Let me start by saying that I don't agree with what Roger Ebert said about video games not being art. First of all, the debate over what makes art "art" is a long, endless assault of opinions and the lack of unity on that point makes the entire argument moot. Having said that, I personally define art as the act of creation with intent. Within that, there is obviously good art and bad art. I think good art is measured by how successful the artist was in communicating what the intent WAS, and then achieving it.
Now let's talk about what Ebert MEANS to say, which I think can be summarized by one of his own quotes;
" 'No one in or out of the field has ever been able to cite a game worthy of comparison with the great poets, filmmakers, novelists and poets.' To which I could have added painters, composers, and so on, but my point is clear."
Now on this point, I ALMOST agree, but not quite and my disagreement is three-fold
1) There's this wonderful romanticized notion that older=better, and it's just not true. Well at least it's not automatically true. This notion exists EVERYWHERE though, and it's an idea that has woven itself in the minds of appreciators of movies, video games, t.v. shows, books, comics, animation etc. Now I think a lot of the time, people say this because older material sets the precedence for techniques and ideas that will influence the later generations. They do this because they're the first, and they have the opportunity to set the standard for how the medium will be used from then on. Progression is usually slow and gradual after the initial birth of a new medium. Limitation also usually forces creativity and it also usually forces things (like movies) to center their techniques and methods on the basic essential principles of their craft. Video games are no exception to this.
2) Not all video games are meant to be storytelling, a lot are meant to be more about the interactivity and experience of actually PLAYING the game (tetris? katamari?). This is a principle of video game creation and it's something Roger Ebert doesn't seem to understand. It looks to me like he's comparing video games to movies as though games are a slight alternative, and like I said, this isn't always the case. I personally enjoy the cinematic, story-oriented games more, but I know that's not what all games are about.
3) There ARE some games that compare, even on the narrative side. Half Life is a big, fat juicy example of amazing storytelling, amazing immersion, amazing character development, amazing EVERYTHING. There are very few other examples but I don't even need to go beyond this one.
I think Roger Ebert may be right when he says "no video gamer now living will survive long enough to experience the medium as an art form." but it's only probably because nobody will want to give the medium the respect it deserves until it's old enough to automatically deserve it.