Gamers Attacking Ebert, Boone Is Somewhat Embarrassing
It began with a Capital article by Steven Boone, which escalated after Roger Ebert agreed with Boone's sentiment.
Unsurprisingly, gamers everywhere have responded, and that includes Forbes contributor Erik Kain, who says Ebert doesn't play video games and should consequently remain quiet. In most cases, I would be one of the first to stand with my fellow gamers on the front lines, facing down a seemingly insurmountable force that ignorantly craps all over this industry on a routine basis. However, this time...we may have to step back and retreat.
If we read Boone's article closely, he does appear to be selling Naughty Dog's The Last Of Us short, as we all know the game will be far more intelligent than your standard shooter. I actually think Boone does critics more of a disservice by insinuating that when all the journalists applauded like crazy for the E3 trailer, this meant we reward flash, titillation, and overt violence all the time. I have to point out, in defense of my position and all other critics in gaming, that the top-rated titles of 2012 so far are Journey, Mass Effect 3, and Xenoblade Chronicles.
But anyway, getting back to the point, I do think Boone doesn't give The Last Of Us enough credit because the final product will provide us with a great deal more than what we saw of that gameplay trailer at E3. But let's face it- Boone's assessment of that presentation is accurate. It really didn't leave anything to the imagination. We're not really going to try to argue that, are we? Anybody who knows anything about art in any format and on any scale would say that subtlety wasn't part of that E3 demonstration.
And if you keep reading that article, Boone basically concludes that there's a war on between "killers and poets," and it's impossible to deny that, as such a war exists in and beyond video games. You will also note that he cites ICO, Shadow of the Colossus, and The Last Guardian as examples of what this industry is capable of. And this really sums things up-
"A more relevant accusation is that many of those Westerners who persist in belittling games as mere 'games' are responding to the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare culture of loud and homicidal pageantry."
Again, something with which I wouldn't disagree. And Ebert agreeing with Boone doesn't seem like a bad thing nor does it appear inaccurate. What we saw at E3 of The Last Of Us doesn't leave anything to the imagination. Perhaps unfortunately, that presentation was like a brainless big-budget action movie teaser. We, the hardcore gamers, know the final product will be about much more. But those outside the industry wouldn't. It's true that Ebert doesn't play games and, apparently, doesn't think too highly of them. And maybe he shouldn't refer to this industry. However, his agreeing with Boone on the main points doesn't seem like a grievous crime to me.
We should pick our fights carefully. In an intelligent, even-minded debate, we might lose this one.
6/24/2012 9:15:20 PM Ben Dutka