Text continues to innovate + Some of Ebert's readers get it

While Roger Ebert continues to view video games at arm's length, his readers continue to write thoughtful letters about the potential of video games (and how most movies based on them miss the point):

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081216/LETTERS/812179997

While it's not for everyone, text-based games probably provide the greatest opportunity for games to break out of the ruts developers and gamers find themselves in.  I recently found a heartening article on text games which pointed out some of the outstanding finalists of the annual contest that awards excellence in the medium:

http://www.avclub.com/content/games/violet_and_everybody_dies

>get lamp
Taken.

5 Comments
6 Comments
Posted by ahoodedfigure

While Roger Ebert continues to view video games at arm's length, his readers continue to write thoughtful letters about the potential of video games (and how most movies based on them miss the point):

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081216/LETTERS/812179997

While it's not for everyone, text-based games probably provide the greatest opportunity for games to break out of the ruts developers and gamers find themselves in.  I recently found a heartening article on text games which pointed out some of the outstanding finalists of the annual contest that awards excellence in the medium:

http://www.avclub.com/content/games/violet_and_everybody_dies

>get lamp
Taken.

Posted by RHCPfan24

Very interesting letter there. I know that Roger Ebert is not the gaming industry's leading advocate, but these letters should influence him in some way. I have a good explanation for the whole "games as art" thing, but I would rather not do that now, haha.

Posted by Rowr

Will give this a read over later.

Thanks for the link!

Posted by Claude
Posted by ZombiePie

Even though I dont agree with Roger Ebert, I must admit that I always value his opinion when it comes to his film reviews and I also must conceed that he is an extremely intellectual individual. Also he's probably done more for film criticism than most modern film critics.

Moderator
Edited by ahoodedfigure

@ZombiePie , I'm right on board with the respect for Roger Ebert.  I don't agree with him all the time, but I feel like I've come to know his tendencies through his criticism, and I most often respect his opinion even if I disagree with it.  His attitude toward games is a lapse, but since it technically doesn't have anything to do with film I'm cool with that.  I do think since the guy is such a reasonable fellow in so many regards, that he's maybe not taking the right angle on video games as a whole, instead looking at the popular ones, which I would argue go nearer to performance art that most people can't participate in effectively.  His off-hand remarks toward games, though, tend to rub me the wrong way because they tend to be on such a basic, stereotypical level.  I sorta want to evangelize to the guy about the potential of games, and he's usually the first person I have in mind when I'm trying to form an argument as to why games shouldn't be ignored as something other than a thing to pass the time until one starts doing something with one's life again :)

Part of his problem with games is their accessibility: you don't need to have big thumbs to enjoy a movie.  It's the reason why I keep poking at the corners of the game world in some of my blogs, because games like text adventures engage the user's intelligence more directly.  Some of of them punish you (like Hitchhiker's Guide) but some of them are more like an interactive novel, which doesn't stop because you're not hitting the right key, but just changes if you type in the appropriate response.  In Photopia, you basically go through the whole game in a few minutes, and it charges on through whether you're ready or not (although it does wait for you to read it, of course), but it resolves and you feel like you were a part of it, even if you're not sure how interactive it really was.  A little more interactivity without stopping the game if the player does something "wrong" and I think we'll have bridged the gap between film and game.

I dunno.

Thanks for the movie note, Claude.  I'd not heard of it before!

There are a bunch of ways to tackle talking about games and their relationship to movies, and that's another.  I get this sort of sad chill, if that's possible, when I think of the Nintendomercial the Wizard, but that's another example, where a game is featured prominently.  I'll have to look this up just to get an idea on what it's about.

EDIT: OK, I've heard of it.  While Ebert didn't review it, Roeper and whatever dude was sitting next to him did.  The movie reviews doesn't seem to be where they were before since those reviews got Disneyfied after Ebert and Roeper pulled out their business relationship with the big mouse. 

@RHCPfan24 , I'd like to think there would be a magical letter that would make the guy break down, but I think since most of the letters I've seen, good as they are, tend to be about games Roger couldn't play very well, I don't think they're hitting his "accessibility" target.  I don't even think what is commonly, usually pejoratively, called casual games work either, but I guess that's a post for another day.