Video Games Are Not Art

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Video Games Are Not Art

Postby Aero » Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:10 pm

I'm not going to explain why I think this, but I want to see what the reactions are to this statement. I will explain later though, but I think it's important that the OP for this subject doesn't set the starting point of this discussion but rather the first set of responses so it can be seen where people are at. Please explain if you agree or disagree and why.
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Re: Video Games Are Not Art

Postby Aristo » Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:17 pm

Art is subjective and when it comes down to it, everyone has their own definition of what is and what isn't art, therefore yes and no.
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Re: Video Games Are Not Art

Postby MrPunchia » Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:43 pm

Yes, art is subjective. Personally I categorize video games as a form of interactive art, which is defined as an artistic creation where spectator input is provided to achieve its purpose. In the case of video games, such purposes include entertainment (which is universally shared throughout basically all games) and storytelling.

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Re: Video Games Are Not Art

Postby Shadow Yoshi » Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:53 pm

Art can be one's own personal expression of themselves. If your expression is an interactive experience such as a video game, the video game is art.

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Re: Video Games Are Not Art

Postby Artemis008 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:37 pm

Video games are a blend of music and art, with the extra advantage of being interactive.
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Re: Video Games Are Not Art

Postby not rockythechao » Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:38 pm

I wouldn't go so far as to say all games are high/fine art, as most people seem to mean when they keep dragging this tired old debate back out of the cellar. I'd say it's fair to draw parallels between games and other mediums as -- at least in the US -- video games are legally considered art alongside film, literature, and so on.

For every Citizen Kane there's two or three Sharknados. For every 1984 you have your Twilights. The Last Guardian, Goat Simulator. You get the idea. All forms of media have their own works created for expressive or artistic reasons just as they have ones made for more pedestrian purposes like mass entertainment or dumb jokes.
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Re: Video Games Are Not Art

Postby Aero » Wed Jul 12, 2017 1:17 am

Alright so that's probably all of the posts I'll get for the day. What I've noticed is three categories of reaction: people who are skeptical and think this is to start an argument by simply making the statement and waiting for reactions first, people who replied and gave measured thoughts on the matter, and people too angry to bother commenting which says more than anything they could've wrote. I left the OP vague, and had a white lie to get what the reactions are to the claim that video games are not art. It's a perfectly valid opinion to hold, and there's a genuine argument on both sides. What is interesting though is how people react to the argument.
The first group, those skeptical and think this was just a provocation, assume that video games are an art form and that it pretty much universally accepted. This isn't quite true. So far there is a plurality of views on the subject outside of just a yes or no to the question of video games being art. Some people think that some games are just digital toys and others are artistic, some people think all games are toys, some people think all games are artistic, and some people vary in between. People who would agree on games being an art form may disagree to the extents, and which games are and are not art and they could each come up with logical arguments and make a valid case. Though the negativity in the reaction, the faulty assumption people will get angry and argue, leads to the second group I listed.

The second group, the people who have replied here/told me their thoughts, seem to approach the statement with a more leveled response than some more aggressive stances on each yes/no side. Everyone that's commented either here or privately with me, have affirmed that video games in at least some capacity are or can be art. They also seem more prescriptive, as to attribute features that both video games and traditional forms of art share. This is perfectly valid, and I've seen this happen in other discussions on the subject of video games being art. The criticisms come from a different angle and I will discuss those as well, but there's room to leave a question on if video games are the sum of their parts. That is they have graphics, music, a story, design, and put it all together for a player to interact. This is where I start entertaining different thoughts on the subject that I will also explain further on.

The final group, people who were too angry, would insist that video games are an art and anything said to the contrary is incorrect and starting trouble. This is what I was expecting at some level from some people. The point of me being intentionally vague in the OP and leaving the thread open ended was too gauge where people were at on this. What's interesting is that the idea of declaring games as not an art is offensive or demeaning. That is to say that if you do not agree that games are an art form, that you would think they're nothing more than trivial toys and the best games out there are just advanced alternatives to games like pong. From what I've seen, people who enjoy games and make it their hobby or career even, have this negative reaction as well as people who casually enjoy video games. What's interesting is that I have not seen people who declare games to be an art, entertain the idea that they may not be. Reactions seem to be angry, reasoned and thought out with the expectation that more people will come to realize video games are an art if they don't yet, or somewhere in between. On the other hand I have seen people that enjoy games say that video games are not art tend to believe that there are qualities that games have that art does not and that trying to make games more artistic can distract from making the games be games.

One person who did not believe video games are art and could never be art was Roger Ebert. Roger Ebert was a rather famous movie critic who let his opinion be know that video games were not art, couldn't be, and that it was inescapable to where they never will be art. His point was that you could win a video game. Roger believed that since you can win a video game, it was not art because you can't win with a book, a movie, a painting, or a sculpture. This isn't really a point that's brought up in debates about video games being an art unless it's around Roger's claim. Most of the time it's like this thread so far with comparisons to other pieces of art, though I should note were not always considered to be art themselves, and likening video games to other mediums to make a connection between games and art. I do not agree with Roger Ebert's assessment because it doesn't hold up when you could say that reading to the end of the book is essentially winning at the end of a game, or watching a movie to the end is the same experience, or observing a painting and then moving on. In his column he says "One obvious difference between art and games is that you can win a game. It has rules, points, objectives, and an outcome. Santiago might cite a immersive game without points or rules, but I would say then it ceases to be a game and becomes a representation of a story, a novel, a play, dance, a film. Those are things you cannot win; you can only experience them." While this is true this still does not carry water when considering that a vital part of games is interaction, and choice which are distinct from every other art form Ebert listed and make a game still be a game while also satisfying his case for not having anything else he listed as being necessary for a game. It can get murky when it comes to objectives vs guidance by the designers, because in other art forms this is done in order to get the audience or observers to experience the art in a certain way. For example, the "objective" of a painting would be to direct the viewer's attention to certain parts, or look/think about the painting in different ways. Like I said it's murky, and a bit abstract but it's more explicit in games which Roger Ebert takes issue with. If you would like to read Roger Ebert's full column, here's the link: http://www.rogerebert.com/rogers-journa ... ver-be-art Despite my disagreement, I think he makes interesting points that do not come up often, and should be considered especially by people who think video games are art.

My personal view is that some games are art, while other games aren't. I see art as the product of the creator's expression of creativity, and what the observer experiences and brings to the table so to speak. That is, if a painting is expressing the painter's creativity and a person feels an emotional reaction and some amount of contemplation of the painting then the painting is art. If a child draws some scribbling down and a person acknowledges the drawing as scribbles, then it is not art. If a game has a complex story, well designed aesthetics, and interesting mechanics to where you can strategist or think of new ways to interact with the game then it is art. If there is one way to interact with a game, all other features I listed are absent, and there is no complexity for any aspect and it's just straight forward then it is not art. I feel as if you say everything is art then nothing is art, so if every game is art then no game is art, and there's measurable differences between games with different qualities to where they can be fairly categorized as either art or not art in my view. What I'm not sure of though, is if some games are not art because they surpass art. This is another thing that isn't considered enough that if calling video games art cheapens video games rather than the other way around. As I mentioned, interactivity and choice is something new when it comes to the art debate and I think it very well may be true that some games can/will transcend the concept of art into an entirely different category. I'm not sure though and I could very well be wrong about this but it's something to think about.

Hopefully everyone gets it now, and this thread can move the debate further than it has on other platforms. I have plenty of examples I'd like to use to display artistic aspects of games and design, but I'll pace it out as more people hopefully respond.

EDIT: Found this video just after posting this and lines up with my thoughts exactly, and some of what I described here.
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Re: Video Games Are Not Art

Postby Artemis008 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:37 am

Umm, who in this thread fits into the third group? I thought everybody here seemed to give perfectly valid explanations.
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Re: Video Games Are Not Art

Postby Aero » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:19 am

Artemis008 wrote:Umm, who in this thread fits into the third group? I thought everybody here seemed to give perfectly valid explanations.
Aero wrote:people too angry to bother commenting
They didn't comment in this thread.
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Re: Video Games Are Not Art

Postby DJFMHD » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:08 pm

If you are saying this. You realize that there are a lot of people on these forms right? So you can't classify the people who didn't comment into a group of people who disagree with you.
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Re: Video Games Are Not Art

Postby Zha Hong Lang » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:28 pm

DJFMHD wrote:If you are saying this. You realize that there are a lot of people on these forms right? So you can't classify the people who didn't comment into a group of people who disagree with you.
I don't think he's trying to classify everyone who didn't comment into this category, but just everyone who has seen the topic and decided not to reply.

What I think is at fault is that he's assuming everyone in that category (looking at the topic, then not replying) has made their choice for the exact reason he's mentioned. For example, I didn't comment on this thread until now because I just wanted to see what people had written. I might have participated in the discussion, but Aero's following post was a very long wall of text, so I decided to spend my time doing something else.
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Re: Video Games Are Not Art

Postby Aero » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:53 pm

I intended the post to be shorter but it turned into a wall of text I guess. If I put out all of those thoughts in the OP it would be more difficult to address and question the initial reactions to the claim, and since I addressed that along with adding my own thoughts it kind of got inflated. Oh, and the group I was talking about let it be known they were angry, and I'm not assuming everyone else falls into that category if they don't fall into the other two.
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Re: Video Games Are Not Art

Postby Zha Hong Lang » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:01 pm

Aero wrote:Oh, and the group I was talking about let it be known they were angry, and I'm not assuming everyone else falls into that category if they don't fall into the other two.
Alright. It just sounded like you were addressing everyone with the "three groups" concept you explained. You didn't make any suggestion that there could've been people who saw the thread yet didn't fall into any of the three categories.

E: I forgot to address the wall of text problem properly. One thing which I do which might be able to help you is find out how you can make one sentence explain itself clearly, so that you don't have to write another sentence to clarify it.
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Re: Video Games Are Not Art

Postby Aristo » Fri Jul 14, 2017 6:11 pm

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Re: Video Games Are Not Art

Postby mechamind » Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:36 pm

If the game is trying to look more realistic (like no special styles, and the game uses actual human characters with all the facial details and stuff), I'm less likely to acknowledge it as art.

But then outside of video gaming, there are other works that I am expected to acknowledge as art, and they're more realistic than the game because they look like simple photographs. That leaves me to think I should treat the realistic looking games just like any other game.
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Re: Video Games Are Not Art

Postby Electriking » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:00 am

If you think something is art, then it is art.
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Re: Video Games Are Not Art

Postby underFlo » Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:03 am

I believe an emotional response is something that classifies something as art. Now this, of course, is something that isn't objective - emotional responses in and of themselves have to be subjective. I really don't think that "all games = art" or "some games = art" is something that can be defined. Whether a game creates an emotional response or not depends entirely on who's playing it.
The thing about art is the different personal opinions on what qualifies as art, so I think that any discussion about whether video games are art is essentially a discussion about the definition of art.
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Re: Video Games Are Not Art

Postby Aero » Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:51 am

As I mentioned earlier ITT if everything is art then nothing is art because the category becomes useless since there's no exclusivity. At some level there's a distinction between what is and is not art. Where the line is drawn is debatable but I don't think the existence of a line is. This applies to more than video games, as other traditional forms had to prove themselves to be a "high art" after initial dismissal. I also would mention that the subjectiveness of emotional responses shouldn't be something to get hung up on when defining art, because behavior and reaction can be somewhat measured compared to a lack of reaction. So like someone who really didn't like an art piece would say it's just garbage and doesn't belong with other things in a gallery, or that it's the best thing featured in the gallery, it doesn't necessarily matter what the person's opinion is about the piece but rather that there's a reaction to someone's expression. In essence, it's more meta.
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Re: Video Games Are Not Art

Postby Artemis008 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:37 am

art is a social construct
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Re: Video Games Are Not Art

Postby Knux » Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:45 pm

One person who did not believe video games are art and could never be art was Roger Ebert. Roger Ebert was a rather famous movie critic who let his opinion be know that video games were not art, couldn't be, and that it was inescapable to where they never will be art. His point was that you could win a video game. Roger believed that since you can win a video game, it was not art because you can't win with a book, a movie, a painting, or a sculpture.
A FILM critic, and this is such a stupid ass statement. Just because he's well-known doesn't give it any weight. At the end of the day he was a CRITIC, not a messiah. His field was in movies, and knew nothing about video games anyway.
My personal view is that some games are art, while other games aren't.
You can't have one without the other. Just because you prefer one game over another does not dictate which is art and which is not.
If a game has a complex story, well designed aesthetics, and interesting mechanics to where you can strategist or think of new ways to interact with the game then it is art.


All I read in this paragraph is "if it's done right to MY standards, then it is Art and other interpretations of it are invalid!" and the purpose of this thread is now mute because you've just acknowledged that video games are an art form.
I feel as if you say everything is art then nothing is art, so if every game is art then no game is art, and there's measurable differences between games with different qualities to where they can be fairly categorized as either art or not art in my view.
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Hopefully everyone gets it now, and this thread can move the debate further than it has on other platforms. I have plenty of examples I'd like to use to display artistic aspects of games and design, but I'll pace it out as more people hopefully respond
.

I don't think anyone gets this because it doesn't make any sense. Art is subjective, and I can see the artistic side to every game I've ever played, even in SMBX episodes.


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