Gamer Limit Banner

And so we arrive at explanation #2: pretentious self-justification.

When a person reads books, he or she is literate. Hikes through the mountains? An outdoorsman. Plays baseball on the weekend? An athlete. When a greasy-haired mountain of a man rips off his shirt in winter and squeals like a prepubescent schoolgirl for his favorite sports team? He’s a fan. My oh my—can’t you just feel the positive connotations seeping out of the text?

But what about gamers? What kinds of words do people associate with our hobby?

Violence.
Rape.
Murder.
Lazy.
Stupid.
Immature.
Antisocial.
Crass.

Not a pretty list. And, to be sure, a great many games are violent. There are games where you kill people and rape people. Anyone who’s ever tolerated a few minutes of Xbox Live can tell you with grim certainty that a large number of gamers are stupid and crass. Gaming is also a sedentary activity, frequently performed in solitude. Ever single item on that list holds a grain of truth. And that truth motivates us all the more to defend our beloved hobby. Most of us aren’t stupid or lazy. We don’t go around killing people because we couldn’t play Grand Theft Auto, or because we thought the fun of decapitating a human being in virtual-reality would carry over to reality. A great many of us are competent, intelligent human beings who are rightly offended by being stuck in such a terrible stereotype just because of how we spend our free time.

So we defend ourselves as best we can. We can’t tell the truth–God no. The mainstream media paints us in a bad light constantly. We’re told to be ashamed or our hobby. Constantly. And our shame is heightened when even the best of our truths tend to taste like ash. It’s hard to try to explain how playing Echochrome enhances our spatial awareness, or Freespace our eye-and coordination, when we’re peering out through eyes that years of gaming have made farsighted in one, nearsighted in the other. Gaming doesn’t have many negative effects, but it doesn’t have many positive ones either–like most hobbies. How, then, do we defend it?

Art. We call games art. Everyone respects art, and gamers are a community in desperate need of respect. If we must pose a defense, however, I feel that we should at least be sure our defense is a valid one. And, really, there’s only one defense for gaming. It so happens to be the same sole defense for backpacking, reading, or watching the Cardinals all the way through to the tenth inning—it’s fun. Gaming is fun, therefore we game. Nothing more needs be said.

But the Games-are-Art argument is extremely prevalent these days. Now, more than ever before. Strangely, I don’t recall anyone declaring Baldur’s Gate II to be a work of art, despite the beauty that outshines many a game today. Was Mechwarrior 3 art? Age of Kings? No. Why are games art now, but weren’t then?

And so we begin to wrap things up with explanation #3: our incapability to properly categorize. Sounds dull, I know, but hear me out. The gaming industry has exploded. There are more people buying, playing and producing games now than there ever have been—and those numbers have been increasing exponentially for years. There are tens and thousands of titles, but, really, very few games. So many games are so very similar to one another we’ve come to put them into genres: first-person shooters, real-time strategy, role-playing, third-person action, racing, simulation, fighting. Our thinking has been bent to the point where we expect genre.

The first time you hear about a new game, what’s the first question you ask? “What kind of game is it?” Genre is helpful. If it’s a shooter, we know it will be very similar to Half Life. If it’s a strategy game, we know it will be very similar to Warcraft. But what happens when we meet a game that defies genre?

Let’s look at the marvelous Flower. It’s a game, yes, but what kind of game is it? It’s not a platformer. It’s not a shooter. It’s not a simulation. It’s not strategy, action or fighting. We’re so accustomed to constantly categorizing the games we see, that when we’re faced with a game devoid of category a strong part of us wants to think that it’s not a game at all. And if it’s not a game, it’s art.

Flower: Game, Art, or Brightly-Colored Weed?

No real-time strategy game, fighting-game, or flight-simulator will ever be creative. By being part of a genre, a game is borrowing the self—the soul—of countless previous titles. Something new and imaginative, something like the marvelous Flower, defies our attempts to categorize it. It’s not a game where you play as a ruggedly-handsome brown-haired man shooting senseless evil soldiers/aliens/monsters. It’s a game where you play as wind. You’re not trying to kill things, you’re trying to blow stuff. How bloody cool is that? How many other games are in any way similar?

Zero. There is no other game like Flower. It’s beautiful, imaginative and fun. Is it art? Like Braid, the artistic aspect of the game is nearly unparalleled. But it’s not art, it’s a game. A fantastic game. I can’t help but feel that we do a disservice to the many men and women who spent so much of their time, effort and love on the game when we dismiss it as art. We struggle to grasp at a genre and we eventually decide that “art” is a genre—only art isn’t a genre. Rather than try to file away these games in a particular category, rather than try to fit these stunning concepts in rigid boxes, we should accept them for what they are. Astonishingly fun games, in a startlingly homogeneous industry.

In gaming there is neither pride nor shame. Gaming is a hobby: a thing of interest that rewards our attention with enjoyment. It is only one of many such facets of creation. No more, no less. Can’t that be enough? Can’t we accept the new and innovative without pigeon-holing? As a medium of expression, gaming will never evolve until we gamers accept the possibility than it can evolve. Art is art. Games are games, and games can be more tomorrow than they are today.

New to Gamer Limit? Check out our site FAQ right here.

Page 1 Page 2

Previous page
  1. Linger in Shadows tried really hard to be gaming art. Maybe one day we can just get “standard art” in a game; like a virtual art gallery.

    • avatar Fernanda

      Undeniably believe that which you stetad. Your favorite reason appeared to be on the net the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get irked while people consider worries that they plainly don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people can take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

  2. avatar Assante

    Well written article, extremely well written, although I’d beg to disagree on nearly all points:

    -Why do hobbyists need to feel obligated to defend their hobby to anyone? The legitimization of a hobby should only be relegated to the hobbyists, anyone on the outside doesn’t matter to the inner circle.

    - The definition of art in and of itself is subjective. I define art as anything made, done, assembled, created… whatever. A game is something made, something that had to be created, as such it naturally qualifies as being potential art, and in most cases it probably IS art. A toy coming off a factory line can be art.

    - Borrowing from another thing, regardless of medium in no way invalidates the artistic merit of the piece. Sure, every game’s foundation can be found in a preceding game, but every painting is done on paper, and no one will ever dispute Starry Night as being art, but I’m sure that even that is a derivation of something before it.

    While games might all share similar objectives: kill these guys, go to this place, finish 1st, the objective itself is merely the conduit from which the developers derive their art.

    Take Valve for example, the ways in which they create their levels, with meticulous attention to detail. Even though they have the same tools at their disposal as anyone else, they use them in a way unlike anyone else can even fathom. The way they familiarize players with the various facets of gameplay without creating any kind of “tutorial” in the conventional sense. The way they build relationships with npcs without taking every once taking you out of the action. This is all art, this is something that Valve used their own creativity and skills to create.

    Taking your own arguments, all movies and novels are virtual derivations on a previous work. Sculptures are nearly always replications of something that already exists. It isn’t a question of what is being made, art is found in how and why something is being made. How an author uses words, how a director frames a shot, how a skateboarder does his kick flip. It’s all art, because it’s all being created.

  3. Not quite. By that logic, even pharmaceuticals are art.

    The only real way to tell between what IS art and what’s NOT art is… to say a thing is art or it isn’t. Art is 100% subjective. An object becomes art the moment someone calls it art… which is one of the reasons why the artistic communities are so pretentious.

  4. avatar I don't agree

    It depends on your definition of art. In my opinion, art is something, anything, which makes you feel something, be it happiness or sadness, or anger. I look at photographs depicting world poverty and I get sad and think of people less fortunate than you. I listen to a piece of classical music and I feel relaxed and at ease. I go to watch a movie such as the Dark Knight and I feel engaged in the story, I imagine myself in that universe. Art is not about fixed paintings of Mona Lisa or whatever. Art is so much more than that.

    In that respect, games are very much art. Play burnout online and you are angry at people crashing into you. Play uncharted or metal gear solid and you are engaged with the characters, you not only want to finish the game (i.e. the objectives that you are talking about) but you also engage with the characters. How is the fact that a game is changing a movie or a painting into something which is interactive make it suddenly something which is not art?

    Flower has been compared to pieces of ‘art’ because it tries to emulate those very pure basic feelings of relaxation and serenity which you get when you look at landscape photographs/pictures.

    In my opinion, almost any game is a piece of art.

  5. avatar Assante

    “Not quite. By that logic, even pharmaceuticals are art.

    The only real way to tell between what IS art and what’s NOT art is… to say a thing is art or it isn’t. Art is 100% subjective. An object becomes art the moment someone calls it art… which is one of the reasons why the artistic communities are so pretentious.”

    The problem with that is the very definition of art is subjective. The problem with writing like this is who are you to define what art means for other people? Who can define love for anyone else? Or friendship? Or nostalgia? Or innocence?

    These are all things that are defined collectively from our own personal experiences, not what webster has as a placeholder definition.

    Pharmaceuticals as art? I’m sure the chemist that came up with the formula for dandruff shampoo feels that his creation is artistic.

    And who cares if a community is seen as pretentious or not? The community defines itself, it isn’t subject to outsider’s judgements on whether something is valid or not.

    Something IS art if someone wants to call it art. That’s what’s beautiful about the whole philosophy, art is art whether anyone else believes it to be or not, the only person qualified to make that judgement is the creator.

    My girlfriend bought me a picture frame and started pasting things onto it that are relevant to us and our relationship.

    She didn’t make the frame, the glue, the trinkets, she didn’t even take the picture. But if you were to come into my room and tell me that this isn’t art, you’d do well to keep your face blocked because your subject to an uppercut.

  6. It all depends on how it’s done. I’d like to think of the game Okami as fine art, because it portrays it self as that.

  7. avatar Randy

    Art is in the eye of the beholder

  8. avatar labwarrior

    Don’t agree, there are works of art that have a clear meaning, like religious paintings of famous artists, yet they are considered some of the best art paintings

    Add the fact that a game background or theme can be made to be interpreted in various ways, and games can as a matter of fact be art 100%

    Now how many games do it ? Few, i can agree to that, and to small extend

    But the whole article is based in a mistaken assumption, that is that a game environment can’t generate defferent feelings/thoughts to different people,that is 100% wrong

  9. avatar PlutoniumOre

    Sorry but I have to disagree with all this.

  10. The core concept I tried to articulate is that a game isn’t art… though it may incorporate art. A game is a sum of parts… art being just one of those parts. When we say a game IS art, it’s denigrating to the other aspects.

    • avatar Piya

      Thanks for your comment Rhiannon!To me, even tguohh it is monochrome, it felt more like maybe a stormy an overcast day (or, in the first picture, moonlit night), which could justify the colour choices as well.

  11. avatar Anthony Ryan

    I think that you have a slightly limited idea of what “art” is.

  12. @ Ore,

    Yea, you believe that CoD: WaW is better lol.

  13. avatar Hugh Isaacs II

    Art is anything created. Games are art as is music and movies.

  14. avatar Grey

    If someone’s definition of art is “any product of human creativity” or a variation, why do they even care what is and isn’t art? They have such a weak, all-encompassing definition that “art” is no longer a prestigious label (as it very much should be). Why even participate in these arguments? Art is equal parts intention and audience experience.

    That loose definition isn’t pretentious at all. I suppose if you object to having stricter definitions for things, defining art is a pretentious exercise. A car doesn’t cease to be a car if I call it a computer. Likewise, a computer is not a car simply because I perceive it to be one. Reality tends to discard the subjective. No one likes to hear that they’re wrong in thinking a supposed work of art is or does what they say it is or does. Example: the poster who threatened you with violence if you were to tell him his girlfriend’s heartfelt gift wasn’t art by his definition, where the formula for dandruff shampoo is on equal footing. I think that denigrates his girlfriend’s gift, don’t you?
    I expect that you have your mind made up on the matter, but if you’re willing to discuss this point, Fox, I’d be pleased to continue.

    I suppose that I agree with Fox when he says that games aren’t art. Games are fun. They’re meant to be fun, they’re meant to have objectives (for future reference, this has nothing to do with objectivity in the way that you’re using the word), limitations etc.

    I don’t know if I disagree on another point, which is that interactive works (primitive examples being Shadow of the Colossus or Ico) can be art. I doubt that he means everything released on PC/consoles or that uses a controller for input could never be art, but I may be wrong, and don’t want to assume for the sake of reaching an agreement.

    As for flOwer? Anything that attunes people to the majesty in the natural world is art.

  15. avatar Raz

    “The people who hang out in museums and coffee shops, constantly criticizing the work of others instead of producing anything ourselves. All artistic communities thrive on arrogance and pretension. I, myself, have spent an uncomfortable amount of time with the literature-elite: writers and editors that exude an almost tangible aura of asinine snobbishness and narrow-minded stupidity. Why on Earth would any gamer want anything at all to do with the cult of art?”

    This paragraph invalidates any possible veneer of validity to your arguments. Speaking of asinine snobbishness and narrow-minded stupidity…I think those adjectives better reflect the tone of your article than the art community at large.

    Because without writers and artists, your precious hobby wouldn’t exist.

  16. I have to agree with Raz.

    I may not buy into the “games as art” argument, and cringe when it is brought up explicitly in reviews, but this article seems to assume that gamers who want to think that way are stupid (and delusional) for doing so and then proceeds for prescribe a certain, “correct” way of thinking. What is so wrong about thinking about games as art if that is the language you want to communicate the experience? Why would you want to narrow the ways we interpret or “play” games?

    To you Braid may be only a pretty platformer. But for other’s, they see implicit messages, some communicated through gameplay, others by what you call the game’s “art” and some by the way in which these aspects work together.

    As for artistic “pretentiousness”, I actually wish there was more of it around. Maybe then we wouldn’t see the glut of identical review scores when a majorly hyped game is released, and more reviews can be more thoughtful and insightful rather than just provide a simple “oh, its fun” evaluation.

  17. avatar Assante

    Again @ Grey

    You’re assigning your own internal connotations, prejudices and definitions to the word art, which in and of itself is defined differently by every individual.

    When you think of art, you think snobbery and pretension.

    When a little girl sees a macaroni picture of her creation she thinks, “Wow, I made that myself. These are my designs.”

    That is art because she feels it to be art.

    What I’m saying in short, is that you don’t get to decide what is or isn’t art for anyone else. It’s all internal, it’s all subjective. Your arguments are rendered moot.

  18. @Assante

    “You’re assigning your own internal connotations, prejudices and definitions to the word art, which in and of itself is defined differently by every individual.”

    I like this statement.

  19. avatar Kian

    This is semantics. Here are many definitions of art:

    1. the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.
    2. the class of objects subject to aesthetic criteria; works of art collectively, as paintings, sculptures, or drawings: a museum of art; an art collection.
    3. a field, genre, or category of art: Dance is an art.
    4. the fine arts collectively, often excluding architecture: art and architecture.
    5. any field using the skills or techniques of art: advertising art; industrial art.
    6. (in printed matter) illustrative or decorative material: Is there any art with the copy for this story?
    7. the principles or methods governing any craft or branch of learning: the art of baking; the art of selling.
    8. the craft or trade using these principles or methods.
    9. skill in conducting any human activity: a master at the art of conversation.
    12. skilled workmanship, execution, or agency, as distinguished from nature.

    Read those, and say games are not art. Just because a game has objectives, does not make it non-subjective. You’re being incredibly black-and-white about it. My eyes are drawn to some games. The stories of some games have moved me emotionally. The music has stirred me. I’ve related to characters. I’ve laughed and I’ve been exhilarated.

    Why is martial arts an art? You can become good at a game…would that not be an art itself? You’re a hypocrite – being objective about something subjective.

    Art is an open-ended meaning. The beauty, you say, is in the interpretation. Exactly. You’re exactly like the snobs you put down.

    Games are art. They’re an expression. They’re building worlds, and they allow and many times encourage creativity. They incorprate many different forms of art into one medium. Games are art.

  20. avatar Mona Lisa

    First off, to be honest, I find myself defending the fact that I support a football team and follow the sport far more than I have ever with gaming… and your derogatory description of a sports fan is very typical of how some so-called “non-gamers” would view “gamers”.

    On the subject of art, I feel that by avoiding mentioning specific forms of art, while referring to it as all “subjective”, you are failing to engage in any real argument.

    Painting, for instance, is a form of art that encourages both the subjective and objective. If somebody paints photo-realistic portrait of a face and hangs it in the the National Portrait Gallery, am I supposed to look at it subjectively? Perhaps, but not necessarily. The same way I can look at a photograph of the same image, I may just take it at face value.

    Like you said, if somebody says it’s art, then it MUST be, right? Well, I think more people in the world would view Flower as a form of art over, say, Tracy Emin’s unmade bed or Damien Hurst’s spots… I guess Charles Saatchi has to buy Flower before it’s called art? Not that I am not a fan Hurst and Emin, I just realise and accept that some may dismiss their work as crap.

    Afterall, most forms of art were dismissed when they first arrived…. Even masterpieces from the Rennaissance period were considered to be dragging the word “art” through the mud. Brit Art in the 1990′s was laughed at but became iconic and admired globally before long.

    I could look at Killzone 2 as another FPS shooter and The Scream as just that OR I could look at Killzone 2 as a contemporary interpretation of Nazi Germany and The Scream as a symbol of isolation and fear (of the economic crisis).

    Oh, and there is plenty of interactive art out there. I don’t why you believe art to be entirely something you just look at.

  21. avatar Grey

    @Assante

    Well, like I said, reality doesn’t bend to anyone’s whims. And I doubt you can give me an answer as to why you care about this discussion, or even someone defining art as I do if
    a) Your definition is all-encompassing and removes prestige from the word “art.” Why not just call it “product?” If you think everything can be art, then note that I’m talking about “high art” because of these needless semantical complications.
    b) You think every opinion and perspective is equally valid, simply because it exists/has been expressed (i.e. the chemist believing his formula is art)

    Arguing for the *definition* of art to be subjective is ludicrous. How someone responds to art is subjective. No one can tell you what to like or how to feel, and no one should. Art won’t elicit the same response from everyone – it treats you like individuals. But, as you’ve said, no one would dispute Starry Night’s status. Consider the reasons.
    I’m well aware that no one will ever change your mind on the internet, and certainly not on a blog’s comments page. It is a conclusion that you have to come to yourself.

    For the record, when I think of art I think of the most noble pursuit for humanity, not of snobbery or pretentiousness.
    I think this definition is accurate:
    1. Human effort to imitate, supplement, alter, or counteract the work of nature.

    Agreement (among the experienced/well versed) can and is often taken as a method to create truths, where there is a lack of empirical evidence (or quantifiable evidence). This is believe, is the case with art.
    I would like to think that most people could recognise that a Rembrandt contains more humanity, emotional resonance etc. than Final Fantasy VII. It’s “glass” of potential is full, while FFVII’s has two drops of water in it, no matter how much we personally drink from either.

  22. avatar rumtumtugger

    Your article is extremely badly written. It has almost no logical procession whatsoever, it’s abrasively derisive to (and frequently ignorant of) all differing opinions, it assumes personal opinions as universal truth, without any proof whatsoever (eg.:”To say it simply, art is subjective. Games are objective.”) and it’s whimsical, pretentious, arrogant tone puts it in the same category of “writers and editors that exude an almost tangible aura of asinine snobbishness and narrow-minded stupidity” that you try so hard to pretend to scorn.

    It’s also wrong. It rather annoys me, as I’ve just written an article on how games ARE art for a newspaper, that I am in a similar position as such sludge as this. But I have written such an article, and I argued that while games are absolutely art from a purely audiovisual viewpoint, that is not the true form of games as art. Games are not purely comprised of pretty pictures or music. Rather, games can qualify as art in their level of immersion or spectacle. An excellent first-person game can be likened to a book told from a first-person point of view, while a third-person game can be seen as an opera or a movie.

    The mere fact that we have to participate in such a book, opera or movie does not negate the fact that it is, indeed, art. Contrary to what your argument’s focal point seems to be, games are not purely comprised of fondling with a joystick. It is true that Braid plays like Mario, or Flower is played by moving the Sixaxis. But that does not mean that both of these works of art consist of nothing but hitting buttons and tilting a hunk of plastic. To do so would be to blithely ignore all other parts of a game. It is to say all models, all gaming stories, all game environments, all in-game music, and almost everything inside a game outside the necessary technology to recognize impulses coming from a controller ARE NOT PART OF THE GAME. It is saying that the act of participating in a work of art – which is, incidentally, the very cornerstone of post-modern art – causes an object to become less than art.

    To put it in your sarcastic manner: Saying games are not art because we play them is like saying a painting is not art because it was painted with a paintbrush.

  23. I agree. How dare this editorial be so full of… opinion.

    *shudders*

  24. avatar Sam

    Okay, this article was enjoyable and well written. However, I disagree with all your points. Your major argument of games being too objective is, in my opinion, flawed. “Games” are no less objective than literature or cinema. After all, when it comes down to it, games are just interactive movies. If anything games are capable of greater subjectivity, because they offer freedom of choice. Cinema and literature are a more “on rails” experience (not necessarily a bad thing).

    Having said that, games are a very new medium, and admittedly they have a lot growing up to do (not in terms of content, but rather their execution). As of now, they cannot stand up to the likes of other major art forms. But in time they will progress, and with improved methods of interaction they will bring in more people and become more mature and refined. Perhaps your complaints stem from the methods of interaction? Take away all the stupid controllers with their frustrating buttons. What if games were controlled with the mind? With no limitations?

    Games today are very limited in vision and scope. It all boils down to the way they are produced, i.e. for young teenage boys (the majority of gamers). Games today are obsessed with being the next big Hollywood blockbuster – lots of big explosions and eye candy, but shallow under the surface. I do NOT consider Killzone 2 to be a work of art. Visually it is stunningly artistic, but it has no “internal creativity”. Art is an expression and projection from within. I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the next big thing to come out of Hollywood; fake plastic cheese just like many games nowadays.

    Look at Japan – they have created some of the most creative and emotionally powerful movies out there. The same can be said for their games (though I feel this is unfortunately changing). Metal Gear Solid 3 was as clever, captivating, insightful, and beautifully created as any movie out there. Japan has “visual novels” (eroge for the sick minded adults). They don’t let social norms get in the way of creating their art. We just need more people to be willing to take this approach to their game making. As long as “games” are seen as hobbies for little kids, something deep and artistic coming along is very unlikely. It can be done, for sure. It’s just unlikely given the restricted outlook people have today. This will change in time.

    Just another point: art is “expressing yourself creatively”. Surely we can all agree on this.

  25. avatar Guy

    “. You take two people, sit them in front of Van Gogh’s Starry Night, and ask them what they see—you’ll get two different answers. Do the same with a game—with two hundred people—and you’ll only get one.”

    Actually, in art class in elementary school we had to describe what we see in Starry Night, and the 20 something answers weren’t all that different. Perhaps kids are more naive?

    On the other hand, check metacritic for game reviews and you’ll see that every reviewer different gaming experience entirely.
    Why? Because the perception of games is subjective. Every one plays the game a bit differently and has a unique and individual experience with it. Just like all forms of art. Only this art is interactive art.

    Oh, and that “Braid is a platformer like Mario” just shows that you probably never played the game.

  26. avatar Mona Lisa

    What Rumtumtugger said.

    What newspaper will this article be in?

  27. avatar Matt

    I don’t know. If I sit two people down infront of Noby Noby Boy, give them a control and ask them what they see, they could say alot of things. That game isn’t very linear, and it doesn’t even have an objective for the most part. They could say Art. They could say a game, a puzzle, a challenge, an experience, a freudian slip. They could also say ‘Noby Noby Boy’.

    I think this is all a bit hypocritical. Why can’t a painting just be a painting? A measure of the painter’s skill? Why is it ‘art’? Because it elicit’s emotion? Because we were TOLD it elicits emotion? Games also elicit emotion, and they may not be as powerful yet, but the medium is still very, very young. Was filiming trains and stunts in the late 1800s considered art? Because film is now widely known as an art form.

    I sit them infront of Starry Night, and ask them what they see… same answers. A painting. A starry night. A work of art.

    I think people are being too dense when it comes to games. It’s like an art form has never emerged before. Remember grafitti? Before, just rascals being rascals, hoodlums breaking rules, now? It’s self expression, featured in museums, art of a generation. Rock and Roll used to be the Devil’s music. Rock used to have all those same words describe it. Metal Heads were famously violent, antisocial, immature and murderers. Funniest thing, the mass media doesn’t even understand (nor puts in the time too) gaming, they just here about an accident, find out if the kid played games, and blames games. The only reason Gaming has acquired such a reputation is because lazy parent’s couldn’t be bothered to care what they gave their children.

  28. avatar Matt

    And excuse the typos. I’m tired and I can’t be bothered to proofread it over a blog post.

  29. avatar Grey

    “Just another point: art is “expressing yourself creatively”. Surely we can all agree on this.”

    No. Why not just call the end product from ‘expressing yourself creatively” a ‘product’ or ‘creativity?’ You’re making no distinction between something that zones in on the human spirit/experience/condition, and an average little girl’s macaroni collage, which the correct definition of art does.

    “Actually, in art class in elementary school we had to describe what we see in Starry Night, and the 20 something answers weren’t all that different. Perhaps kids are more naive?”

    Yes. Your responses are shaped by life experiences when we’re talking about real art. It is unlikely that elementary school children would have “lived,” so to speak.

    Most games will give you extremely shallow emotional experiences – extreme melodrama, joy in defeating enemies or an outlet for your pent up rage. If they’re not fun, however, they’re terrible games. Fun is subjective, but we all (should) know that games are meant to be fun.

    Interactive art? That’s another thing. It doesn’t have to be fun and it doesn’t have limitations or rules. The interactive medium is the one we want to champion.

  30. avatar Sam

    @ Grey: I agree that good art must stem from the human spirit/condition etc… However, “bad art” does not necessarily mean it is not art at all. I have seen children’s drawings that I would consider art – as long as it is a projection from their own world and stems from that same emotional centre in the brain (which is obviously underdeveloped, and affects the final product). Many professional artists have tried to employ a childlike approach to their art. It can be beautiful in its simplicity, straightforwardness and truth. It can be meaningful and insightful. Having said that, there is no sure way of knowing which children have created something that is true to them in an expression of their feelings; or those who have just randomly scribbled and stuck things on the paper. It is usually easy, but therein lays great subjectivity. Other people’s worlds can be hard to understand.

    Maybe my original definition was a little brief, but I stand by what I said. The key is the “expressing yourself” part. I’m not sure that randomly pasting things on a piece of paper is expressing yourself. Expression is just an external way of showing your inner spirit/experience/emotion.

    I’m not the type of person who thinks everything is art, but just because it’s “bad art” it doesn’t mean doesn’t belong under the same definition as good art. Games can be good art if the designers want, but mostly they are designed to sell.

  31. I love how this whole convo is mature and very thoughtful. Thanks for keeping it nice guys.

  32. avatar Grey

    I understand what you’re saying, Sam, and I agree. I do think that if we’re expressing ourselves there’s an innate poignancy (what an ugly word) and truth that relates to the human experience etc. and by no means would that fall under “bad art.”

    I do object to the title of “game” though, and I really think we need to make a distinction between solely fun/challenge-oriented interactive works like games and something that does more. If someone strives to entertain you, it’s less likely that what they have to say is relevant to important life values (or anything that “high” art touches upon). I think they need to be serious, but that doesn’t mean boring, if you understand what I’m saying. There’s a lot of unappreciated beauty in ordinary life. It’s a shame that most people neglect it.

  33. avatar WTF?

    Can movies be art? Is storytelling art? Of course games can be art! They tell stories and provide experiences. Isn’t that sort of obvious?

  34. I went to an art exhibition and there was a ‘game’ installation. Eight players at computer terminals and 6 people with GPS running around a park.
    Get your head round art trying to be a game.
    Oh, it was called ‘You get me’ and was in the Royal Opera House, London. boom

  35. @Gideon

    That’s so awesome. I would love to see that, and is a testament to how far games have come in the last few decades.

  36. avatar Lurking Artist...

    Hopefully without sounding too cliche, and for at least one example of a game that could be considered art,(keyword: could), Shadow of the Colossus is a work of art in every sense of the word to me. It tells a story; it evokes feelings and emotions that make the experience so much more than just “fun”; and as a collection of art assets,(models[sculptures],textures[paintings],animation[acting]), it employs the skillful recreation of a reality with breathtaking landscapes and characters just the same as any oil painting might.

    Many games these days are venturing further and further from even being able to be simplified by just being called a “game” anyway. Interactive storytelling might be more accurate a description; and just as film and literary art use a certain medium to engage the audience in a unique experience, so do games; only with the added dimension of interactivity.

  37. avatar Liza

    I thought the same thing about frenh kiisnsg.. Bout how gross it wuld b for their tongue to be in MY mouth.. But i LOVE french kiisnsg!! Its not tht bad.. And i like tht it happened with my current bf.. Who im gna marry.. Lol.. But its not bad..

Leave a Reply