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If Video Games Aren't Art, At Least They're Progressing

The gaming community has once again responded to another of Roger Ebert's seemingly disparaging comments about video games. First, he restates a previous sentiment - that video games simply cannot be labeled as "art" - and secondly, he said he might not appreciate this entertainment medium because he's too "well-read." Now, I have two responses to this, but I'm not about to embark on the art debate because in my eyes, there's simply far too much subjectivity involved on either side of the fence. All I'll say is this- if games indeed implement elements from other entertainment venues that are considered "art" - i.e., artistry/design, choreography, writing, cinematography, acting, etc. - I'm a little confused as to how the entire package fails to register as "art." So the individual components are "art," but you when put them all together, the final product...isn't?

Okay, whatever. I'm not going to pursue that. But I would like to point out that if we are to compare video games against the other major forms of entertainment, it seems to me as if gaming is the only form that is headed in the right direction. Mr. Ebert, I respect you and all, but most of the films made in the past decade or so have only insulted the hell out my intelligence. I am aware that various independent and less-than-popular movies are excellent, but there was a time when the popular movies were also the biggest hits in the box office. These days, the stupidest pieces of tripe are the most popular and while I do - sadly - see gaming headed in that same direction, the industry is currently in the position film was in perhaps 25 or 35 years ago: they were getting better in terms of the intelligent aspects, and the population responded to that quality. In this industry, most of the best titles are also bestsellers...that is not the case in movies, music, or books. Not when Danielle Steele can manage to sell a gajillion copies of the same book for a hundred years.

Now, as for that "well-read" bit. I will not claim to be as well-read as Ebert but I'm willing to bet I could converse with him for quite some time; my list of completed literary classics runs for about six pages, and I have long since vowed to read as many of the best pieces of literature as humanly possible before I die. My favorite authors are George Eliot (who was actually Marianne Evans), Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Thomas Mann, Edith Wharton, Leo Tolstoy, and Henry David Thoreau. I suppose my favorite playwright would have to be Henrik Ibsen for now, but I haven't yet read Shaw or Chekov (the latter is next on my list, in fact). And here's a fact about me that few people realize: I'd give up my games before I gave up my books. It'd be hard, but I would. Nothing gives me such a feeling of complete satisfaction as these unbelievably ingenious novels. Unfortunately, I see nothing in the way of such genius in this generation of writers, which I believe is a result of the rapid-fire, ultimately inferior communication that continues to plague artistry and creativity.

Yes, literature has declined terribly. And so has music - or whatever the hell passes for music these days - and the same goes for movies. Gaming, on the other hand, while it is admittedly behind in terms of writing and character development, continues to make strides forward. There are fans of every entertainment medium and I'm sure some will disagree, but I wonder if those same people have watched the transformation and growth of this industry we love since its infancy period. Therefore, as a message to Mr. Ebert, regardless of the claims against or for the "art" description, I believe I am quite well-read, and I believe that making a statement insinuating that those who can't boast of my reading resume are simply too smart for video games...well, obviously, I find it disagreeable and inaccurate. If you can find someone who names "Middlemarch" and "Anna Karenina" as their two favorite novels, I will have to meet that person, as I will be convinced said individual is nothing more than a ghostly fabrication until I shake his or her hand.

You see, we all have our passions. But what's important is that we take a step back and do some comparisons, and apply the proper respect where respect is warranted. I suppose I'm asking this-

Rather than focusing on what gaming isn't, why can't we focus on what gaming is, and could eventually become?

4/22/2010 9:31:00 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (88 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 22, 2010 @ 10:15:51 PM
Reply

Games are a product which are a collection of various arts. I'd like to see the reaction from the musicians, background and character designers, et al when told what they do is not art. Ebert should be looking at the Uncharted 2 ART book.

Anyway, saying that a person who is too well read can't enjoy games is foolish, as Ben proved. I can understand when someone is just too OLD to get into them or appreciate them though.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 4/22/2010 10:16:24 PM

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Sol
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 1:55:28 AM

I have to agree with you... especially because I am trying to obtain my bachelor's in Game Art & Design. Saying that video games are not art is like saying the degree I am working towards is a piece of toilet paper, or some tissue someone sneezed in.

Having looked Ebert up for an assignment I had to do for class, I respect him as a person and all, but he's just that... one person. The day I take his opinion over my own is the day I quit gaming, which will happen three days from never.

Besides, I read some of the reviews he did for a couple movies I liked, and didn't agree with his opinion at all. To me he is simply one face within an amazingly large crowd, his influence essentially minute.

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sinisterurge
Sunday, April 25, 2010 @ 7:25:20 PM

I am old and I appreciate video games. I believe that statement was unfair. I am also well read. I love voltaire as much as keats and as much as King. I believe some hate video games simply because they never allowed themselves to become submersed in a story or the action of a well put together game. That and Ebert has always seemed like a giant ass. Remember critics are all frustrated actors and writers who were not good enough to actually be actors and writers . so they bitterly critique.

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MyWorstNightmar
Thursday, April 22, 2010 @ 10:17:58 PM
Reply

Thanks for selecting that picture. Brings back good memories.

As for Roger Ebert, shut your pie hole ASAP.

What experience are you pulling your opinion from? What games have you played, or witnessed played.

Are you going to state your opinion on a movie you haven't seen?

Imagine the hours that go into producing the amazing visuals in these games. Now then tell the individuals who have spent years perfecting their craft and tell them what they do is not an art form.

So dissapointing Mr. Ebert. We all have opinions, but I would gather you haven't given this much thought, otherwise you would come to a very different conclusion.

Last edited by MyWorstNightmar on 4/22/2010 10:22:53 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, April 22, 2010 @ 10:24:33 PM

I don't know why anyone listens to him, his movie reviews are very short sighted.

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kraygen
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 2:43:46 AM

Couldn't agree with world more.

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Kowhoho
Thursday, April 22, 2010 @ 10:30:14 PM
Reply

Games are essentially museums. Take God of War III for example.

-high artistic value in the scenery, straight from the concept art
-insane, beautiful orchestral musical score
-period storytelling

I'll say this; games have had a much more profound effect on me than any painting.

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MyWorstNightmar
Thursday, April 22, 2010 @ 10:34:41 PM

Perhaps he can't get past the skull crushing. But I know he appreciates well done action or horror genre movies, so what's the deal movie man?

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Kowhoho
Thursday, April 22, 2010 @ 10:36:00 PM

I think it's safe to say that skull crushing is an art form in itself.

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Bugzbunny109
Thursday, April 22, 2010 @ 10:36:51 PM
Reply

Video games not art? Lol! Somebody should shut this guy up. I am not even sure he knows what art means. There is a reason why video game companies hire ARTISTS from ART schools to create software. I am completely appalled at this guy's statment. I mean, how ignorant can somebody get?

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A2K78
Thursday, April 22, 2010 @ 11:58:36 PM

"There is a reason why video game companies hire ARTISTS from ART schools to create software."

Car and motorcycle manufacturers also hire artist from art schools. Now by your reasoning does that make cars and motorcycles art?

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kraygen
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 2:50:08 AM

Yes I would include cars and motorcycles as art. They require a persons skills, creativity, and imagination to create.

Using creativity and imagination to create something sounds like art to me, altho I guess lots of people could define art in different ways.

here's a car, looks like art to me.

http://carsmedia.ign.com/cars/image/article/713/713588/top-10-tuesday-concept-cars-20060620041319549.jpg

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CH1N00K
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 9:49:38 AM

There's guys in the car world who would say that Cars are a work of art. I would tend to agree. Take a look at how a car is made. It is a depiction of the designer's insight. Why do you think car shows are so popular? It's a place where a bunch of people get together and show off what they've done. A car is just a different form of canvas.

If you've ever watched a Barrett-Jackson auction, you'll see what I mean. The attention to detail that goes into a car? Sure some people will think it's "just a car" but to others, to own a piece of that automotive history to display in you driveway or garage? Sounds like art to me.

Not to mention when you look at a well made car, like an Austin Martin...you can't help but admire it. The lines, the style, the curves is like looking at an artist's brush stroke. And most cars start out as a clay model before being turned into an actual car.

Last edited by CH1N00K on 4/23/2010 9:53:01 AM

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Bugzbunny109
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 4:16:25 PM

A2K78
Unfortunately, society sees art only as painting and drawing. But there is more to art than that. A motorcycle IS art because to create it, artists have to go through the art process-in this case mainly design. If you want to know how to create a motorcycle, you have to understand, harmony, variety, movement, unity, balance, and proportion. All of these listed here are principles art. In summary a motorcycle is art because artists play the key role in developing it by going through the art process.

Last edited by Bugzbunny109 on 4/23/2010 4:17:53 PM

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Darthvintage
Thursday, April 22, 2010 @ 10:41:09 PM
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Roger Ebert has just made the list along side Dave Cox of people Who Need To Be Slapped.

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Kowhoho
Thursday, April 22, 2010 @ 11:28:38 PM

Groinslapped.

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ace_boon_coon
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 7:20:30 AM

groin punched

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BikerSaint
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 8:49:05 AM

A2K78,
Yes some cars & motorcycles are art, and some are even considered masterpiece, as any gear-head can vouch for the car side.

And I'll take the motorcycle side of things....

In 1998, the Guggenheim Museum in New York had a famous exhibit called the "Art of the Motorcycle".....

http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/press-room/press-releases/press-release-archive/2001/675-october-7-the-art-of-the-motorcycle

And in 1997, there was also the "Liquid Chrome Exhibit" motorcycle in New York too.....

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Scarecrow
Thursday, April 22, 2010 @ 10:58:08 PM
Reply

Art is too subjective

It will take a millennium for society to agree that v-games is art.

It's OBVIOUS video games is art. Most everything is CREATED, that alone is art, for me anyway.

i hope to reincarnate and remember that I was one of those who believed that v-games was indeed art.

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michiganfan1983
Thursday, April 22, 2010 @ 11:00:07 PM
Reply

FLOWER ............................................................. enough said

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Kowhoho
Thursday, April 22, 2010 @ 11:06:49 PM

I remember that he likened Flower to a greeting card in one of his interviews... Yeah, that was the end of me being cordial with him. I could respect his opinion up to that point.

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Silent_J
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 11:21:18 AM

Taken the words right of my mouth.

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BikerSaint
Thursday, April 22, 2010 @ 11:01:35 PM
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It's a shame Siskel isn't still around to give Ebert 2 thumbs down on national TV........

and a very good face-palming too!

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SvenMD
Thursday, April 22, 2010 @ 11:12:18 PM

2 very big thumbs down for Mr. Jackasssss.

I guess he just has to have a controversial opinion on everything to stay interesting as a mainstream critic.

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Superman915
Thursday, April 22, 2010 @ 11:59:48 PM

at the very least, Siskel kept an open mind about this kind of stuff. I remember he gave mortal kombat a thumbs up and said he sort of wanted to play the game at least once just out of curiosity.

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VicTheMighty
Thursday, April 22, 2010 @ 11:12:17 PM
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I am pretty sure he is just claiming this out of frustration.

Bet his son beat him at mario bros and he held a grudge against it hahaha.

In other words he never got to finish a game. It's like looking at the tiny left corner of a painting... Is that art? Not really right? You have to look at the whole thing before considering it ART... So there you go...

In other words, my guess is he lacks other skills than being *well-read* and can't enjoy games as much as other *well-coordinated* people can. Then he looked at Ben and felt frustration and jealousy before a person who is *well-read* and also *well-coordinated* . And that is how he came to make such a shameless comment. Shame shame shame on him. :D

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Swim_Irr
Thursday, April 22, 2010 @ 11:28:16 PM
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If Uncharted 2 isn't art, I don't know what the hell is...

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A2K78
Thursday, April 22, 2010 @ 11:33:40 PM
Reply

Kojima agrees with Ebert:

http://kotaku.com/150043/kojima-says-games-are-not-art

Anyhow videogames are not not art but entetainment instead. To say that video games is art would be like saying pornography is art.

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kraygen
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 2:53:53 AM

I read that article and kojima pretty much contradicts himself in that one paragraph. Saying it isn't art because it's supposed to reach everyone, but then basically saying its a kind of art.

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BikerSaint
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 9:00:14 AM

A2K78,
And that article was back from Feb 2006, I would think Kojima's "old" statement back then is irrelevant for these times now. Both, the games, & the graphics, have changed ten-fold for the better since then.

Some interviewer should ask him if he still thinks that same way now.
(And I'll bet he doesn't).

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VicTheMighty
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 9:00:26 AM

mmm I don't even know how you can compare pron to games. All they do is film two people doin it in some crappy re-used 500 times set with practically no story-telling. To some extend you could say its utterly crappy art lol.

Still if games are not ART then movies aren't either, They go through the same process nowadays (creation pipeline). And why not say paintings are not art either. Any 5 yrs old can do abstract huh? And music... Just some doods hitting and pinching pieces of metal and wood... so primal... Theres no Art there huh?

And why not say you go watch a painting for entertainment purpose. Isn't it the same thing? Some Art is meant to amaze and question yourself and other to entertain.

Video games don't differ from that. They go through character and set design with thousands of drawings and ideas... Then those Ideas are shared through a Media for you to experience them. The same way some painter puts paint on a piece of paper for you to look at in a museum after.

No one is perfect and it is not because Kojima says he thinks games are not art that I will agree with him. I think he made a mistake saying that.



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CH1N00K
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 9:57:12 AM

I think the definition of art is too vague. You make that statement to someone who is in the porn industry like a director...they will try to tell you that what they are doing is art. I'm sure when movies first came out that there was someone back in that day who used to say that film wasn't art.

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Superman915
Thursday, April 22, 2010 @ 11:55:34 PM
Reply

ebert is just mad he can't fully enjoy these jaw-dropping games. (LOL!)

but realistically, yes, games are art. like another online forum said, they are art on top of more art piled on by more art.

They have actors like a movie.
Artists like a painting.
Writers like a book or screenplay.
Designers and architects like a beautiful cathedral.
And they can stir emotion on the viewer like a poem or a sonnet.

They're art.

Last edited by Superman915 on 4/22/2010 11:58:14 PM

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Scarecrow
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 12:01:23 AM

In essence, v-games is BEYOND art

v-games is Super Art

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Nlayer
Thursday, April 22, 2010 @ 11:55:43 PM
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Very well spoken Ben! I was hoping you would give your opinion on this matter. I agree with you.

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Shams
Thursday, April 22, 2010 @ 11:55:47 PM
Reply

LittleBigPlanet and tens of thousands of art students would be on the polar opposite side of the fence as Mr. Ebert. The Wipeout Franchise, with it's graphic design, new-age futuristic motif, and phat beats almost single-handedly grabbed me in to gaming by it's artistic touch alone. Shadow of The Colossus has yet to find it's like on the TV screen. Flow and Flower? Portal? All of these games are sufficient argument, and with arguments like these, one needn't fear to pick a side on this topic.

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Scarecrow
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 12:02:45 AM
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Ebert is a dinosaur

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Deleted User
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 12:08:41 AM
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Mr. Ebert should just shut up...

Oh, wait. You guys might not know this but Roger Ebert can't talk any more due to his thyroid cancer. Sadly, he can still write his dated opinions on why video gaming isn't considered art.

Then again, nobody is going to convince this old fogey that he's wrong.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 12:26:53 AM
Reply

For the record, everyone, I have nothing bad to say about Ebert. Anybody who has a Pulitzer Prize at home is no dummy, and deserves some respect. I also tend to agree with a lot of his movie views.

It's not so much him I'm going after; it's some of the concepts that have arisen as a result of his comments.

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bridgera
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 12:48:58 AM

Just got through God of War and Pandora's maze. I was pretty impressed. The design of that maze brings you back to a central area several times. To design that, and have it not be crap, you actualy have to layout some paper first, then DESIGN a maze like that. Saying the architecture of a design like that isn't art, is just plain ignorance.

I used to really like Ebert, then, I don't know if I got older and changed my views or what, but I started disagreeing with almost every single review he had.

About video games, he has NO idea what he's talking about. Being too "well read" is utter nonsense. He using his twisted stereotypical attitude about video games, and probably hasn't played anything since Pac Man in 1975.

I'm certain he hasn't sat down and played a $ 10 million game this millineum.

It doesn't matter if you like Ebert or not, the view that video games aren't/don't contain art is ridiculous.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 12:57:12 AM

I think he's been out of touch for a while, but I'll let him pass for digging The Dude.

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Superman915
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 2:37:56 AM

I like Ebert too, quite a bit. He's an amazing writer, shares my political beliefs, and honestly has to be admired for all that he's put up with his health.

With that said, he's not only wrong on video games, he's straight up insulting in them "He's too well read to get video games." as he stated in a twitter. GTFOH. Steven Spielberg has been playing video games since he made Jaws and I don't think anyone in his career would consider him an idiot.

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Jawknee
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 2:58:54 AM

Ebert is a political light weight. Thinks too much with his emotions and not enough with his brain. Smart guy, but not very wise.

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Superman915
Saturday, April 24, 2010 @ 6:22:57 PM

Yeah but youre kind of a right wing loon (no offense) so its not surprising you feel that way.

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Jawknee
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 1:11:09 AM
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I don't like this man. Hes a moral idiot and has bad taste in movies so i couldn't care less about his opinion on games. Most people his age frown upon games and gamers. *shrug*

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just2skillf00l
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 1:40:32 AM
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@A2K

After reading Kojima's statements for why video games are not pieces of art, I can appreciate and respect his reasons and opinions. To sum up Kojima's argument, video games are not considered as works of art because they are more of a service for the consumer rather than a reflection of some value of the individual creating it. This makes perfect sense IMO. Kojima is arguing that video games are censored and have to be mended and molded for marketing purposes.

I sort of relate this to how books have to be manipulated and engineered when they are transferred to the big screen. Books to movies also need movie scripts; books can't simply transfer the entire experience it contains. This tampering of the original and artistic value of the media in an attempt to appeal to its audience destroys the artistic element originating in the book source.

However, when looking at art as being this pure, undisturbed, and personal creation, one could argue many things that are considered art, not to be by this idea and definition Kojima conjures it.

Despite Kojima's definition of art, art itself is what makes up a game. The games art style, its character models and background settings, down to the music that could invoke an emotion in our hearts given the right mood and event. When looking upon video games in this way, video games are more artistic than many other different variations of media.

Ebert, at least argue your point with valid reasons for why something can't be viewed as an artistic medium after you make such a claim. Honestly, I can respect and appreciate Kojima's reasoning because he brings to surface a compelling idea I have never before pondered. Next time Ebert, before you wave around your Pulitzer prize in all its glory, be sure to also carry around your justification for receiving it.

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___________
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 2:28:14 AM
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well what is the definition of art?
as they say one mans garbage is another mans trophy.
art is such a subjective medium, i mean scrambled letters to some is considered art?
ill never understand that, i can paint scrambled letters so does that make me a artist?

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kraygen
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 3:00:12 AM
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While I don't think ebert is dumb, I've rarely agreed with him anyway, so this doesn't surprise me.

Personally I think that claiming anything is not art is ridiculous. I don't care for the mona lisa and yet its one of the most famous pieces of art on earth. Yet some pieces of art that evoke an emotional response from me, wouldn't effect other people.

IMO art is anything that moves us inside or out. FF7 made me cry, thats art to me.

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Underdog15
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 9:25:25 AM

My sister still (10+ years later) doesn't let the fact that I cried at a video game (FF7 too!) die. It gives her and her snobby music major friends something to laugh at every Christmas. lol. ^.^ By the way, my wife LOVES that story... >.<

Last edited by Underdog15 on 4/23/2010 9:25:52 AM

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bridgera
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 12:12:13 PM

lmao that she still can't let it go. I guess that's my sister too now, who'll bring up and start arguing about crap from 1994 over something that happened yesterday.

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Gordo
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 3:49:24 AM
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Everything can be classed as art in my opinion.

The cavemen drawing on the cave walls depicted their hunting scenes, their gods and their shamanistic representations. They also tell the story of their seasons, their lands and their hunting activities.

Is this art? Yes it is.

Is it 2 dimensional and static? No, it is meant to be interacted with. The cave drawings are part of the person and part of their society. They were painted to invoke emotion by those that painted them and those that viewed them.

Zoom on 50,000 years...

We've had sculpture, paintings, architecture, furniture, clothing, writing, many periods of art through to abstract and modern art, poetry, comic books, music, dance, theatre, movies, erotica and now video games.

You can't tell me any of those are not art?

Art is anything designed or created by someone to emotionally move and involve another person.

Art is emotion. Emotion is art.

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Deleted User
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 5:02:56 AM
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I like Ebert, as a person, he seems like an Okay guy. As a movie critic and general commentator? I doubt where his mind is sometimes.

I also respect most of his opinions, they're his opinion's and he's allowed to have them.

but not with this, saying video games aren't art isn't an opinion. That is someone who thinks they are stating a fact.

I am an artist, I make a living by making art. I have been to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. A place where a canvas with a cut sliced through the middle of it is hung on the wall with a mind boggling price tag. as Gordo said: Art is Emotion, Emotion is art. What Ebert is doing here is just slapping an entire industry in the face.

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Vivi_Gamer
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 6:40:26 AM
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As far as i see it Art nowadays stands for a product one has consumed time into to give people something to contemplate or to make a statment. I believe games have a right to be claimed as art as much as any of form of media entertainment. When i studied art i saw plenty of garbage in gallerys, even blank canvas, if people and bullsh!t there way they can get away with anything, the main reason i lost interest in Art today is because i feel it has lost it true meaning.

Games have certainly evolved over the past few generations, its more than just the challenge and puzzle element. The production value is huge, you now get pretty much all the same jobs in the film industry available in the game industry. If i was not studying film i would certainly be working towards getting in the game industry.

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www
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 6:47:22 AM
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Games > Movies.

Game makers > Movie makers.

Requires MORE BRAINS and creative people to make games thus its expensive than movies, go figure Ebert. Bet you couldn't make a train scene from Uncharted 2 and actually making button commands instruct characters on screen, its damn EASY telling Bruce Willis to act that train scene but INTERACTION is a whole different story.

Decisions a player makes in games like Heavy Rain, FF, Fallout etc affects the story considering each players unique decisions OPPOSED to everybody just sitting and watching Brad Pitt make his own decisions without the viewer's influence. Gosh, I can't go on explaining this.

Does it mean a cheaper painting is better than an expensive one? Since movies are cheaper than games. The sole fact that a product is more expensive means it has greater value. Ebert you FAIL!

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Vivi_Gamer
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 7:46:36 AM

I beg to differ on that, when you get films with such depth like Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey or Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal. Try watching David Lynch's Blue Velvet or Eraserhead to require more brains. The truth is there are a rare few games that excel to the narrative quality of film, Hideo Kojima is certainly one who has achieved that.

Last edited by Vivi_Gamer on 4/23/2010 7:47:39 AM

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www
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 3:16:30 PM

Don't mind me, its evident I don't know a lot about movies, not really a big fan, I just lost it hearing this guy bashing my games is all ;)

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Vivi_Gamer
Saturday, April 24, 2010 @ 2:45:23 AM

Heh, fair enough, i don't really aprove of game 'bashing' either.

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JackC8
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 7:14:17 AM
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Oh good lord, now we're listening to what a television personality has to say on the subject of art, as if his opinion is of more importance than that of, say, Ed McMahon. He's never struck me as the type of person who has much of anything going on upstairs - the type who reads a literary classic and then reads the New York Times review of it to find out what his opinion of it should be. Gene Siskel used to absolutely crucify him with witty put-downs while Ebert sat there like a lame dope, unable to offer anything but a consternated expression in return. For him to brag of being "well read" is comical. That's something that's flattering when other people say it about you. When you say it about yourself, it's just pitiful.

I find many things in video games to be artistically pleasing. If the guy who wrote the screenplay for "Beneath the Valley of the Ultra Vixens" has a different opinion, well, gosh...that means absolutely nothing to me.

Last edited by JackC8 on 4/23/2010 7:29:29 AM

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ace_boon_coon
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 7:21:38 AM
Reply

okami is a great example of art

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BikerSaint
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 9:10:50 AM

cochise313,
Man, you picked the perfect example of art!!!!

"1 thumb-up for you"

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Underdog15
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 9:19:29 AM

Ya, good example!

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NeoHumpty
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 7:30:36 AM
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Ebert's full of poop. Plain and simple. He's too old to understand, not too smart. And making a statement like the one he made only makes him look pretentious in my eyes. Go sit in a corner somewhere and smell your farts, Ebert.

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NoSmokingBandit
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 8:01:57 AM
Reply


Ebert is great, but i really think he is just shooting his mouth off without knowing what he is talking about. Claiming he doesnt like video games because he is too "well read" is bullshit, plain and simple. I'm fine with the fact that he doesnt like games, there's nothing wrong with that, but trying to say he is superior to gamers by some means is out of line. I'm certain he is quite a bit more intelligent than most gamers (or most other people in general), but he would go around saying he doesnt like tomato soup because he has eaten too many oranges in his life. Its just not related.

Last edited by NoSmokingBandit on 4/23/2010 8:02:17 AM

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Underdog15
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 8:44:37 AM

Apparently he really likes "Speed 2".

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Underdog15
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 8:49:05 AM

HOLY COW! Remember that movie about Arnold S. being a pregnant man? Well.. Roger gave it a 3.5/4 stars.....

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Underdog15
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 8:43:39 AM
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Holy crap, Ben, you're my hero! You have to read George Bernard Shaw. He's pretty much the poster boy of 19th century theatre. (Although he thinks of Ibsen as GOD. Ever read Pygmalion (that's what My Fair Lady the musical is based off of) Major Barbara or Lady Windemere's Fan (A MUST read for the theatre buff!) Since you love Ibsen, I'm assuming you've read A Dolls House? As for Chekov, he and Gorky both deserve a good look. They both got into lots of trouble for writing controversial plays that contradicted what their communist governments wished to push in their agendas.

I majored in Theatre (ok for those of you who know I've said I majored in Psych, i'm not making stuff up. I took 4 years in a double major in Theatre and Phys Ed, then 2 years to major in Psych and minor in english. I have two BA's, and I'm currently part-time taking master's courses towards counseling Psych. I work full time as a youth advisor/employment counselor/job developer, so the masters will probably take another 5 years of part time studies.) so I feel I can accurately conclude Ebert has made many bad reviews, and I feel that he feels if he doesn't have an opinion on something, then he must not be informed enough. Unfortunately, he doesn't know diddley-squat. I mean... this is the same guy that gave "Cop and a Half" 3 out of 4 stars, and is the ONLY pro-reviewer that gave "Speed 2" a positive review. (It was named Speed 2... How do you feel about sequels that merely add a number to the end of the prequel?) Just some examples...

At any rate, I feel, like Ben, that I am also well-read and educated. I feel that games, movies, music, and most forms of artistic expression have loads of drivel throughout the mainstream mediums, however, all have some incredible contributions that have the ability to actually MOVE people. This is another example of the media making assumptions about gaming. 'M' rated games sure are bad influences for kids, but that's why they're rated M for NOT kids... Mass Effect was not a Sex simulator (FOX news, I'm looking at you), and not all games are hack n' slash, shoot 'em up, swing-the-whole-way, button mashing 6/10 entries. Some are actually WELL DONE, and as Ben said, BETTER than most movies.

Even the MUSIC is better than mainstream! Remember the music in Dragon Quest 8, for example? Or anything, for that matter, by Nobuo Uematsu? I'd rather my kids listen to video game music than most main stream and popular music...

ok, I'll stop now.....

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Underdog15
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 8:53:24 AM

I know most people like his reviews, but I just feel like he's a good writer. He gives obvious gems high marks, obvious blunders low marks, and then more or less falls within the mean along with every other writer. He merely rises above because he's a brilliant writer who has the ability to accurately portray what he thinks through his pen. Other reviewers don't have that skill. A true talent, but even with the Pulitzer, he was never my favorite reviewer.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 10:23:07 AM

I have to read Pygmalion, actually. My degree is in Psychology, too, but I don't have an advanced degree.

As for theater, I love plays although not quite as much as I love novels. And as beautiful as someone like O'Neill's plays are...I mean, I felt like someone had whacked me in the gut with a sack of oranges after reading "A Long Day's Journey Into Night." ;)

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Underdog15
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 8:46:23 AM
Reply

He also gave Paul Blart: Mall Cop a 3/4....

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AirplanePeanuts
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 10:08:31 AM
Reply

I think Roger Ebert is actually a pretty happening guy, but I agree with Ben and pretty much the gaming community at large in saying he's just off on this one.

It just seems to me like he doesn't "get it". I guess for us "getting it" seems pretty normal as we grew up watching games advance, not only in terms of how they played but how they looked and how they defined themselves. Ebert seems to be stuck on considering games as either high score shootouts or multiplayer competitions. If he played a game like Heavy Rain, even if he didn't have a kind thing to say about the directing or the writing or whatever, he'd at least HAVE to admit that games can not only tell a story but have the capacity to tell stories in their own unique way.

Nevermind that I believe games can be art without telling a story at all. Maybe they're not all good art, but there's something to be said about games that try to be expressive in ways that only games can.

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CH1N00K
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 10:09:35 AM
Reply

Something tells me that Ebert is more than a little worried about the popularity of video games. If video games sales weren't beating the crap out of movie sales and threatening the whole movie industry, Ebert could find himself out of a job. Think about it. When is the last time that you read/watched a movie review? I can't even remember. Yet I'm on here every day looking for game info and game reviews.

If Ebert hasn't been into playing video games, then it's kind of to late for him to get into them now and start doing reviews on them, He's not going to understand the culture. Not to mention he's made a career out of watching movies which only last 2 hours at a time. If you are going to review a game, 2 hours worth of gameplay is not enough to do a game justice.

I wouldn't be surprised if this comment stems from the fact that his career/pastime is being threatened. Some young producer/editor somewhere probably looked him in the eye and said, "Sorry old chap, no one is listening to what you have to say anymore, now it's all about video games. We're not going to pay for what you have to say anymore, we need to focus on a different art form."

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I_defenestrate
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 10:32:30 AM

He doesn't even play the games he "reviews". He watches videos of them online and then makes his remarks. I would value a review from Edge before listening to him about video games. Me and a friend were having the "video games are not art" discussion a few days ago and I told him that is like a lawyer defending a client based on what he has seen on the news. I could understand his reasoning a tad more if he actually sat down and played any of these games.

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Mr Bitey
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 10:24:13 AM
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Video Games are progressing with no thanks to Nintendo.

Seriously, Super Mario Brothers, isn't all that different from New Super Mario Brothers. Wii Sports looks worse than a PS One game.

If Nintendo had it their way, we'd all still be playing Pong.

Last edited by Mr Bitey on 4/23/2010 10:24:29 AM

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bridgera
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 12:15:15 PM

Nintendo caters almost completely to little kids. Sony and Microsoft cater more towards adults.

Adults appreciate awesome graphics, little kids want cratoony looking stuff.

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NoSmokingBandit
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 9:54:37 PM

If Nintendo didnt progress games why is everyone trying to copy them now?

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Fane1024
Saturday, April 24, 2010 @ 5:16:02 PM

The lure of $$$.

Last edited by Fane1024 on 4/24/2010 5:16:21 PM

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shadowscorpio
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 10:56:03 AM
Reply

Video games not art?

Art can be found in anything. Its the way of the world/universe , whatever. If you're even going to say that something isn't art video games are far from being on that list.

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Bjorn77
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 11:19:46 AM
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I play games because I cannot stand watching TV or movies is general. Most of the content on TV gives me a brain disease.

Define art? In Holland the government gives money to artist. And then they come with something like trowing 1000 breads into the ocean. Or a giant statue that resembles a leprechaun holding a dildo... That in my opinion is not art but a waste of public money. But hey.... I play games so I am not literate.

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Silent_J
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 11:24:55 AM
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Kratos needs to kill this so call god of movie review.

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Imagi
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 11:37:01 AM
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I don't need anyone to tell me what is and is not art. Anybody that thinks they are in a position to do so and pass judgement is a pretentious git that should pull their head out of their own ass.

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I_defenestrate
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 1:01:25 PM

Art, like beauty, really is in the eye of the beholder.

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Alienange
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 1:08:19 PM
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Oh that's a classic line. Take it from me guys, I'm "well read." HAhahahaha! Well read... I gotta use that one day.

Gimme a minute while I compose myself.

"Well read." What the hell is that? Oh! You're "well read!" Oh ok. Then what you say MUST be true! What kind of air of superiority is THAT?

Guess what Ebert? I'm well read too. Unfortunately for me though, that reading habit will be coming to an end because they're getting rid of gaming manuals.

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BigBoss4ever
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 2:28:52 PM
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video game is one of Best forms of art in modern days of human society. everything progresses, so does the form of art, which evolves over the time and video game, especially some CG in some epic RPGs, are pure form of art.

just look at these, Demon's Soul isnt art? Last Guardian isnt art? MGS4 isnt art? GOW3 isnt art? all the FF games isnt art? all the chrono games isnt art? how about the drawings in the collector's art books? are they not art?

nothing further to be asked.

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SolidFantasy
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 3:54:52 PM
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I'm absolutely convinced that video games are a form of art. I'm not sure where he is getting the notion that they are not.

I personally think video games are the ultimate hybrid of the film and literature worlds. As developing becomes more and more competitive and "odd ball" games like Heavy Rain continue to prosper I can only hope that we see more and more games that really push for artistic capabilities that they are capable of.

Not that there aren't already games that do this of coarse. Such examples are obvious to the PSX community.

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Danny007
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 4:21:27 PM
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Roger is to old to even know what he is talking about. He needs to go lay down somewhere.

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RebelJD
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 5:06:17 PM
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I can't agree with the author of this entry unless he believes the right direction means straight to Hollywood. That is where gaming is and has headed, straight to Hollywood. In the Entertainment business that term means you've made it, but at what cost? Lack of respect from dedicated fans? Less appeal to your product and more so to your brand or name?

The budget for big blockbuster movies is through the effen roof e.g. Transformers 2 @ $200 million. Back to the Future only cost $19 million to make back in the '80s.

GTA IV cost $100 million to make, GT5 is slated to pass the $60 million mark. Just like movies, video games are becoming bigger and bigger simply to cover production cost alone.

Movies offer big name actors for the potential to bring in more money. They make deals with products, automobiles, etc. for the potential to bring in more money. I've been seeing that trend now in video games for quite a few years. Big name actors doing voice overs (check). Licensing access to copy right music (check). Product placement and automobiles (check).

Gaming is great, and so are many many big budget games (for the most part). Yet we've seen producing companies go "bye-bye" because the games they made didn't cover production and marketing cost.

Hollywood is Hollywood people.

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darxed
Friday, April 23, 2010 @ 6:24:10 PM
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He he, well Ben I'm almost your ghost... I really loved Anna Karenina, but I've never heard of Middlemarch, sorry... Also I'm from Colombia so I've read most of Garcia Marquez books... Still waiting for a good movie from his books though...

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Cabalavatar1
Sunday, April 25, 2010 @ 11:36:33 AM
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Ebert's comments showcase more complicated problems than what you're dealing with here, Ben (not as an insult mind you). I'm currently a graduate student (MA-English) who's read a series of philosophies on aesthetics. You're totally right to leave it up to subjective understandings of what is art. None of the theories is any good at delineating or defining art. Ebert simply illustrates his narrowed perspective on what counts as art. And that's quite sad. What's more sad is a urinal or a soup or a long red stripe being called art ahead of gaming, among anything else. Without clear criteria, Ebert can't say that.

I don't agree about one thing that your entry here shows, though. How can you talk about "great lit classics" without falling into the same stupid argument that Ebert does? Why does a book by George Eliot (whom I personally hate due to her tedious and boring writing "skills") or a play by Shakespeare deserve any more praise than anything else, especially if art is subjective? I don't plan to go on reading the "classics" because the entire concept of the "classics" relies on the same dominant discourse in 'Art' for what's available to be considered art as what Roger Ebert alludes to/relies on in his assertion that video games can't count.

I agree with you, moreover, that putatively well-read people are quite equipped to like video games. I read at least 2-3 dozen books every semester, along with 3 articles per book. Then I read more and more for research on my various essays and my thesis. Yet, I own more video games than many of my gamer friends (mostly because being a Teaching Assistant, I get paid fairly well lol). And all, save one, of my fellow male Grad Students own a gaming console (or use PC) and play on a regular basis. Believe me, we're -forced- to be well-read, and we still love gaming.

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