This article examines the cultural legitimation of digital games, and how film critic Roger Ebert became the unlikely antagonist in a heated popular debate about games and art between 2005 and 2010. Although most scholars dismiss this debate as ignorant and misguided, it reveals much about colloquial notions of art and aesthetics, and it has had far-reaching implications for popular discourse on games. Framed by the Ebert debate, the article analyzes arguments for and against games as art in terms of their sociocultural significance and concludes by arguing that the debate is an important factor in the recent history of gaming culture.