Not too long ago, Roger Ebert publicly announced that video games aren’t art and never could be. Then he apologized, not for saying games weren’t art, but for saying it in public.
Now, it seemed odd that such an announcement would come from someone who doesn’t play video games (he admits to having played and enjoyed Cosmology of Kyoto and to having played, but never finished, Myst.). In fact, his comments sounded a lot like the bitter ramblings of scorned lover… which it turns out they were. His former love? The 1989 Konami Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Nintendo game.
Kotaku dug up a clip from Siskel and Ebert’s 1989 Holiday Gift Guide, where Ebert confesses his obsession with the badly rendered ninja turtles, saying:
I got one of these sets (The Nintendo Entertainment System) at home, and I started playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with it. And after a while, after a week of this, I’d find that every time I had a spare moment and every time I came home, I was in front of the set playing with these mutant turtles. It got to the point where it was making me quite unhappy, because I was so obsessed with it, and I finally unplugged the machine and said, “That’s it for Nintendo.”
And if the image of Ebert hunched in front of his TV trying to track down pixelated cartoons of pizza and having a showdown with Shredder doesn’t warm your heart, then check out the ultimate video game showdown between Siskel and Ebert as they confusedly try to play Tecmo Bowl. Even after they’re finished, they’re not sure exactly what they just did.
Video after the jump! (The turtle confession’s at 4:30)