Games Are NOT Art

Armenius

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I'm going by "art" as more than just the visuals and audio. It's the whole presentation. Gameplay, visuals, ambiance, etc.. The feelings the game invokes in the player. Some games scare the shit out of you. Some games are just fun to play. Other's are addictive but look like ass. It's all subjective, though. Some people get emotional at paintings, or a song, or a good movie. Same with games. The artform doesn't have to be defined as simple things or a simple label. But, as a broad term, they fit as art.
My thoughts, exactly. To simply say that a video game has art in it like many in this thread are doing is simple-minded. Just like all the elements in a painting taken together evoke an emotion in the viewer, all the elements of a video game must be taken as a whole to conjure up the same kind of reaction. Without context, the individual "artistic" parts of the whole game have no meaning. Putting them together can have a profound and lasting effect on the person, which is what makes video games art in my opinion.
 

Entilza

Limp Gawd
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Anything can be art, even the code within the program, how it's coded can be art.
 

Youn

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Taking a dump can be art... no joke, there was a display where a cute naked women made a very long continuous turd on a canvas.
 

Stiletto

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I remember when Roger Ebert said that and that statement hasn't gotten any less fucking ignorant since.
 

LurkerLito

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Art is in the eye of the beholder. That pretty much sums up all the arguments. Everyone will never agree to what is and isn't art because art itself is about the creative process as much as the creation itself.
 

Gafferking

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The way I read the article is that he agreed that video games are a form of art, but that people should stop trying to get everyone to see it as art. When something is universally considered art, it's well and truly dead, like the Renaissance era paintings.

At least that was my take on the article.
 

Phoenix333

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He's basing his definition of art on how the culture of snobby elitist art critics define it in his eyes. He's assuming that art cannot be "alive" somehow, that it has to be shelved in a stuffy old museum somewhere. If art is what you make of it, then his whole argument revolves around everyone else accepting his definition of art, and that's where it all falls apart. Art may be subjective, but it is not completely undefinable. Artists always have some kind of intent in what they're doing, and that's what defines art. For classic art, the intent may be to portray a scene realistically, or to capture and convey an emotion, or to try to get someone to think. Many sculpture pieces exist for historical value, so that people, places, and events are not forgotten. In the modern world, especially in games, much art is devoted to creating three-dimensional environments and objects that people can identify and recognize. In that case, the intent of the artist is very explicit and is need-based - I'm making this wooden barrel because the game needs a wooden barrel, etc. That's the role of a technical artist as opposed to a classic artist.

What games share with art is that they are both creative endeavors. Where they differ is in the intent of the creators. A classic artist creates a work that, traditionally, isn't interactive and doesn't do much once it's completed. It's intended to be created, and once created, that's it. It's finished. A game is something you interact with for entertainment value. Some modern "art" blurs the line, but typically the intent of a game creator is not to portray a realistic scene, "send a message", or the like, but to make something that people can entertain themselves with. Completely different intent.

Of course... that may actually be what he's concerned about now that I reflect on what I've written... that game designers may start seeing themselves more in the role of the classic artist, trying to create the "piece de resistance"... well, that horse left the stable with Daikatana, and instead of charging out in gleaming armor with a flowing magical mane, it was a broken down half-dead nag that was dragged out the door and expired shortly after. Trying to make a game as an art piece "for art's sake" is never going to work for a simple reason: Economics. Gamers want cheap thrills, not intellectual nuance. We want explosive car crashes, ludicrous gibs, guns that blow half the planet up (and lots of them, if Borderlands is any indication), and an escape from the dullness of every day living. That's why this concern is unfounded. Any game that tries to go that route is going to completely flop.
 

d_stilgar

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The way I read the article is that he agreed that video games are a form of art, but that people should stop trying to get everyone to see it as art. When something is universally considered art, it's well and truly dead, like the Renaissance era paintings.

At least that was my take on the article.

I agree with you there. When paintings and sculpture moved from decoration to art, their real impact on society was already dead. Keep toys, games, cartoons exactly what they are.
 

zkostik

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I'm the least artistic person in the world and my eyes usually roll back in my head when somebody starts talking about it but judging by what everybody else considers "art" and looking at the scenery, graphics, atmosphere, storyline and creativity in most games and can't see how it's anything but art. Games are just as "artistic" and maybe even more so than movies and those are considered art. And all these "artists" that get nominated for Grammys like Taylor Swift or Beyonce, I'd definitely consider games like Crysis, Max Payne, Tomb Raider or Deus Ex way more as art than anything those guys ever did.

Amen to that, I couldn't have said it better. This guy is a typical attention whore, he sure made the news with his remarks!
 

Stiler

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I do not get this article.

The guy talks about how "Bad" art is, how it's bad and he's a bloody ART TEACHER?

To me, if games are not "art" then neither are movies.

Art is art, no matter what "else" is included.

Movies are art with both picture and sound, games are just an evolution of art with video/sound but also they take it a step further and provide engagement.

Are some games higher brow art while others are the equivalent of shit thrown on a canvas? Yes.

I just can not play through a game like say, Sybera or The Longest Journey and hear someone say "games aren't art," to me those people obviously don't know what art is or have any real knowledge of the medium.
 

Catalan

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Opinion? Anything can be art. Not everything should be art. Not that my opinion matters much. If only we could all just agree that arguing about it is a waste of everyone's time.
 

Outamyhead

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I dunno, they have a lot of artists working for the games developers, and some of the scenery and characters are just jaw droppingly gorgeous, so I would call them art.
 

raz-0

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Ah so rather tahn having some dude with his head up his ass claiming they are the gatekeeper for the realm of art, we have someone with their head up their ass saying edgy artists who really matter don't give a fuck waht the art world calls art and doing so ruins artists.


Gotcha.

Twats. The art world is stupid twats all the way down.
 

SGA76

[H]ard|Gawd
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Messages
1,955
Anything can be art and anyone can be an artist.
Films were once not considered art, but now are.
Dance is considered an art.
The same can be said when you watched running backs like Berry Sanders or Walter Peyton, they way they moved, stopping, starting, changing directions in ways that defied gravity, was at times as beautiful as watching a ballet.
To me video many games are art, some are more artistic than others but I'd consider many art.
 

BiH115

Gif Guy
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May 12, 2011
Messages
9,327
Taking a dump can be art... no joke, there was a display where a cute naked women made a very long continuous turd on a canvas.

Would pay to see.

On a serious note, as many have said, it takes ALL the underlying pieces of a game to really see the artistic nature of it. One piece isn't enough, just like in paintings, drawings, car design, etc.
 

Draax

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Messages
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I would say that many games contain amazing design and art but they are not themselves an art form.
 

J3RK

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Messages
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He's basing his definition of art on how the culture of snobby elitist art critics define it in his eyes. He's assuming that art cannot be "alive" somehow, that it has to be shelved in a stuffy old museum somewhere. If art is what you make of it, then his whole argument revolves around everyone else accepting his definition of art, and that's where it all falls apart. Art may be subjective, but it is not completely undefinable. Artists always have some kind of intent in what they're doing, and that's what defines art. For classic art, the intent may be to portray a scene realistically, or to capture and convey an emotion, or to try to get someone to think. Many sculpture pieces exist for historical value, so that people, places, and events are not forgotten. In the modern world, especially in games, much art is devoted to creating three-dimensional environments and objects that people can identify and recognize. In that case, the intent of the artist is very explicit and is need-based - I'm making this wooden barrel because the game needs a wooden barrel, etc. That's the role of a technical artist as opposed to a classic artist.

What games share with art is that they are both creative endeavors. Where they differ is in the intent of the creators. A classic artist creates a work that, traditionally, isn't interactive and doesn't do much once it's completed. It's intended to be created, and once created, that's it. It's finished. A game is something you interact with for entertainment value. Some modern "art" blurs the line, but typically the intent of a game creator is not to portray a realistic scene, "send a message", or the like, but to make something that people can entertain themselves with. Completely different intent.

Of course... that may actually be what he's concerned about now that I reflect on what I've written... that game designers may start seeing themselves more in the role of the classic artist, trying to create the "piece de resistance"... well, that horse left the stable with Daikatana, and instead of charging out in gleaming armor with a flowing magical mane, it was a broken down half-dead nag that was dragged out the door and expired shortly after. Trying to make a game as an art piece "for art's sake" is never going to work for a simple reason: Economics. Gamers want cheap thrills, not intellectual nuance. We want explosive car crashes, ludicrous gibs, guns that blow half the planet up (and lots of them, if Borderlands is any indication), and an escape from the dullness of every day living. That's why this concern is unfounded. Any game that tries to go that route is going to completely flop.

I agree with most of what you've said. However, I disagree on your last statement. I believe that games like FEZ which was fairly successful and very enjoyable, could fall into a more classic artistic category. It's highly stylized, and manages to pull you into a somewhat abstract universe through its visual style and aural treatments. There are other games that manage this quite well too, and leave more of a lasting impression, and can even make you think in retrospect after you've played them.

That said, I think the cheap thrills category that you mentioned is far more prevalent. Both are quite enjoyable, and either can be successful really. There are even plenty that I would place on both sides of this.
 

J3RK

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Messages
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Oh, and aside from that, James Franco said that they're art. So...
 

STrooperTK421

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Messages
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Oh hey everyone look...some New York coffee house macchiato sippin' f****t art snob says games aren't art, what a surprise. $10 says that this same asshole thinks one of these loon-ball airhead "modern artists" who smear shit or what ever on a white wall is a genius "artist" and should be recognized the world over.

God I hate these fucking art snobs. I had to deal with these stains when I was taking a required "art appreciate" class a few semester ago.

:rolleyes:
 

RealityCrunch

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
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Messages
1,393
Only people worse than "f****t art snobs" are those who don't RTFA :p

The writer of the piece believes that games can be art:
Wondering if games are art is is like your grumpy grandparent saying "That rock and roll noise isn’t music!" It’s just old-fashioned. Anything can be, and has been, considered art. Games can be too.

Just that we shouldn't be hung up on trying to get them classified as such:
The question of whether games are art implies that art is a valued and important category – the exclusive club that every cultural producer desperately wants to enter. That makes games the nerdy kid at the front entrance, held back by the velvet rope from getting inside with the all of the beautiful people.


I’d like to let you in on a little secret: What’s going on inside the art club is a bunch of old farts hanging onto the past. What’s happening outside is much more interesting. "Art" is no longer the highest classification by which all culture should be valued.


We are living in an era where – to give one example – design as a category has far more cultural juice than art. Games should not aspire to be art! That’s backwards. Art should aspire to have the cultural reach and relevance of games.
 
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