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Can a game be considered art? - Byron Clarke - Jan 15, 2006 07:34 PM

Part 1: A critique of recent arguments on the subject:

http://www.RottenTomatoes.com recently wrote a piece questioning whether videogames can rise to a level that could be considered art. Quotations from Ebert and spielberg himself jumpstart the discussion.

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051206/SCANNERS/51206001

They argue that because videogames require player's to become an active force in the game (decision making/participation), it disallows firm authorial control.

Fancy words aside I am prepared to make the assumption that neither of these two (as talented as they are) have any clue what they're talking about when it comes to games. I would go so far as to say that neither of them have completed a game in the last 10 years. They pose an interesting question, but then back it up with knowledge that is painfully outdated. Case in point, they display a picture of pong to summarize/exclamate their arguments. Well I agree with them on that, pong isn't art.... Well duh... that was over 30 years ago.

Part 2: The real question

Misinformed geisers aside, the question remains. Can gaming be a vehicle for art? Has a game so far succeeded to such a degree that someone labeling it anything else would be wrong?... If something can evoke a powerful emotional response or communicate some form of truth through its experience than there is no reason, in my eyes, to dismiss or minimize its impact on preconceived notions regarding the limits of the medium. The last decade of playing games has had me involved, moved, heartbroken, challenged, obsessed and defeated. The same way I have been from reading novels, listening to music, watching movies, or viewing art? No, not in the same way. In a different but equally compelling way. Of course, not all games aspire to be art. And not all genres are capable of communicating truthes, as entertaining as they can be. But it's a testament to the mediums versatility that so many different kinds of experiences can be had. Final Fantasy 7 and Zelda:toot being the most notable for me. The definition of what a game is has changed since its inception and so it will change in the future. What we have seen to date is in no way indicative of what is possible. I'm not saying that there are no limits, but as an analogy, think of the difference between the films created in the 1930-1940s and now. It has evolved and become something entirely different. I am compelled and eager to discover what can be accomplished. I hope that I can be more than just a spectator.


Can a game be considered art? - stevejohnson - Jan 15, 2006 07:53 PM

I would say that a video game is art at least as much as any board game is art. It can have a story, complex rules, cinematic qualities. A video game is so many genres combined into one - movies, music, writing, etc.

Beyond that, I have no further thoughts.


Can a game be considered art? - OneSadCookie - Jan 15, 2006 07:55 PM

the "game is art" question was answered for me by an article I read recently which said of a recent Final Fantasy, and I paraphrase:

"Mr. Brown has written a great story; that is clearly art. Mr. Black has created a fantastic visual look; that is clearly art. Mr. Green has created a stunning musical score; that is clearly art. What, it suddenly stops being art when I push the little X button?"

(If anyone knows the original piece I'm thinking of, please link -- I can't for the life of me figure out what it was)


Can a game be considered art? - igame3d - Jan 15, 2006 08:01 PM

As a trained "artist', I have to say the games are in every sense of aesthetic principles: ART.

Some games are bad art, some games are great art, some games need an artist instead of a programmer copying everyone else's game.


Quote:Ebert wrote: "Video games by their nature require player choices, which is the opposite of the strategy of serious film and literature, which requires authorial control.

What control does the author of the "great works" have over their "art"?
Their dead, Jim. What proof do we have that the great works of art were interpreted the way they were intended to by the artists?

How about we change the arguement on the geezers.
The question to "are games art" is "games are generally better than any previous art attempted by mortals".

What would you rather have in your home, the Mona Lisa, the statue of David, the Scream, or an xbox, a ps2, and every game ever made?
Over valuation of the "art" aside, which would entertain you longer.
Seriously how long could you look at David's stoney gazy and shrimp stick?
Not as long as you can play Halo I bet!


Can a game be considered art? - Byron Clarke - Jan 15, 2006 08:01 PM

http://www.penny-arcade.com/2005/12/19

paragraph 7... maybe?


Can a game be considered art? - OneSadCookie - Jan 15, 2006 08:09 PM

that's the one, thanks Smile


Can a game be considered art? - Bachus - Jan 15, 2006 08:09 PM

http://www.toastyfrog.com/verbalspew/pivot/entry.php?id=18

Games can be art. Period. Anybody who says otherwise is a ******* moron (and that includes Ebert).


Can a game be considered art? - AnotherJake - Jan 15, 2006 08:53 PM

Part 1:

To me Pong is art just like hieroglyphics are considered art.

Part 2:

Video games are definitely a form of art, and even more so with every new game. It's entertainment (not that it qualifies as art, but helps the argument). Not only is it entertainment but nowadays it's competing and working directly with Hollywood. It's immersive. It's expressive. It's controversial. It's part of popular culture. It is artistic in nature because it *contains* art in a classical sense. Most of it nowadays is even created by *artists* for crying out loud! To claim that video games cannot be considered art is just flatly blind.

[edit] Oh. And not to mention the fact that when you tell people you're interested in making video games they look at you like some hippy reject, because that's not what people do in the "real world". Adding that to the equation definitely makes it art in every sense of the term if you ask me!


Can a game be considered art? - Byron Clarke - Jan 15, 2006 09:08 PM

It's funny how he launches straight into why he thinks games are not art and then admits that he hasn't played a game since myst...


Can a game be considered art? - AnotherJake - Jan 15, 2006 09:26 PM

That's like saying you know what rock and roll means to people when the last rock tune you heard was Stairway to Heaven.

There's a bunch to be read from his article though, I'll admit that. In the end, he simply defends the stereotypical ignoramus. Of course that's qualified with the statistic that it's only really generation 30 or 35 and under that is interested in video games, much like older generations to be interested in movies. Or something like that... It's still silly.


Can a game be considered art? - Najdorf - Jan 16, 2006 01:23 AM

the even more pertaining question, is programming art?


Can a game be considered art? - Taxxodium - Jan 16, 2006 02:14 AM

Najdorf Wrote:the even more pertaining question, is programming art?

Writting a book certainly is, so writting a functional book should be aswell. In other words, yes it is. But then I would make exceptions. Programming apps for hacking purposes isn't art, script that do illegal stuff isn't art.

So art is the action of making something constructive and being creative.


Can a game be considered art? - ERaZer - Jan 16, 2006 04:12 AM

Taxxodium Wrote:But then I would make exceptions. Programming apps for hacking purposes isn't art, script that do illegal stuff isn't art.

I have to totally disagree with you. I still think for example graffiti is art, even tho it is vandalism. In my view, destruction definitily can be art.


Can a game be considered art? - Taxxodium - Jan 16, 2006 04:18 AM

ERaZer Wrote:I still think for example graffiti is art, even tho it is vandalism.

Not necessarily. There are a couple of cities that have specific places where people can go nuts with graffiti without turning it to vandalism. But if somebody would spray on a car, would you consider that art?

Abstract "art", is also art. Reminds of me of that episode from The Simpsons where Homer becomes an artists after destroyiing his BBQ set.


Can a game be considered art? - OneSadCookie - Jan 16, 2006 04:41 AM

I think we're too hung up here on making an objective definition for a very subjective term...

How about saying, "if the person creating the work wishes to create art, the work is art".

That fixes your problems quite neatly -- is a computer game art? ask its creators. Is graffiti art? ask the vandal. Is pornography art? Ask the photographer.