Vanilla Forums has been nominated for a second time in the CMS Critic "Critic's Choice" awards, and we need your vote! Read more here, and then do the thing (please).
Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

Video Games as Art vs. ME3 Ending [Use Spoiler Tags!]

_J__J_ PedantRegistered User regular
edited March 2012 in Debate and/or Discourse
"The one thing to say about art is that it is one thing. Art is art-as-art and everything else is everything else. Art-as-art is nothing but art. Art is not what is not art."
- Ad Reinhardt

When Roger Ebert claimed that video games are not art the internet flipped its shit. "Gamers", whatever we take that group to be, lashed out at Ebert for his lack of understanding, for his inability to grasp the simple fact that a video game is a work of art.

When the supreme court ruled that video games are art, gamers took that to be a victory. The label of "art" applied to their pastime, and so they had won the day.

Yet now we find ourselves in an interesting position. Having claimed that video games are art, gamers are now demanding that a particular work of art, Mass Effect 3, be changed to accommodate their desires.

To support this claim, some gamers are citing a quote from Casey Hudson :
This story arc is coming to an end with this game. That means the endings can be a lot more different. At this point we're taking into account so many decisions that you've made as a player and reflecting a lot of that stuff. It's not even in any way like the traditional game endings, where you can say how many endings there are or whether you got ending A, B, or C.

Since this quote inaccurately represents the ending structure to ME3, some gamers are demanding that the game be change. They were promised a product that did X, and the actual product does ~X. Gamers contend that Bioware utilized false advertising and inaccurately presented their product.

But this situation is problematic. One cannot claim that X is both a work of art and a mere consumer product. One cannot argue that game developers deserve freedom of expression for their artistic creations but then demand that the artist modify its creation to appease the consumer's desires and expectation.

One could posit that video games are both art and consumer products, artistic expressions and free-market commodities. However, with respect to ME3's ending, we have a direct confrontation between artistic expression and consumer demand. The artists at Bioware created a work of art, and consumers who purchased it call it a faulty product.

How can X be both a piece of art, and a faulty consumer product?

How can gamers demand freedom of expression for game developers, and also demand that game developers modify their expression to their customer's expectations?

Is ME3 a work of art, or a consumer product?


If ME3 is a work of art, we must accept it as an artistic expression if its creator. We can critique it, but not demand for it to be changed.

if ME3 is a consumer product, we can demand that they change it, but we have to recognize that forcing a change hinders their artistic expression, and ultimately categorizes ME3 as a "consumer product" and not a "work of art".

Suddenly gamers seem to find themselves in the role of their political enemies: They are demanding consumer appeasement, rather than respecting artistic freedom.

What do you think? Is ME3 a work of art, or a consumer product? If it's both, how do we reconcile artist freedom with consumer demands?

Note: Please use spoiler tags where appropriate.

_J_ on
Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
«13456

Posts

  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    I think the thread title should be changed to better reflect the intended discussion: Are video games always art, or can they simply be consumer products?

    That's a DAMN good question to ask in this context of ME3 by the way. Well played, _J_.

    "Ultima Online Pre-Trammel is the perfect example of why libertarians are full of shit."
    - @Ludious
    PA Lets Play Archive - Twitter - Blog (6/15/14)
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    Henroid wrote: »
    I think the thread title should be changed to better reflect the intended discussion: Are video games always art, or can they simply be consumer products?

    Yes, that's the general topic. However, I'd like to keep the conversation focused on ME3, so that we can bring new developments in as they arise. Maybe a particular legal action will undermine or enhance someone's position. Or perhaps Bioware will claim artistic integrity, and the fallout can assist us in our conversation.

    Henroid wrote: »
    That's a DAMN good question to ask in this context of ME3 by the way. Well played, _J_.

    I know! Fun times shall be had by all.

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • It's both, kinda like a movie, or even more like a book.

    Asking for devs to change a video game ending is like asking a movie producer to change a movie ending to suit your desires, or a writer to change the story of his book just because you bought it. To be completely honest, to have people actually asking Bioware to change the ending to suit their needs blows my mind.

  • ShadowfireShadowfire Registered User regular
    Perhaps this is why I don't appreciate art, but I don't see why a piece of art cannot also be a consumer product.

    steam_sig.png
    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    starlime wrote: »
    It's both, kinda like a movie, or even more like a book.

    Asking for devs to change a video game ending is like asking a movie producer to change a movie ending to suit your desires, or a writer to change the story of his book just because you bought it. To be completely honest, to have people actually asking Bioware to change the ending to suit their needs blows my mind.

    I don't think we ask movie producers to modify movies after they are released. The same is the case for books. Once the product is finished, we can only critique it. We don't demand that finished films or books be modified, and the modifications distributed to consumers.

    However, in this case, gamers are demanding that Bioware's work of art be directly modified, because of false advertising for the product.

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    Shadowfire wrote: »
    Perhaps this is why I don't appreciate art, but I don't see why a piece of art cannot also be a consumer product.

    Because of the attitudes consumers take towards it.

    If ME3 is an artistic expression, what is the basis for demanding that the artist change it?

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    starlime wrote: »
    It's both, kinda like a movie, or even more like a book.

    Asking for devs to change a video game ending is like asking a movie producer to change a movie ending to suit your desires, or a writer to change the story of his book just because you bought it. To be completely honest, to have people actually asking Bioware to change the ending to suit their needs blows my mind.

    If it's both, it's up to the producer of the art / product to decide which it is. George Lucas doesn't cave to people demanding things regarding Star Wars. He sticks to his guns. As an artist, that's commendable, even if he's a shitty artist now. Bioware decided to cave to consumer demand, and now Mass Effect is no longer a narrative for the purpose of art; it's a narrative for the purpose of business.

    ... Which I guess puts it on the level of Star Wars and George Lucas. Oh hey, fuck everything, now I'm sad.

    "Ultima Online Pre-Trammel is the perfect example of why libertarians are full of shit."
    - @Ludious
    PA Lets Play Archive - Twitter - Blog (6/15/14)
  • jothkijothki Registered User regular
    Was the ending actually advertised? Developers talk about a lot that ends up being cut later.

  • Linespider5Linespider5 It’s cool to have a code name. It’s not that weird.Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    Shadowfire wrote: »
    Perhaps this is why I don't appreciate art, but I don't see why a piece of art cannot also be a consumer product.

    Because of the attitudes consumers take towards it.

    If ME3 is an artistic expression, what is the basis for demanding that the artist change it?

    Money.

    2014png.png
  • Captain CarrotCaptain Carrot Harrisonburg, VARegistered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Yup. Developers, in several interviews running to February of this year, said there would be many endings that took your choices into account—no A, B, and C endings, and they delivered exactly the opposite.

    Also, plenty of movies and books have been changed after release, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with asking someone to change what they made, especially since Casey Hudson said that Bioware and the fans are co-creators of the Mass Effect series.

    Captain Carrot on
  • ShadowfireShadowfire Registered User regular
    starlime wrote: »
    It's both, kinda like a movie, or even more like a book.

    Asking for devs to change a video game ending is like asking a movie producer to change a movie ending to suit your desires, or a writer to change the story of his book just because you bought it. To be completely honest, to have people actually asking Bioware to change the ending to suit their needs blows my mind.

    Let's be fair, though. This is the first game series that has really kindled a sense of attachment for a lot of folks. Sure I can make my hero in Skyrim, change his/her appearance, choose my choice of skills, and set out upon the world following (or ignoring) the narrative. However, that game came out in November and, for now anyway, I'm done with it. The game began and ended and I'll go back for mods (or good expansion packs), but for now I'm done. With Mass Effect, Bioware managed to not only get me to do what I did in Skyrim, but to make me look forward to their next title in 2 years so I can continue that story. So I can go back to my Shepard, to continue my story. Then I got to do the same just now with the third game, effectively ending my story.

    There is emotional investment with Star Wars, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, or other game/movie series. But those stories are not built by your decisions. I get why people are upset about ME3's ending. I don't really know how I feel about it yet (two days later, not a great sign), but I also knew going into it that ending it in a way most people would like at this point would be near impossible.

    To bring it around to the topic, my earlier question stands: why can't this piece of art also be a consumer product? And why can't the consumer dislike it? People sell artwork all the time, and I am more than satisfied to look at a painting and say "that looks terrible and lazy, it is worthless" while another happily forks over $Texas for it. Why are games different?

    steam_sig.png
    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
  • deadonthestreetdeadonthestreet Registered User regular
    There's such a thing as bad art. People get mad about paying to see bad movies all the time.

  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    There's such a thing as bad art. People get mad about paying to see bad movies all the time.

    Can't you get your money back for your ticket?

    So... if people are mad at the ME3 ending, return the game? Would that be the appropriate analogy?

    "Ultima Online Pre-Trammel is the perfect example of why libertarians are full of shit."
    - @Ludious
    PA Lets Play Archive - Twitter - Blog (6/15/14)
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    there's absolutely nothing wrong with asking someone to change what they made
    especially since Casey Hudson said that Bioware and the fans are co-creators of the Mass Effect series.

    I divided that quote so you could see the tension. It's obviously not the case that fans made ME3, despite their being called co-creators.

    The artists at Bioware expressed their artistic freedom and created a particular work of art.
    Fans are demanding that the game-product be modified to accomodate promises made in advertising.

    There's a tension there.

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • Captain CarrotCaptain Carrot Harrisonburg, VARegistered User regular
    The thing is, the rest of the game is amazing, apart from a couple of problems (Space doing everything and the journal somehow not being carried over from ME2 where it worked perfectly); I, and a lot of other fans, want an ending to the series of the same quality. Mind you, a fair few people have returned their games and reported full refunds.

  • Grid SystemGrid System Registered User
    edited March 2012
    Like @Shadowfire, I'm not sure what makes "art" and "consumer product" mutually exclusive. Consider portraits. They are often commissioned by a particular person, and while the artist may have a certain degree of free rein, the commissioner will often give input that the artist may or must follow.

    Another question to think about is what parts of Mass Effect constitute art? Intuitively, the menu screens, the multiplayer, the leveling mechanics, the shooty bits, these all don't seem to fit within the "art" category. What most people consider to be art in videogames is the narrative. But in a game like Mass Effect, can we really say that Bioware is the creator of the narrative? It seems to me that creating the narrative is a collaborative effort between Bioware and the player. Bioware provides the setting, introduces (generally) consistent thematic elements and narrows the options available to the player, but the player's choices change the ways characters interact, who lives and who dies, whether dramatic moments play out one way or another. Bioware provides the toolset, in essence. A toolset is not what I would call art. Only when the player constructs a narrative using the tools provided does art emerge. So, when players complain about the ending, they are complaining that the toolset is inadequate.

    Grid System on
  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    Mass Effect is art because it tells a narrative.

    "Ultima Online Pre-Trammel is the perfect example of why libertarians are full of shit."
    - @Ludious
    PA Lets Play Archive - Twitter - Blog (6/15/14)
  • Captain CarrotCaptain Carrot Harrisonburg, VARegistered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    there's absolutely nothing wrong with asking someone to change what they made
    especially since Casey Hudson said that Bioware and the fans are co-creators of the Mass Effect series.

    I divided that quote so you could see the tension. It's obviously not the case that fans made ME3, despite their being called co-creators.

    The artists at Bioware expressed their artistic freedom and created a particular work of art.
    Fans are demanding that the game-product be modified to accomodate promises made in advertising.

    There's a tension there.
    Baloney. People want Bioware to fix the part of the game that it screwed up. Bioware, in turn, is perfectly within its rights to ignore the people telling them to do so. Whether it's a good idea is another thing entirely.

  • ZampanovZampanov You May Not Go Home Until Tonight Has Been MagicalRegistered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    there's absolutely nothing wrong with asking someone to change what they made
    especially since Casey Hudson said that Bioware and the fans are co-creators of the Mass Effect series.

    I divided that quote so you could see the tension. It's obviously not the case that fans made ME3, despite their being called co-creators.

    The artists at Bioware expressed their artistic freedom and created a particular work of art.
    Fans are demanding that the game-product be modified to accomodate promises made in advertising.

    There's a tension there.
    Baloney. People want Bioware to fix the part of the game that it screwed up. Bioware, in turn, is perfectly within its rights to ignore the people telling them to do so. Whether it's a good idea is another thing entirely.

    I'll have to play through it to solidify my viewpoint on this, but I object to the "screwed up" and "fix" parts. It's not like people are saying the mechanics break down at the end or whatever. There is an opinion that the narrative is lacking, and that shit is not objective in the slightest. You can't say that it's a universally bad ending if people are split on it like this. Narrative is not a solid quantity in the way you're portraying it here, like a defective product.

    kravensig.gif
    PSN/XBL: Zampanov -- Steam: Zampanov
  • BamaBama Registered User regular
    I think the objection is that they promised a spectrum of possible endings and that the product objectively does not feature such a spectrum.

    "Despite all the bitching, if Diablo 3 sucks, I will eat my own cock. Counter-claim: If Diablo 3 does not suck, I will have a list of whiners who need to eat cocks." - Zen Vulgarity
  • HenroidHenroid Nobody Nowhere fastRegistered User regular
    Bama wrote: »
    I think the objection is that they promised a spectrum of possible endings and that the product objectively does not feature such a spectrum.

    This thread is the first I've seen people make this objection. Everything I've seen (and I don't seek this stuff out and I stay out of ME3 threads to avoid spoilers) has been, "THE ENDING IS SHIT, POOR QUALITY WRITING," sort of stuff. Nothing about a promised feature being undelivered.

    By the way _J_ your question is so fascinating to me that I emailed it off to my favorite Podcast team to hopefully answer when they revive the podcast officially.

    "Ultima Online Pre-Trammel is the perfect example of why libertarians are full of shit."
    - @Ludious
    PA Lets Play Archive - Twitter - Blog (6/15/14)
  • override367override367 Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Art has been a consumer product since history started

    The great cathedrals of europe were consumer products. Artists are demanded to change their work for clients all the time in virtually every single medium. I have absolutely no idea where this nonsense about art being unchangeable for commercial reasons came from.

    override367 on
    XBLIVE: Biggestoverride
    League of Legends: override367
  • Linespider5Linespider5 It’s cool to have a code name. It’s not that weird.Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Art has been a consumer product since history started

    The great cathedrals of Europe were consumer products. Artists are demanded to change their work for clients all the time in virtually every single medium. I have absolutely no idea where this nonsense about art being unchangeable for commercial reasons came from.

    This, too.

    Art doesn't require narrative, of course. There are many forms of art at play in Mass Effect, and I won't list them here. But I also feel that for a game series that involved a team of dozens, if not hundreds of talented people to make, it seems rather disingenuous to say it is a piece of Art that is unalterable.

    It got altered to hell and back to make it into what you see when you turn it on. Big reams of stuff were done, redone, and done again, only to be discarded and never revisited. Likely there were many drastic revisions and segments of plot were abruptly reshuffled, sometimes arbitrarily, to see what worked and what did not.

    Art is not something that neatly draws itself together into an immaculate singular entity. Ideally, that should appear to be the case, but in truth it generally involves a great deal of material violence and human toil.

    Something with so much work in it would hardly be diminished with additional polish, and this often happens anyway in the form of patches, expansions, and DLC. And, also unique to gaming, anyone who is satisfied with the art/product as it is is certainly under no requirement to ever experience any recursive additions.

    Linespider5 on
    2014png.png
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    Like @Shadowfire, I'm not sure what makes "art" and "consumer product" mutually exclusive. Consider portraits. They are often commissioned by a particular person, and while the artist may have a certain degree of free rein, the commissioner will often give input that the artist may or must follow.

    I'm not sure that video games could be called commissioned art.

    It's not as if a person calls Bioware and says, "Make a game for me. Here are the specifications."

    Another question to think about is what parts of Mass Effect constitute art? Intuitively, the menu screens, the multiplayer, the leveling mechanics, the shooty bits, these all don't seem to fit within the "art" category. What most people consider to be art in videogames is the narrative. But in a game like Mass Effect, can we really say that Bioware is the creator of the narrative? It seems to me that creating the narrative is a collaborative effort between Bioware and the player. Bioware provides the setting, introduces (generally) consistent thematic elements and narrows the options available to the player, but the player's choices change the ways characters interact, who lives and who dies, whether dramatic moments play out one way or another. Bioware provides the toolset, in essence. A toolset is not what I would call art. Only when the player constructs a narrative using the tools provided does art emerge. So, when players complain about the ending, they are complaining that the toolset is inadequate.

    I think this leads to a problematic division, whereby we start to divide ME3 into various components, only some of which are "art" whereas others are...the mechanics / structure? If we say we aren't complaining about the "art-parts" of the video game, and are only complaining about the "toolset-parts", then video games aren't art, only the art is art, and a video game is a combination of art and toolsets?

    That line of reasoning quickly leads to nonsense.

    Moreover, if players construct a narrative by means of a toolset, they are beholden to that toolset. It doesn't make sense to agree to create a context in toolset-X, and then at the end complain about where toolset-X led.

    I think we have to call the entire game art or not-art. If we start to divide ME3 into parts, that gets absurd.

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    Art has been a consumer product since history started

    rm1-anatomy-r-mutt__large.jpg

    Pretty sure that isn't a consumer product.
    Artists are demanded to change their work for clients all the time in virtually every single medium. I have absolutely no idea where this nonsense about art being unchangeable for commercial reasons came from.

    The idea is that, previously, gamers demanded that games could not be censored or limited because video games are art, and so artistic expression. But now the same gamers are limiting artistic expression, and trying to censor and modify the artistic work of Bioware.

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • Linespider5Linespider5 It’s cool to have a code name. It’s not that weird.Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    I think we have to call the entire game art or not-art. If we start to divide ME3 into parts, that gets absurd.

    What's absurd is believing that something can unequivocally be considered art to everyone that sees it, whether it's Mass Effect, Damien Hirst's shark tank, the Mona Lisa, or the Piss Christ.

    2014png.png
  • Linespider5Linespider5 It’s cool to have a code name. It’s not that weird.Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    Art has been a consumer product since history started

    rm1-anatomy-r-mutt__large.jpg

    Pretty sure that isn't a consumer product.

    You're right. It was made, by hand, to look like one.

    2014png.png
  • _J__J_ Pedant Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    I think we have to call the entire game art or not-art. If we start to divide ME3 into parts, that gets absurd.

    What's absurd is believing that something can unequivocally be considered art to everyone that sees it, whether it's Mass Effect, Damien Hirst's shark tank, the Mona Lisa, or the Piss Christ.

    So, video games are not art?

    They can-be-art for persons who choose to believe they are art?

    "Art" is a subjective label, that every person choses for his or her self?

    Seriously J not only are you a monumentally umpleasant person when you start uttering the nonsense that passes for philosophy in your mind (shame on whatever institution you graduated in, and shame on your tutors for creating such a monster), but your sense of humor, such as it is, is awful.
  • Grid SystemGrid System Registered User
    edited March 2012
    _J_ wrote: »
    Like @Shadowfire, I'm not sure what makes "art" and "consumer product" mutually exclusive. Consider portraits. They are often commissioned by a particular person, and while the artist may have a certain degree of free rein, the commissioner will often give input that the artist may or must follow.

    I'm not sure that video games could be called commissioned art.

    It's not as if a person calls Bioware and says, "Make a game for me. Here are the specifications."

    I wouldn't say that Mass Effect is commissioned art. But I would say it is like commissioned art, in that both are done with a view to making a profit out of the enterprise.

    Another question to think about is what parts of Mass Effect constitute art? Intuitively, the menu screens, the multiplayer, the leveling mechanics, the shooty bits, these all don't seem to fit within the "art" category. What most people consider to be art in videogames is the narrative. But in a game like Mass Effect, can we really say that Bioware is the creator of the narrative? It seems to me that creating the narrative is a collaborative effort between Bioware and the player. Bioware provides the setting, introduces (generally) consistent thematic elements and narrows the options available to the player, but the player's choices change the ways characters interact, who lives and who dies, whether dramatic moments play out one way or another. Bioware provides the toolset, in essence. A toolset is not what I would call art. Only when the player constructs a narrative using the tools provided does art emerge. So, when players complain about the ending, they are complaining that the toolset is inadequate.

    I think this leads to a problematic division, whereby we start to divide ME3 into various components, only some of which are "art" whereas others are...the mechanics / structure? If we say we aren't complaining about the "art-parts" of the video game, and are only complaining about the "toolset-parts", then video games aren't art, only the art is art, and a video game is a combination of art and toolsets?

    That line of reasoning quickly leads to nonsense.

    Moreover, if players construct a narrative by means of a toolset, they are beholden to that toolset. It doesn't make sense to agree to create a context in toolset-X, and then at the end complain about where toolset-X led.

    I think we have to call the entire game art or not-art. If we start to divide ME3 into parts, that gets absurd.

    It seems to me that every kind of art comes bundled in packaging that can be conceptually divided from the art itself. The glue that holds a book together is not art. A book itself may not be art, though if its physical form somehow plays into the narrative, then it may be art. A DVD is not art, but when the data it contains is translated into sounds and pictures, that display is art. The comparison to a DVD is important, because while the art on a DVD will reveal itself with no human inputs save what it takes to set the film in motion, the art in a video game will only reveal itself while a human continues to provide inputs.

    I would also say that players may agree ahead of time to use a toolset to create a narrative based on representations made by the entity providing the toolset, but before knowing exactly what the the features of the toolset are. If the features do not match the representations, or if they are lacking in thematic consistency, or some other area relevant to the player, the player may request that those issues be addressed.

    Grid System on
  • Linespider5Linespider5 It’s cool to have a code name. It’s not that weird.Registered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    _J_ wrote: »
    I think we have to call the entire game art or not-art. If we start to divide ME3 into parts, that gets absurd.

    What's absurd is believing that something can unequivocally be considered art to everyone that sees it, whether it's Mass Effect, Damien Hirst's shark tank, the Mona Lisa, or the Piss Christ.

    So, video games are not art?

    They can-be-art for persons who choose to believe they are art?

    "Art" is a subjective label, that every person choses for his or her self?

    Ultimately, yes.

    There is also some interplay with the Social Contract here. Such as, "I may not view this as art and it holds no meaning for me, but I can be willing to respect the fact that it speaks to others who can competently explain and assert their opinions."

    Art can speak on a universal level. It can also speak on a more limited scale, down to such that the creator may never in his/her life encounter another that can relate to it on a matching level to how it made the artist feel.

    But there are no absolutes in art. There are, however, ideas that do have absolutes. These are called facts.

    2014png.png
  • Psycho Internet HawkPsycho Internet Hawk Registered User regular
    ME3 being "art" doesn't somehow preclude it from future editing or change.

    In fact, the "well it's art" defense is nearly universally used to deflect criticism by shitty artists or people who just don't make any kind of art. Anyone who actually undertakes a creative endeavor and is genuinely good at it understands that development, editing, and change are all tools that can result in a better work. ME3's ending was designed to entice a particular emotion in the viewer, and since it seems to have in general not accomplished that, there's nothing wrong with going "welp, fucked this up, back to the drawing board" and cranking out something that actually engages the audience in the desired way.

    Whether or not it's "commercial" doesn't matter as far as the quality of it is concerned.

    ezek1t.jpg
  • DramDram Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    I feel that if you make the video game you want to make, regardless of the costs involved, it's art.
    If you make a video game for the sake of turning a profit and try to maximize that profit in any way possible, it's not art.

    Thus, in my view, ME3 and the vast majority of AAA games are not art. A good example of a video game as art is Bastion. Bastion also happens to be a fantastic example of narrative as a vehicle for gameplay, seeing as the story was written around gameplay elements rather than the other way around.

    Bama wrote: »
    I think the objection is that they promised a spectrum of possible endings and that the product objectively does not feature such a spectrum.

    Sure it does....the visible light spectrum!

    Dram on
  • override367override367 Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    _J_ wrote: »
    Art has been a consumer product since history started

    rm1-anatomy-r-mutt__large.jpg

    Pretty sure that isn't a consumer product.

    I didn't say all art is a consumer product, but you're missing the point

    Games are art, which means the government cannot censor them. It does not mean that consumers cannot demand that they be changed because Bioware is under no obligation to change anything.

    Seriously don't be goosey, it's an easy distinction to make.

    Look if Bioware didn't want to change it, it wouldn't get changed, it is because ME3 is a consumer product. If I make an indie game and hold it sacrosanct, I won't change it no matter how much you ask me to and I am not obligated to change it, because it is one of my constitutional rights.

    override367 on
    XBLIVE: Biggestoverride
    League of Legends: override367
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Like @Shadowfire, I'm not sure what makes "art" and "consumer product" mutually exclusive. Consider portraits. They are often commissioned by a particular person, and while the artist may have a certain degree of free rein, the commissioner will often give input that the artist may or must follow.

    Another question to think about is what parts of Mass Effect constitute art? Intuitively, the menu screens, the multiplayer, the leveling mechanics, the shooty bits, these all don't seem to fit within the "art" category. What most people consider to be art in videogames is the narrative. But in a game like Mass Effect, can we really say that Bioware is the creator of the narrative? It seems to me that creating the narrative is a collaborative effort between Bioware and the player. Bioware provides the setting, introduces (generally) consistent thematic elements and narrows the options available to the player, but the player's choices change the ways characters interact, who lives and who dies, whether dramatic moments play out one way or another. Bioware provides the toolset, in essence. A toolset is not what I would call art. Only when the player constructs a narrative using the tools provided does art emerge. So, when players complain about the ending, they are complaining that the toolset is inadequate.

    The player doesn't construct a narrative though. They choose from a small set of pre-defined narratives the designers have written.

  • The Dude With HerpesThe Dude With Herpes Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    The fundamental idea that one can't ask for someone to change art is absurd and patently false.

    Of course anyone can ask for something to be changed, art or not.

    That is a foundational right of being a human being.

    But the artist has the right to tell them to get bent.

    There is no reason whatsoever, under any circumstances that you can ever say to someone "you don't have the right to ask for that". Be it art or any other thing on earth.

    Bullshit.

    You have the right to ask for anything you want. Others just have the right to ignore you or point out that you're wrong.

    The ability to change something and the right to ask for something to change are not one in the same and the basic argument being posited in the OP is trying to make them the same.

    If someone decided to change the ending on their own and somehow distribute it to everyone who owns the game and change the ending, against their will, when they weren't the original creator, and without the creators permission, that is unacceptable. Just like if someone decided to go spraypaint the mona lisa wouldn't be acceptable, but someone asking if they can spraypaint the mona lisa is perfectly acceptable, as silly and stupid as it may be.

    If someone decides to ask for the ending to be changed, hell, even to demand the ending be changed, they are fully within their "rights".

    request/demand != results/action.

    Dude on a bus had the "right" to ask Rosa Parks to move to the back of the bus. Nothing about that request made it fair, equitable or reasonable, but it was their "right" to do so. Just like it was her right to say no, and be a catalyst for change. The law, actually, said it wasn't her right, but because she is a living breathing human being, she had rights that no law can take away, and she can respond how she wants.

    Something being art doesn't give it immunity. It gives the creator rights to veto and to dismiss. It also gives the creator rights to change it should they see fit, and there's plenty of evidence in history of artists changing works after completion. The notion that you're not allowed to request or demand it is silly and should be dismissed out of hand by anyone with reason.

    The Dude With Herpes on
    Steam.gif Galedrid - WoW.gif Benediction - bnet.gif Galedrid#1367
    Origin.png Galedrid - FFXI.png Kingshand - FFXIV.png Galedrid Kingshand
    360.png Galedrid - WiiU.gif Galedrid - 3DS.png 3222-6858-1045
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Gamers can certainly ask for ME3's ending to be changed. That it's art doesn't effect this.

    Whether it's a good idea to change it and what it should be changed to and such is a whole other story and not related to this at all. And this isn't even confined to just art. It's the same for any consumer product as well.

    I don't see the purpose of the duality the OP tries to create here.


    If there's anything definitive to say on the subject, I'd say it's this:

    If ME3's ending is to be changed, it should be changed because it's badly done, not because a bunch of fans demanded it be changed

  • Grid SystemGrid System Registered User
    shryke wrote: »
    Like @Shadowfire, I'm not sure what makes "art" and "consumer product" mutually exclusive. Consider portraits. They are often commissioned by a particular person, and while the artist may have a certain degree of free rein, the commissioner will often give input that the artist may or must follow.

    Another question to think about is what parts of Mass Effect constitute art? Intuitively, the menu screens, the multiplayer, the leveling mechanics, the shooty bits, these all don't seem to fit within the "art" category. What most people consider to be art in videogames is the narrative. But in a game like Mass Effect, can we really say that Bioware is the creator of the narrative? It seems to me that creating the narrative is a collaborative effort between Bioware and the player. Bioware provides the setting, introduces (generally) consistent thematic elements and narrows the options available to the player, but the player's choices change the ways characters interact, who lives and who dies, whether dramatic moments play out one way or another. Bioware provides the toolset, in essence. A toolset is not what I would call art. Only when the player constructs a narrative using the tools provided does art emerge. So, when players complain about the ending, they are complaining that the toolset is inadequate.

    The player doesn't construct a narrative though. They choose from a small set of pre-defined narratives the designers have written.

    Only if you mean something very unconventional by "small" and "pre-defined". Not only does the player have a significant amount of control over major things like which characters are present in the story at all, the player also controls the extent and, to some degree, unfolding of smaller, more intimate moments. The designers have provided a large set of vignettes and set-pieces, and the player's choices determine which of these get knit together and how they get knit together to form an entire narrative. You make it sound like there are a handful of linear paths that the player chooses, which is simply not true.

  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    the video game is art

    allegedly the ending is shitty, which to many makes it shitty art

    they want it to be changed so that it is good art

    obviously no one has any right to have it changed, or to expect it to be changed, but certainly they can say they wish the ending were better, and that the artist(s) did a poor job with the ending

    if i could sit down with melville i'd be like, listen, man, nobody gives a shit about whales, you gotta take it down a notch

    doesn't mean moby dick isn't art

    of course, moby dick also isn't the third book in a trilogy and each book cost far less than sixty or seventy dollars, so i can understand why people might be more ticked off

    Inquisitor wrote: »
    I fucking hate you Canadians.
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    shryke wrote: »
    Like @Shadowfire, I'm not sure what makes "art" and "consumer product" mutually exclusive. Consider portraits. They are often commissioned by a particular person, and while the artist may have a certain degree of free rein, the commissioner will often give input that the artist may or must follow.

    Another question to think about is what parts of Mass Effect constitute art? Intuitively, the menu screens, the multiplayer, the leveling mechanics, the shooty bits, these all don't seem to fit within the "art" category. What most people consider to be art in videogames is the narrative. But in a game like Mass Effect, can we really say that Bioware is the creator of the narrative? It seems to me that creating the narrative is a collaborative effort between Bioware and the player. Bioware provides the setting, introduces (generally) consistent thematic elements and narrows the options available to the player, but the player's choices change the ways characters interact, who lives and who dies, whether dramatic moments play out one way or another. Bioware provides the toolset, in essence. A toolset is not what I would call art. Only when the player constructs a narrative using the tools provided does art emerge. So, when players complain about the ending, they are complaining that the toolset is inadequate.

    The player doesn't construct a narrative though. They choose from a small set of pre-defined narratives the designers have written.

    Only if you mean something very unconventional by "small" and "pre-defined". Not only does the player have a significant amount of control over major things like which characters are present in the story at all, the player also controls the extent and, to some degree, unfolding of smaller, more intimate moments. The designers have provided a large set of vignettes and set-pieces, and the player's choices determine which of these get knit together and how they get knit together to form an entire narrative. You make it sound like there are a handful of linear paths that the player chooses, which is simply not true.

    It's pretty true. There's not as many paths as you keep implying (at least in either of the first 2 games) and the spots with the most "branching" are also the spots with the least relevance.

    Having the ability to choose one of three replies isn't a huge deal of freedom when they all come right back to almost the exact same dialogue from the NPC.

    Shit, neither of the first two games even has any major narrative shifts till a very last minute choice (which ultimately had little effect from ME1 to ME2).

    I mean, they do a good job of hiding it, but the railroad tracks are there if you look for them. And they aren't numerous. This is a basic limitation of the design process and how long this shit takes to make and the like.

    You are moving down a very small set of narrative tracks. You actually get almost no substantive choices throughout either of the first two games. You will always get the same narrative, the same levels, basically the same objectives. All they really let you change is some dialogue flavouring that doesn't effect much.

    I mean, you can kill or not kill two squadmates in ME1. But ultimately, there's little effect on the story and those that disappear are replaced with stand-ins that do roughly the same shit. The dialogue is different in flavour and that's it.

  • Grid SystemGrid System Registered User
    shryke wrote: »
    shryke wrote: »
    Like @Shadowfire, I'm not sure what makes "art" and "consumer product" mutually exclusive. Consider portraits. They are often commissioned by a particular person, and while the artist may have a certain degree of free rein, the commissioner will often give input that the artist may or must follow.

    Another question to think about is what parts of Mass Effect constitute art? Intuitively, the menu screens, the multiplayer, the leveling mechanics, the shooty bits, these all don't seem to fit within the "art" category. What most people consider to be art in videogames is the narrative. But in a game like Mass Effect, can we really say that Bioware is the creator of the narrative? It seems to me that creating the narrative is a collaborative effort between Bioware and the player. Bioware provides the setting, introduces (generally) consistent thematic elements and narrows the options available to the player, but the player's choices change the ways characters interact, who lives and who dies, whether dramatic moments play out one way or another. Bioware provides the toolset, in essence. A toolset is not what I would call art. Only when the player constructs a narrative using the tools provided does art emerge. So, when players complain about the ending, they are complaining that the toolset is inadequate.

    The player doesn't construct a narrative though. They choose from a small set of pre-defined narratives the designers have written.

    Only if you mean something very unconventional by "small" and "pre-defined". Not only does the player have a significant amount of control over major things like which characters are present in the story at all, the player also controls the extent and, to some degree, unfolding of smaller, more intimate moments. The designers have provided a large set of vignettes and set-pieces, and the player's choices determine which of these get knit together and how they get knit together to form an entire narrative. You make it sound like there are a handful of linear paths that the player chooses, which is simply not true.

    It's pretty true. There's not as many paths as you keep implying (at least in either of the first 2 games) and the spots with the most "branching" are also the spots with the least relevance.

    Having the ability to choose one of three replies isn't a huge deal of freedom when they all come right back to almost the exact same dialogue from the NPC.

    Shit, neither of the first two games even has any major narrative shifts till a very last minute choice (which ultimately had little effect from ME1 to ME2).

    I mean, they do a good job of hiding it, but the railroad tracks are there if you look for them. And they aren't numerous. This is a basic limitation of the design process and how long this shit takes to make and the like.

    You are moving down a very small set of narrative tracks. You actually get almost no substantive choices throughout either of the first two games. You will always get the same narrative, the same levels, basically the same objectives. All they really let you change is some dialogue flavouring that doesn't effect much.

    I mean, you can kill or not kill two squadmates in ME1. But ultimately, there's little effect on the story and those that disappear are replaced with stand-ins that do roughly the same shit. The dialogue is different in flavour and that's it.

    The mistake you are making is ignoring the pretty much the entire narrative. It may not change the outcome in Mass Effect if you recruit Liara first or visit Therum at the very end, but it certainly changes how the story unfolds. The narrative is not a list in no particular order of a small selection of things that happened, it's all the things that happened, and the order they happened in. And that may be very different from one player to another.

«13456
Sign In or Register to comment.