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‘Video games can never be art’

The late film critic Roger Ebert once wrote:

Nevertheless, I remain convinced that in principle, video games cannot be art. Perhaps it is foolish of me to say “never,” because never, as Rick Wakeman informs us, is a long, long time. Let me just say that no video gamer now living will survive long enough to experience the medium as an art form.

I have always seen this as a man from an older generation failing to grasp new forms of media, expression, and art. As great a film critic as Ebert was, he completely and utterly missed the point with this oft-quoted statement. There’s an endless list of games – large triple A and smaller, independent titles alike – that I would most definitely consider art and that will, in the future, end up in museums and art teachers’ classes.

I normally don’t really care what other people think, but I was reminded of this statement these past few weeks as I played through To The Moon, the critically acclaimed 2011 indie RPG from FreeBirdGames. The game tells the tale of two people aiding in granting a dying old man his last wish – to go to the moon. The game is relatively short – between 4 and 5 hours – but in that relatively short runtime, its creators manage to tell a moving, endearing, funny, emotional, and ultimately beautiful story that rivals – and, in my view, rises above – some of the best films and books ever created.

To The Moon is available on Steam, GOG, and even Origin, and I highly suggest you play it. If it doesn’t fit your budget or you only want the story, I uploaded my experience with To The Moon for all to see. Even if you have no interest in video games, I would still strongly suggest experiencing this uniquely beautiful work of art.

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