Who is the Roger Ebert of the Arts

Open World - Games and Fine Arts ¹

Title: Borderlines by Stephan Schwingeler pp. 152 - 159

Aesthetics, strategies, discourses
by Stephan Schwingeler



In some contexts - for example by the communication scientist Henry Jenkins - the question arises whether computer games are art2, answered positively in 2000.3 It is argued not from an art-scientific or art-theoretical perspective but from a popular culture perspective for the computer game as a form of art that is based on Gilbert Seldes ’ Seven Lively Arts from 1925.4

In contrast, the question of art is clearly denied by Roger Ebert. The well-known American film critic was of the opinion in 2005 that computer games are fundamentally inferior to films and that they could never develop into an art form in their own right, which turned the debate about the status of art into a polemical one and, in addition to many thousands of comments on the web, also led to a discussion the prominent game designer Kellee Santiago provoked.5

The question of the artistic status of the medium will also be discussed in 2007 in the anthology Videogames and Art addressed. Brett Martin argues that computer games can advance to an art form if they emancipate themselves from the old medium of film. Ernest Adams advocates the similar thesis that computer games must mature aesthetically and go beyond the intended purpose of entertainment in order to experience the ennoblement of art.6 Computer games seem to be too trivial to count as art.

The question of whether computer games are intrinsically - per se - represent an art form7 or not8, is (scientifically) certainly not expedient.9 Against this background it can be stated: “While in the early days of the debate about the then still young medium was discussed, ...

Register for free and read on:

  • Read 3 articles from the archive and regularly read many other articles free of charge
  • Receive the KUNSTFORUM newsletter: article recommendations, weekly art news, special offers and much more, can be canceled at any time
  • Use the exclusive watchlist function
  • permanently free of charge


"Kunstforum is a magazine that has plowed almost every topic that is important, and it is so extensive that I sometimes look again in magazines from ten years ago, and Kunstforum often turns out to be a treasure trove ..." - Kasper König