Video Gaming's Unexpected Critic Passes Away After Battle With Cancer

Roger Ebert once insisted that video games "could never be art"


Film critic Roger Ebert has passed away at the age of 70 after a long battle with cancer.

You might wonder why such news is being featured on a video gaming site, but Ebert was unwittingly embroiled in a battle of wits with gamers when he stated in one of his columns that video games could never reach the status of art. He would later mellow on this stance, earning the respect of gamers all over the globe for his considered and thoughtful response to their protests.

Ebert was arguably the world's most well-known movie critic, having started his career in 1967, writing for the Chicago Sun-Times. In 1975, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for criticism — the first film critic to win the accolade. He would become a household name thanks to his television partnership with fellow critic Gene Siskel, which would continue until Siskel's death in 1999.

In recent years, Ebert's health had been impacted by cancer. In 2002 he lost his jaw — along with his ability to speak and eat normally — to thyroid cancer. Last Decemeber, a hip fracture was also revealed to be cancer, and in a blog post only this week, he stated that he would be taking a leave of absence due to ill-health.

Nintendo Life's thoughts are with Ebert's family. While he may have been a dogged and vocal critic of interactive entertainment, he was also man enough to listen to the other side of the debate — something which other critics of video games aren't always prepared to do.

Rest in peace, Roger — we hope they have good movie theatres where you are now.

[via eurogamer.net, bbc.co.uk]