"I was a fool for mentioning video games in the first place," writes the famed movie critic. "I would never express an opinion on a movie I hadn't seen."
This past April, Ebert wrote a post titled "Video games can never be art" that carried dogmatic statements like this: "Let me just say that no video gamer now living will survive long enough to experience the medium as an art form".
Many gamers would argue that video games already are art and that Ebert simply doesn't know what he is talking about. His post drew over 4,500 comments.
"My error in the first place was to think I could make a convincing argument on purely theoretical grounds," he writes in his latest post "Okay, kids, play on my lawn". Continuing, he adds, "What I was saying is that video games could not in principle be Art. That was a foolish position to take, particularly as it seemed to apply to the entire unseen future of games. This was pointed out to me maybe hundreds of times. How could I disagree? It is quite possible a game could someday be great Art."
Ebert still believes that video games can never be Art. "But I should never have said so," he adds. "Some opinions are best kept to yourself."
I disagree. Ebert is entitled to his opinion and entitled to express his opinion, just as 4,500 commenters are entitled to their opinion. Perhaps it was the sweeping, definitive nature of Ebert's original post that caused such a stir? Or that he actually is someone many gamers respect?
The humility in admitting that his mistake, though, is admirable. Saying that one is wrong is not easy — especially for someone who has made a living by his opinion. But Ebert has done it.
"Who was I to say video games didn't have the potential of becoming Art? Someday? There was no agreement among the thousands of posters about even one current game that was an unassailable masterpiece. Shadow of the Colossus came closest. I suppose that's the one I should begin with."
Yes, Roger. It is.