Almost a year ago, Roger Ebert enraged the Internet by asserting that video games could never be classified as art, no matter how many “cinematic” cut scenes or sophisticated storytelling techniques they incorporated. And while that debate was never really resolved (although Ebert eventually conceded, sort of, by saying that maybe he wasn’t really in a position to judge), in the eyes of the government, at least, it's been decided: The National Endowment For The Arts has added video games to its list of art forms eligible for the same federal funding afforded to films, television shows, radio programs, and other works that “enhance the public good.” In doing so, it’s renamed its “Arts On Radio And Television” designation to the more catchall “Arts In Media,” widened the scope to also include Internet-based programs, and forced a resistant culture to consider that video games are more than just a fun way to engage in sociopathic behavior without consequence.
Of course, the likelihood of a video game actually receiving an NEA grant remains somewhat in doubt: Not only would a game demonstrably have to serve “a public good” (something like Call Of Duty: Testicular Cancer Awareness), but it would also have to be content that is given away for free, something video game manufacturers aren’t exactly known for doing. But the ramification of this story seems to be that—no matter what Roger Ebert or other naysayers may believe—the idea that video games are art now has the official backing of the United States of America, and that anyone who disagrees is a traitor. [via Movieline]