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Are videogames art?

SumiSumi Abbotsford, BCRegistered User regular
edited August 2010 in Debate and/or Discourse
This thread was initially used for homework help but as the project is now over, hopefully it will continue as a general discussion/debate. I have posted my opinion, but It's on page two.

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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Step 1) Define art.

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    Patrick RipollPatrick Ripoll Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    http://www.chud.com/articles/articles/18925/1/THE-DEVIN039S-ADVOCATE-VIDEO-GAMES-AS-ART---THE-NEW-FARACI-HERESY/Page1.html

    Interesting (but also pretty condescending at times) article that declares that they are not art.

    But basically Improvolone nailed the basis of why this argument is tricky.

    Patrick Ripoll on
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    SumiSumi Abbotsford, BCRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    There is no concrete description of art

    Sumi on
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    BelruelBelruel NARUTO FUCKS Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I'd say yes, a form of interactive art. Now, as with normal 'art' some are more nuanced than others. Just google it, and you'll find ample debate on the subject.

    I'd say Bioshock can be considered art, and ico/shadow of the colossus is beautiful in design

    Belruel on
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    ZampanovZampanov You May Not Go Home Until Tonight Has Been MagicalRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Sumi wrote: »
    Just read the rules, I hope this is alright though, since I do not want a paper written for me. If not, sorry.

    So I'm working on a project for an Art History and Pop culture class. We're going to be discussing the topic of videogames as art. General comments are welcome. Also, if you can think of any games that might be more artistic than others, or more innovative, please post. Thanks.

    That kind of paper is pretty much a license to write whatever you want. Pick a side and then test your BS skills, because there is no right answer.

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    SumiSumi Abbotsford, BCRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    It's not a paper, it's a presentation. Really short, but I'm just lacking an angle. The reading I was given is super confusing as it's more about pop culture than art, but having people post general comments really helps me get my mind going.

    I definitely keep thinking about bioshock too. I think it's because the architecture is amazing, and architecture is sometimes considered (though it's still controversial too) an art form.

    It should be alright though because as an artist, BSing is one of my most useful skills.

    Sumi on
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    travathiantravathian Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    You can find the original article he wrote, but here's a follow up to it in the whole debate.

    http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070721/COMMENTARY/70721001

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    HiroconHirocon Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Braid is art.

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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Sumi wrote: »
    There is no concrete description of art

    You have to define art for this presentation, there is no other way around it.

    Look into Echochrome.

    Improvolone on
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    BoomShakeBoomShake The Engineer Columbia, MDRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Look into Flower on the PS3.

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    TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    TychoCelchuuu on
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    admanbadmanb unionize your workplace Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Step 1: Invent your definition of art.

    Step 2: Prove that everything popularly considered to be "art" fits your definition of art.

    Step 3: Prove that games fit your definition of art.

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    WileyWiley In the dirt.Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I would say they are Art. However, while something may be art that doesn't necessarily mean it is good art.

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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Art - evokes emotion through experience
    You can't be emotionally affected by a game because you are aware its a game and its being run by a computer program and you (sub?)consciously are trying to 'beat' it rather than experience it.

    edit: You ask of the game, "what is it it wants me to do?"

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    Angel_of_BaconAngel_of_Bacon Moderator mod
    edited February 2010
    I wouldn't really focus so much on specific examples of games, ie: "this game has pretty artwork and music therefore it is art", which is sort of a go-nowhere argument that is statemated by an eloquently stated, "nuh uh!"

    I'd look at it from a more historical perspective- most of the things we consider today as "art" didn't start off trying to be "art", but as decoration, items of religious worship, or commercial enterprises. Michelangelo's David isn't something he whipped up to be "art", he made it because the Medicis wanted some cool big thing to put in their courtyard. The idea of "art for art's sake" is a very recent trend historically speaking, and much of what we consider Art-with-a-capital-A today is only considered that because it's a label that got applied retrospectively. Thus, trying to pin down something as "Art", as if the label is intrinsic to the item in question, is a somewhat futile and historically inaccurate way of going about things. The question, then, is not whether videogames are art, but whether they are or will be considered art in the present and future. My opinion (maybe not yours) is that they will be- as many already consider it art in the popular mainstream, and the very fact that the issue is being raised in art history class shows a trend of it being rapidly becoming widely accepted as worthy of discussion as art in the academic community.

    Yeah, that's a total BS kind of 'dodge the yes-or-no question' answer, but professors (at least in my experience) eat that shit up, basically because it's a lot less boring than "YEAH IT IS" or "NO IT ISN'T" to listen to or talk about, which they've already had to hear about 25 people today rattle on about as if they've got the real answer to the question (of which there isn't one), supporting themselves with shaky arguments.

    You might want to look up Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics where he goes through a similar debate regarding comics as art.

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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Does all art fit into a period/movement?

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    Caramel GenocideCaramel Genocide Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Art - evokes emotion through experience
    You can't be emotionally affected by a game because you are aware its a game and its being run by a computer program and you (sub?)consciously are trying to 'beat' it rather than experience it.

    edit: You ask of the game, "what is it it wants me to do?"


    Maybe YOU can't be emotionally affected by a game. Many people certainly can. There are games with great stories that can evoke emotion almost as well as a well written book. Or can you not be affected by books either?

    Caramel Genocide on
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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Art - evokes emotion through experience
    You can't be emotionally affected by a game because you are aware its a game and its being run by a computer program and you (sub?)consciously are trying to 'beat' it rather than experience it.

    edit: You ask of the game, "what is it it wants me to do?"


    Maybe YOU can't be emotionally affected by a game. Many people certainly can. There are games with great stories that can evoke emotion almost as well as a well written book. Or can you not be affected by books either?

    Ahhh but I'm not trying to "game" a book, I'm being taken along for the ride. I am being manipulated rather than being allowed to manipulate.
    There is a big problem when one becomes "aware" of the game underneath the game.

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    Caramel GenocideCaramel Genocide Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Yes, and as I said, that's true for you. Not for everyone.

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    NerdtendoNerdtendo Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Simply put, if video games have no artistic merit, then none of the components that makes a video game what it is doesn't either. Illustrations, models, music, and writing all are part of what makes a game. Take it a step further, and try to explain what sets games apart from the rest.

    edit: I'd say that even "the game underneath the game", i.e. the code that makes everything work, is a form of art as well. It involves both technical and creative involvement to develop the coding.

    Also, Beethoven's 9th may be art for you, but not everyone. Are we attempting a subjective or concrete definition of art? If we're going for concrete, we need to define it the same way any definition is defined, by accepting the common definition people have for the word.

    Nerdtendo on
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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Nerdtendo wrote: »
    Simply put, if video games have no artistic merit, then none of the components that makes a video game what it is doesn't either. Illustrations, models, music, and writing all are part of what makes a game. Take it a step further, and try to explain what sets games apart from the rest.

    So is all music art?

    edit: If the games writing is art but the music isn't, is the game art?

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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Here are two books I highly recommend on the subject...

    But Is It Art?

    and...

    Ways Of Seeing

    The first moreso than the second for this subject, but they're both great reads.

    What it really comes down to is that, no, video games aren't art by definition.

    Esh on
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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Having artisitc merit does not art make.

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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Having artisitc (sic) merit does not art make.

    Esh on
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    SumiSumi Abbotsford, BCRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I'm glad there are opposing viewpoints. This would be so boring if everyone agreed.

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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Sumi wrote: »
    I'm glad there are opposing viewpoints. This would be so boring if everyone agreed.

    What do you think after some of this?

    Right now the only argument I've really heard for "video games are/can be art" is "PICTURES WORDS AND MUSIC!" and it ignores that interactive element.
    Can any game be art? A board game perhaps. I think if you approach this from the POV that video games are games before AV mediums you're more likely to have an argument.

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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Nerdtendo wrote: »
    Simply put, if video games have no artistic merit, then none of the components that makes a video game what it is doesn't either. Illustrations, models, music, and writing all are part of what makes a game. Take it a step further, and try to explain what sets games apart from the rest.

    edit: I'd say that even "the game underneath the game", i.e. the code that makes everything work, is a form of art as well. It involves both technical and creative involvement to develop the coding.

    Also, Beethoven's 9th may be art for you, but not everyone. Are we attempting a subjective or concrete definition of art? If we're going for concrete, we need to define it the same way any definition is defined, by accepting the common definition people have for the word.

    Uhm, no. Sorry. While you may not "like" something, that doesn't make it not art. Look at the young British artists of the mid-90s for example. Damien Hirst and his ilk.

    Esh on
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    Angel_of_BaconAngel_of_Bacon Moderator mod
    edited February 2010
    Does all art fit into a period/movement?

    No.

    The point is, the term art has no concrete, definable relation to the forms art takes (paintings, sculpture, game), and thus art is whatever people on the whole decide to apply the term to. Trying to decide what is and isn't art is not something testable, like if something is flammable or not, or edible or not- it all comes down to what people, whether through argument or through purely arbitrary decision, decide to call art. Use of words, pictures, music, and interactivity are all wholly irrelevant factors to the question.

    Today, people might make all sorts of nuts-and-bolts arguments for whether or not games are art, the same way 100 years ago nobody thought moving pictures were art. Nowadays the idea of cinema as art is a no-brainer- the same idea is relevant here. In 100 years, the chances are very good that, whether or not you would consider them as such today, in 100 years, the games being made today will be considered art, simply because people started calling it art and it stuck.

    Angel_of_Bacon on
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    NerdtendoNerdtendo Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Nerdtendo wrote: »
    Simply put, if video games have no artistic merit, then none of the components that makes a video game what it is doesn't either. Illustrations, models, music, and writing all are part of what makes a game. Take it a step further, and try to explain what sets games apart from the rest.

    So is all music art?

    Hell no. ICP
    edit: If the games writing is art but the music isn't, is the game art?

    Does a part not being art prevent the whole from being art? Go pick a single note out of your favorite symphony, play that note on a piano, then come back and answer your own question.

    You're turning this into an argument of semantics. You may as well ask, "Is blue, blue, if some people think blue is red?"
    Esh wrote: »
    Nerdtendo wrote: »
    Simply put, if video games have no artistic merit, then none of the components that makes a video game what it is doesn't either. Illustrations, models, music, and writing all are part of what makes a game. Take it a step further, and try to explain what sets games apart from the rest.

    edit: I'd say that even "the game underneath the game", i.e. the code that makes everything work, is a form of art as well. It involves both technical and creative involvement to develop the coding.

    Also, Beethoven's 9th may be art for you, but not everyone. Are we attempting a subjective or concrete definition of art? If we're going for concrete, we need to define it the same way any definition is defined, by accepting the common definition people have for the word.

    Uhm, no. Sorry. While you may not "like" something, that doesn't make it not art. Look at the young British artists of the mid-90s for example. Damien Hirst and his ilk.

    I think you missed my point.

    Nerdtendo on
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    SumiSumi Abbotsford, BCRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I feel that videogames are a medium that offer much potential. Just as other forms of new media have made their way into gallery spaces I believe that videogames may one day follow (and may have already on some small scale). I think though that a key goal of art is to elicit a specific emotional or thought response, but the capitalism of the gaming industry definitely gets in the way of this. If an artist removed the capitalist aspect of a game and focused only on the emotional/thought response and aesthetic value, I think that it is possible to create a videogame that is art.

    Until then I feel that videogames are artistic. Although I wouldn't argue with someone who feels that they absolutely are art because I do understand where they are coming from and also I feel like arguing about something like this is kind of trivial.

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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Nerdtendo wrote: »

    You're turning this into an argument of semantics. You may as well ask, "Is blue, blue, if some people think blue is red?"

    I guess I could stop asking questions that might help you think about the definition of art...

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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Nerdtendo wrote: »
    Nerdtendo wrote: »
    Simply put, if video games have no artistic merit, then none of the components that makes a video game what it is doesn't either. Illustrations, models, music, and writing all are part of what makes a game. Take it a step further, and try to explain what sets games apart from the rest.

    So is all music art?

    Hell no. ICP
    edit: If the games writing is art but the music isn't, is the game art?

    Does a part not being art prevent the whole from being art? Go pick a single note out of your favorite symphony, play that note on a piano, then come back and answer your own question.

    You're turning this into an argument of semantics. You may as well ask, "Is blue, blue, if some people think blue is red?"
    Esh wrote: »
    Nerdtendo wrote: »
    Simply put, if video games have no artistic merit, then none of the components that makes a video game what it is doesn't either. Illustrations, models, music, and writing all are part of what makes a game. Take it a step further, and try to explain what sets games apart from the rest.

    edit: I'd say that even "the game underneath the game", i.e. the code that makes everything work, is a form of art as well. It involves both technical and creative involvement to develop the coding.

    Also, Beethoven's 9th may be art for you, but not everyone. Are we attempting a subjective or concrete definition of art? If we're going for concrete, we need to define it the same way any definition is defined, by accepting the common definition people have for the word.

    Uhm, no. Sorry. While you may not "like" something, that doesn't make it not art. Look at the young British artists of the mid-90s for example. Damien Hirst and his ilk.

    I think you missed my point.

    Then I think you made a terrible analogy. Because that applies to neither a true concrete or subjective definition.

    Esh on
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    NerdtendoNerdtendo Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Esh wrote: »
    Nerdtendo wrote: »
    Nerdtendo wrote: »
    Simply put, if video games have no artistic merit, then none of the components that makes a video game what it is doesn't either. Illustrations, models, music, and writing all are part of what makes a game. Take it a step further, and try to explain what sets games apart from the rest.

    So is all music art?

    Hell no. ICP
    edit: If the games writing is art but the music isn't, is the game art?

    Does a part not being art prevent the whole from being art? Go pick a single note out of your favorite symphony, play that note on a piano, then come back and answer your own question.

    You're turning this into an argument of semantics. You may as well ask, "Is blue, blue, if some people think blue is red?"
    Esh wrote: »
    Nerdtendo wrote: »
    Simply put, if video games have no artistic merit, then none of the components that makes a video game what it is doesn't either. Illustrations, models, music, and writing all are part of what makes a game. Take it a step further, and try to explain what sets games apart from the rest.

    edit: I'd say that even "the game underneath the game", i.e. the code that makes everything work, is a form of art as well. It involves both technical and creative involvement to develop the coding.

    Also, Beethoven's 9th may be art for you, but not everyone. Are we attempting a subjective or concrete definition of art? If we're going for concrete, we need to define it the same way any definition is defined, by accepting the common definition people have for the word.

    Uhm, no. Sorry. While you may not "like" something, that doesn't make it not art. Look at the young British artists of the mid-90s for example. Damien Hirst and his ilk.

    I think you missed my point.

    Then I think you made a terrible analogy. Because that applies to neither a true concrete or subjective definition.

    If someone can't experience it, is it art for them?
    I guess I could stop asking questions that might help you think about the definition of art...

    You could have tried something along the lines of, "What do you think the definition of art is?"

    Nerdtendo on
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    TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    I think I'll go ahead and link this again because it has only gotten more correct.

    TychoCelchuuu on
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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Nerdtendo wrote: »
    Esh wrote: »
    Nerdtendo wrote: »
    Nerdtendo wrote: »
    Simply put, if video games have no artistic merit, then none of the components that makes a video game what it is doesn't either. Illustrations, models, music, and writing all are part of what makes a game. Take it a step further, and try to explain what sets games apart from the rest.

    So is all music art?

    Hell no. ICP
    edit: If the games writing is art but the music isn't, is the game art?

    Does a part not being art prevent the whole from being art? Go pick a single note out of your favorite symphony, play that note on a piano, then come back and answer your own question.

    You're turning this into an argument of semantics. You may as well ask, "Is blue, blue, if some people think blue is red?"
    Esh wrote: »
    Nerdtendo wrote: »
    Simply put, if video games have no artistic merit, then none of the components that makes a video game what it is doesn't either. Illustrations, models, music, and writing all are part of what makes a game. Take it a step further, and try to explain what sets games apart from the rest.

    edit: I'd say that even "the game underneath the game", i.e. the code that makes everything work, is a form of art as well. It involves both technical and creative involvement to develop the coding.

    Also, Beethoven's 9th may be art for you, but not everyone. Are we attempting a subjective or concrete definition of art? If we're going for concrete, we need to define it the same way any definition is defined, by accepting the common definition people have for the word.

    Uhm, no. Sorry. While you may not "like" something, that doesn't make it not art. Look at the young British artists of the mid-90s for example. Damien Hirst and his ilk.

    I think you missed my point.

    Then I think you made a terrible analogy. Because that applies to neither a true concrete or subjective definition.

    If someone can't experience it, is it art for them?
    I guess I could stop asking questions that might help you think about the definition of art...

    You could have tried something along the lines of, "What do you think the definition of art is?"

    Why would someone not be able to "experience" Beethoven?

    Esh on
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    NerdtendoNerdtendo Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Ask a deaf person.

    Nerdtendo on
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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Esh wrote: »

    Why would someone not be able to "experience" Beethoven?

    Nerdtendo wrote: »
    Ask a deaf person.

    This is hysterical

    Improvolone on
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    NerdtendoNerdtendo Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Esh wrote: »

    Why would someone not be able to "experience" Beethoven?

    Nerdtendo wrote: »
    Ask a deaf person.

    This is hysterical

    Yes yes, Beethoven was deaf. There are blind painters too. Go tell a blind person to look at the painting.

    Nerdtendo on
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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Nerdtendo wrote: »
    I guess I could stop asking questions that might help you think about the definition of art...

    You could have tried something along the lines of, "What do you think the definition of art is?"
    Step 1) Define art.

    Improvolone on
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    EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited February 2010
    Nerdtendo wrote: »
    Ask a deaf person.

    Oh man, really? I hope you're making some sort of joke here.

    Anyway, this is heading into D&D territory. I'd love to respond more, but I'd rather not invoke the mods wrath.

    Esh on
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