equates its fans to victims. And the overall sentiment, along with many of his arguments, are all points that Ebert has echoed.
Ebert's controversial views on video games has led to numerous discussions. The Game Developers Conference is happening right now in San Francisco, and there is little doubt that his name and views will be uttered there again. Many have tried to state their case directly to Ebert, who has remained unswayed for the most part.
The last time the subject of games was addressed was in 2010, when Ebert waved a white flag by admitting he was perhaps foolish to offer an opinion on games he had not played, and even entertained the possibility he might be wrong (though he also noted that he isn't interested in exploring games to find out definitively). Yet, his latest tweet proves that some things never change.
Matthew Hawkins is an NYC-based game journalist who has also written for EGM, GameSetWatch, Gamasutra, Giant Robot, and numerous others. He also self-publishes his own game culture zine, is part of Attract Mode, and co-hosts The Fangamer Podcast. You can keep tabs on him via Twitter, or his personal home-base, FORT90.com.