Are Video Games Art?

Discussion in 'General Gaming' started by CptStern, Mar 19, 2007.

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Are Video Games Art?

Poll closed Apr 18, 2007.
  1. yes without question

    30.5%
  2. yes but only certain games under certain criteria

    56.8%
  3. no, not yet, not until a game is created as art rather than commodity

    9.5%
  4. no, the medium itself prevents artisitc expression

    3.2%
  1. CptStern

    CptStern suckmonkey

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    dont be lazy read before voting:


    http://gamasutra.com/features/20070316/ochalla_01.shtml

    interesting article ..the problem though is objectivity; they're asking game developers (the PR guys not the creative guys) whether their profession has reached the level of art form so of course they're going to say yes it has ...however I disagree ..video games have yet to reach the level of high art ..gaming is pop culture bordering on artistic endeavor at best ..till games evoke higher emotions, examine complex concepts and reflect on the condition of man they will remain at the level of a consumable; a marketable commodity that serves no purpose but to entertain. More akin to a blockbuster action movie than a work of art for the sake of art: it's very reason for being is to make money therefore individual artistic vision takes a backseat to creating something that will ensures it will make money.

    That's not to say that videos games cant attain this level of artisitc merit or that the devlopers themselves may be artistically gifted it's just that the nature of the medium is counter intuitive to what art aspires to be: Art for the sake of art. Most of you will disagree with me but some of you will be confused between technical skill (craftmanship) and artistic merit ..as a former art teacher and designer I can rightfully say that they dont neccessarily go hand in hand: some of the most brilliant artists are technically weak. Oh and concept art for video games, no matter how intricate is not art; it's advertising illustration
     
  2. Ravioli

    Ravioli Microboner

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    I cant see any poll

    but yes, it is art. As much art as movies and sports and other activities are.
     
  3. CptStern

    CptStern suckmonkey

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    sport by definition is not art ..movies are not art ..film is art but only under certain circumstances

    please read article before voting
     
  4. Asknoone

    Asknoone Newbie

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    yes but only certain games under certain criteria
     
  5. Gray Fox

    Gray Fox Newbie

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    Are you sure there are no games that are made just for the sake of art, because I 'm pretty sure there are hundreds of indie games made for free, just for the sake of being made. Not to be sold, or to promote the artist or the company or the ip, just because the artists thought it was fun, or maybe in sake cases because he wanted to make a statement.

    In any case did you not not so long ago post what gorgonzola said about games, that they can never be art. Because the player is very much in charge of his experience, games are more akin to tools that give players possibilities then play's. Hence they can contain art, but can never be considered themselves art.

    I also want to ask you as an art teacher about davinci then, because a lot of his works are considered art as far as I can see because they were technically far beyond his time, not because they make a statement or give deeper insight in our world or whatever. Isn't he no less an artist then lets say an engineer for Ferrari, those guy's study nature and physics and make stuff thats far beyond what was thought capable. Isn't that what Da Vinci did to with Mona Lisa or David.
     
  6. CptStern

    CptStern suckmonkey

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    I cant think of any examples ..obviously I havent played every single game out there ..I think it's also the fact that the gaming experience hinges on the player rather than the creative vision behind the game

    gorgonzola? yes that is one sticking point in the argument as to why games cant really be art however I wouldnt say never. It's a distinct possiblity that a game can be a vessel for artistic experssion, I just havent encountered any of it yet


    well depends because Da Vinci was equal craftsman and artist ..i think the ferrari designer is a craftsman
     
  7. Absinthe

    Absinthe The Freeman

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    Just the PR guys? Sure, Molyneux and Schafer deal with the public, but they are the heads of their respective creations.

    The question posed wasn't whether games are currently high art, but just art in general. By the admission of at least one of the interviewees, we have yet to come up with our Citizen Kane in the video game world. But such can only be expected with the relative infancy of the medium, and even then we've made remarkable progress with not only aesthetic, but social commentary, philosophy, symbolic imagery, atmosphere, and characterization. Naturally, this only applies to particular titles, just like it only applies to particular movies as well.

    I found Molyneux's words to be quite resonant in particular. Nobody goes out of their way to make art, unless they're being pretentious. Art is the natural product of another directive - you're aiming to make a film or a painting primarily. If art comes from that process, then so be it.

    Can games today qualify as art? Certainly. Whether it's on par with other mediums is debatable. But it would be foolish to think high art would be unattainable.
     
  8. CptStern

    CptStern suckmonkey

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    art by committee never works out well

    yes but I wanted to make sure our members knew the difference

    which is my mind an admission that video games are not art ..Citizen Kane was an artisitc vision from start to finish

    agreed

    well not really ..professional artists purposefully create art. Molyneux also has somewhat of a stake in this issue as he's doing the rounds promoting ai "love" as a higher concept in Fable 2

    sure, in the long run when developers adopt an art for the sake of art attitude ..that will come in time


    oh and thanks for bringing up good points to help clarify the issue ..you too Gray fox
     
  9. Laivasse

    Laivasse Companion Cube

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    Hmm, I find this art vs. commodity thing a bit misleading. Some of the painters we regard as masters nowadays were, in their day, painting in order to put food on the table. That's not to say they that they didn't put their heart into it and produce masterpieces when they did so, because they did.

    Personally I voted for 'yes but only certain games under certain criteria'. I don't buy Ebert's comments at all about gaming not being an art 'because you make choices' - even paintings can involve say, interpretative choices. If anything the aspect of choice within gaming makes it a new and exciting form of art, in that the choices can provide the viewer with player insight into the greatest mystery of all...the self! *makes some fancy arse swirly hand movements to emphasize teh ARTE*

    For instance, what made you refuse to help the woman's husband after forcing her to sleep with you in Fallout 2? Why does it feel uncomfortable to let go of Yorda's hand in Ico? I'm playing Hitman: Blood Money atm, and weirdly I really didn't want to shoot the guy at the end of the intro level, due to the quality of writing and scene building (although the VO in Hitman is always a bit hit and miss).

    Like I said in the other thread, I think strong emotional engagement can be enough to qualify something as art, and the best games never lack in this respect. So it's art to me.
     
  10. smwScott

    smwScott Newbie

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    Just because something is released for public consumption and profit doesn't mean it can't be art. That being said, this whole "is it art or not" debate is pretty pretentious and a little stupid. The idea that games can't be art because they aren't tightly controlled by the artist is also equally stupid - just because something doesn't neatly fit into previously defined sense of art doesn't mean that it can't be. By giving the viewer/player leeway to breathe in this world they can force them to realize things about themselves for instance, or force them to view their work in a completely unique way.

    People who like to categorically define what is art or not piss me off. They generally assume that they are more capable/intelligent than the average person and therefore able to decide what is a valid form of artistic expression. The debate is pointless. Let the medium continue as it is and if something comes along that strikes you as an artistic work, then so be it. If not, then just have fun gibbing aliens.
     
  11. StardogChampion

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    It's not advertising.
     
  12. CptStern

    CptStern suckmonkey

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    name one game ever to evoke this sentiment ..remember this has to be true for all people, not just a single person who may or may not have gotten outside stimuli as well ..and any one tacks "pretentious" to art doesnt really understand art ..pretention is the stuff of art dealers/the public in general not the artist. the artist's pretention comes not in an air of superority it comes from directly targeting his audience ...which is completely fair because the majority of the general public dont understand art and never will ..anyone who says "I know what I like" doesnt understand art and frankly should never comment on it because art is NOT decoration

    sorry but that is your impression ...however it's mostly true ..example: a layman and an architect both comment on the design of a building ..who's opinion would you have more faith in? to even suggest everybody's opinion is on the same playing field is rediculous

    no, it's not..it illustrates exactly where we are as a valid form of expression and right now it's at an infacy where very little of importance is created

    opinion does not make art ..however if that's your perogative then this debate is meaningless and you shouldnt concern yourself with anything beyond your own enjoyment ..what's not important to you doesnt hold true for the rest of the people who inhabit this earth


    curious: why did you vote "no it's not" when your post sounds like it's supporting the fact that games are art?



    yes it is, or else it would never be released to the public and only used internally
     
  13. Solaris

    Solaris Party Escort Bot

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    Yes, but we've seen extremely little of it.
     
  14. Stigmata

    Stigmata The Freeman

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    Very few games qualify as art. But they're there.
     
  15. CR0M

    CR0M Tank

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    I agree with smwScott, art itself is subjective and can only be credibly commented upon subjectively by those who practise it themselves, and as there is far too much opinionated ignorance regarding 'art' in the world already, it's arrogant (and incredibly annoying to artists) to claim to know what art really is.

    So, in my professionally arrogant opinion as an artist, my answer is... no. Games involve a cluster of many skills to develop and as a result are not individual pieces of art in themselves, much as members of a band may be called artists regarding their particular musical instrument, the resulting song is not in itself a piece of art. If a game was produced by an individual however, then I would say yes.

    One level down in the heirarchy of creation is close enough for most to to argue the point though.
     
  16. Hazar

    Hazar Tank

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    I think most can be considered art, but most of them aren't as high quality art as other mediums are.
     
  17. Atomic_Piggy

    Atomic_Piggy Newbie

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    Second option.
     
  18. smwScott

    smwScott Newbie

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    Just because I don't know about/haven't played the game that evokes this sentiment, or maybe because it hasn't been made yet, does not mean that the potential is not there. I never said that the art itself was pretentious, I said that the people who think they are the only ones capable of judging it are. You seem to be suggesting that I think BMX XXX or whatever can be compared to great works of art because Joe Shmoe likes it better, but I never said that.


    Of course that's my impression, which is why I'm the one who said it. Your example is flawed because architecture is something that comprises technical merit. I would however value an artists' opinion over that of a layman, particularly concering his/her own work. I do not give much credence to people whom themselves do not create art but merely purport to have a superior understanding of it. Art is not always something that can be picked apart and impartially analyzed to form a definitive concept.


    My point is that no one, not even you in all your infinite wisdom, is in any position to tell an artist that what he just made is not art. Nor are you in any position to tell someone who appreciates it that they are not appreciating true art.

    Because video games suck. I can't think of any particularly good ones, at least not compared to film or literature. Does not mean that art does not exist within this medium already and it certainly doesn't mean that the potential is not there.
     
  19. CyberPitz

    CyberPitz Party Escort Bot

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    I'd have to agree there...

    But then again, I'm a fond believer of anything that took time/skill to create something from your head and into physical(esque) form is art to me.
     
  20. Asuka

    Asuka Companion Cube

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    Yes they are. Not all games but not under certain criteria ether.
     
  21. Vegeta897

    Vegeta897 Banned as all fuck

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    I don't know what stupid definition of "art" someone is trying to promote here, but it's stupid. I ****ing hate the "art has to give a message, say something about humanity, blah blah" it's ridiculous, and 95 percent of all people don't give a shit about it. If only those types of things are art, what do you call everything else? It's a given that if nobody in the gaming industry had artistic talent it would look like balls. Art is pretty to look at, that's enough for most people. And most art can go a step further to express a mood or feeling, which most art certainly can do. There are such people in gaming that use level design, lighting, sounds, etc. to give the game these moods.

    If a video game with a story isn't art, then neither is a film.
     
  22. Ren.182

    Ren.182 Companion Cube

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    Yes, certain games I would call art. Especially those with very different art directions, great stories and so on.

    One that sticks out for me would be Jet Set Radio (Jet Grind Radio). The art in that game was awesome. The music was great too and really fit the game.
     
  23. Space Farm

    Space Farm Newbie

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    There are basically two forms of music. There is music that is made for entertainment (dance music, mainstream singles) and on the other hand there is music that is art and I think the same can be applied for games.
     
  24. Jintor

    Jintor Didn't Get Temp-Banned

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    2nd opinion, now. Should've read the article before voting...
     
  25. highlander

    highlander Newbie

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    Second option.
     
  26. Stigmata

    Stigmata The Freeman

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    I think it's just people misconstruing "art" to mean "high art". All games are art, but very, very few are high art.
     
  27. Steven

    Steven Newbie

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    In many way's, a video game is like a painting you can move around in. However it isn't always a representation of someone's thoughts or feelings.
     
  28. Mechagodzilla

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    Plenty of art is overtly interactive. Videogames constitute a relatively distinct category of interactive art mediums.

    The resulting works are totally artistic, save for the occasional tacked-on multiplayer perhaps, but even some multiplayer games carry some artistic merit.
    Team Fortress 2 seems to be shaping up to become an affectionate parody of other multiplayer absurdity.

    The question is to what degree specific games succeed as art, but they are artistic regardless.
     
  29. Danimal

    Danimal Companion Cube

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    qft
     
  30. Bad^Hat

    Bad^Hat The Freeman

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    Sorry, didn't read the article, or this thread :)

    Might be a little by my own personal definition, but I don't see games themselves as an art form. Art is something to be looked at and appreciated. So yes, games can CONTAIN art, and creating them might involved a certian amount of artistry, but the games themselves in their entirety don't constitute art I don't think.

    Something like Okami could be considered close. I think I enjoyed it as much for the visual style as I did for the gameplay.
     
  31. VictimOfScience

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    Best discussion you will find in this thread.

    Seriously though, the Free Online Dictionary's first definition of Art is: Human effort to imitate, supplement, alter, or counteract the work of nature. I completely agree and therefore think that just about anything under the sun (that is man-made) is art. The 'man-made' differentiation is key because while things like honeycomb and coral and geodes are strikingly beautiful and can inspire many various thoughts and feelings, they were not created to serve any other purpose than their specific function in Nature. These are not examples of art because they have to conform to Nature's rules. Art does not have to do that and that is what makes it very special.
     
  32. The Monkey

    The Monkey The Freeman

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    I have yet to play a video game that can be considered art.
     
  33. Solaris

    Solaris Party Escort Bot

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    I think your misunderstanding, I once heard someone give an interesting definition of art
    "Representing idea's or things through a medium". I don't know if thats the proper definition if there is one, but it makes sense to me.

    You're right that it takes artists to make games, the textures in super Mario are art, the sounds are art, both made by artists. But the video game itself is not art, no more than a game of tag is. I think defcon is a strong contender for being art, it makes Nuclear warfare into a game, where at the end defeating your enemy with only 12millions deaths on your side is a good victory. The haunting music in the background reminds you of the horror of what is happening. I came out of the game with two impressions, the first was, wow that was fun and I did really well. Then after that I realized I had just killed 120million 'enemy' civilians and lost 10million of my own and how horrific a thing that would be in real life. I left the game with a stronger sense than ever that a nuclear war cannot be won, given to me through the medium of that game. I'd call that art.
     
  34. Stigmata

    Stigmata The Freeman

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    Solaris is winner.
     
  35. Vegeta897

    Vegeta897 Banned as all fuck

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    Did you just contradict yourself in a single paragraph Solaris? You said a video game isn't art then you just said Defcon was art.

    ???

    And is a collection of art combined in an artistic way not art? I don't know what logic you are using there. And comparing this to tag is ridiculous. We're talking about video games, and we're talking about something people MAKE and DEVELOP. Tag is purely gameplay, that's a ridiculous comparison.

    ""Representing idea's or things through a medium" Fits most video games perfectly. Let's look at Halflife 2. It expresses the story of one man who defies the odds to defeat a strange power that has put the world into slavery, (the setting is artistic itself) who uses his ingenuity (physics puzzles) and leadership to reach his goal. Everyone at Valve has expressed their ideas to make the game. It's like a collage of art, which turns into an experience for the player as well.
     
  36. Solaris

    Solaris Party Escort Bot

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    I believe I said the video game in question was not art, not all video games. If I did, I retract that and apologise for not getting myself across clearly.
     
  37. 63

    63 Newbie

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    Vegeta wins.

    And besides, what inspires you more?

    [​IMG]

    or

    [​IMG]

    Seriously.. wtf..
     
  38. CptStern

    CptStern suckmonkey

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    ironic that you should post those two images because as art they are exactly the same: pop art .....except the cambells soup can has far more meaning/insight, the mountain range is exactly what it is; there is no meaning to it. I've said time and again you cannot judge works of art in a without understanding the context behind art ..long gone are the days when art is judged solely on technical merit alone




    smwScott: I'll reply to your points when I get a chance
     
  39. 63

    63 Newbie

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    Tell me the meaning behind a can of soup.

    edit: and the question was "what inspires you more", from the perspective of someone who does not know the context behind either images.
     
  40. VictimOfScience

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    WTF? No one cares about/has seen 'Mom and Pop Art'??????? Where are the Simpsons fans???!!!
     

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