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Author Topic: What Qualifies a Video Game as Art?
Guyra
Indie Apprentice
Posts: 39
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Post Re: What Qualifies a Video Game as Art?
on: March 11, 2013, 07:13
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Being an artist myself, I'll just have to say that this question, "are video games art?" is just an extension of, "what is art?" And it's one of those questions that people will never find an answer that everyone will agree on.

As for me though, I generally go with, "if there's no art to making it, it's not art." Basically meaning that if there's no thoughts and work behind the creation, it's not art. If there are, it is. And that makes a lot of things art. Including video games.

In the end, I think the question itself is wrong, though. Because I think what the people who ask this actually want to ask, is whether video games can give you similar thought- and/or feelings provoking experiences as other mediums, such as films or paintings, and to what extent this works. But it's much less complicated to just ask, "can video games be art?" than actually coming up with a decent formulation for the question one actually wants to ask(something which might be subconscious). Because if not, we just end up with yet another discussion about what art itself is. And on that topic, people will never completely agree.

And as for that, I most certainly believe they can. Games can provoke both feelings of different kinds - fear, melancholy, anger, sadness, happiness, affection, loneliness, etc. And games can certainly be thought provoking as well - some of these are quite direct about it, while there are others where you have to read between the lines.

That's my two cents on this topic. :)

pumbly
Indie Apprentice
Posts: 30
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Post Re: What Qualifies a Video Game as Art?
on: March 12, 2013, 18:22
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Here's another question - is there a distinction between art and craft? I think on some level, all creative and productive (as in, a product or object is created or changed) works are art works. Some of them may not be very high quality/ acclaimed/ original/ meaningful/ well intended/ etc. but they are all technically "works of art" in a certain sense. In another sense, however, certain activities may be merely commercial or routine, and not "artistic."

I think the "work put in" analysis is a good one, but what about other software? Is norton anti-virus a work of art? What about something that has no UI, but is only a script that runs? I think that the answer to what makes a video game art, as Nick says, is going to be different for everyone, but here are some factors that I think relate:

Authorial intent: did the creator(s) have artistic goals.
Aesthetic Qualities: can the game be described as beautiful (visually or otherwise)
Originality: is the game different than other games or merely a clone of something else
Audience perception: does the game seem artistic to the players
Challenge to the medium: does the game challenge the conventional qualities of video games
Communication: does the game serve as a mode of communication for the creator in expressing some idea or emotion
Relevance (probably a bad name for this quality): does the game engage in a cultural critique or dialogue about games and art?

some other factors may or may not also support a view that a game is art:

Quality: how well made is the game
Emotional effect: how are players effected emotionally by the game? (This is different than communicating an emotion.)

I'm skeptical of these, for example, CoD is well made and manipulates emotions, but fails to be as artistic (in my personal opinion) as many games that aren't as well made or emotional.

Anyway, I think these factors are probably a good starting point, and to demonstrate, consider Jason Rohrer's Gravitation for example. I would argue that Jason had artistic goals and intended to communicate ideas and emotions. I would say it's aesthetically interesting and unlike almost any other game in many regards. Additionally, I would argue that most players of Gravitation explicitly regard it as an "art game." It challenged game conventions in a number of ways, and I think it is engaged at least on a small level, with a discussion of the role of video games in culture.

What do you guys think about these factors?

-Pumbly

Carvool
Tree Puncher
Posts: 6
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Post Re: What Qualifies a Video Game as Art?
on: March 29, 2013, 20:49
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Quote from apple_pie_nation on August 21, 2012, 18:09
If a game teaches you something (extraordinary for a game)
Makes you feel for/about characters (exceptionally well written)
Has "ambience" that makes you want to listen (music, sounds, whatever)

I think this is a shallow way of defining what makes a game artful. I don't think there are such definite qualities that define art. There is a difference between an atmospheric game and an artful game. I believe an artful game is something that can be defined much more generally--it is one that you can derive an interpretation from.

I'm going to side with Jon Blow for a moment and say a game like Jason Rohrer's Gravitation is a solid example of an artful game.

It does not teach, it is not written; it is not so much ambient. What gravitation does well is it gives the player something to take away from their experience--it is thought-provoking. Good art on other mediums functions similarly, in my opinion. It's the idea that there's something deeper than what is literal, and it is not explicitly conveyed.

This is one reason, I think, that many works of art have remained polarizing to those that study them even several centuries after such works' conceptions.

pumbly
Indie Apprentice
Posts: 30
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Post Re: What Qualifies a Video Game as Art?
on: April 2, 2013, 21:43
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Quote from on April 2, 2013, 11:24
Tips to save wedding dresses

I think that this guest is correct - any game that provides helpful tips or strategies to save some wedding dresses are almost certainly art.

Amais
Tree Puncher
Posts: 1
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Post Re: What Qualifies a Video Game as Art?
on: October 24, 2017, 10:03
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I believe that every video game -https://mirillis.com/blog/en/complete-list-of-game-genres is an art. It requires much more than a normal piece of art. Video Game companies are seeking talented artists. Nowadays, in game industry you can find illustrators, concept artists, animators and many other talented artists.

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