Ever since Jesus returned to Earth last November in the form of the Nintendo Wii, there's been a renewed interest in the age-old debate over whether video games can be considered art. This past weekend, the Washington Post asked one of their more deserving Pulitzer Prize winners, book critic Michael Dirda, to weigh in on the topic after a couple of weeks with BioShock, the Xbox 360 shooter that's been so well reviewed some are even calling it "the Superbad of video games." But while Dirda "admired the game's visuals" and found the plot "gripping," he still wouldn't call it art. "I would hesitate to go that far … When there's a video game that makes the player depressed, that's when the medium might be onto something as an art form," he says.
It's worth noting, though, that Dirda was only able to make it to the third of the game's eleven levels, meaning he pretty much sucks at video games. "Here's where I keep getting killed," he tells Mike Musgrove, one of the Post's more technologically adept writers, who also set up Dirda's Xbox. "I've got a first-aid kit, but I haven't figured out how to use it."
Vulture's still undecided on whether we consider video games art (an Xbox 360 in our mailbox might help us make up our minds), but we think it's probably unfair to ask Dirda, a gaming novice, to pass judgment on BioShock's artistic merit. Would they ask an illiterate to review books? Or a cinematic ignoramus to review movies? Oh.