Image from STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl, by GSC Gameworlds

The Smithsonian is showing an exhibition of the art of games. Rob Beschizza of Boing Boing has an interview with its organizer and its curator.

You may or may not be familiar with the more general debate about whether games are, or can be, art. Film critic Roger Ebert spent a long time arguing that games never could be art; he sums up his case here. I read that article quite a while ago; I think his two main points are, one, that the interactivity of games inhibits their being art; two, that games are too much of a business to be art. To be honest I think it’s kind of stupid that anyone is even having this debate (although the responses given on the topic in that Smithsonian interview are pretty good ones); in a world where Marcel Duchamp has signed a urinal and called it art, any debate about whether anything is art seems irrelevant. These days when someone exclaims “but is it art” – often around the time of the Turner prize exhibition – it’s usually meant ironically.