Sunday, July 31, 2011

Video Games are Art: A simple answer to a long debated question.

Even within the gaming community the question of whether video games can be considered art has been a debate. I think it stems from the fact that video games largely started as a competitive "game" rather than as a medium to convey a message to the player. I would say part of the issue with people viewing video games as art is the fact it doesn't fit our traditional sense in what we assume art is. You will find no such debate in other mediums, basically the entire world agrees that music, visual art (paintings, sculptures, cartooning, etc.), film, architecture, drama, and literature all have concrete examples of "art." However video games which borrows heavily from most of these art forms gets tossed aside by many people. To sum up exactly how I feel on the subject we just need to look at the Oxford Dictionary definition of art.

1. [mass noun] the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power:

In the first definition of the word video games easily can be classified as art. Many "artists" do work together to create video games, and the best of which are appreciated for their beauty and emotional power. I know many people may say a video game has never made them cry (I would be one of them) but I bet many games have evoked feelings of fear, excitement, or any overall care for the main protagonist and outcome of the story in almost any gamer. It is a medium that gets its message across beyond using language, and for that it fits the most basic definition of art.

The debate should not be whether video games are art or not, it should be how can we progress this art form to be more accepted in society. There was a time when rock and roll would never have been considered art, and now the Beatles are hailed as the brilliant artists that changed music forever. Cartoons would have been seen as simple children's entertainment, but now I dare you to find someone who does not consider Walt Disney an artist. Video games will have its time in the main stream spotlight as a serious medium one day, we just have to hold it up to that light.

1 comment:

  1. Personally, I don't think we need to progress video games as an art form to a level more acceptable to the rest of society.

    In general, the vast majority of people who believe video games can be art are gamers themselves, people who enjoy and love video games. The more you try and appeal to those who think video games are pointless or un-artistic, the more you run the risk of alienating gamers who enjoy them for what they already are. That would be like making metal more like country to appeal to country fans.

    If I believe a snes game is a work of art, then promoting something new in it's defense isn't the right approach. Even if "society" accepts video games as art as a result, there will always be those who will never see that same snes game as a work of art the way I do. If you have to change something to validate it's importance, you haven't proved that it was important at all.

    In the end, though, as video games become a bigger part of human life I think it's inevitable that they will eventually be accepted by society as an art form. I don't need to concern myself with making video games appeal artistically to a painter who thinks they're pointless. Why would I? My time is much better spent creating the games I want to make, with the music I want to compose, the art I want to draw, and the stories I want to tell. Regardless of whether or not they'll be regarded as art, or even respected. That's what true art is, in my opinion, no matter what the medium.