Interesting read, being an advertising art director and a hardcore gamer at the same time often left me pondering about the distinction in art in games as many people here share. As mentioned in the article, art creates impact. And impact carves a special place in the audience's minds.
In 1917 French artist Marcel Duchamp exhibited a urinal and called it art. Eighty-seven years later it was voted the most influential artwork of the 20th century by 500 art world professionals.
Art is notoriously tough to define. The moment a reasonable description of art is agreed upon, something comes along that demands it be re-evaluated. The latest culprit to upset the balance is video games. The debate of whether or not video games are an art form began as a discussion among academics a little less than a decade ago, and has since gained momentum in the video games community and, to some extent, the mass media.
One side argues that video games are increasingly valuable cultural artefacts that employ new technologies and a range of creative processes to produce an effective, and artistic, entertainment medium. The other side argues that the interactivity of video games renders them unfit to be classified as art. But this feature doesn’t aim to draw conclusions--it aims to give voice to those who have not yet had their say. Do video game developers see themselves as artists? Do they want the games they make to be labelled as art? Do they care?
All art takes into account the intentions of its creator. With that in mind, GS AU has caught up with some of this year’s most innovative game developers including Jonathan Blow (Braid), Media Molecule (Little Big Planet) and Blue Tongue (de Blob) to find out what, if any, artistic motivations were at the heart of their creative visions.
Defining the Indefinable
In November 2005, US film critic Roger Ebert claimed that video games will never be as artistically worthy as movies or literature. He wrote:
”I am prepared to believe that video games can be elegant, subtle, sophisticated, challenging and visually wonderful. But I believe the nature of the medium prevents it from moving beyond craftsmanship to the stature of art. To my knowledge, no one in or out of the field has ever been able to cite a game worthy of comparison with the great dramatists, poets, filmmakers, novelists and composers. That a game can aspire to artistic importance as a visual experience, I accept. But for most gamers, video games represent a loss of those precious hours we have available to make ourselves more cultured, civilised and empathetic.”
It would not be wrong to say that Ebert’s perspective on video games mirrors the majority of the non-gamer public. But what if things were the other way around? In his book titled Everything Bad is Good for You, US author Stephen Johnson defends video games against the widely held preconception that they, along with other forms of popular entertainment, are detrimental to cognitive and moral development. To do this, Johnson envisions a world where video games are the standard and books have newly been invented. He imagines that critic responses to this new medium may be something like this:
“Unlike the longstanding tradition of game playing, which engages the child in a vivid, three-dimensional world filled with moving images and musical soundscapes, navigated and controlled with complex muscular movements, books are simply a barren string of words on the page. Reading books chronically under-stimulates the senses. You can’t control their narratives in any fashion; you simply sit back and have the story dictated to you.”
Video games have a long ladder to climb before Johnson’s imagined reality can become our own, but acknowledging games as an art form is a step in the right direction. While defining art relies to some extent on subjectivity, there are certain characteristics that appear to be staples in any definition of the visual arts: great technical ability, self expression, a level of visual harmony and/or beauty, an insight into reality and the potential to make the viewer question the way he or she looks at the world. Interactivity, you’ll notice, is not on the list. This, in a nutshell, is the case against video games as an art form. Traditional forms of art engage the viewer in a static way; video games engage the viewer through participation.
Helen Stuckey, games lab curator at the Australian Centre for Moving Image in Melbourne, has been working with video games for eight years. She says art cannot happen without interactivity. “Interactivity is a very challenging experience for earlier definitions of what art is,” she said. “I’m trained to tell people what’s art and video games are art--they are a beautiful blend of art and technology that take years to develop and are full of craftsmanship of an extraordinary kind.”
The question of whether video games should or shouldn’t strive for artistic value is important. Certainly, with games like Okami, Shadow of the Colossus or BioShock it’s easy to imagine art playing a central role in the original aims of the game. But should all developers keep this in mind? “I think they should,” Stuckey said. “You certainly see games where you really feel that art has been part of the ambition, and in some ways they’re much closer to the traditional definition of art, both in the fact that they’re storytelling games and that they’re beautiful.”
At the same time, Stuckey warns that video games are creating their own rules about what is artistically valuable; an art form in their own right, and by their own standards.
“Games create their own kind of aesthetic, so we don’t want to be comparing them to other art forms to find out what makes them art. We have to look within games. Most art forms have a relationship between the creator and the audience--audiences now come with their own concepts and ways of reading that enriches the artwork. That’s a very active relationship when you’re dealing with video games, because you have to be literally playing the video game to appreciate it.”
In early 2006, US author and self-confessed gamer Nic Kelman wrote Video Game Art, a book whose aim is to convince readers that video games are the dominant art form of the new millennium. Like Stuckey, Kelman argues that video games have created new standards for artistic merit.
“A game like Shadow of the Colossus might be considered valuable for its beauty, music, or as a whole,” Kelman said. “A game like Madden NFL 08 might be considered artistically valuable for its ability to portray reality as accurately and deeply as possible. The emotional impact of video games is just as deep and strong as a movie or a book or a piece of music. The people who do not agree are most often those who have never played a video game. “
Historically, art has been discussed in such a way that supports the notion that an artwork is created by a single mind. Despite collaborative projects such as film, art has continued to be framed this way. In countries like Japan, where manga and anime are celebrated as mainstream art forms, there is a much stronger sense of video games as an art form made by collaborative voices. But the West is still to catch up.
“It’s a shame that people don’t have an understanding of the faces behind games, and that games are made by creative people,” Stuckey said. “Your average punter can tell you the roles that go into the making of a film, but even your most passionate gamer can often struggle with defining the roles that go into making a game.”
According to Stuckey, gamers care passionately about having a more complex dialogue around how video games impact on their lives, what they make them think about, and how they resonate with broader philosophical ideas. “I’d like to see a lot more knowledge in the general public about who actually makes games. We don’t really discuss creators and I think that would be good for games. People have to start associating them with creative people rather than companies.”
However, not all academics share Stuckey’s opinion that video games should strive to be artistic. Miguel Sicart, assistant professor in game design at the Center for Computer Game Research at the IT University of Copenhagen, argues that game developers have no obligation to produce artistic products. “The mandate of mainstream developers is to make games that are fun and that sell,” Sicart said. “This doesn’t mean that they have to renounce making good games, but art challenges its spectators and users, and blockbuster games cannot afford to do that. Games should be fun and engaging. Art requires more than that. There is a clear trend towards making artistic games, but this is coming from indie developers.”
Sicart’s own take on the debate is that in order to understand video games as art, society must place them in relation to, not separate from, previous forms of artistic expression. “In a game like Braid, the mechanics are the message. To play this game is to understand the relation between the actions afforded to players and the vague narrative that frames them. In this sense, Braid is close to be a conceptual art piece, and hence a work of art.”
Diamond in the Rough
One of the most innovative games of the year was the Xbox Live Arcade puzzle platformer Braid. Its creator, Jonathan Blow, used the game as a reflection of his own personal experience, thoughts and ideas of the world. If art is partly about self expression, then Braid is a definite contender.
“I definitely produced Braid as an art object. Nothing in the game is random; everything is put there because I wanted it to be there,” Blow said. “It’s not all autobiographical, just a metaphorical version of things that happened in my life, things I’ve thought about, or things I’ve done. There were things that I wanted to try and things I wanted to show people, and video games are a natural way to do that.”
It took Blow three and a half years to make Braid into a game that has simplicity and elegance at its core. After its Xbox Live Arcade release, it was purchased by more than 55,000 people during the first week and was critically acclaimed by the review community (GameSpot gave the game a score of 9.5, the highest score given to a downloadable game in the site’s history). Reviewers praised Braid for its innovative use of the time reversal as a platformer, its art style, music score and story. But the most obvious thing about Braid is its distinction from other video games.
“It exists for a different reason than what most games do, and people pick up on that,” Blow said. “It isn’t a game that caters to a certain demographic, and it’s not a game that’s trying to do the same thing as another game. People appreciate where Braid is coming from, and what it’s trying to do.”
As somebody who makes games and intends them to be art, Blow thinks the debate surrounding video games as art is not a useful one.
“I know what I’m doing, so why do I need to argue about it? It doesn’t change what I’m doing. It just doesn’t make sense for someone to come along and tell me that what I’m doing is not art.
“The problem that I have with the ostensible argument of whether games can be art is that people very seldom approach things at that level of thought. It’s not just a level of discussion that seems very productive or helpful.”
According to Blow, games like Braid that differ from the mainstream can help change public opinion on the artistic value and worth of video games. But if video games are to ever become more than just mere entertainment, they will need to master a new formula that is innovative and successful. New York Times writer Daniel Radosh argues that the games that come closest to achieving artistry tend to be non-narrative: abstractions of light and sound and puzzle adventures that subvert a gamers’ sense of space, time and physics. Radosh argues that while a game like Halo 3 is flawless, it does not succeed as a work of art because it does not even try.
“Like cinema, games will need to embrace the dynamics of failure, tragedy, comedy and romance,” Radosh argues. “They will need to stop pandering to the player’s desire for mastery in favour of enhancing the player’s emotional and intellectual life. Gamers have a right to expect more than what the medium now has to offer.”
Blow is trying to achieve just that. But he’s not certain the revolutionary change he’s hoping for will come anytime soon. “In order for people to appreciate video games we, the developers, have to stop creating 99.9 per cent juvenile crap,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s going to happen.
“I would really appreciate if the game development community explored the potential of the medium and make stronger and more compelling games outside what we’re doing right now. No one save teenage boys and a few exceptions wants to run around killing monsters as Kratos from God of War. Very few people are interested in that on a societal level. We, as developers, have found an audience that is very interested in that and we keep playing to that audience, because it’s very risky not to.”
“There are very few games right now that are really aimed at changing a person’s life. I think I’ve made some attempt at that direction with Braid. It’s a game that is trying to speak to people, to make them see the world in a new way. I hope we can keep on creating games like that.”
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Myself being both a avid gamer and artist, I find this topic rather interesting. My problem with the idea of video games being art is that by definition they are not. They are as their title denotes a 'game' something designed for entertainment as opposed to cultural and spiritual enrichment. They have artistic qualities no doubt and many boarder a fine line between art and entertainment (as do most mediums of expression). I've found in my musings on the subject that the artwork in itself is not art unless the intention of art is there also. Duchamps piece above being a perfect example. Before the intention was there the urinal was just that, a urinal, but with the introduction of artistic intentions it evolved into something above its original form. I'm not saying games cannot be art, infact games have already been art. Though With the exception of suda51 and to a lesser extent kojima most developers dont create games to be art, they make them to be fun so they will sell. In closing remember that art has never come about by accident without artistic intent
Great feature, Gamespot; you talked to many informative views on this subject. Many indie studios are striving for this kind of media expression. You guys could've talked to someone like Denis Dyack if you wanted to discuss games as art. Regardless of what you think of his latest project, you have to admit the studio strives for a total engagement with the player inside their created universe. The studio even works with academia and has some that teach courses over at the local universities near Ontario. Courses like "Interactive Arts and Sciences" can essentially get new artists a degree in interactive media. New talent like this is future for our industry.
Nice article Gamespot - I found it really interesting reading. Please write more stuff like this, though I know it won't appeal to everyone.
AussieMonster and s0m4cruz: You're both right. The original concept for the game came from a group of Dutch students. They were approached by THQ, and the Wii game was made in Australia.
To me it seems more natural to consider video games art than a movie. For the planning the movie has the games have double, the film-makers need to cast actors...developers have to create the actors,their actions, their movements; the filmmaker picks a camera and captures the world, a game does that after creating the world, things behave after the laws of physics, of dynamics, lighting, shadows...the developer has to create all that. there's a script for movies, there's also for most games...and so on...I told that to my mother and she looked to the tv screen while I was playing GTA4 and she was almost perplexed for seeing it in a new way. it is so simple. But then again, what weight do comments like Ebert's have if he probably never played a game? how can he even generalize his opinion regarding "most gamers"? I partially agree with Jonathan Blow that arguing about this doesn't lead nowhere, but some light has to be shed on those ignorant enough to misunderstand gaming following their own misconceptions and prejudice.
"The industry should promote its own talent, but that could quite easily start with studios promoting their own talent first" That last line pretty much sums it all up A very interesting article. I haven't always considered games art. Back in earlier days everything felt a lot like a toy. But looking back now, even Super Mario for the NES seems like art when looked at in a certain light I think gamers should think about the games they play some more, and be just a little bit more critical and demanding about the.. intellectual (for lack of a better word) aspect that they get out of games. Power to the new digital age's main artform! :]
what's the point of arguing about a definition? why do you people refuse to destroy the importance of something's classification?
Okami is one of the best artistic games i have ever played. trully a masterpeice. video games are indeed art.
games have the potential to tell better stories than movies, have equal imagery, and more interactivity. If movies are art, then games are art.
I can't be the only one to think this, but when I was reading the list of properties which something must have to be considered art, I read each one and thought a mental "yes." Games can do everything they say other conventional artworks can, and in my opinion actually provoke a lot more thought than most paintings, and deeper emotional involvement than films. Not neccesarily every single game, but a lot of them. And they, at the very least, help to create a wonderful imagined world of "What Ifs" in the mind of the gamer. It is a medium of art which inspires the creation of other art; whether drawn, written, computer-modelled, sculpted. Every day you'll see things which are, at the least, influenced by the art of games.
If they dont think video games are art, then just look at the "drawings" that developers do during the production/development of games!? That sure makes wonderful art, in my personal opinion- anything that has to do with how something looks can be considdered a form of art,its how the maker or 'artist' expresses him/her self!
Also, many games are criticized or praised for being "outside the box." Games are also praised and criticized for their story lines, which invoke "thought and ideas." It takes creativity and an artistic expression to tell a unique story and organize all the interactive elements to portray that story. Just because it is an interactive form of entertainment doesn't mean that art is negated. I think that this is a novel art form that people 100s of years from now will appreciate. I wonder what the consensus was on films when they first were being developed.
@flamefeather: Agreed. And the harmonization of all these artistic elements is an artform itself. How you harmonize all the elements goes a long way towards the artistic expression of the game. There really isn't too much of a difference between a film and a game if you think about it. One's just meant to be interactive. Anyone who thinks that gaming isn't an art form in the face of all these facts in limiting their thought inside the box.
Games are definitely an art form nowadays. I don't go to art school but I have taken system design classes and have a friend who goes to art school and the process of creating and implementing the design in video games is similar to how artists in art school do their thing. Video games nowadays require loads of creativity. There is creativity involved when creating the core system concept and when creating the art concepts. Ofcourse games are an artform. They are, atleast just in current days, novel and non-conventional art forms.
ruffluffs very true.. "I hate when "artist" can just throw paint on a canvas and critics are like oh its genius! while the really artistic " but with that said...beauty is in the eye of the beholder....but games are a total artform from the creation to the end product..even the coding has to be considered an artform cause without those dudes. your games wouldnt dance or pop the way they do..well most of them anyways...lol...and i red someones other post...it red..who cares...lol...that must be another intelligent so called gamer...lol...theres so much artwork in games and beauty it amazes me how creative people can be....instead of downing it,you should give thanks to all the artists in the gaming community and recognition to all the people that give us enjoyment and awe everytime we turn on our machines...be it old gen,next gen,or pc....give them a hell yeah and hope this artwork never ends....rock and freakin roll...lol
This would have been good to have as a resource when a wrote a paper on the subject last year in my philosophy of art class.
Without a doubt, videogames ARE art. There isn't much of a debate about it---It takes an entire team of talented and artistic individuals to produce a game. In that right, it's a collaborative art much like a film. More to the point--Films and music are meant to be entertaining; that doesn't disqualify them as art, so why should it disqualify video games? However, there are varying degrees of artistic value in games which is the only reason I can figure some of you view games purely as product. Much like film once again, you have a wide array of titles out there and they go from the far end of pure profit makers all the way to the other end, which would be your classic artsy indie film. "art serves no function. art only exists to serve as art. Art does however serve a purpose, to inspire and to raise thought. Video games dont= art... EVER. They might have characteristics that art has, but at the end of the day video games function to serve as interactive entertainment. Think about it. (awaiting some nerd to reply telling me how wrong i am, even before he has taken time to ponder on what i wrote.)" Last time I checked video games don't serve any more of a function than movies, music, or literature. To say that all games are meant solely to function as interactive entertainment is quite a narrow minded way of looking at the medium. In relative terms it's like saying that ALL books are textbooks. It's just a fundamentally ridiculous path of logic. Video games don't hunt you food, provide you with shelter, or keep you warm---so what exactly is your argument about function and purpose? Staying with the whole function and purpose jazz; A chair can be just a chair, but what happens when an artist takes a chair and makes it something all new and barely recognizable? Even though it may still serve the function as somewhere you just put your butt, it's obviously speaking on other levels besides just its function. "They might have characteristics that art has, but at the end of the day video games function to serve as interactive entertainment." If it looks like art, if it smells like art---if people are inspired by it artisically, then it's art. The medium is different, so you can't directly compare it to a painting and say "Well it does this but it doesn't do this, so it's not art." Art is expression intended to invoke a reaction from the viewer. Sometimes it's just made for the artist. All in all, art already has a vague enough definition to allow plenty of breathing room, especially for video games where developers employ people like technical artists and animators. I'm pretty sure MANY millions of people have been inspired by games. In fact, that's the exact reason the production values--the stories--the presentations have become INCREASINGLY art focused. Kids play games---->get inspired---->have an idea---->make a game themselves eventually. It's a cycle that will continue, and in 10 years this debate will be as moot as it is today. Artists produce artwork. Is Hideo Kojima not an artist? Are the gents behind Okami not artists? Is Tetsuya Nomura not an artist? Is Nobou Uematsu not an artist? These people all produce artwork, yet some would stand before them and declare their work pure product. It's really a shame, and I'm sorry to say---but you people who can't see video games as art have little concept of what art is. Art isn't necessarily 'truth.' It is an expression of the artist or artists. This all comes back to the toilet seat. 99% of the toilet seats in the world aren't art, but every once in a while you have an artist who challenges people's concept of art. If even one game can be considered as being artistic in the least (if you can't merit it as a whole), it would be silly to claim games can't be art. I think the ratio of video games being art to toilet seats being art is much more in the favor of video games. I have to criticize my own relation there; because I think video games are far easier to recognize as art than a toilet seat. It's unfortunate that so many debate the medium as an art. I'm fairly certain there was a similar degree of criticism about films when they first came onto the scene, but time has shown us that film very much is a medium of art. Films are a sum of artistic parts: writing, photography, acting, and drama. Games share little difference in that 'culmination of artistic elements' concept besides how the experience is conveyed. Please, give credit where it's due and get with the times. We are way behind the Japanese on this, and yet Japan has admitted the transition of power from Japan's shores to Western developers as far as game development. If you don't see any game as art (but profess to have played any of the many many games that millions could attest to as art) then all I can really say to you is: If you didn't get it, then it wasn't for you.
This debate goes on even in the gamer community. Take Movies as an art. It takes years to get a good script together, and that only produces two hours worth of media. Yet, gamers want longer games, not better scripted shorter campaigns. While it would be nice to have the LotR equivalent video game, that still would clock under 10 hours (too short screams gamers) if translated one to one. I for one wish we had better scripts, dialog and story above 30 hours of gameplay. But even only talking between gamers, I think I'm in the minority. What is wrong though is we now get 4-5 hour campaigns that are even worse, artistically, than the 30+ hour games.
I totally agree with Flamefeather but also if u think videogames don't have art in them or aren't art themselves in some for just look at the Spore website!
I think of video games as a medium, in the same way as a movie or a canvas. I think it's impossible to deny that it contains art. Stories, graphics, music are all art. Is putting all of this stuff together harmoniously also art? I think so, but there will be people who disagree, and it's to be expected. I've met people who think movies are art, but not video games. In that case, they're just wrong ;-)
We consider movies to be art. and most video games any more staff more artists then most movies. I have been inspired from video games from final fantasy, God of war, Odin sphere. there are many games out there that are written better then novels and better visuals then movies. so if you try to say video games are not a form of art or a amazing marriage of different types of art then you really have no idea what gos into a lot of games. these designers are telling a story and letting you take the journey not with black letters on a page but with control and options of your own. if i were a game designer then i would be insulted at the questioning of rather what i did was art or not.
demosnipe1589: To say that videogames do not inspire or raise thought is completely ridiculous. I feel like I need to point you at one game and one game only: Planescape: Torment. If nothing else, that game has made me truly ponder what CAN change the nature of a man? tidyspidey: By your definition of art, then it would seem that videogames CAN be art, but only if they're made "to be itself as art." I personally believe that videogames are art. It's artistic, in a way, to mimic reality as closely as possible (sports games). And, just like motion pictures (which are considered art) tell a sometimes moving story, so too can videogames (BioShock, Fallout Series, Final Fantasy 7).
You are right, demosnipe1589. Many people can debate all they want about what they see as art - and this point in itself could be debated extensively I.E. if one person sees something as art, then it can be said to be art.... but still, the overall definition for art is that it has no function other than to be itself as art...
Art is such a big word, the meaning of which occupies a big scope. I personally think that this depends on how a gamer perceives the game. However, I agree with one of the posts from Oseanis. Games today demand creativity & imagination. Creativity & imagination are like the offsprings or products of "Art". The developers should have tons of these to be able to come up with games like Fallout, God of War, Final Fantasy, Spore, Sims & so many others. The developers engineer the artwork of the game. And without art in gaming, we might as well be just stuck with the good old Pacman, Gallaga, Battle City etc... The artwork or "art" is one of the big factors that draws us deeper into the game...our love for the characters, the setting, the story ... those are all part of the so-called "art". So, it's just my personal opinion so please, I hope no one kills me, bottomline is electronic gaming or interactive entertainment has ART as a big chunk of its ingredient.
art serves no function. art only exists to serve as art. Art does however serve a purpose, to inspire and to raise thought. Video games dont= art... EVER. They might have characteristics that art has, but at the end of the day video games function to serve as interactive entertainment. Think about it. (awaiting some nerd to reply telling me how wrong i am, even before he has taken time to ponder on what i wrote.)
Wow so much talk about how games make you feel, and Metal Gears Solid 4 wasn't even mention. The way I felt when I saw *spoiler* snake crawling through the radiation *end spoiler* was more profound than any book or movie has ever made me feel. I have never empathized, sympathized, and related to another character in any other book, movie or game, ever. And i've read a lot of books, seen a lot of movies, and played a lot of games. This whole video games are not art debate is stupid. The only people that hold on to this notion are the people that never play games and don't get what the big deal is. Video games is the convergence of ALL art forms. There are narratives, soundtracks, animation, acting (both vocal and motion-capture), and literature (many games like oblivion have books scattered throughout the land that tell of the history of the world you're playing in.) To say it's not art because it is interactive is simply pretentious. Interactivity increases the audiences emotional involvement, so if anything, it transcends art and becomes something better.
I think video games have art in them, but I would not call them art. In fact I would liken a video game to an art gallery. Inside the game (just like the gallery), there is lots of art, but I would be hardpressed to call the gallery itself art. I also do not trust art professionals to decide what is or is not art.
The biggest concern for most art critics is that they believe art should be enjoyed and understood by a select few. They might argue that since games are massed produced that they cannot be art, so are movies though, and if I go to an art exibit I can buy a replica of a famous painter. It is just a cop out, on who govern what is and isn't art. art is about self expression, game designers express themselves through their form, though the mainstream art world would say its not art just because they want to feel special
I think games have a very unique opportunity in the way they can become art. When I defend video games as art, the first game that comes to mind is Bioshock. What could and should have been just another shooter with cool looking environments became one of the best games I've played in several years. In fact, the last time I got that into a video game, its world and its story, was Final Fantasy 7. I spent days just wallowing in what I had just experienced. The characters, the story, the madness... What made Bioshock successful as a work of dramatic art is the same thing every successful dramatic undertaking has to have: a story that captures the themes of our existence and forces us to question what we accept as truth. What is unique to games is that the player is participating in the drama. The player can have choices that drastically alter the course of the game. Unfortunately, not Bioshock nor Fallout 3 has truly been able to accomplish what this should be in a video game. Sure, you made choices that had effects, but it still somehow came out forced and cheesy. Many developers are stepping up to this plate, now, but none have truly succeeded at the level I believe video games will reach within the next ten years. Now, getting down to the development itself. Just because a game doesn't attempt to do what the previously mentioned titles attempted does not deny that they are art in every sense of the word. Hundreds of very talented and dedicated people work tireless hours crafting these worlds for us to enjoy. Every room and every model, someone spent hours and hours of their lives pouring there hearts into. These are people with vision; from the artists who dream up the worlds and scenarios, to the programmers who dream up new tricks to help the artists create cooler sh*t. It's not something a stuck-up, hard-nosed, jag-off movie critic, or any critic/consumer could ever understand, unless they are indeed a part of this group of people. That is what art is. It's when people create that which didn't exist. It becomes high art when we use these creations to express ideas and themes that change people's lives.
Almost everything in this world is a lie. Art is truth. Games strive to be dramatic, challenging and sometimes funny, and they provide an entertaining, even cathartic escape from reality. But I haven't found fundamental, sublime, unvarnished truth in video games. I'm a dude, so I'll happily agree Lara Croft is hot. But is there one scrap of transcendent truth in a gun-toting, gymnastic, wise-cracking babe? A fearless, aristocratic action-hero with unnatural breasts who raids tombs for a living is just another lie. A high-fidelity flight simulation like the IL-2 Sturmovik series is technically accurate, so does that make it art? The game replicates the physics of flight and historic appearance of vintage warbirds, but it lacks emotional clarity: IL-2 doesn't make you understand why aircrew during World War II felt so terrified, exhausted, and sickened by the deaths of their friends. Genuine war art connects its audience with the fragile humanity of men sent to kill, and die. Speaking of pathological fear, game creators would be taken seriously if they finally acknowledged the power of romantic love, and artistic merit of true human sexuality. The nude form is art because it strips away everything but honesty. Stick one moment of naked truth inside a video game, and you get the perverted censorship of a marketing association that labels it pornographic. Real artists unafraid of truth would tell the ESA, Wal-Mart, religious dictators, politicians and other hypocrites to screw themselves. My games collection totals more than 300 (that number would be larger if I resisted the urge to purge). I've owned Pong, Atari 2600, NES, Xbox and too many PCs, so I'm not an outsider being critical of something I don't understand. Nevertheless, I agree with Roger Ebert (although most movies are crap, too). Games are product, not art, because they aren't sincere.
this was so obvious, sooner or later people will start talking about video games as art, there will be even courses in college about videogames, is Art at it's best. I was talking about this, like a year ago or more. It's something that the people that haven't been raised with videogames could never understand, the kids from today will, and when they are older things will change.
I've read "Everything bad is good for you" and gamespot took that quote out of context. Johnson explains the merits of each medium--literature (good literature), games, and film. Gamespot makes it seem like he's saying books are stupid. Actually, he still admits in his book that books in general do stimulate the imagination more because of the fact that one literally has to imagine scenarios and build upon ones own experiences. He explains what games do though that books, movies can't and what kind of DIFFERENT thinking they provoke--not mindless games though, not brainless shooters and such. He discusses puzzle games and long adventure games that require one to think in short term ways on how to solve something and in long term ways on how to accomplish much larger overall goals. He uses Legend of Zelda: Windwaker as one of his main game examples.
developers craft games by sketching brainstorming and devlopment. Its like books pictures and movies all rolled toghther and then made interactive. Thus art
Art is supposed to inspire those who look at it, and the reason I've played videogames since I'm 4 is because I have always been inspired by them, so there is no reason why I can't call a videogame art
Nickfury: LOL, actually yes a chair sent to a gallery with a sign that says "chair" would be art. Chairs as art: http://www.gallery202online.com/linkpages/chairisartb.html What you would be doing is basically creating a dichotomy. Or maybe you were trying to make the point that the chair IS NOT art, which incidently makes it art because of the statement implied in your actions. Also, even if you were there screaming at every single person saying "This is NOT art you are all morons." Your display would probably just become art to someone there, it would definitely be art to me. Also please tell me the "reason" "intent or "statement" is in this 140,000,000.00 (adjusted for inflation) painting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No._5,_1948 Furthermore, how can you know what the artists intent was? Doesn't just the fact that a game has drawings displayed millions of times per a second, or that it was originally conceived by an artist define it as art? Aren't the musical scores for these games art, crappy or not. Or what about many of the unique stories? Books and movies are art but a video game isn't because theres some profit incentive? Isn't that exactly why we have a movie industry and a music industry, because of profit? Shouldn't they also not be considered art then by this standard? Lastly, getting back to intention, id have to argue that its pretty hard to do ANYTHING without intention. And Id also argue that trying to do something WITHOUT intention defeats the purpose, regardless whether you want to or not, and by the way, what intentions decide what is art? If a guy drawing concept art for "Big rigs over the road trucking" is doing it because he gets paid and for no other reason then does that eliminate his results as art? What about the fact that he INTENTIONALLY drew it? Intention is a weird thing isn't it? It doesn't become art because you necessarily intended it to, that just normally helps a lot.
Since when is realism not a form of art? And how couldn't video games be art when ART institutes all over the place teach students how to make certain elements of video games.
As a side note Duchamp 'picked' the urinal and claimed it was art because he wanted to destroy the notion that you can objectively define something as art, which people like Roger Ebert are attempting to do. For Duchamp there no absolute or inherent values which make one object more art than any other object. If you want to consider a game art than you are free to do so, and have every right to do so. One of the main reasons something like the Mona Lisa has become revered as an art object is because of the public perception of it as art. For better or worse games will be considered art when the public as a whole considers it as art.
Yeah, those shallow games like Bioshock and GoW have NO unique artistic styles at all. Uh uh. Nope. O_O MrHoboX, I agree with you totally. These guys are just trying to sound smart, and they're just making themselves look pretentious.
He had me right until one of his last statements. " No one save teenage boys and a few exceptions wants to run around killing monsters as Kratos from God of War. Very few people are interested in that on a societal level." That really made him sound like a pretentious Jackhole of an artist IMO.