Video Games = Art?

Should video games be considered an art form?  This may seem like an unsual question to pose but first consider what is forms of art there are today, the obvious being: paintings, sculptures, literature and drawings, the more pop culture related being: films, music and on occasion television.

Now, it's not a stretch to say that video games are a lot like films, they both have stories, sequels, soundtracks, development teams, and so on and so forth the only real differences are that video games are interactive and films aare considered art. Now to make a quick note before pressing on I am purposly saying films and not movies because there is a distinction artistically much as there is in video games between the good and the bad. In fact that thought further proves the point because there is no distinction between video games that were created to be an experience and those that weren't, like there are for movies and films. 

While saying that videogames are basically just like films is one way to state this point it would probably be better to list the precedents art has set.

  1. It should have some meaning.
  2. It should be something anyone can get into

Really those seem to be the big two, if you feel I'm missing something feel free to comment it. 

Anyways, starting with the first. Clearly all forms of are have meaning not it might not always be easy to see (abstract paintings/sculptures) but it is there. Now again drawing the distinction that not all video games should be considered art some have no real meaning at all and are just fun as hell. Some however have meanings even if not fully intentional. Take for example Bioshock a game based on decisions then as you play you find out that the choices you make weren't fully yours. Now this may mean nothing to some admitedly but to take it into a form of sudo-philosophy aren't the choices we make based on what's around us? so are they really fully are decisions or are we limited by those higher up on the chain?

To tackle the second decision, I would like to turn your attention to the ever growing genre of indie games. With practice, that being in programming, it is really something anyone can do. In fact with basically everyone having access to a computer it is easier and probably cheaper to learn how to program actions and graphics than it is to learn to paint or play an instrument and then paying for supplies. Of course the point of paying for a computer is brought up but a computer can be rented or you can go to a cyber cafe and just have a flashdrive or external hard drive.

Now it is clear to see that video games could fit into the catagory of art but if we all just enjoy them regardless what does it matter? Well, it's hard to say for sure but one thing that could be said is that the industry as a whole would gain more respect meaning more job and innovation in it.

XL_ARES_IX's picture

Man, you guys are killing me with these block of text blogs. Let's add some images and liven things up.

26c's picture

Anything that anyone person or persons made to entertain one or more persons and even ones self, is art.  Video games is an artform used to entertain.  Now, art, is a word that has many meanings to every individual person.   When studing art history I found things that were full works of art to a group but to me was total shit.  Like for me, huge groups love Andy Warhol works or pieces, I however, think that anyone could've done a majority of what he produced as art.  It's not art to me. 

Are video games art?  The question is only for you to decide.  Art is so tricky that way.  Great question.

MrDudeMan's picture

I agree with the person above. The term art has such a vague meaning that you could find the art in anything. However that being said, I would not classify video games as a form of art (at least not a large majority of them). This goes back to what you said about films (how films and movies are different because the latter is just made to entertain). While there are some good stories in games, in most cases the story only exist to give the gameplay some meaning. This also works in vice versa in the sense that gameplay can take away from the meaning of the story. A great film can actually have an impact on someones life (mostly because of the moral issues adressed in the story), a video game can never have that same impact because a large majority of games are driven by their gameplay not their story.

Razzler's picture

I would say that videogames in their current generation are nowhere near art (though the term is vague), simply because the current generation has mainly been about spectacle, rather than substance with developers trying to fit as much blood or flashy things onto the screen at any one time.

I'd actually claim that stories in games have got progressively worse, since older games had to use story to flesh out their world/universe and didn't have the luxury of HD graphics to do so. As Dudeman said, a story these days for the majority of games (particularly shooters) is just there to give the player more things to kill/shoot.

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