Are Video Games Art?

General and high profile video game topics.

Are Video Games Art?

Postby Shiranui13 » March 31st, 2009, 6:48 pm

The cries of the damned reach your ears. Stepping around the bend, you spirits torn and thrown by the wailing winds. In life, these souls indulged their every carnal whim. In death, they are once again the victims of a blustering force beyond their control. You swallow, and pray that should you survive this journey you will be strong enough to resist the urgings of your flesh. Psyche!

Life does not afford opportunities like The Inferno. We are rarely given a chance to see what will happen to us if we follow a certain road. Instead, we look to art to learn, vicariously, lessons about life, love and morality from them.

Music, art and literature have existed for centuries. The opera Dido and Aeneas tells us about how love can lead to tragedy, Greek vases impress upon us the importance of everyday life and Shakespeare's Hamlet teaches us the danger of letting revenge become the central goal of our lives.

Can video games serve a similar purpose? Before making a leap and assuming I am writing about games such as Pac-Man and Galaga, I am not. I am talking more recent games that have been released for a Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo console. Can the hours spent playing some of the games on these systems serve as a crucible to turn us into better human beings?

Take [URL=][I]Bioshock[/I][/URL] for instance. One man's dream of an underwater utopia where all people lived as equals became perverted as another fought to man fought to wrest power from him. The city fell into chaos, psychopaths began waling the streets and innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire died. The game draws on very Orwellian themes in the construction of its narrative-struggling factions, an ideal society gone horribly wrong and no apparent way to restore order.

The player, thrust into the middle of this hostile situation, must survive. To do so, you are given a choice-kill small children who have something that you need or aid them and receive less of what you need with the possibility of aid later. Do you follow [URL=]your animal instincts[/URL], or [URL=]your morals[/URL]?

Just because video games are a fairly new art form does not mean they can not be as deep, engrossing and thought provoking as a novel that was copied by a monk by candlelight.

Do video games deserve to be called art, or not?[IMG][/IMG]

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Are Video Games Art?

Postby Adamant1 » March 31st, 2009, 7:31 pm

Well, the visual novel genre isn't much more than a text that can (usually) be read in several different ways, so those would definitely be considered art.
The question is whether they'd be considered "games", since there's barely any player interaction in them.


Are Video Games Art?

Postby steer » March 31st, 2009, 7:44 pm

I think they can be. The simplest ones, that owe nothing to TV, movies or books, that only make sense as games -

Like Super Mario Brothers

OR Bit Trip

Game like that are art, in my opinion....

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Are Video Games Art?

Postby VideoGameCritic » March 31st, 2009, 9:12 pm

Good topic! 

No, I am against the liberal notion that just about anything can be considered art.  In my eyes, only the classical style of art is legitimate.

I'm from Baltimore and you only have to drive up and down Charles street to see how "modern art" is a huge joke and we are all the victim.

At the harbor, there's a twisted pile of rusted beams.  I've seen kids mistake this for "an accident", and they are right!  In front of the train station there's a towering man/woman statue which besides being hideous looks totally out of place with next to a quaint, old-fashioned building.  On North Avenue there is a big cage full of inflated balls on one side of the street, and what appears to be a giant meatball on the other side.

Yes, these are atrocities, but if you speak out against them, you have a "closed mind" and "don't know anything about art".  Maybe not, but I have common sense!  Nothing is black and white (including art), but once you embrace anything an artist produces, it's a slippery slope.

Meanwhile there are a lot of old stone statues, paintings, and monuments around town which all look very majestic and pleasing to the eye.  This is the art that will past the test of time.  People will look back on the meatball and mock it.

With this perspective, you can understand why I have no interest in treating video games as art.  It's bad enough a lot of game producers have begun to behave like artists, creating software more self indulgent than fun. 

J Dubs

Are Video Games Art?

Postby J Dubs » March 31st, 2009, 11:02 pm

I'm with you, critic. I think that the main reason people want videogames to be viewed as art is to make games more legitimate.

Games are fun. They are entertainment. Sure, they can be beautiful. And yes, they can evoke emotion. But so can Grey's Anatomy. Is that art?

SotC is a primary example in the "games as art" debate. Why? because it is unique? Because the colossi are "beautiful'? Would somebody who has never touched a videogame find them beautiful?

Is it timeless? In 50 years are people going to consider it art? Are people going to even care? There are still too many questions with this topic. I appreciate the effort, but I feel the only reason people want to call videogames art is to make games more legitimate in the public eye.

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Are Video Games Art?

Postby wur1 » April 1st, 2009, 12:02 am

"Art" is related to the word "artificial", anything made by man. In that sense, it is "art"; but then again, if you're to ask Sun Tzu, war is art too!

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Are Video Games Art?

Postby snakeboy1 » April 1st, 2009, 12:04 am

Do people really want video games to be art? When a game developer tries to be a little too artsy-fartsy, the impression that I get is that making the game fun is secondary to the developer trying to please himself by showing everyone how amazing he is.

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Are Video Games Art?

Postby m0zart1 » April 1st, 2009, 12:08 am

I define art as the communication of metaphysical values through one or more creative mediums.  I don't think of "art" as a value judgement, meaning that calling something "art" isn't the same as saying that it's good.

It doesn't matter if those ideas and values are ethical, expressions of beauty, primarily entertaining, or just logical constructs presented for admiration -- they are all ideas that can be communicated through a medium.

So yes, I consider video games art.  They are art if they are simple games.  They are art if they are games that tell stories.  They are art if they are games that have lots of interactivity.  They are art if they are games that have little to no interactivity.  They are art if they are pure games.  They are art if they are games that merge with other mediums.

Julio III

Are Video Games Art?

Postby Julio III » April 1st, 2009, 4:47 am

Sigh, its a rubbish beaten to death debate that always ends up with "how do you define art".

But in answer to the first poster, I do view Pac-Man as art.

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Are Video Games Art?

Postby Anayo1 » April 1st, 2009, 3:31 pm

Video games are not necessarily art, but they have the capacity for artistic merit..

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