You can also just read it in full here: http://www.ludix.com/moriarty/apology.html
o This is not an apology in the same sense as regret for anything done wrong
o This is the Greek apologia – a defense of an opinion
- History of Conflict
o Started with Doom the movie. A bad movie and a bad review.
§ A reader’s comment about how the movie related to game prompted Ebert’s response: “As long as there is a great film unseen or great book unread, I will continue to be unable to find the time to play video games”
§ Ebert considers games to be an inherently inferior medium – because of the conceit of player choice
§ There is no game worthy of comparison to great art
§ Purpose of art is to make us more civil, compassionate, empathetic
o A few weeks after GDC last year – Kelly Santiago gave TED talk about games as art (prompted by Ebert’s comments)
§ Talked about Flower, Braid and WACO Resurrection
o Ebert responded – games can never be art. No gamer currently alive will live to see it
§ No one in or out of field has been able to cite a game worth of comparison to great works of art
§ (Kelly Santiago conceited this within the first minute of her talk)
§ As much as Moriarty loves games, he agrees with this sentiment
o Ebert eventually admitted later that he never should have said it (although he does believe it)
- Why are people in games so anxious to wrap themselves in the mantle of great art?
- The Chess Players
o Painting by Northcote, 1700s
o 2 guys playing chess, young boy looking at viewer, dog in corner
o The boy becomes the center of attention because he is ignoring the game, and looking at you
o More on this later…
- Historically, games and sports have never been regarded as art
o Philosophy considers games as categorically different
o Natural to assume games all move into this pantheon of art
§ But! Games are ancient
§ They aren’t new technology like film or photography
§ Are analogue games less artistic than new games? If Go and Chess aren’t art, how can Missile Command be?
§ Are we so willing to refuse the wisdom of ages for the sake of our egos?
- Most movies aren’t art
o “Hardly any movies are art.” – Ebert
o “Most of the movies we enjoy are not art.” – Kale
o (2 of worlds great film critics)
- Sublime Art – (Art with a capital “A”)
o Art that’s good for you
o Worthy of lifetime of contemplation
- What is Art?
o Some consider art to be anything that elicits emotion
§ Can end this idea pretty easily by seeing horrible videos of cute animals being killed
o Is art something that is attractive?
§ Common attractions vs. sublime attractions
- Enter Kitsch!
o Highly charged with stock emotions
o Simple ideas, automatic response
o You know how you’re supposed to feel about James Dean or horses running on the beach
o Instantly and effortlessly identifiable surface art
o Does not enrich our associates related to subjects – not innovative
o All popular art is kitsch
o Could anyone be more familiar with what happens when commercial pressure is applied to a medium than Ebert?
§ COD Black Ops – doesn’t innovate, but doesn’t have to – well oiled machine
§ COD made more money than any game faster because it didn’t try to challenge us
o This is product art – kitsch art
o It’s not bad art, it’s commercial art - time tested, good for business
- By contrast - Sublime art is fragile
o In great literature, there is the idea of “That word and no other in that place and no other”
o Sublime art is always relevant (or not at all) never subject of nostalgia
- Kitsch is often regarded as art and celebrated
o Camp = celebration of kitsch
o We shouldn’t expect publicly traded companies to create anything other than kitsch
- What about Indies?
o They only have a little wiggle room
o Really have much bigger risks involved – they HAVE to succeed
- Danger in trying to create an art game – tend to just create an arty game
o Not an excuse never to try
- Back to the painting: The dog is in the painting because someone asked for it
- Tools & tech for games is slippery
o Film remained unchanged (largely) for 150 years
o Compare this to the 4 decades of games – tech and business are constantly changing so fast and so much
o How can anyone create in such a maelstrom
- Last reason for failure – is there an intrinsic reason why games can’t be art?
o Arthur Schopenhauer
§ Romanticist, believed in the idea of “Wille zum Leber” (will to live)
§ We are constantly willing ourselves to attain our goals but are constantly disappointed
o Schopenhauer believed that the goal of art is to transcend the will
§ Thought that striving towards art is one of the noblest professions
§ Contemplation of sublime art is a door to perspective on reality, and a glimpse to what we really are
· Bob Dylan – the purpose of art is to stop time
o Choice is a fundamental expression of will (choice is what games are) – how can this be used to transcend will, when will is what you’re expressing to do it?
- Sublime art is like a toy
o no rules, goal, or purpose
o All art is quite useless
- The justification of art is the internal combustion that it ignites within the heart
o Gradual lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity
- Moriarty’s definition of art – “the still advocation of the inexpressible”
- Recreation is not a waste of time
- All sublime art is devotional
- Games didn’t need to be great art to get here – they just needed to be great fun