Are Videogames Art?| A personal Decision


I just wanted to place my cards on the table where it comes to this “controversial” subject and as it relates to my channel and blog.

The short answer is “Yes” Video games are a form of art to me. Now as far as why I think that …

well that might take a little longer for me to answer. So buckle up.

First and foremost, Art is subjective in all its forms be it writing, painting, sculpture, etc… and it ranges from people who love it to those who hate it and everyone has their reasons for feeling as thus. The curious things about video game creators is that they themselves often don’t consider themselves “artists” but more precisely ‘crafts people.’

Rather like a carpenter who makes a table.

It works, looks ok…and with a few flourishes might actually be considered a ‘work of art’ but they are more concerned with does it do what we want it to? Was it a functioning table? It didn’t tip over did it? Holds your food and drinks well? You enjoy it? Cool we’ve done our job.

And though it’s still a relatively new narrative option that doesn’t mean it cannot become “art.”

It’s no more fair to say it is not art because Pong exists as it was to say that  due to the Roundhay Garden Scene existence. After all nothing after that has changed enough for anything related to *that* can be seen as art. Though many exhibitions have now been dedicated to videogames it seems that on some level people are starting to change their minds…

Or we gamers are just slowly inserting ourselves into all levels of this often exclusionary machine…

However with games having more and more cinematic elements,  voice actors, actors for MoCap (sometimes they do both), musical composers… art directors, character and costume designers (with the advent of professional cosplayers hired by the game companies themselves to be there at live premieres), sound designers,…all integrated into its creation it becomes hard to not compare it to the realm of Cinema. The snobs of which are usually the ones that complain otherwise. Some have even suggested that we ask the question so much because we need ‘validation.’

Personally, I think it’s just the fact that these çrafts people, should get the appropriate recognition for their work as a viable narrative option in the artistic realm. Even if *you* don’t understand it.  Not that *I* doubt their skill in helping produce a what *I* see as a work of art. It has also been suggested that once we pick up the controller something within a person’s heart ‘turns off.’ That somehow because we are interacting with a narrative that we will not connect with the characters or story nearly as much as if I was sitting in a recliner munching on popcorn and slurping down an icee…in a dark room…with possibly over a hundred other people at any given time…

If that’s the case why does the events in my life hurt me as I live it and interact with it not when I’m just staring blankly in a corner?

Sorry…was the sodium count a bit high for that?

Forgive me the hypocrisy gets to me every time…usually arguments from those that have not really thought about it and needed to say something that sounded…deep or well thought out.

Hey, it wasn’t. Stop plz.

Now anyone who’s played any games for any length of time would know that this argument is only going to hold true to people who do not game. Just like you have to learn the unspoken language of film your body needs to know the unspoken language of muscle memory…

Basically, game players have several button maps in their head depending on the type of game and after a while of playing games we pull up that map and muscle memory kicks in.  We know what to push when and why without thinking about it. How to move and fire a gun. This concern… becomes a non-issue as we know how to play many of the games we pick up without too much re-adaptation. We become integrated into this world because we interact with it rather than staring at it.

(To be fair these comments where all from older cinema-philes who don’t study the nature of game progression show a clear lack of understanding of game genre’s and subsets nor are they looking at the future where it comes to VR…)

The point is:

WE understand this interactive language and when it’s linguistic use changes we notice. Even if you may not put forth the effort to do so. It’s like asking someone who does not play an instrument, say a ekidongo or even listen to music made by an ekidongo  to accurately judge the sound of one made by a master crafts person. They just don’t like it or get it. Unfortunately it’s just as unrealistic in the grand scheme of things to think that someone who doesn’t study something could fairly judge it as worthy with out a good base to jump from.

Especially if the person has possibly made it very clear that they don’t want to learn it either.  

Art is a matter of interpretation and I’m sure there will be people who still think I’m crazy. But that’s ok. There are plenty of people who are firmly against this concept as well they will probably welcome you with open arms. As for here, on this channel Video games can be and will be considered art. But again this is just a personal view of how I approach most games and the perspective I will continue to speak from. 

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