Back in April, film critic Roger Ebert stirred up a tempest in a teacup with his comment that gaming can never be art. Last week at E3, the game industry’s annual mega-convention, I asked the gaming execs and creators I interviewed their thoughts on Ebert’s opinion and if they could give him one game to change his mind, what would that be. Their thoughts below.
Laurent Detoc, North America president, Ubisoft:
In my opinion, I think it is art. Because it is an artistic expression of one or more people who want to transmit their view. That would be my definition of art, and maybe if you look in the dictionary and it may something else. As for one game, I think every game is artistic. Based on what I am saying, it is the artists’ representation of what they want you to experience. Either everything is art or none of them are art.
Marc Whitten, General Manager of Xbox Live, Microsoft:
Reggie Fils-Aime, President and CEO, Nintendo of America:
Joseph Olin, President, Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences:
Sadly, I believe that it is impossible to have a discussion with Mr. Ebert about how game makers continue to create artistic experiences. He is not interested and as such truly does not wish to engage in a serious discussion because he will not try to play. I believe our medium will show more of the emotion of the experience with each passing year and that we can find other critics, who as champions of ALL artistic efforts–will be pleasantly surprised with the state of interactive arts today.
Nick Earl, Senior VP and Group GM, Electronic Arts:
It’s not just Uncharted. We are seeing a very strong macro-trend towards epic moments inside of a game. Call of Duty does it very effectively in their games. You feel like you are part of something absolutely magnificent. And it doesn’t require you doing a 17-button combo to pull that off. There are magnificent moments in Street Fighter when it was in the arcade, but you had to hit six buttons to do it. What we’re learning is that if you go out to a broader audience you have to be able to deliver something magnificent regardless of your skill as a gamer.
Susan Panico, Senior Director of PlayStation Network, Sony:
I’m a little biased when I talk about Gran Turismo, because I used to working in the marketing department and I worked with Kazunori since the original GT. They go out with a microphone and put it up to the exhaust of an engine at every RPM rev of that particular car and do it for whatever hundreds of cars in that game. To have that level of passion, so you can express your product in such a realistic way. To me that is also art, or look at how the physics of that car perform or the reflections on the car. So I think in so many ways every video game is a piece of art in its own right.
Ben Feder, CEO, Take-Two Interactive:
What do you think about Ebert’s opinion? And what game would you give him to play?
Stay tuned for more interviews from E3.