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Author Topic: Simple question: Do you think Video games can ever be considered as an Art form?  (Read 6081 times)

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Online Doomsday

http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2010/04/video_games_can_never_be_art.html


Apparently Mr. Ebert doesn't think so.


So what about you?

Ebert is what, 70? Has he ever played a video game ever? I get the feeling that he's as qualified to diss video games as I am to rate hotels in Monaco.

Offline Will

Heh, the majority of the article is just a discussion on the definition of art.  What a waste of time.  Ebert is just trying to hold onto a sensationalist statement.

I really have to wonder, too, at the examples that were given in the TED talk he mentions.  They really could have found something better.

Online Doomsday

I'm guessing he talked about Duke Nukem, Grand Theft Auto, and Pussy City Pimps? *eyeroll*

Offline Will

No, actually.  They were "Waco Resurrection, "Braid," and "Flower."

Offline ff

This article is terribly illogical and disconnected from its own title. Agree with other repliers that:

1. He uses the classic debate trick of selecting the weakest examples of 'the other side' - he admits to having gotten lots of messages to play this or that game, and yet he selects a particular 3 games that I've never heard of. "Waco?" Huh? Really? Not Zelda or Final Fantasy? Just proves he's unfamiliar with the video game world. Yet then he references famous pieces of traditional art.

2. He also spends most of the article just triyng to define art (which is pointless b/c people will never agree) - how can the French cave paintings possibly prove videogames aren't art, especially when their subject tends to be hunting/killing (a common video game motif)?

3. Since (the better) video games contain art - the music, graphics, and plot - it's difficult to argue they are not. See for example Yoshiataka Aman, the career artist who did lots of stuff for Final Fantasy.

4. The end of the article is a straw man ad hominem attack that somehow others are insecure by needing games, sports ,or video games to be validated as art. I've never heard anyone bring that up, and even if they had, it doesn't mean they're not. Why do movies need to be considered art, Ebert?

Offline Oniya

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In the vein of 'That can't possibly be what he's talking about, can it?', I looked up 'Waco, the Resurrection'.  The official site seems to have vanished into the aether, but I found this description, dated 2004:

Quote
Players assume their role as David Koresh, Ted Kaczynski, or John Africa within an expansive multiplayer online environment. Between 6 and 18 players inhabit the online world to play out the game scenario - a timed game with a predetermined series of encounters based on the actual events.

Chalk this one up to the WTF files.  O_o

Offline Will

Yeah, but what made me go "wut" was that Ebert didn't select those examples.  Kellee Santiago used them as examples in her TED talk where she supported the idea of video games as art.  Ebert was pointed to that TED talk by one of his readers, and used those very same examples to make his case in the linked article.  I can't understand why this Santiago person couldn't find better examples, and can only assume that she actually has no idea what she's talking about.  TED has disappointed me. :(

Offline Oniya

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The other two, I'd actually class as very artistic.  Both were visually appealing (although Braid reminded me a little of some of the old Lemmings levels), and Flower had a certain surreal quality to it that reminded me of some experimental films (the whole game is played from the point of view of a flower petal being blown on the wind).

Still, it was a little like picking the most obscure selection from a film festival rather than The Godfather (which a random person has probably heard of, even if they don't particularly like it).

Offline Sanai

Is a story art? Is roleplay art? Yes.
I am an avid gamer, and my favourite games are those that are works of art. I challenge you to say that starcraft's amazing storyline, cinematics and gameplay was not art. I challenge you to say that the sweeping romances, storylines and cinematic work of final fantasy games is not artistry. I submit to you games like Metal Gear Solid, Red Faction and System Shock. All games that told amazing stories.
I defy you if you say that Myst was not a digital work of pure artistry.

Offline Raveled

The problem with Ebert is that he's basically said the anything with controls, objectives, and an end scenario isn't art. Which disqualifies every game ever made by definition. So unless he changes that opinion, it will be impossible to convince him that games are art.

Now, as to why Roger Ebert's opinion is so important to gamers is another thing. I wouldn't ask Bob Villa to recommend a good book, why do I care what a movie critic says about video games?

Offline Samael

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Something is art if it can elicit an emotional response from the viewer/player/listener, I feel.
It is no different to cry over a sad scene in a movie than doing the same over such a scene taking place in a game. In both cases it was obviously done well enough to affect you.

Is it high art though...? Hm, I feel not yet.
Technology isn't there yet.

Offline Oniya

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Art very much depends on the audience.  Some might see the collaboration of Jason Becker and Marty Friedman as speed metal raised to a high art form.  Others might see it as cacophony.

Ask any parent if the handmade, fingerpainted picture by their kindergartener is 'art', and chances are, you'll get an affirmative response.  This is despite the fact that the dog is blue (and the real dog is now streaked with orange), Mommy and/or Daddy is larger than the house, and the purple trees might just as easily be grape lollipops.

Offline DarklingAlice

Reviving this because of a very interesting news article that came out today.

One of Ebert's more nonsensical complaints was that art can't have rules and a win condition. I think that Brenda Brathwaite may just prove him completely wrong on that point. Do note that her artistic works are generally board games rather than video games, but they serve as powerful examples of how 'game' and 'art' are not mutually exclusive.

The article: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/feature/123880-brenda-brathwaite-message-in-the-machine

Brenda's Blog: http://bbrathwaite.wordpress.com/

Offline Oniya

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Ebert probably doesn't believe that fractals can be art either (and I refer skeptics to the works of Julien Sprott and Clifford Pickover).

Art has always had rules. Each school of art has its rules, and new schools are created by artists that break those rules.  Art also has a subtle 'win' condition:  A piece of art 'wins' if the audience chooses to experience the art in its totality.  Do you breeze by a painting saying 'that's nice', or do you stop and look at it?  Do you walk around a sculpture to see it from all angles?  Do you hear the music, or really listen to it?  Do you walk out of a movie and talk about it?  Do you put down a book and continue to think about it?  That interaction is what separates 'media' from 'art'.

Offline Trouble

The standards for 'art' are pretty vague. Hell, there aren't standards. Art is art. There's always an argument about whether or not nudity is art or just some old dead guy's porn.

But, honestly? Video games are fun. I don't particularly care if someone says they aren't art. I enjoy them. Besides, when something like Duchamp's Fountain is considered art, why couldn't video games be art?

Spoiler alert: the fountain is a urinal.

Offline Lord of Shadows

If a woman scrubbing a floor with blood can be called art then yes a video game can also be called art but surely not all video games are art. Not more than a normal game of Monopoly is.

Offline DrFier

It's blatantly clear that games are comprised of art.  Images, Digital sculptures, and animation.

To decide if they are art, we should start with something that is.  A CG movie is typically considered art, and placing a pause in the middle and waiting for a user input in order to continue doesn't truly change the formula.  But what about if that input changes the outcome?  What if it were constant?  Would that change the nature of the image from being art?

Offline Oniya

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Just as a side point, there are 'interactive exhibits' in many museums.  Musical staircases, moving sculptures, pendulum tracings, that sort of thing.  The input from the viewer changes the outcome.  Just sayin'.

Offline Jefepato

My instinct would be to say that yes, video games are or at least can be art.  I would have a great deal of difficulty justifying that in an argument, though, since no one seems to agree on an objective definition of "art."

So my actual response is:
1) I don't really care whether video games are an "art form."  I enjoy them, and that's what matters.  Who cares what's art and what isn't?  The distinction holds no value for me.
2) To the extent it matters whether video games are art, Roger Ebert is hardly qualified to make the assessment.

Offline Oniya

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"They say that art is the panacea for all the ills of modern life; yet everyone still buys the painting that matches the couch!" -Bette Midler

Offline LaCroix

All you have do is play through the Legacy of Kain series and then come back and tell me games are not art. And if you're curious as to what I'm talking about go and youtube it, Legacy of Kain, Soul Reaver, Soul Reaver 2 and so on and watch the narrative of the game unfold. Its really amazing stuff.


Offline Inkidu

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Art by my definition has to be something made by man that doesn't naturally occur. The art has to stimulate a physical, emotional, and mental reception. Video games meet my criteria. Now good or bad art is subject to a more opinionated look.

Offline kimbersee

Yes. Just look at all the movies that are made based on video games. Video games technology and storytelling match movies and books.

Offline NotoriusBEN

These are my opinions and extrapolations on the subject. Forgive my language, I've been reading too much Penny Arcade and Girl Genius lately.

are video games art? depends... I've seen paintings, sculptures, and junk heaps that people called art, and I would certainly disagree. I've read books and watched movies that I wouldn't consider art. but there are just as many of those items that I *would* consider art. Art is indefinable.

I think people are... sensitive... to Ebert because he is an established Voice in the aether that is a global community. Video game related people possibly fear his comments the same way they feared Jack Thompson. Thompson is an extremist in his views and instead of just keeping it to himself, he sought to push his views on others through through Congress and create laws against video games. My assumptions with the Video Game industry v. Ebert is that Ebert is not an extremist who rendered himself irrelavent with his own rantings. Ebert is a level headed individual who just doesnt like games. Because Ebert has an outlet, via whatever Published Entity that promotes him, his "critiques" are given more weight than Joe Average and his facebook blog.

The big thing everyone is looking for is validation that what they do or like matters and that it is considered something of value. As the artical Jude posted, why do we *care* what Ebert says?! Big deal, the guy doesnt like games. Ebert hasn't been relevent to me for 20years, and that's my own opinion of the guy.

The internet is more a boon to us video gamers than it is a bane with all the septic arguments against us. We are connected now. Even 20years ago, we may have been the only person in high school, or our family or community who liked video games, and we would be alone. Now with explosion of the internet, we are connected to people across the globe and can develop aquaintences or friendships based on our hobbies. Elliquy is a prime example of this phenomon.

Quote
By extrapolation of this subject to transcend the state of things in the world so far:

The world would be better if people would just *SOD OFF* and leave me to mine and I'll leave you to yours.
You like doing 'X'? good for you! not my cup of tea, dont push it on me.
I like 'Y', ask me about it if you like it, if not, dont knock it, I could care less what you think.    :-X

As long as your not impinging or infringing on another's person, place, space, or things, I dont care what you like, do, or kill time with.