The “Art” Question year, Roger Ebert decided to open old wounds and question video games as an “Art form.” This promptly caused nerd rage to spread rampant throughout the game industry from both game developers and gamers themselves. However bullish Ebert is on the point, I have my own belief on the “art” question.

According to, Art is the quality, production, expression, or realm(not really sure what the hell realm means), according to aesthetic principles of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance. I completely agree with this interpretation, this is what individual people define as art. However, critics have their own definition brought by literary, film, and “Art” classes. Here, they’re taught that subtle messages most average people would ignore is “art.” They see a collection of these messages in a way which paints a picture deeper than the core piece. That is why there’s often a disconnect from average people and popular critics.

Art is everything. Anything can be “beautiful” and “appealing.” I knew a person who said the Madea films were art. In a way, she’s right. It’s art to her but to any sane individual, it’s not. Popularity doesn’t validate art. Unfortunately, our society idolizes certain critics to the point that their definition becomes everyone’s definition. Society even tries to dictate art. If you’ve taken any history classes, you’ve been taught certain painters and sculptures created “art.” This is actually falsity. They created something popular culture defined as art.

 I believe video games are an art form. An expression where creative minds construct creative situation basis on player decisions. It uses physical beauty and creative story to drive an experience. So nerds, stop being offended by Ebert. He’s an old man after all.

MarioDragon's picture

I don't believe of video games as art, you hardly hear of a painting causing a massacre at a school (even though most of those stories are because of stupid kids).

If video games have to be considered art to be put under the First Amendment in America, fine by me, I'm all for freedom to put whatever we want in a video game.

But a thing about artists... Have you noticed someone can write a poem, and it suddenly means 4363724 different things than what the guy who wrote it originally meant? Probably, at least. I think art's the same way, just a bunch of people bored wanting to find some hidden treasure map in the Scream.

Politically Incorrect's picture

I'm kind of confused by this argument. If you're judging art by how many people are killed by it, you should read a very short piece by Martin Lurther called 99 Thesis. That caused the massacre of thousands and the start of the Reformation. 

Poems are unique in that they are designed to have multiple meanings. But what about books like Crime and Punishment and American Psycho. These have only one meaning but does that make them any less artful?

Grog101's picture

As much as i agree that, yes games can be art, it just seems like a very secondary function in all games.

Yes, There are a lot of moments that i have in games where i would say "yeah this art all right" and then go back to shooting and stabbing stuff.

i mean when i played Shadow of the Colossus, i would stop for less then a minute or so and observe the terrain and the bosses at times and think "yes, this is art" and then go back to puzzle like game-play of slaying the beasts.

i guess what I'm trying to say is that games needing to be considered art seems very minor subsidiary when we all really come for the game-play and story

(of course one could consider story art and argue it's value in the matter, but by then i feel like art is just becoming a very fancy word for noun at that point)

MrDudeMan's picture

I mostly agree with the blog, I also want to dedicate this sentence to tell you that I like your blog posts a lot. I agree that video games (and essentially anything that allows you to express yourself) can be considered art. However I would say that with the current industry, it is very hard for developers to express themselves. This is mostly due to the fact that it is a business, since publishers support developers, and publishers want sales, it creates a system where publishers wish to replicate what is successful. A great example is the current state of fps games, they all attempt to replicate the CoD4 system (perks, killstreaks and the general gameplay. I think this is the main reason why video games cannot be considered "Art", at the very least it is largely what separates them from being art in my view. 

There is also the situation that story is less important than gameplay (and sometimes even graphics) to developers. Personally I would like it if the three could co exist (or just gameplay and story being equal, and graphics a little less important). Art to me is a message expressed through a certain medium. In video games, this medium is the story. However, seeing as how most stories in current video games express almost no message (other than violence is indeed the answer), it is very hard to view video games as an art form. 

I think video games fit in with things like comic books/manga/commercials. Where the potential of a medium used for expression is there, but the need to be popular results in mass replication of certain story archetypes. 

Politically Incorrect's picture

Thanks Dudeman :}

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