Posted on September 27, 2007,

Clive Barker Calls Roger Ebert a Pompous, Arrogant Old Man


When it comes to smackdowns, it doesn’t get better than video game related confrontations.

As some of you may have read, there has been a recent feud between Clive Barker and Roger Ebert, with Barker defending video games as art, and Ebert attacking them. Things have calmed down for a few months, but Barker let go once again in the latest Digital Trends Podcast.

“[Ebert's] a pompous, arrogant old man, and he’s not going to stop us from making games or enjoying them or… making them art,” Barker said in the podcast.

Really, how can you not get behind the guy? It would be great to have more of this attitude out there so that the way the world views and experiences video games could continue to be transformed into something more than just a medium for entertainment.

Undeniably, there have been so many gamers out there, myself included, who have been moved by gaming experiences, Halo parties and tea-bagging excluded, of course. So I have to say, rock out with your talk out, Barker.

via Digital Trends Podcasts

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7 Comments on Clive Barker Calls Roger Ebert a Pompous, Arrogant Old Man

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On September 28, 2007 at 12:02 am

Roger Ebert IS a pompous arrogant old man. He’s also one of the best movie critics of all time. Unfortunately he has chosen to speak on matters he knows little about. That being gaming. It always saddens me when someone I respect steps out of the comfort zone and reveals a less-than-admirable side to their personality. I’ll still look to Ebert for good movie reviews. I will not look to him for an opinion on games as art, much like I wouldn’t listen to my mom about which game to choose the next time I’m at the mall.


On September 28, 2007 at 7:16 am

In other news, grass is green, sky is blue.

Roger Ebert doesn’t have any ground to stand on or anything at all backing up his claims about gaming. He’s spent his career on HOLLYWOOD. Your average Hollywood movie has far less artistic quality than your average game (EA products excluded).


On September 28, 2007 at 8:20 am

Yes Jetset, but the problem is that this man has a huge following of people who know very little about gaming, so when he says it’s not art like a movie is, they believe in what he says, not knowing enough about the medium themselves.


On September 28, 2007 at 11:15 am

I think Ebert has a vendetta against games because of all the undeniably crappy game-to-movies he is forced to review. I know I would.

Really though, if your only contact with gaming is through having to watch all the game-to-movies out there you would, quite naturally, think that gaming is crap entertainment too. It is just like as if you were a gamer who had never seen a movie but had played every single piece of trash game based on a film. You would think that all cinema sucks, except Goldeneye.


On September 28, 2007 at 11:56 am

Indeed, Ebert cannot comment on gaming unless he made a game or is a very big player of them, and since hes none of those what right does he have on judging gaming like if it were an F class movie, Video games is one of the most innovative forms of art, people can make worlds never imagined, stories that would last forever, if that is not art then i dont know what is! in any case if it isint art, im sure its at least a Culture that humankind finally evolved to.


On September 30, 2007 at 2:15 pm

Roger Ebert is someone I used to respect and usually took his word on whether a movie was total crap or not before dishing out the dough. Lately, ever since his counterpart Siskel died and Roeper became his partner, almost everything gets a Two Thumbs Up. So, I honestly do not pay attention to him anymore. He also has no place or right to say what is or isn’t “art”. A painting of the Virgin Mary with elephant dung was considered ‘art’, so why not video games? Developers, and and all of the other specialists that work on a game usually go to an art college (S.C.A.D. being an example) and if he seriously thinks that all of the designing and creativity that goes into creating a game is not art at its base – then he is an idiot. How can you take a man seriously who game Mr & Mrs Smith a thumbs up? He needs to stay out of the game-critic business and try to reconnect with what he is paid to do.


On October 1, 2007 at 2:22 pm

A critic is essentialy someone who gets paid to express their opinion and then back up their arguments. Since criticism, at it it’s core, is based upon opinions, how can any critic be right or wrong?

I do want to point out that Mr. Ebert did not say that video games are not nor could be art, but that they currenlty are not HIGH ART and he is not very optimistic that they will evolve into high art. He also made the same statement about film and that there are a very limited number of films that he would consider to be high art.

At their base, I believe that video games are creative/artistic endeavors. However, I have to say that video games do not give me the same sense of awe/wonder or the idea of an opening to something that is “more” that I get from observing a great painting (such as Josef Albers’ “Homage to the Square” series), or reading a great novel (i.e. “War & Peace”). In other words, I have not been moved by a video game as I have been moved by other forms of artistic expression. But I don’t discount the possibility.

Video games are still a fairly new form of expression and I think people are still trying to figure out how to best truly understand and critique them. Time will tell.