Are Games Art?

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Are they?


  • Total voters
    58

Desire Lines

so long, and thanks for all the fish
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This is a very old argument which goes back all the way to when videogames began. How exactly do you measure a videogame as art if at all? If you look at most widely acclaimed games, a lot of them don't get praised for their gameplay but rather their story, which is especially common in acclaimed RPG's where the story is supposed to be the focus. This is not a "cinematic games" problem as a lot of people like to say because games like VTMB, Silent Hill, Planescape: Torment etc. are all old and are more akin to watching a movie/reading a book than most new games. So are "art" games a sum of it's parts? Are they only judged for story and graphics? Most importantly, ARE games art at all, or maybe only certain games?
 

MAPK phosphatase

Cell Death Regulator
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Depends on the definition.
If we're going by the "creative endeavor by humans" then yes, video games are art.
If we're going by the "work of mastery that captures sublime beauty and enriches the human experience" then that, I think, is a more interesting discussion with a less clear answer.
 

Poiseon

I am literal poison.
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The thing about games is that they are an amalgam of different arts that went into creating them. Acting, visual design, sound design, music, writing, etc. It takes a lot to make a game, and it takes creativity to make a good one. Unlike a painting or movie, you experience it first hand. You are in control of what happens. not all games are art, like fucking Candy crush or the other shitheel gambling-like mobile games. But anyone who looks at games like Skyrim, Dead Space, Death Stranding, Silent Hill, etc, can tell that the effort and expression is there.
 
U

UE 558

Guest
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Yes. Just because the medium has a lot of schlock doesn’t disqualify it as an artform. The film medium also has plenty of schlock like goofy 80s action films and sleezy erotic thrillers, but film is still widely regarded as an art form
 

WhoBusTank69

an endless thirst
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I lean towards accepting games as art, but just as anyone can color by number it takes conscious effort and dumb luck for a game to actually be considered a work of art.
 
U

UE 558

Guest
kiwifarms.net
I lean towards accepting games as art, but just as anyone can color by number it takes conscious effort and dumb luck for a game to actually be considered a work of art.
I’d still say it’d be art, bad art is still art. Dobson’s a fucking clown, but we don’t deny that he’s an artist, we just call him a bad one
 

verissimus

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This is a very old argument which goes back all the way to when videogames began. How exactly do you measure a videogame as art if at all? If you look at most widely acclaimed games, a lot of them don't get praised for their gameplay but rather their story, which is especially common in acclaimed RPG's where the story is supposed to be the focus. This is not a "cinematic games" problem as a lot of people like to say because games like VTMB, Silent Hill, Planescape: Torment etc. are all old and are more akin to watching a movie/reading a book than most new games. So are "art" games a sum of it's parts? Are they only judged for story and graphics? Most importantly, ARE games art at all, or maybe only certain games?

Well count me as a dissident to the prevailing opinion because my answer is an emphatic no, and just to say I would apply this to movies too for some of the same reasons some of them which goes as follows :

1) Games like movies are often enterprises, that is to say, they can (though not always) involve several dozens of participants ranging from concept artists, coders, etc. (that is to say people who do work on the artistic aspects of games) to people like editors, translators, testers, producers, etc. (i.e. people who are clearly not there to work on the artistic side of things). Also note that this is of course ignoring the financial side of things as well that typically fuels these enterprises in the first place.

2) Games can include more than just artistic design or expression such as music, gameplay mechanics, and story which are not art.

3) People who say games and movies are art will have to remind me since when has art been a multi-million dollar cottage industry replete with press-conferences, advertisements, etc.

4) Games like movies are entertainment which is not art.

Edit

Add pre-orders, DLC and microtransaction to point 3...yeah because we all know microtransactions are a part of art right?
 
U

UE 558

Guest
kiwifarms.net
Well count me as a dissident to the prevailing opinion because my answer is an emphatic no, and just to say I would apply this to movies too for some of the same reasons some of them which goes as follows :

1) Games like movies are often enterprises, that is to say, they can (though not always) involve several dozens of participants ranging from concept artists, coders, etc. (that is to say people who do work on the artistic aspects of games) to people like editors, translators, testers, producers, etc. (i.e. people who are clearly not there to work on the artistic side of things). Also note that this is of course ignoring the financial side of things as well that typically fuels these enterprises in the first place.

2) Games can include more than just artistic design or expression such as music, gameplay mechanics, and story which are not art.

3) People who say games and movies are art will have to remind me since when has art been a multi-million dollar cottage industry replete with press-conferences, advertisements, etc.

4) Games like movies are entertainment which is not art.
Perhaps, but you can’t deny that many movies and games like Soul Reaver or Driver have artistic merit.

Also, I’m starting to remember why I avoid deep thoughts, people can get a wee bit angry over the thread topics in here
 

verissimus

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Perhaps, but you can’t deny that many movies and games like Soul Reaver or Driver have artistic merit

If people want to say games and movies have or at least can have artistic merit, I agree. They often are certainly conceived from actual art and imagination. I just don't like it when people take it further than that.

Edit : "Also, I’m starting to remember why I avoid deep thoughts, people can get a wee bit angry over the thread topics in here" ...well, can't really blame you on that. I just find the whole "art thing" annoyingly tossed around too damn much as if it's a buzzword that's supposed to mean something good.
 
Last edited:

Michael Dummett

IPC + (p → q) ∨ (q → p)
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I'd say yes, although it's not an art in the sense of painting or statue building or music composition. It's an art that is derived from multiple other arts and has a different final end compared to the other ones. Music making, painting and sculpting are arts more geared towards passive contemplation, meanwhile video games are an art more directed towards active engagement with the actual medium itself (via a console or PC to play it on). You can even say some of it's "artness" is derived from the art of writing software, which is a definite art and science (but it doesn't have all the notions of video gaminess) . There's definitely shitty games that only want to be called art to sound deep and pretentious or for gov't gibs, which while art, fail to reach their final end of entertainment and active engagement with the video game by wide margins. But there's also games like Vagrant Story and Azarael's Tear, which are definitely more realized artistically due to how well they perform their formal end and hence how they reach their final end because of it. So, longwinded rant aside, yeah but I don't think the taxpayers should pay for it and it's because of our recognition of the formal and final ends of a video game that we can judge how good or bad they are.
 

Marco Fucko

I fantasized about this back in Chicago
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Literally every form of media is technically art and has the potential to produce something worth being remembered, as well as the reality of producing acceptable but forgettable content to be enjoyed casually.
 

Clop

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The visual effort in games on its own would be considered a gigantic piece of art. Somehow it's no longer art if you're allowed to walk in it with a sprite or a 3D model that on its own would also be a piece of art? Get real.

People who don't consider any games art are swines that can't tell the difference between the Sistine Chapel ceiling and Tracey Emin's bed.
 

Sīn the Moon Daddy

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I've derived more emotion from video games than I ever have at the cinema and I suspect that many people my age feel the same way. There's never been a more powerful way to tell a story than by allowing someone to pick up a controller and join in or even change the story by yourself. I say that electronic games are art because they tell a story. Even games that don't tell any particular tale can be interpreted as having a narrative where the player character will try to race against a timer or collect items.
 
E

ES 148

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The graphical work done to make games is often impressive, and can generally be considered art.
The narratives of a narrative game are - by nature - stories, which are a form of art.
The music of a video game is, again, a creative endeavour that is a form of art.
I'd go so far as to say that good programming is art.

All the component pieces are art, and together they form a type of art known as 'video game'.
Doesn't mean they're great pieces of art, but people submit dumb stuff to art galleries for millions all the time.

I'd also say, though, that pure visual novels aren't video games, they're just computer software picture books.