Because he rides in a boat, and he fights monsters and other stuff.
There, someone has compared a video game to one of the great pieces of literature and can apparently now be elevated to the level of art. Now maybe Roger Ebert can go shut the hell up. So, I was seriously thinking of titling this post Oh right, Roger Ebert is full of shit - but I do try and keep cursing to a minimum here, in general.
When, many moons ago, Ebert suggest video games can't be art because interactivity violates the director's concept - I was willing to at least accept it as an interesting argument. It is pretty easily ripped to shreds when one reminds Ebert that games aren't movies, though - and so then he suggests that art can't have scores and rules and what not. And if the game doesn't follow along with Ebert's thinking - he just assumes it isn't a game.
This really should have spiked my bullshit detector. When someone constantly has to shift the definition of what "it" is to keep the argument going - well, then you're just arguing for the sake of arguing. Flower is a game, whether Ebert likes it or not, and it is a very artistic one at that. But Ebert can't accept this - so he just whines a lot and then goes back to this thumping point about how he won't accept games as art until someone compares it to great literature.
Which is also complete bullshit. And if mindful readers think I'm using a slightly less rational tone than yesterday's post, you would be right. And this is because I've realized that Ebert isn't interested in an actual debate on the subject, he just wants to brag about how many comments he can generate and then will finish with a flaming flourish:
Yeah, it's not that he is wrong about games. It's just that he has read so many books that he has surpassed our capacity to comprehend of his understanding of games. For the record, I don't why Ebert assumes that everyone thinks he doesn't get video games because he's old, the truth is he doesn't get video games because he has no experience with them. He does not play them. He does not write about them (except apparently once in 1994). When confronted with games like Braid and Flower, he writes about them as if they are some alien construct from the moon and can barely seem to grasp them as games, much as less accept them as art.
People: Ebert is not an art critic. He reviews bad movies for a living. Movies which are, largely, not wildly artistic. He has no real grasp of modern gaming. He takes delight in creating a lot of angry comments and then insults an entire subgenre of readers in a single dismissive tweet.
Roger Ebert is not an art critic.
Roger Ebert is a troll. And sometimes he reviews movies.
If you want to read if Death At A Funeral (which he apparently adored) will make you laugh, then go look him up. If you want to debate about how games are evolving as a medium - go read a writer who writes about games. There are plenty. The next time he tries to form a position on games, I will treat him as I would a talking dog - extremely curious but unlikely to have much wise to say about the subject at hand.
He's a troll, let's put him back in his troll box and out of the limelight.