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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.

Tags: roger ebert, steven boone, gaming, video games, gaming culture

6/24/2012 9:15:20 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (34 posts)

Rogueagent01
Sunday, June 24, 2012 @ 9:54:21 PM
Reply

I would like to point out that that presentation actually left a lot up to the imagination. One of the first things they(ND) pointed out was that you could go through that sequence a number of different ways, they just chose a violent route to help get people interested. I mean who would have said that was a great presentation if they took a total stealth approach?? It would have been different had it been a MGS game but it wasn't so they did what they needed to do to get people talking.

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FxTales
Sunday, June 24, 2012 @ 11:04:13 PM

Exactly and it demonstrated how the AI respond to certain situations as demonstrated by the empty click of the revolver and how your companion helps you out in certain situations.

I know it's easy to focus on the violence and as an outsider you would but it wasn't what I was looking at.

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Ludicrous_Liam
Monday, June 25, 2012 @ 5:21:09 AM

Yup. Remember the poster? The guy playing just breezed past it - but what if he stopped and looked? What if ellie and joel tried to sneak past all the guys? It was the same with the Uncharted 2 gameplay video at E3 2009, in the Nepal section, where the guy playing didn't bother to do it stealthly or look around much.

These things are always in ND's gameplay videos to make you think "what if [this situation happened]?". This Boone guy just didn't watch it properly, or has a really, (really) one-dimensionally way of thinking. Really annoying to see to be honest...

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Neo_Aeon666
Sunday, June 24, 2012 @ 9:55:27 PM
Reply

*We should pick our fights carefully. In an intelligent, even-minded debate, we might lose this one.*

Then we just have to make it a stupid, over-powering dominance debate!!! I mean... We are a couple of millions vs 2 :D We just have to drag em to our level! Mu u hahaha.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, June 24, 2012 @ 10:15:12 PM
Reply

The non-believers just don't understand how much more there is to some, nay, many games. You can watch a trailer of a game and still have no clue what it's all about until you get a controller in your hand because these productions aren't nearly as 1-dimensional as movies.

Yeah, they want to fire up the customer base with flash but that's standard of advertising any entertainment (showing the most exciting parts).

I wouldn't rage on the dude, it's hard to be particularly angry at the ill-informed. You just feel sorry for them.

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BikerSaint
Sunday, June 24, 2012 @ 10:22:38 PM
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I don't have too much to say on this, but I do think that Ebert needs to keep his mouth shut on anything to do about video games.

Ebert get's no respect from me because he knows as much about video games as he does doing manual labor.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Sunday, June 24, 2012 @ 10:28:03 PM

I bet Siskel spins in his grave a lot.

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Deleted User
Sunday, June 24, 2012 @ 10:27:26 PM
Reply

There's no point in bashing Roger Ebert as he's just an uninformed movie critic who knows nothing about video gaming. At his age, he's not going to bother listening to people trying to prove him wrong, which he clearly is. Leave that to the knuckleheads at NeoGAF when they aren't doing endless "Late To The Party" and list threads to whine about his comments.

Last edited by n/a on 6/24/2012 10:28:16 PM

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Nas Is Like
Sunday, June 24, 2012 @ 11:03:19 PM
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Ebert is an idiot, he's always saying something stupid that gets him in trouble. When will he learn to keep his damn mouth shut when no one gives a damn about his opinions?

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LimitedVertigo
Sunday, June 24, 2012 @ 11:16:38 PM

Actually he is brilliant and one the greatest media critics EVER. Just because his opinion on games is not as quickly changed as yours or mine does not make him an idiot.

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Nas Is Like
Sunday, June 24, 2012 @ 11:32:54 PM

My mistake, I forgot to add in "his opinions on games" in there. The rest stands, in my opinion. I was never a fan of him anyway, but that's just me.

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bigrailer19
Sunday, June 24, 2012 @ 11:11:02 PM
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Ive never listened to Eberts movie reviews and I certainly wouldn't listen to anything regarding anything he says about video games.

Trailers for games can leave a lot untold, and certainly there's more to The Last of Us then we probably know. I have a feeling we'll all be a bit surprised. As where movies you know what your going to get.

Havnt read the article but without reading it, that's all I can say.

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LimitedVertigo
Sunday, June 24, 2012 @ 11:15:49 PM
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There aren't many games out there that match what the best movies can give me but there are those games. The industry has come a long way and I find it healthy for there to be those that question the purpose and emotion games are capable of.

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PC_Max
Sunday, June 24, 2012 @ 11:35:38 PM
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Wow! And they say games don't bring out aggression. Good thing Ebert doesn't meet any of the people on the forums... they would probably beat the crap out of him. But wait that was another argument at what video games do to people let alone calling a video game... art. Art being a meaningless term these days when anything and everything NOW is called art.

Let the guy do his thing, whether he is misinformed or not, whether we like it or not. He has the right to give his opinion. Really. Never stopped me from going to see a film based on his thumbs down reviews.

It won't affect the industry. Why? Because the gaming industry , the devs and the players bash criticism and get all defensive. Geez. You play right in to their hands, proving their points.

Let it go.... and keep playing!

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Nerull
Tuesday, June 26, 2012 @ 3:27:34 AM

I thought they were being rather civil. The general consensus is, don't run your mouth off on issues you're clearly ignorant of.

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bigrailer19
Monday, June 25, 2012 @ 12:04:25 AM
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After *trying* to read the article I'm left a little frustrated. I read enough to understand he didn't attend E3 but watched the demo on YouTube and probably doesn't know even what the game is about. He thinks the crowd cheered at the end of the demo because "our hero" unloaded a shotgun round to the face of an enemy, yet failed to realize the scene didn't have to be full of violence based on choice. And further more that there was a whole heck of a lot in that trailer to be cheering for, even the fact - one that he mentioned - the game looks absolutely amazing graphics wise. So he's praising the game for that but because there is violence he assumes "gamers" don't recognize that and can't be cheering for anything else but. Gimme a break.

He doesn't have a point at all. He has an unwarranted opinion. Yea there are a lot of CoD fans and you can say that game has given articles like this some kind of merit. But those people in the crowd watching the live demo, probably don't sit at home and only play CoD. I picture a crowd kind of like most the readers here.



Last edited by bigrailer19 on 6/25/2012 12:09:15 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, June 25, 2012 @ 1:28:16 AM

He clearly missed or didn't bother to ascertain the point of The Last of Us, a white knuckle survivalist struggle against insurmountable odds and in search of redemption.

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Ludicrous_Liam
Monday, June 25, 2012 @ 5:31:13 AM

He just seems like one of those 'overly-critical' critics, if you know what I'm saying. He'll find a fault in something that really doesn't have one. Reminds me of the in which the magazine 'Edge' review certain games.

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bigrailer19
Monday, June 25, 2012 @ 10:08:25 AM

Yeah he does seem that way a little bit. The last part of Bens article says "We should pick our fights carefully. In an intelligent, even-minded debate, we might lose this one." But the same could be said about Boones article, not all gamers are cheering because there is inevitable violence in games. Besides some very mi-nute points, he's pretty off base about some things.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, June 25, 2012 @ 1:29:45 AM
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There's violence here! That's all that's important to these people!

Derrr, wake up people. Violence is the icing, the rest of the cupcake is pretty damn good too.

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dmiitrie
Monday, June 25, 2012 @ 4:21:06 AM
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I usually don't bother watching game trailers, because I've generally found that most game trailers are terrible and rarely show what the game is all about. With that in mind, I find it very reasonable that a couple of people who are not overly knowledgeable on gaming would jump to a possibly wrong conclusion. Getting mad at them for that just doesn't seem like a good use of anyone's time.

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Ludicrous_Liam
Monday, June 25, 2012 @ 5:34:23 AM

But you can get mad at the fact they don't listen when told that they're in the wrong. It's absolutely infuriating, because people outside the games industry no doubt listein to people like Boone & Ebert.

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dmiitrie
Monday, June 25, 2012 @ 12:52:59 PM

Sure, you can get mad, but it won't do anybody any good.

You and I may be able to look at the Last of Us trailer and know that it's more than that because we've seen and heard more about the game and have a lot of trust in ND. But to outside eyes, all that trailer is is a guy and a girl stumbling through the ruins of a city, going into some hotel, and killing a bunch of guys.

And when that's what the developers put out for people, some random guy saying, "No, you're wrong. You just don't get it." isn't very convincing.

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___________
Monday, June 25, 2012 @ 5:30:39 AM
Reply

this was just a typical knee jerk reaction.
ignorant idiots saying oh rog has said something on games we have to blow it WAY out of proportion!
something that really pisses me off with the media industry these days, they have to take a puddle and turn it into a dam!

however i have to say im not so sure the last of us is going to give us anything BUT a typical hollywood action movie.
uncharted really never has, so why will this?
im with the critics on this, gaming can do SO much more than what it has done everything is about big flashy graphics and tons of violence!
not to say there is no place for it, there certainly is i enjoy your mindless hack and slash gore fest as much as the next guy!
BUT when it comes down to how the industry is now, IE everything being directed by michael bay is when i take a problem!

we have had so many games that try and bring art and drama, emotions, things new into the industry in the past why have we left them?
id like to think david cage would be saying the exact same thing.
we have the ability to create games like the last guardian, ico, heavy rain, beyond good and evil, games that are not about blowing sh*t up, but about journeys and experiences.
so why does everything have to be about blowing sh*t up!?
we need more of the sophisticated story driven drama experiences in the industry and less of the mindless blowing sh*t up!
in other words more david cage and less michael bay!

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br0d1n
Monday, June 25, 2012 @ 9:14:55 AM
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A war between killers and poets? I...I guess you could claim that something like that exists. To do so however is to boil everything about the media form, be it games or movies or what have you, down to a simple black-and-white, good vs. bad debate. Personally, I don't believe anything in the world conforms to that kind of classification. It sounds to me like Mr. Boone is really saying that there is smart art and stupid art, and he wishes all of us low brow game players and action movie aficionados would take our stupid art and make for the nearest cliff so he and the enlightened "poets" of the generation can enjoy themselves.

Elitist bullshit, if you ask me. Just because a game contains gritty, realistic action sequences does not mean it has nothing to offer intellectually or emotionally. Just because the little kid inside me remembers reading comic books and watching ninja turtles kick foot clan ass on Saturday mornings and still loves fast paced action scenes in movies and games, certainly does not mean there's nothing else going on behind the ol eyelids.

I can understand a knee jerk reaction to a very violent scene. I can understand the parents' point of view, that violence in our media is all too visible to children despite our best efforts to shield them from it. But I cannot understand classifying everyone who enjoys a dark story or a flashy action scene as an under-cultured "killer," hellbent on stamping out the graceful "poets" in our society. Human nature has a dark side, to ignore it and debase it is to turn a blind eye to much of the suffering that exists in our world. And that isn't something I think any self respecting artist or critic should be doing.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, June 25, 2012 @ 9:51:20 AM

Be careful. You're in danger of slipping to the other side of the argument, where essentially every form of expression is considered "art."

And I will never - not ever, regardless of my love of games - support that idea.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, June 25, 2012 @ 10:53:37 AM

Ben I bet I can guess your opinion on the Los Angeles 340 ton boulder display.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, June 25, 2012 @ 1:47:00 PM

The what now?

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, June 25, 2012 @ 3:01:08 PM

They moved a gigantic boulder into town and called it art :)

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, June 25, 2012 @ 4:46:44 PM

Well, everything is art these days, so I'm not surprised.

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DjEezzy
Monday, June 25, 2012 @ 10:49:41 AM
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What you all are saying about approaching it in different ways is great and all, but what ben was saying, or at least this is what i got from it, is that any non hardcore gamer wouldn't know that nor care. We as hardcore gamers do "get it". Others won't. Really anyone who really doesn't play games wouldn't know much about heavy rain, journey or portal. We as gamers do see our wonderful hobby as art and it should definitely be treated as such. Problem is gaming is totally different than other form of art. Never in my life have i seen mass amounts of backlash over the way a painting turned out, or a movie, or a piece of classical music. Once again gamers everywhere are freaking out on someone because they don't "get it". In a lot of peoples eyes, that right there takes gaming from being an art form to being an arena with a bunch of fan boys and nerds withdrawing themselves from the world. Basically Teenagers... LOL It's unfortunate and it's definitely not true but thats not what the public sees. I couldn't care less about what boone or ebert says. Does it really matter? At all??? Whats the point in trying to make some one understand what they've never understood to begin with. Let them make their assumptions. Really it's their loss.

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Oyashiro
Monday, June 25, 2012 @ 12:31:08 PM
Reply

Wait... Does he really believe people cheered at the end only because of the shotgun? When did he want people to clap and cheer, during the middle of the demo? The begging maybe?

Do people clap at the end of the play because the last line was really witty?

I hate to say this, but that guy is a moron.

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EagerGamer
Thursday, June 28, 2012 @ 12:15:57 PM
Reply

Regardless of what's been said by anyone. People give controversial opinions sometimes just to get people talking/debating which leads to inevitable publicity for the person in question. If the amount of publicity is big enough then it's likely a percentage of the debaters or people reading the debates will end up looking at what the person (who gave the controversial opinion) has done in the past be it movie reviews or whatever else. I don't know if the guy's views were genuine or not but either way he's clever from the perspective of publicity. His name is getting mentioned a lot and the chances of his work being viewed, regardless of the reason(s) for viewing, have increased. Having said that, maybe that's just a bonus/perk having given a genuine opinion. I'm not sure whether he gave an opinion to give an opinion, gain publicity - or more publicity if he already gets publicity - or both..

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Alcaeus
Friday, June 29, 2012 @ 4:50:44 AM
Reply

As with every article, the "journalist" should either know about the subject or shut up before he embarasses himself.

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