The thing is, while I disagree with Ebert's statement by my definition of art, do I disagree with his statement by his definition art? Art is in the eye of the beholder, after all, and what his eyes behold as art may not be compatible with video games. Are we even arguing about the same thing if we aren't in agreement on the definition, and does the entirety of what we're arguing about wind up boiling down to that definition?
I hate to say it, but the infamous Bill Clinton line "define sex" has the right idea. People are capable of arguing for absurd periods of time without really understanding the other side of the argument because neither side clarifies what exactly they mean by a particular key term. My presence during debates has a tendency to shorten them because I make certain both sides are arguing about the same thing as it's strangely common that they're not and I find it insufferable.
So what is Roger Ebert's definition of art? No idea. Seriously, I stopped reading early on. I looked at the length of the article and the number of comments and reached these conclusions:
- Ebert's definition of art might not be compatible with video games.
- What he means by "video games" could be limited to the games as a whole while ignoring the individual components, such as the graphic design, writing, music composition, etc. He could also be referring to some other particular aspect of the games that keeps them from fitting his definition of art.
- Ebert simply hasn't seen the right video games needed to convince him.
I like Roger Ebert. I might not agree with him on many things and I avoid reading his reviews before seeing movies because I've found they're spoiler-tastic, but I like him as a person and respect his passion for movies. Nonetheless, I just don't care if he doesn't think video games are art. Our definitions differ, or he's an elderly gentleman who doesn't "get" video games, or both. It's ultimately not a big deal if we don't agree on this.