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The Videogames and Art Thread: Say No to Dead Horse Beatings

TrynantTrynant Maniac BrawlerThat one place.Registered User regular
edited February 2010 in Games and Technology
THE NUMBER 1 IMPORTANT FACT ABOUT THIS THREAD
The question of whether games are art or not is silly.

TO ELABORATE ON IMPORTANT FACT NUMBER 1
Monger wrote: »
...threads consisting of

1. GAMES ARE ART BECAUSE *SEMANTIC VOMIT*
2. GAMES ARE NOT ART BECAUSE *SEMANTIC VOMIT*

always (always) goes poorly, and the discussion of what constitutes the label is largely irrelevant (and quite an impedence) to having an interesting discussion upon the expressive qualities of the medium.


With that in mind...

Okay, you all know the deal. It seems that there is a widespread, mainstream view of videogames that boils down to that they are about as legimate of a medium for creative expression as comic books were before "graphic novels." For the past three decades many advocates of videogames have been arguing that videogames have the potential for sophisticated, meaningful display of thoughts and emotions--another way to say videogames can be "art." Currently there is no universal agreement on videogaming's artistic merit except possibly that "we aren't there yet."

Let's talk about videogames and art and debate on how they are related.


A Few Things that You Probably Shouldn't Say

Please do not make statements like the ones below unless you have a really, really good reason for doing so. They are dead-end arguments at best, and pushing these points just dodges the issue at hand. The basic rule of thumb here to not argue about the semantics.

Anything can be art, so of course videogames are art.
Okay, "Can videogames be art?" is a loaded question out of the box. The question entirely depends on the definition of art being used. Really, the question about videogames being art is silly (see above); it's more of a question of videogames being good art and how they can do so.

Art sucks so be glad that videogames don't try to be sucky art.
For some reason I hear this more than I would think to hear it. First off, art is a loaded word (see above), and usually when someone says something like this, art is likened to those (post)modern pieces like urinals or abstract shapes that took 30 minutes to draw or videos of people kicking a bucket down an alley. Sure people call that stuff art, but it seems the fallacy here is that people assume that if videogames are "art" that every videogame must be like this kind of art. Of course, this is utterly absurd. Projects in any medium that are considered art are in a niche category. Just because you don't like high-brow material and would rather be entertained by Michael Bay flicks does not mean there's a demand and arguably a need for experimental creations that can occasionally advance a medium forward. Videogames lack this niche category, and that lack is what is under discussion. The question is not whether videogames can be art like urinals in a museum can, but rather if they can be art like Citizen Kane or The Marriage of Figaro are art. You get the idea.

....fun....
Fun is a weird word. There is no cognitive in any language but English that directly corresponds to the word fun, and it seems to be the word that's thrown around most when evaluating a videogame. Here's the problem, fun is a very flimsy catch-all word that could mean just about anything depending on the conversation, just like saying something is art. Entertaining, amusing, enjoyable, etc. are all better, more specific words. Basing your opinion on the word fun is just going to create confusion. Use at your own risk.

Some Often-Discussed Subjects That Will Probably Come Up and Are Totally Cool to Talk About

Stories in Games, Branching Narratives and Cutscenes
An often-used argument is that games have stories and such and that this alone validates games as a creative medium. The often-used rebuttal is that much of the story in a game is revealed in parts of the game that aren't actually the game; in the words of David Jaffe: "Dude, you cried during a fucking cutscene!" Games often cited in this argument the Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy series. Lot of cutscene, but does the gameplay correspond to the story? A good question to ask is, would the story be better in a game than in a book or a movie? Still, an interactive and story is definitely a worth discussion.

Gameplay Itself Being the "Art"
I hope this will be discussed a lot. I don't think there's any doubt that stories, graphics and music can be considered artistic and sophisticated. If you look at the actual design and engineering of a game, is that part of it an art? If you strip a game of its music, story, and visuals can you still have something that can evoke a wide assortment of emotions and thought to the point that movies and books can?

The Industry's (Un)Willingness to Make "Art" Games
I think this will come up somewhat. There's a lot of money going into AAA videogames, and it's understandable that publishers will want to see a return for that money and play it safe when making games. There is very little risk-taking in the videogame industry compared to other mediums, and that certainly can create doubt over whether there can be a Citizen Kane or a even a Ben Hur of videogames.

Authorial Control Versus Player Interaction
That games are interactive creates some interesting conundrums for a game designer. How do they present a crafted, artistic statement when the player can go and fuck things up in their game? Okay, that's a gross simplification of the issue, but nevertheless, how much a developer has control over their videogame is definitely an issue worth discussing.

Most Games that Try to Be Art are Terrible
There are a good amount of people who argue that developers who try to make a game artsy don't know what they hell they are doing. In many of these videogames the game design is much less entertaining than a standard mainstream game. Where is the middle ground where a game has some intellectual appeal and can be rudimentary entertainment at the same time? WARNING: this argument is dangerously close to the fallacy "if videogames that try to be artsy suck, videogames are totally not art and you should be glad they aren't." Be careful! An interesting question involving this subject is "are artsy videogames that we have right now 'bad' because simply that videogames are a young medium and just hasn't evolved yet to the point where good game design with intellectual appeal exists?"

Some Game Highlights

I see these games cited as examples of "games that are art" a whole lot.

Metal Gear Solid Series: Known for narrative that goes above and beyond the call of duty (MGS2 especially got praised for its post-modern story), the Metal Gear Solid games have been called artistic more than once.

Bioshock: The Ayn Rand references and surprisingly mature subject matter contained in Bioshock got it a lot of praise from the gaming community and showed that a game could cover some pretty high-brow material and still be a success.

Final Fantasy VII/Final Fantasy Series: People love talking about Aerith, and FFVII did do a lot for RPGs--a genre that tends to actually have a story more than most games. Pretty good stories in most of the rest of the series as well(FFX stands out in my mind).

Silent Hill 2: This is a survival-horror game with a unique story that dealt with themes and issues that may not actually be covered elsewhere in the game industry. Should be noted that the game mechanics, and most every facet of SH2, contributed to the atmosphere of the game. Sure you're character couldn't aim worth shit and the combat wasn't great, but that made the experience all the more terrifying.

Killer7: Oh my, Killer7 is fucked up. Everything from the visual style to simply the gameplay was a complete reversal of standard videogame conventions, if not a direct satire. If there was a post-modern videogame, this would be the one to point to.

Ico/Shadow of the Colossus: These two games aren't as balls-to-the-walls crazy as Killer7 but definitely have some interesting features. I especially think Shadow of the Colossus stands out because of the way it paces the gameplay to accentuate the story. People tend to actually hate playing SotC though.

Braid: When people weren't bitching about the $15 price-tag of the game, they acclaimed Braid for having really nifty, mind-warping puzzles. Braid combines this engaging gameplay with a really high-brow and intellectual (and pretentious according to naysayers) story that arguably is intertwined with the gameplay.

Indigo Prophecy/Heavy Rain: A very interesting set of games that focus on widely-branching stories and play like an interactive movie. The gameplay can be criticized to be one big quicktime event, however.

Bioware Games: Mass Effect, Baldur's Gate, Dragon Age all are known for their really well-done dialogue and stories. Also these games tend to have sex-scenes.

Indie Games: There are tons of small, mostly independent games that take a shot at having some artistic intent. The Marriage, Passage, The Path, Gravitation, FlOw, Flower, Pixeljunk Eden...the list goes on. Probably the most "out-there" games. These games tend to get shat on for having crap gameplay and childish artistic statements, however. Still, these games aren't backed by risk-weary publishers and have the freedom to go where blockbuster titles cannot.

Link Spam

Jim Sterling's explosive article on indie games not having to act like indie games.


Followups and other articles on the same subject include I Wanna Be the Guy's creator's take on indie games and how most fail at art and Gamasutra's followup on the Sterling article.

Jonathan Blow, creator of Braid, gives speeches and rants on artistic game design and related news a lot.

Roger Ebert argues that player control makes games ever unworthy. You probably know this one but hey it needs to be remembered when talking about art and games.

Chris Crawford, outspoken former game designer, wrote probably the first book focusing videogames as art.

Crawford also gave a speech announcing his departure from videogames back in 1992.

This article made a spash way back when MGS2 was new.

From the same site (different journalist), bemoans the failure of the industry to produce artistic works.

More links might show up....


That about covers the basics. Videogames, art, what is your take?

Trynant on
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Posts

  • -Loki--Loki- Don't pee in my mouth and tell me it's raining. Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    You'd probably want to include a few of the PSN games in there, like Pixeljunk Eden and Flower.

  • SkutSkutSkutSkut Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I remember hearing that at one time movies weren't considered art and the old farts of that time considered them devil worship and wanted them gone, now they're a protected art form so give it time.

  • BlueDestinyBlueDestiny Registered User
    edited February 2010
    I would say that the combat in Batman: Arkham Asylum is a work of art. I was wincing in sympathy for the mooks I was beating the crap out of, something that usually doesn't happen due to animation quality in other games. On another note, the Scarecrow sequences (Especially the
    Spoiler:
    ) were amazing. Heck, the
    Spoiler:

    Any sufficiently advanced friendship is indistinguishable from magic.
  • TrynantTrynant Maniac Brawler That one place.Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    -Loki- wrote: »
    You'd probably want to include a few of the PSN games in there, like Pixeljunk Eden and Flower.
    I put Flower under Indie Games, and I think Pixeljunk Eden kinda goes there too. Really I'd run out of space if I tried listing all the indie games, but I will elaborate on them if people really want me to.
    SkutSkut wrote: »
    I remember hearing that at one time movies weren't considered art and the old farts of that time considered them devil worship and wanted them gone, now they're a protected art form so give it time.

    I don't doubt that videogames or some form of interactive media will be a protected art form at some point, but I think that the real questions are how is it going to happen and what direction will games go?

    Also, some mediums get really screwed and don't take off like others. Comic books are a great example of this; it took decades longer than it should have for some really great works to come out of that medium.

    EDIT: Also, this might be relevant to this thread,

    ART YOU CAN ABSORB INTO YOUR SOUL

  • OlivawOlivaw good name, isn't it? peach treesRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Wait wait back up a second

    Final Fantasy games have good stories? People hate playing Shadow of the Colossus?

    Who are those people and where do they live

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  • Stabbity StyleStabbity Style Walla Walla, WARegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Olivaw wrote: »
    Wait wait back up a second

    Final Fantasy games have good stories? People hate playing Shadow of the Colossus?

    Who are those people and where do they live

    It's less they have good stories and more the stories are told well.

    AxMEM8u.png
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  • JohannenJohannen Registered User
    edited February 2010
    I'd say some of the new cell shaded games that are out are coming close to art, and the guys who made ico and shadow of collosus were pretty much artists in my mind.

    There was that music browser game I remember being posted on these forums a while ago, where you had to magnetize the music towards it's correct tone so you could play the piano song. The music worked as streams of light being sucked towards the music blocks which would then change the musics color. I always thought that actually was just meant to be interactive art.

  • OlivawOlivaw good name, isn't it? peach treesRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Olivaw wrote: »
    Wait wait back up a second

    Final Fantasy games have good stories? People hate playing Shadow of the Colossus?

    Who are those people and where do they live

    It's less they have good stories and more the stories are told well.

    And I'd disagree there too

    7u0YG.gif
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  • Halos Nach TariffHalos Nach Tariff Conceal Don't FeelRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    The game is called 'Auditorium' and it can be found here: http://www.playauditorium.com/

    In my mind it is very much interactive art.

    LetharCombo_zpsbd0f5853.gif?t=1348690746

  • Raiden333Raiden333 Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Mass Effect is the most recent game I have classified as a work of art, and I don't give that classification lightly. They have built up a consistent, compelling universe and deliver it to the player in an interesting way. It's a universe that has many differences from our own, yet just as many similarities.

    camo_sig2.png
  • DunxcoDunxco Should get a suit Never skips breakfastRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I think Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem deserves special recognition in this category for having the ability to challenge our conceptions of the fourth wall to such an effect. If Metal Gear Solid kicked it off with the Psycho Mantis fight, Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem took the ball and went running with it.

  • Skelly BSkelly B Registered User
    edited February 2010
    Gameplay Itself Being the "Art" -- One could liken skilled, or otherwise interesting, play to performance art. Watching a very skilled tetris player is very interesting.

    In my opinion video games are art, but for different reasons depending on the game.

  • OlivawOlivaw good name, isn't it? peach treesRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I do appreciate it when a game breaks the fourth wall at me in an entertaining way

    I mean, every game pretty much breaks the fourth wall with it's help messages and tutorials and stuff, but so few do it in a funny way

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  • Raiden333Raiden333 Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Olivaw wrote: »
    I do appreciate it when a game breaks the fourth wall at me in an entertaining way

    I mean, every game pretty much breaks the fourth wall with it's help messages and tutorials and stuff, but so few do it in a funny way

    Have you played Contact on the DS? Sounds like you'd love it.

    camo_sig2.png
  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    video games are art. the overwhelming majority are crappy art, and it's more overwhelming than other media (even though most books, films, etc are also crappy art).

    video games are even more driven by consumerism and marketing than other media were to begin with, and they are almost without exception made to entertain, on a basic level. many games do interesting things, but true art isn't necessarily entertaining, and often the need to make a game "fun" on a level that will make it sell cripples its ability to go farther with its artistic goals.

    that said, even though making a game requires a lot more resources than writing a book or painting a picture, it's become vastly more accessible and a lot of indie games are doing really interesting stuff, both in terms of software-as-art and specifically games-as-art. of course we have a lot of artsy garbage because of this (such as, in my opinion, The Path), but even mainstream games are experimenting in fascinating ways beyond their goal of making sales.

    Dragon Age, for example, has done a surprisingly good job of creating actual moral problems, rather than obvious binary choices of puppy-kicking versus saintliness, and that's a game mostly designed around killing monsters and taking their shit. Batman AA had some great scenes with the Scarecrow gas, although the interactivity of those scenes was usually disappointingly limited (they could have taken some cues from Eternal Darkness).

    Inquisitor wrote: »
    I fucking hate you Canadians.
  • OlivawOlivaw good name, isn't it? peach treesRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Raiden333 wrote: »
    Olivaw wrote: »
    I do appreciate it when a game breaks the fourth wall at me in an entertaining way

    I mean, every game pretty much breaks the fourth wall with it's help messages and tutorials and stuff, but so few do it in a funny way

    Have you played Contact on the DS? Sounds like you'd love it.

    I sort of wanted to but then I heard it sucked so I didn't

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  • AdusAdus Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Olivaw wrote: »
    Olivaw wrote: »
    Wait wait back up a second

    Final Fantasy games have good stories? People hate playing Shadow of the Colossus?

    Who are those people and where do they live

    It's less they have good stories and more the stories are told well.

    And I'd disagree there too

    I'd argue it's the opposite, actually. Final Fantasy games have good stories told poorly, or terribly in cases where bad translation is also a factor.

  • JohannenJohannen Registered User
    edited February 2010
  • Raoulduke20Raoulduke20 Registered User
    edited February 2010
    Despite the popularity of this topic, there really is no argument against videogames as art. I've read up on it, like the Roger Ebert opinion, but most of the reasons cited why they couldn't be an artform are laughable or are the result of complete ignorance of the medium. Videogames are very interdisciplinary in nature, so one of the most interesting things for me is seeing the ways in which narrative, game mechanics, visual art, sound effects and sound track interact. The reason it has taken so much time to take itself seriously or develop as much mainstream pretention as most art is that it has always taken a very specific set of skills to actually make a game and those skills are unrelated to writing, visual art, music, or any of the established arts mobilized by videogames. So it takes highly skilled people working technical jobs along with more abstract jobs. It's nothing that movies haven't dealt with, but it makes projects helmed by one individual with an ambitious vision more challenging. As the tools to make games become simpler and easier to access we're seeing more and more ambitious indie games, which is why these threads always feature lists of great games that are extremely low budget. It'll be exciting to see how things develop as indies continue to gain credibility and become more profitable.

    Shadow of the Colossus isn't any more artistic than most good games, really, but it's easy to point to because it's so aesthetically pleasing while also sustaining an interesting narrative. It has a minimalist style that extends to the game only featuring boss fights, and its that focus that brings into question the nature of boss fights and violence in games by making it hard not to question yourself as you kill the oddly sympathetic creatures. Videogames are just a very young artform so it's taking time to convince those who only know of the form from negative press or crude first impressions. No art is recognizable or accessable across the board.

    signatureih.jpg
  • PolloDiabloPolloDiablo Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Adus wrote: »
    Olivaw wrote: »
    Olivaw wrote: »
    Wait wait back up a second

    Final Fantasy games have good stories? People hate playing Shadow of the Colossus?

    Who are those people and where do they live

    It's less they have good stories and more the stories are told well.

    And I'd disagree there too

    I'd argue it's the opposite, actually. Final Fantasy games have good stories told poorly, or terribly in cases where bad translation is also a factor.

    I'm with Olivaw on this. I'm asking honestly here, because I don't really get it, what was Sephiroth's plan in FF7? He wanted to kill all life on Earth to use it as a spaceship to fly to another planet to colonize it? FF tells the story in a flashy way with lots of cutscenes, but I haven't played one yet where the story wasn't completely retarded.

    My take on games as art is yes, they can be art, and it's stupid to think otherwise.

    Be excellent to each other you stupid cunts.
  • TrynantTrynant Maniac Brawler That one place.Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I agree with all of you saying that games are art...kinda. The trick is that that's a dumb question because it all depends on how you define art (and why this thread's name is kinda a misnomer). It really isn't much of a debate there. What I think can be much better discussed is how games are art, and what games are more representative of high-brow entertainment than others.
    Skelly B wrote: »
    Gameplay Itself Being the "Art" -- One could liken skilled, or otherwise interesting, play to performance art. Watching a very skilled tetris player is very interesting.

    In my opinion video games are art, but for different reasons depending on the game.

    While I do agree there is sort of a performance art in playing games well, I wonder if a game can be designed in such a way that the design itself is viewed widely as artwork.

    There are several ways this has been tried. Some games have rules that symbolize various things. Passage or The Marriage both are fairly abstract but the way their rules work have greater meaning. The problem with those games is that they do not supply very sophisticated symbols and are about at the level of an Aesop fable.

    I wonder if that same model--games using their own rules for symbolism or other literary devices--can be expanded upon and be made into a full-scale game, and for those messages in those rule systems to not be considered pretentious or patronizing to the player.

    Also, I am not sure I would term Mass Effect or Dragon Age as high-brow material, at least compared to other media. It's excellent craft, but I don't feel these games are profound to the point that literature has reached (admittedly books almost 600 years to develop since the printing press).

  • PolloDiabloPolloDiablo Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Trynant wrote: »
    Also, I am not sure I would term Mass Effect or Dragon Age as high-brow material, at least compared to other media. It's excellent craft, but I don't feel these games are profound to the point that literature has reached (admittedly books almost 600 years to develop since the printing press).

    High-brow != art

    Be excellent to each other you stupid cunts.
  • MorninglordMorninglord Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I personally define art as an experience constructed by another human being that I can experience and take something meaningful away from it into my everyday life.

    I know plenty of games that have made me think deeply in a manner not related to simply playing the game for fun or to entertain myself. This includes games that have caused in me emotions I do not normally feel and caused me to have to confront them.

    I cannot see any argument that would successfully state that a constructed experience capable of doing the above is not worth something above and beyond it's merit as pure entertainment, unless said person was not personally affected by that artwork. Which is equivelant to saying "Oh well the mona lisa is just a woman smiling, I don't see the big deal."

    My Dark Souls 2 Diary Day 6 and 7 Updated
    (PSN: Morninglord) (Steam: Morninglord) I like to record and toss up a lot of random gaming videos here.
  • WassermeloneWassermelone Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Trynant wrote: »
    Also, I am not sure I would term Mass Effect or Dragon Age as high-brow material, at least compared to other media. It's excellent craft, but I don't feel these games are profound to the point that literature has reached (admittedly books almost 600 years to develop since the printing press).

    High-brow != art

    Exactly.

    This is a terrible painting. Absolutely awful.
    p-pop-portrait-3.jpg

    Still art? Yes. The question of whether games are art or not is silly.

    I think the question of when games are good art is interesting. I think the creation of more games that are good but don't necessarily seek to be 'thrilling' or 'exciting' is a good step towards there being more games that might count as good/important art.

  • TrynantTrynant Maniac Brawler That one place.Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Trynant wrote: »
    Also, I am not sure I would term Mass Effect or Dragon Age as high-brow material, at least compared to other media. It's excellent craft, but I don't feel these games are profound to the point that literature has reached (admittedly books almost 600 years to develop since the printing press).

    High-brow != art

    Nevertheless, I would still say that all but a very few set of games have more artistic merit than they do entertainment value. Even ones with great stories, visuals, musical scores can amount to little more than a shooter with fancy dressing.

    Please, let's not get boggled down by the definition of art. Replace art work with "work that contains a creative expression of an idea or emotion" or some crap. Every element in games but the game design itself has been proven to have that kind of artistic potential; the gameplay in games has yet to do this. I feel like it's how people slowly learned how to use a camera to provide effect and what feelings and thoughts are provoked through certain cinematic techniques; videogames are still learning what gameplay can do for a game.

    Edit-I edited the OP to because Wassermelone is absolutely right. Asking if games are art is silly. Good art in videogames is a much more interesting--and debatable--issue.

  • MorninglordMorninglord Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I have a question.

    Why is "thrill" or "excitement" cheap and good art is supposed to reveal more "worthy" emotions.

    Who is deciding the value placed upon these emotions and why are they supposedly better than "thrills".

    All emotion has the same physiological arousal attached to it, it's merely how we interpret each context that determines what emotion we are feeling. One persons fear can be anothers excitement. One persons happiness can be anothers dread.

    So who is choosing these values and why are they qualified to make these judgements for other people?

    As far as I am concerned, an artwork that succeeds in instilling excitement and thrill in an audience is one giving people enjoyment and positive experiences. I fail to see how this is not a worthy achievement.

    My Dark Souls 2 Diary Day 6 and 7 Updated
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  • OlivawOlivaw good name, isn't it? peach treesRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    It's probably because excitement and thrills are easy and the deeper, more significant emotions are harder

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  • CherrnCherrn Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I personally define art as an experience constructed by another human being that I can experience and take something meaningful away from it into my everyday life.

    This.

    You can always attempt to quantify whatever intrinsic value is present in any work of art, i.e. the Mona Lisa is worth more on a cultural and historical level than Sonic the Hedgehog.

    But I do find the notion of saying "this can't be art" about any type of general medium to be patently ridiculous. Even if you don't agree that there have been any good examples thus far - which I think is a fine assessment, considering art should be an entirely personal notion - to deny the potential of art in an interactive spectrum is both short-sighted and needlessly stubborn.

    Even though I consider myself a proponent of games as art (hell, I wrote my thesis on interactive narratives), I don't find the debate surrounding it to be particularly interesting; the answer seems quite obvious to me, and most often quality rhetoric is drowned out by people "SNARF, GO READ A BOOK IF YOU WANT A GOOD STORY"

    Edit: Sorry for reiterating the point. I'm glad you guys agree that the question of whether or not games "can" be art has long since lost relevance.

    All creature will die and all the things will be broken. That's the law of samurai.
  • WassermeloneWassermelone Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I have a question.

    Why is "thrill" or "excitement" cheap and good art is supposed to reveal more "worthy" emotions.

    Who is deciding the value placed upon these emotions and why are they supposedly better than "thrills".

    All emotion has the same physiological arousal attached to it, it's merely how we interpret each context that determines what emotion we are feeling. One persons fear can be anothers excitement. One persons happiness can be anothers dread.

    So who is choosing these values and why are they qualified to make these judgements for other people?

    As far as I am concerned, an artwork that succeeds in instilling excitement and thrill in an audience is one giving people enjoyment and positive experiences. I fail to see how this is not a worthy achievement.

    I don't see why wanting games that focus on other experiences means that we think that thrill and excitement is not worthy. Its great, I love me some thrilling heart pounding games.

    But, thats more or less all that is produced. Games that seek to create these other emotions while you play them are unusual and can satisfy someone in a completely different way than Modern Warfare in the same way the movie Pi might satisfy a completely different hunger than Transformers. Its more 'worthy' in that its unusual and stands out as something important.

  • urahonkyurahonky Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I am always wary when people use the word "artsy" to define a game. If they do, it means it's almost devoid of all types of "fun" just for the sake of being artistic.

    So why do we want video games as art? They are a form of entertainment for us to ignore our realities. So what if it isn't "art". So what if you don't see a game in a museum. Does that make video games less fun/enjoyable?

    I hate that we are trying to make video games an art form.

    Games completed recently: Dead Island: Riptide, Batman: Arkham Origins, StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm, StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty, Dragon's Crown
  • MongerMonger Hella Fuckin Smokey Dallas, TXRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    This thread is a thread that I am oft observed to be in. At least this incarnation has better rules than previous ones.
    The question of whether games are art or not is silly.
    Rules which half the posters in the thread have flagrantly disregarded already.

  • AntihippyAntihippy Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Forms of entertainment can be art. You know that, right?

    10454_nujabes2.pngPSN: Antiwhippy
  • AxenAxen My avatar is Excalibur. Yes, the sword.Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Some movies are considered "art", most are not of course. I do not see why the same cannot apply to videogames. Though what "qualifies" a game as "art" is beyond me. ICO would certainly be one I'd consider as such.

  • McAllenMcAllen Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I never understood this debate, I try to think about it but I don't have the care to delve deeper. I view all games as art, from pinball machines to MGS to Number Crunchers. There was music and graphics for most games, and even the Atari cave man graphics had symbolism(usually). I think video games are just another fusion of artistic mediums to try and make something that conveys a range of emotions or a moral. You don't need a story, just like you don't need lyrics, if that is a bad analogy I apologize.

    But yeah everything I've played I've also viewed as a critic(like 100% of us), and I also try and observe what they wanted to give me versus what I perceived, and if they did a successful job.

    I half-read the thread title as The Big Ol' Titties and Ass Debate. Just sharing and caring

  • WassermeloneWassermelone Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Monger wrote: »
    This thread is a thread that I am oft observed to be in. At least this incarnation has better rules than previous ones.
    The question of whether games are art or not is silly.
    Rules which half the posters in the thread have flagrantly disregarded already.

    I can certainly see how you would conflate what I said with the old R. Mutt toilet argument for games being art, and I apologize. I probably could have phrased what I meant better.

    My point was that the definition of art, whatever it may be, does not contain any qualifiers on the quality of the art. There is good art, and there is bad art and opinions on what is what but it doesn't change the idea that it is art. I was trying to post a rebuttal (poor quality notwithstanding) to the idea in some peoples posts that unless something is profound, it is not art.

  • TrynantTrynant Maniac Brawler That one place.Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    urahonky wrote: »
    I am always wary when people use the word "artsy" to define a game. If they do, it means it's almost devoid of all types of "fun" just for the sake of being artistic.

    So why do we want video games as art? They are a form of entertainment for us to ignore our realities. So what if it isn't "art". So what if you don't see a game in a museum. Does that make video games less fun/enjoyable?

    I hate that we are trying to make video games an art form.

    You could of at least assured me that you read the OP before you go and bring up some really flawed arguments that I bolded as bad ideas. But hey, it doesn't hurt to clarify.

    Games are a form of entertainment for us to ignore our realities? Other media can do that just as well, if not better, but they can also do the exact opposite; other media can help us face the problems of reality. What you are essentially saying is that videogames are a shadow of books, music, videos, and so on; and that this is okay.

    And what you are saying really seems to imply that people are arguing that all games must be an artistic endeavor and anything else doesn't matter. Absolutely wrong on that count. It's fine if a movie is a flick rather than a film, a book is a thriller instead of a post-modern evaluation of entropy, or a song is made by a rock quartet instead of a symphony orchestra. That is not what's being argued for. What's being argued is that videogames should have the ability to have a small selection of titles be considered good art. Other media have this, videogames don't.

    We aren't trying to make videogames an art form, but rather a medium that can produce art as well as entertainment.

    What will happen if games don't have that one bit of art is that the medium will not be able to have legs to stand on in defending any mature content. Creative expression will be limited if not legally then at least by peer standards. Yes, this is a bad thing.

    You know what? I do in fact think that videogames are less enjoyable than they could be if we expanded gaming's horizon to include those "artsy." Where are the videogames about comedy romances, or about the horrors of war? I enjoyed Shakespeare in Love and Saving Private Ryan, but the emotions and thoughts provoked by those movies are few and far between in videogames, if present at all. There literally is less to enjoy in videogames than in other media.

    Why would we want to make videogames art, as you say? My reason is that I want to see some artistic games, as in ones that have a well-done, sophisticated approach to adult themes and situations, is because otherwise we might as well be reading books in the young-adult section for the rest of our lives.

    EDIT-My whole rant is really off-topic. Let's go back on topic!
    Monger wrote: »
    This thread is a thread that I am oft observed to be in. At least this incarnation has better rules than previous ones.
    The question of whether games are art or not is silly.
    Rules which half the posters in the thread have flagrantly disregarded already.

    I can certainly see how you would conflate what I said with the old R. Mutt toilet argument for games being art, and I apologize. I probably could have phrased what I meant better.

    My point was that the definition of art, whatever it may be, does not contain any qualifiers on the quality of the art. There is good art, and there is bad art and opinions on what is what but it doesn't change the idea that it is art. I was trying to post a rebuttal (poor quality notwithstanding) to the idea in some peoples posts that unless something is profound, it is not art.

    Actually Wassermelone, if you look at the updated OP you'll find your earlier quote now made the first rule of this thread.

    I like some of the points made in this thread already, and I'm hoping there will be less treading on old ground and more genuine discussion.

  • MongerMonger Hella Fuckin Smokey Dallas, TXRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Monger wrote: »
    This thread is a thread that I am oft observed to be in. At least this incarnation has better rules than previous ones.
    The question of whether games are art or not is silly.
    Rules which half the posters in the thread have flagrantly disregarded already.

    I can certainly see how you would conflate what I said with the old R. Mutt toilet argument for games being art, and I apologize. I probably could have phrased what I meant better.

    My point was that the definition of art, whatever it may be, does not contain any qualifiers on the quality of the art. There is good art, and there is bad art and opinions on what is what but it doesn't change the idea that it is art. I was trying to post a rebuttal (poor quality notwithstanding) to the idea in some peoples posts that unless something is profound, it is not art.
    My point is mostly that threads consisting of

    1. GAMES ARE ART BECAUSE *SEMANTIC VOMIT*
    2. GAMES ARE NOT ART BECAUSE *SEMANTIC VOMIT*

    always (always) goes poorly, and the discussion of what constitutes the label is largely irrelevant (and quite an impedence) to having an interesting discussion upon the expressive qualities of the medium.

  • AJRAJR You took too long Now your candy's goneRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    urahonky wrote: »
    I am always wary when people use the word "artsy" to define a game. If they do, it means it's almost devoid of all types of "fun" just for the sake of being artistic.

    So why do we want video games as art? They are a form of entertainment for us to ignore our realities. So what if it isn't "art". So what if you don't see a game in a museum. Does that make video games less fun/enjoyable?

    I hate that we are trying to make video games an art form.

    I don’t think there’s a big collective push for it though.

    The way I see it, a few pockets of people want to explore what can be done with gaming beyond being entertainment, and that's totally cool with me. I doubt we'll ever get a shortage of games designed purely to entertain people.

    But I have to say; I can't think of many "artsy" games I've played that weren't enjoyable to me on some level. So it's hard to see where you're coming from.

  • OlivawOlivaw good name, isn't it? peach treesRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Axen wrote: »
    Some movies are considered "art", most are not of course. I do not see why the same cannot apply to videogames. Though what "qualifies" a game as "art" is beyond me. ICO would certainly be one I'd consider as such.

    Um

    no

    All movies are art

    Some are just bad art
    urahonky wrote: »
    I am always wary when people use the word "artsy" to define a game. If they do, it means it's almost devoid of all types of "fun" just for the sake of being artistic.

    So why do we want video games as art? They are a form of entertainment for us to ignore our realities. So what if it isn't "art". So what if you don't see a game in a museum. Does that make video games less fun/enjoyable?

    I hate that we are trying to make video games an art form.

    So did you decide that you were too cool to read the OP or is this a brilliant satire

    7u0YG.gif
    PSN ID : DetectiveOlivaw | TWITTER | SCREENED | STEAM ID | BUY SOME STUFF!
  • TrynantTrynant Maniac Brawler That one place.Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Monger wrote: »
    My point is mostly that threads consisting of

    1. GAMES ARE ART BECAUSE *SEMANTIC VOMIT*
    2. GAMES ARE NOT ART BECAUSE *SEMANTIC VOMIT*

    always (always) goes poorly, and the discussion of what constitutes the label is largely irrelevant (and quite an impedence) to having an interesting discussion upon the expressive qualities of the medium.

    I've added you into the OP. Hopefully that can circumvent some of the more dead-end discussions. Also changed the title of this thread from "The Big Ol' Videogames and Art Debate" to "The Big Ol' Videogames and Art Thread," just because there seems to be more than one subject in debate here, which is a good thing.

    So, while I'm at it, how about some discussion on what we know games can do well and perhaps better than any other medium? Here are some examples.

    Challenge: Games can challenge people more than any other medium. We tend to take this ability for granted, however, and really that's kinda sad. That we can heighten the tension in a game so effortlessly using challenge is a wonderful advantage over other media.

    Fear: I doubt any non-interactive media can bring about the primal emotion of being scared shitless better than a videogame can. I would like to note I am talking about base, instinctual fear moreso than fear of abstract thoughts. In other words, while I don't know that many games that can convey a dystopia better than 1984, but Silent Hill scares me more than any horror flick.

    Accomplishment: This goes hand and hand with challenge. Satisfaction from performing a difficult task is a pretty unique feeling to have in a creative medium, but videogames sure can make you feel like a badass.

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