Ebert did in fact say that in his essay:
> Why are gamers so intensely concerned, anyway, that games be defined as art? Bobby Fischer, Michael Jordan and Dick Butkus never said they thought their games were an art form. Nor did Shi Hua Chen, winner of the $500,000 World Series of Mah Jong in 2009. Why aren't gamers content to play their games and simply enjoy themselves? They have my blessing, not that they care.
The response to Ebert's essay showed the vapidity of much of the "games are art" crowd. He was actually treating games seriously, and had thoughtful things to say about them (whether or not he agreed with them). He wasn't criticizing them, but giving his opinion about whether or not they should be considered art (not entirely different from art vs. design arguments).
But it turns out many weren't really interested in deep conversation; they wanted cheap platitudes. They wanted the validation of their hobby by having someone call it art, more than they wanted someone to take their hobby seriously and approach it critically.
As a (former) coder and published writer/poet, I have an appreciation for both. But code is definitely not poetry, not by the meaning that you could expect to use anywhere in the world outside the "code is poetry" crowd.
People want their craft to be lumped in with some "higher" aesthetic. I get that, they want to be afforded the respect (and the attraction from the opposite/same sex) of being "artists" and not just craftspeople.
But you know how you do that? Make art. Write poetry. Don't keep on doing the thing you're doing and ask the world to make it into something it isn't, just to scratch your own ego itch. Do the hard thing instead.