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Returning to 'gaming's Citizen Kane'

Or how Metroid Prime remains one of Nintendo's all-time greats.

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Many moons ago when I first started writing about games there were two questions that got bandied about so often they became something like running jokes. Could games ever truly be art, asked one, inspired in part by something the mighty Roger Ebert had once said (and picked apart in brilliant fashion by Rich Stanton on this site in an article that went on to got Ebert's own seal of approval). The other question - often partnering the perennial debate about games as art - was what was the medium's Citizen Kane, and what game could lay claim to the same status as Orson Welles' towering masterpiece?

It's a dumb question that's nevertheless fun to ponder, and I always enjoyed Michael Thomsen's tongue-in-cheek take on IGN back in 2009 that gained a lot of attention (I've always assumed it was tongue-in–cheek, anyway - while there are some cute comparison points Thomsen was always a writer with a sense of mischief, the kind who'll drop a tab of acid before rewatching The Phantom Menace and chronicling the misadventure for all and all the better for it). There's some cold, hard truths in his piece, too; "The game industry is not waiting for its formative masterpieces to materialise from the hazy future," he wrote. "They're here, right now, walking among us. The future was 2002, and in many ways we have yet to surpass it."

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