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Are video games an art form?

Last posted Oct 30, 2011 at 04:42PM EDT. Added Aug 19, 2011 at 02:39PM EDT
41 posts from 32 users

Yes. It truly depends though on the creator of the game. Their passions and ambitions are placed in the game to show beauty and make the person think about what is going on around them. “Is what I am doing the right thing? What will change on this? Will the ending give me exactly what I wanted?” These are things that are art. You can’t just say “Yes”, or “no” 100% percent. It’s the creator’s job, along with the audience to get feelings never felt before.

Trust me, I’ve been playing them since I was 4. (HERP)

But in all seriousness, I believe the answer is yes.

Last edited Aug 19, 2011 at 03:17PM EDT

In artistic context, I look at games the same way I do at movies. Some are meant to make a statement, such as Colossus and Bioshock, and some are made simply to turn a profit, like Call of Duty or Madden. I think the primary driving force behind most modern games is to deliver a unique experience, rather than for art or money. Of course, if there’s an exhibit at MoMA dedicated to video games, and if you can call a steaming piece of shit like Transformers 3 a work of art, then video games must be art.

Dictionary.com defines art as: ‘the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.’

Look at stuff like… I dunno, the ancient bridge over Lake Hylia, just as the sun is setting. That made Twilight Princess stick out to me. That possesses significance to me, and it obviously expresses a beauty (albeit a strange one)…

Or… maybe Jet Set Radio Future. That’s been praised as a work of art. It used music and cel shading (and inline skating) to make an impact on a lot of XBox-ers.

And… Psychonauts.If you’ve played it, you’ve experienced art. And that’s my totally unbiased opinion.

Not only are video games art, but they are good art. What other medium has done more to develop techniques and methods for engaging the audiences ability to directly interact with it? Manipulations of size and depth, anticipating the audiences reaction, directing the viewers gaze, have all been employed by the traditional arts to interact with their respective audiences, but video games as a format provide a totally different platform for the audience to interact with the author, and for this reason they have been able to develop ways of generating experiences and emotions with their audience in ways traditional mediums have not.

Alright. First of all, let us have a consensus on the meaning of “art”.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary,
I. Skill; its display, application, or expression.
Thesaurus »

1. Skill in doing something, esp. as the result of knowledge or practice.

According to the Merriam Webster online dictionary, art is defined as:

1: skill acquired by experience, study, or observation
2a : a branch of learning: (1) : one of the humanities (2) plural : liberal arts
b archaic : learning, scholarship
3: an occupation requiring knowledge or skill
4a : the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects; also : works so produced b (1) : fine arts (2) : one of the fine arts (3) : a graphic art
5a archaic : a skillful plan b : the quality or state of being artful
6 decorative or illustrative elements in printed matter

The conception and creation of a videogame does encompass all of these definitions. It requires a huge amount of skill in various fields. The final product is of aesthetic nature, of course.

Now, the question might be “are videogames FINE arts”? Let’s go to the Merriam-Webster dictionary again:

fine art
a : art (as painting, sculpture, or music) concerned primarily with the creation of beautiful objects --usually used in plural b : objects of fine art

This brings the question, are videogames “beautiful objects”? Simple answer: HECK YES !!!!

In my opinion, people who do not want to consider videogames as work of art are people who do not play videogames just because of bias or rampant ignorance. Like Jack Thompson. Arguments may come as “story is B-grade” or “it is an industry which is too young” or “videogames are in decline”.

I don’t care about those ignorant excuses. For me, videogames are beautiful. Some of them express and evoke emotions similar as listening to a timeless classical musical ensemble or movie. And therefore, videogames are art.

For instance, how come this can be called art:

But not this?:





Sigh.

Last edited Aug 20, 2011 at 02:37AM EDT

Dungeon Siege (first one)

Super Castlevania IV

Age of Empires I

These 3 i just mentioned i consider masterpieces of the gaming art.

Yes Video games are a form of art. but there are games that cant be considered the same way as said before, games like madden or CoD which got nothing that makes them unique.

I would just like to state that Roger Ebert has repealed his previous statement about video games not being art. He has said that in an aesthetic sense that it is an art form, but as far as story wise, most games fall short.

I personally agree with Ebert. The purpose of art is to evoke an emotion. The purpose of a game is to entertain. True, there are art forms which manage to do both, such as theatre and film, but most games are primarily concerned with entertaining. There is also the issue of “gameplay as art”. There have been games which have unique ways of being played which people have argued should be considered art, such as Flower or Portal 2. However, that experience of gameplay mechanics cannot truly be considered as art. It is only when the gameplay and the visuals come together would it be considered art, and in most cases the aesthetic is doing most of the work creating he mood and feel of the entire game itself.

I remember that the Smithsonian had recently opened an exhibit for the art of video games. The key word here is “art”. The exhibit doesn’t feature video games, it features video game art. True, the exhibit does allow visitors to play five games: Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers, The Secret of Monkey Island, Myst, and Flower, but the key focus of the exhibit as a whole is the art.

So for now, I think that the aesthetic of video games is an art form, but the games itself rarely are.

imo art has infinite forms, whether it’s nature, paint, junk, or video game graphics, anything has potential.
Some may not agree anything in a video game is ‘art’ but I think that’s mainly because your focusing on beating stuff up too much to enjoy the scenery.
I like to think video games as an art of interactive animation, I guess. Or just something to do when not posting on kym forums.
 
(or maybe cuz literally anyone can take a screencap of anything digital and attempt to say its some kind of art)

I think Wsxdas and Trick Lobo brought attention to something that I think a lot of people in this thread are missing; Wsxdas did it indirectly by using Minecraft as an example.

Art is not just about being able to impress visually. A lot pf people here are posting screenshots of games that have impressive 3D renderings, but when I look for “art”, I look for something that moves me emotionally, and that can be achieved without something that has to be impressive to the eye.

Check out:
Today I Die, a game with rather simple graphics that can be played in about ten minutes.
Paint It Red 2, a game with abstract graphics that you can play as long as it amuses you.
You Find Yourself In A Room, a game entirely in text. That hates you. A lot. Not for the sensitive gamer.

I consider all of these games extremely artistic for various reasons, but none of them because they impressed me with their graphics.

Trick Lobo wrote:

I would just like to state that Roger Ebert has repealed his previous statement about video games not being art. He has said that in an aesthetic sense that it is an art form, but as far as story wise, most games fall short.

I personally agree with Ebert. The purpose of art is to evoke an emotion. The purpose of a game is to entertain. True, there are art forms which manage to do both, such as theatre and film, but most games are primarily concerned with entertaining. There is also the issue of “gameplay as art”. There have been games which have unique ways of being played which people have argued should be considered art, such as Flower or Portal 2. However, that experience of gameplay mechanics cannot truly be considered as art. It is only when the gameplay and the visuals come together would it be considered art, and in most cases the aesthetic is doing most of the work creating he mood and feel of the entire game itself.

I remember that the Smithsonian had recently opened an exhibit for the art of video games. The key word here is “art”. The exhibit doesn’t feature video games, it features video game art. True, the exhibit does allow visitors to play five games: Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers, The Secret of Monkey Island, Myst, and Flower, but the key focus of the exhibit as a whole is the art.

So for now, I think that the aesthetic of video games is an art form, but the games itself rarely are.

IMHO, even the simple fact of being entertained is a form of emotion. And IMHO, it can be quite a deep emotion for some people.

What sometimes bothers me is that more often than not criticism is directed on how the game looks due to 3D rendering techniques and such. However, it is in my opinion that almost all people who deny videogames as a form of art are people who actually do not play videogames at all. Hardcore players will seldom deny that games are a form of art.

So, is art defined by the masses or the intellectual elite? None of them are much of avid gamers. Let’s say that Ebert, Cameron, or a Nobel laureate admits there are games that can be considered art. Then, games will be considered art.

And as all form of “art” (music, movies, visuals, etc), there are those that are meant for commercial reasons and not for “expression itself”. Was Avatar or Titanic created for the sake of art itself? If so, Hollywood would not put the big bucks.

Art is a profound use of skill of expression. And let’s face it, the experience of actually playing a new world or experience in this form is quite revolutionary. I myself have played the games of most of the images shown in this thread, and I can say many of them evoke strong emotions when played seriously. People should only deny or criticize them once they actually play those games thoroughly and not just 5 minutes like Ebert may have done.

Also, Yume Nikki .
% Commercial intent: 0.01%.
% Expression intent: 99.99%

Last edited Aug 22, 2011 at 11:15PM EDT

Videogames will without a doubt be considered art in the future. Things like ukiyo-e prints from Japan were considered mass-produced, commercial wares and were looked heavily down upon during their time by an “intellectual” and “cultural elite”. Kabuki plays were not considered art either but are now a “rich cultural tradition”. Any trip to an art museum will find dozens of objects never intended to be considered art in their original context: canoes, baskets, pots, folding screens, etc that are now recognized for their aesthetic properties. Arguments like how video games are too commercial, or that they lack certain art-ness are ignoring the tradition of given recognition to works of aesthetic value where recognition is due.

Trick Lobo wrote:

I would just like to state that Roger Ebert has repealed his previous statement about video games not being art. He has said that in an aesthetic sense that it is an art form, but as far as story wise, most games fall short.

I personally agree with Ebert. The purpose of art is to evoke an emotion. The purpose of a game is to entertain. True, there are art forms which manage to do both, such as theatre and film, but most games are primarily concerned with entertaining. There is also the issue of “gameplay as art”. There have been games which have unique ways of being played which people have argued should be considered art, such as Flower or Portal 2. However, that experience of gameplay mechanics cannot truly be considered as art. It is only when the gameplay and the visuals come together would it be considered art, and in most cases the aesthetic is doing most of the work creating he mood and feel of the entire game itself.

I remember that the Smithsonian had recently opened an exhibit for the art of video games. The key word here is “art”. The exhibit doesn’t feature video games, it features video game art. True, the exhibit does allow visitors to play five games: Pac-Man, Super Mario Brothers, The Secret of Monkey Island, Myst, and Flower, but the key focus of the exhibit as a whole is the art.

So for now, I think that the aesthetic of video games is an art form, but the games itself rarely are.

The purpose of art is not “to evoke emotion”. Many films are made “just” to “entertain”, and films are unquestionably art. The feeling of being entertained is an emotion anyway if you’re going to insist upon that definition.

yes video games are definetly art. you can see all the time how much detail is put into games to make sure they make you feel and puts you in the right atmosphere.

even some multiplayer games are art. there is atmosphere, you feel that there is something more than just to shoot enemies.
like lets say COD: world at war, there a constant dark atmoshpere: gore, screams of pain, swearing, everyone are tired. this all really makes you feel you are in a bloody war horrid war and not some fun-fun shooty shooting like in other FPS’s
also i really like how the game is deliberatly trying to make you despise your enemy, showing their atrocoties and your allies constaly talknig about how despicable the nazis/japs are giving and odd feeling of plesure when you kill them :3
or lets say battlefield BC2. you feel more that you are little part in a huge conflict ready to do your job and help your team, there is also a great feeling of technology….

examples are endless. almost every game is art some are more artistic, some are less

Last edited Sep 05, 2011 at 03:11PM EDT

Sweatie Killer wrote:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/15393928

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/click_online/9618563.stm

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-15200386

3 things I expect to become more popular in gaming, since this threads been revived.

Holy shit

First the Powerglove evolves into the Wiimote which has accelerometers and optical sensors that actually work

then the Virtualboy evolves into the 3DS which has 3D and gives players less of a headache

and now the Atari Mindlink evolves into something that actually reads your mind

I guess it really just depends on what type of game we’re talking here. I’m probably going to use many examples, so I’ll just pothole them all.

Some types of games aren’t art. Games like Modern Warfare 3, or EA Sports yearly series, aren’t art.

Games are games, but sometimes games can be an art form. Like I said earlier, it all depends on the game in question. Mass Effect, Borderlands, L.A. Noire, Final Fantasy, those types of games are art.

There’s my opinion. It all depends on what game we’re talking about. Some games are art: some games are not.

I think the mechanics of a game can also be seen as a art as much as the environment, but one thing most games lack is good sound effects, sound can really add a lot.

Sweatie Killer wrote:

I think the mechanics of a game can also be seen as a art as much as the environment, but one thing most games lack is good sound effects, sound can really add a lot.

That’s an excellent point, and sometimes it’s a matter of the creation of incredible sound environments, sometimes it’s a good soundtrack, and sometimes it’s about clever gimmicks, such as the way many games take advantage of the speaker in the Wii controller in unique ways.

Skeletor-sm

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