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Author Topic: Simple question: Do you think Video games can ever be considered as an Art form?  (Read 6082 times)

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Offline Sel Nar

So what about you?

I would like to refer you to the recently-completed Let's Play of The Void.

http://lparchive.org/LetsPlay/Void/

If this is NOT considered art somewhere, then I'm fairly certain that nothing should be.

Offline Oniya

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Interesting concept.  What system is this for?

Offline Inkidu

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I can see where people might think that video games as art is being a bit iffy. Because you can't just point to the visuals, or the music, or the presentation. No, that wouldn't mean the video game itself was art. That would be like calling a painting art because it had a great frame.

However, video games are not the sum of their parts, they're greater still. Video games are supposed to combine these elements with an interactive experience (Which some people protest because you can't -- apparently -- have interactive art.) I think that when it's done right the interactivity though enhances the scope of my appreciation for the artist.

Take Super Mario Bros for example: It's a range of sounds and ideas that culminates in the experience. It challenges the player's perceptions with hidden pipes. It makes the player think in terms of the vocabulary set forth by the game. Jump run. Jump here its a secret. It's almost like an Escher painting in that regard is it not?

Offline Will

I think that's actually a really good point.  The immersive(?) quality of games is hard to ignore.  I'm sure lots of directors/actors/artists/musicians/whatever would love to know that their work had that kind of effect on a person.  In fact, I would say that the impact of their work is more or less predicated on achieving that immersion to begin with.

The interactive component of video games make it so much easier.  As Inkidu said, "It makes the player think in terms of the vocabulary set forth by the game."  In most games, you pretty much HAVE to think in those terms, because you need to go on reflex.  In that way, you find yourself drawn deeper into the game, the visual and dramatic aspects of it, appreciating it in the way the designers intended.

In the ideal case, of course. -_-

Offline Noelle

However, video games are not the sum of their parts, they're greater still. Video games are supposed to combine these elements with an interactive experience (Which some people protest because you can't -- apparently -- have interactive art.) I think that when it's done right the interactivity though enhances the scope of my appreciation for the artist.

Mm...not quite :> Time for a little art history!

The modern art movement of the 20th century brought the audience into the art for arguably the first time ever. Art in previous centuries left a space between the viewer and the picture; most art was merely decoration (though the inclusion of Art Deco and Art Nouveau changed that by trying to make it functional, as well), or served a purpose as portraiture in the absence of cameras. There was left a cold, distant space between the audience and the work where the audience could make a conjecture about the piece, but there was no true interactivity between the two, no crossing over. There was a strict, defined border between artist and viewer and art.

Let's fast-forward a bit.

In the mid-20th century, Postmodernism began to come about as a response to Modernism, which blew the doors open on what was even defined as art in the first place. Postmodernists began to challenge the acceptable genres of art by intentionally blurring mediums; multimedia creations, collage, and yes, performance art. The intent was to bring art to the masses -- to inject art into life instead of the other way around -- by eliminating the space between the audience and the work and blurring the line between artist and audience -- and then the audience and the work. Confused yet?

The whole goal of things like performance art were to get audiences to do more than stand and gawk -- it was to provoke reaction, and in some cases, force the audience to become a part of the piece -- and in other cases, become the artist themselves. Carolee Schneeman pulled scrolls out of her vagina in front of an audience and read them aloud, Joseph Beuys sought to educate his audience through what he called "social sculpture", thus ideally spurring them to carry on his message (his art) through action in their community and throughout their life, which would then also "become his art" in a way.

Actually, I think a lot of people here would be interested in the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres who would set out piles of candy -- HUGE piles of wrapped sweets -- that the audience could then interact with...by taking a piece. As the piles got smaller or larger (he would replenish them occasionally), the art was in the interaction of the audience and the candy. His purpose? To honor his life partner, a homosexual man who died from AIDS. Given that he was doing this during the AIDS scare in the US, his point was to force people to think about something as innocent as candy and pushing the issue literally into their hands...would they still take the candy if they knew it was coming from someone with AIDS? If they knew it was coming from a homosexual? It also seemed to mirror his experience with AIDS -- how sometimes his partner's health would worsen, the candy would diminish, and how eventually, they would be gone completely -- a metaphor for death. It forced his audience to confront the issue with something as nonthreatening as candy.

Anyway, to bring it back around (if you're still with me, I'm truly impressed), what makes Ebert's opinion so moot is that art has evolved and tried to expand itself so far that in the process, you almost can't say no to anything that's trying to be art at all. Interactivity isn't the issue; on the contrary, interactivity has been around in art for quite some time now. Actually, one could make the argument that video games are an expansion of precisely what postmodern art did -- or may still be doing (some argue that postmodernity is dead, dying, or never existed at all...snoooooze), but what does it really matter? A person could argue that my art is postmodern because digital art has evolved to where the lines and colors and forms you see are just representations since what is digital is not truly tangible or real. Conversely, that could also be an argument for why it's not actually art at all, but just a pastiche of art. Confusing, right? Art has basically pushed itself to a point where it doesn't actually matter what anyone thinks. Art snobs like Ebert still believe in a concept of high art, which I suppose to some degree really exists, but doesn't actually have any outstanding benefit or merit outside of the minds of...well, other art snobs. BFD, right?

Offline BlisteredBlood

I'm inclined to agree with the fact that video games are considered an art form especially when you talk about graphics. A moving interactive art form, anyway.

But what makes games an art form, you ask? Sure, it looks pretty, but that's just saying it at face value. Sometimes you gotta look harder and deeper into the said title that makes it really stand out from the rest. Let's say for example, Hideo Kojima's smash hit, the first Metal Gear Solid game that was released for the old PlayStation about several years ago. Graphically speaking, it was considered to be one of the most moving titles that were ever released on a game such as that. But what made it so?

We see a grizzled war veteran sneak into a heavily armed fortress in Alaska, taking out a few guards along the way and even a few bosses, but once more. That's looking at it objectively, where if you see the bad guy, you need to take him out. But once we get to the torture scene where you need to rapidly tap the circle button in order to keep yourself from getting killed off. But after each segment, we hear Revolver Ocelot explain as to why he's in FOXHOUND, only to rebuild Russia to its former glory. But that's if you managed to stay alive long enough. On the harder difficulties, the damage you suffer from the electric shocks increases incrementally and it lasts a lot longer. Even on the easiest difficulty setting, it can still take a LOT out of your right forearm and trust me, I've nearly developed carpal tunnel from that segment alone. If you got the Dual Shock controller from back then, Naomi would - at one point - tell you to place it on your arm and let the vibrations give you a little bit of reprieve. Fortunately, the Codec scene with her went on for a bit, so you had a bit of breathing room before you were brought back into the torture room again.

Then later on when we get to the big showdown with Liquid Snake aboard Metal Gear REX, you find yourself all psyched up and ready to take him down with precision aimed Stinger missile shots to the radar dish on the left. Once that was done, we then get to the big reveal. I won't spoil too much of it, but I will say this. It has to take a certain kind of mechanic that draws the gamer into the world and keep coming back for more. Whether it's a Dual Shock gimmick, a plot twist in-game, or possibly even laugh out loud moments because a character said/did something that was totally out of context or possibly because of an awkward moment.

All in all, I agree with the concept of video games being considered an art form, but only with the condition that it has to take a certain gimmick that makes it as such.

Offline Inkidu

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Mm...not quite :> Time for a little art history!

The modern art movement of the 20th century brought the audience into the art for arguably the first time ever. Art in previous centuries left a space between the viewer and the picture; most art was merely decoration (though the inclusion of Art Deco and Art Nouveau changed that by trying to make it functional, as well), or served a purpose as portraiture in the absence of cameras. There was left a cold, distant space between the audience and the work where the audience could make a conjecture about the piece, but there was no true interactivity between the two, no crossing over. There was a strict, defined border between artist and viewer and art.

Let's fast-forward a bit.

In the mid-20th century, Postmodernism began to come about as a response to Modernism, which blew the doors open on what was even defined as art in the first place. Postmodernists began to challenge the acceptable genres of art by intentionally blurring mediums; multimedia creations, collage, and yes, performance art. The intent was to bring art to the masses -- to inject art into life instead of the other way around -- by eliminating the space between the audience and the work and blurring the line between artist and audience -- and then the audience and the work. Confused yet?

The whole goal of things like performance art were to get audiences to do more than stand and gawk -- it was to provoke reaction, and in some cases, force the audience to become a part of the piece -- and in other cases, become the artist themselves. Carolee Schneeman pulled scrolls out of her vagina in front of an audience and read them aloud, Joseph Beuys sought to educate his audience through what he called "social sculpture", thus ideally spurring them to carry on his message (his art) through action in their community and throughout their life, which would then also "become his art" in a way.

Actually, I think a lot of people here would be interested in the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres who would set out piles of candy -- HUGE piles of wrapped sweets -- that the audience could then interact with...by taking a piece. As the piles got smaller or larger (he would replenish them occasionally), the art was in the interaction of the audience and the candy. His purpose? To honor his life partner, a homosexual man who died from AIDS. Given that he was doing this during the AIDS scare in the US, his point was to force people to think about something as innocent as candy and pushing the issue literally into their hands...would they still take the candy if they knew it was coming from someone with AIDS? If they knew it was coming from a homosexual? It also seemed to mirror his experience with AIDS -- how sometimes his partner's health would worsen, the candy would diminish, and how eventually, they would be gone completely -- a metaphor for death. It forced his audience to confront the issue with something as nonthreatening as candy.

Anyway, to bring it back around (if you're still with me, I'm truly impressed), what makes Ebert's opinion so moot is that art has evolved and tried to expand itself so far that in the process, you almost can't say no to anything that's trying to be art at all. Interactivity isn't the issue; on the contrary, interactivity has been around in art for quite some time now. Actually, one could make the argument that video games are an expansion of precisely what postmodern art did -- or may still be doing (some argue that postmodernity is dead, dying, or never existed at all...snoooooze), but what does it really matter? A person could argue that my art is postmodern because digital art has evolved to where the lines and colors and forms you see are just representations since what is digital is not truly tangible or real. Conversely, that could also be an argument for why it's not actually art at all, but just a pastiche of art. Confusing, right? Art has basically pushed itself to a point where it doesn't actually matter what anyone thinks. Art snobs like Ebert still believe in a concept of high art, which I suppose to some degree really exists, but doesn't actually have any outstanding benefit or merit outside of the minds of...well, other art snobs. BFD, right?
Well, some people don't consider anything that requires deliberate viewer interaction to be art. Which a video game requires and some of what you're saying. They wouldn't consider that art.

Offline Noelle

My point was essentially that those "some people" are pretty irrelevant because what does and does not constitute art isn't even a valid argument since the art world itself invalidated it.

Offline Inkidu

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My point was essentially that those "some people" are pretty irrelevant because what does and does not constitute art isn't even a valid argument since the art world itself invalidated it.
That depends on the definition used. My definition would go along with that but theirs' might not. It's that whole, "I don't know what art is but I know it when I see it." thing.

Offline lblargh

I would like to refer you to the recently-completed Let's Play of The Void.

http://lparchive.org/LetsPlay/Void/

If this is NOT considered art somewhere, then I'm fairly certain that nothing should be.

Watching a playthrough of this. I completely agree with you. 8D

Offline Nicholas

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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?
Art defines itself. What is Art? It's so difficult to say, because Art is different for everyone. What one person sees as Art, isn't for another. The borders are flowing and often mingling. Just because someone doesn't like it, doesn't make it any more or less a form of art. Controversy is, in my opinion, an art form in itself. ;)

But, if people who like video games consider them a form of Art, then, yes, why not!

Offline Will

It really is so silly.  It's like asking "what is food?"  Well, if you eat it, then it's food for you.  If you dig it, then it's art for you.

Offline Noelle

That depends on the definition used. My definition would go along with that but theirs' might not. It's that whole, "I don't know what art is but I know it when I see it." thing.

...That IS the point, hahaha. I'm not disagreeing with you. This kind of subjectivity from person to person is precisely why saying something is or isn't art is an utterly pointless practice.

Offline Inkidu

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...That IS the point, hahaha. I'm not disagreeing with you. This kind of subjectivity from person to person is precisely why saying something is or isn't art is an utterly pointless practice.
As for mister Ebert. Remember: Those who cannot do, critique. :3

Offline Will

Also, the picture from his journal...


I have to say, this has got to be the visual definition of "pompous ass."

Offline Noelle

Hahahaha, it's kind of funny how that works, right? I was taught modern art history by a woman who had no experience in actually making art, merely had a passion for art history. I don't think one is essential to the other, that you can't have a passion for film without making one yourself or that you can't understand art without making it, but you'd think they'd have...more profound insight, I guess you could say, if they knew the process first-hand before making their professional critique.

Also, Will: That picture cracks me up. He's like a geriatric indie kid. So moody, so brooding~

Offline Oniya

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Couldn't resist:


Offline Noelle

I had to, Oniya. I had to. You forced me to do this.


Offline NotoriusBEN

Now THAT is ART!

Offline lblargh

xD. Oh god. Why?

And...ooo, is that Persona as your avatar? <o<

Offline NotoriusBEN

yes, its the protagonist from persona 4. I just havent switched out of my St. Patrick's outfit...

Offline Inkidu

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Hahahaha, it's kind of funny how that works, right? I was taught modern art history by a woman who had no experience in actually making art, merely had a passion for art history. I don't think one is essential to the other, that you can't have a passion for film without making one yourself or that you can't understand art without making it, but you'd think they'd have...more profound insight, I guess you could say, if they knew the process first-hand before making their professional critique.

Also, Will: That picture cracks me up. He's like a geriatric indie kid. So moody, so brooding~
I don't think a person who's never tried to create art can understand it on the artistic level. Surely they can understand it on the technical level, or appreciate it, or be moved by it but saying anyone can understand art on an artistic level just because is like saying a person can teach the greater intricacies of Elliot or Pound without ever having read anything by them. (Which people have tried...)

I can't believe the old codger has outlived (I don't know about Roper (sp?)) both his partners.

Offline Oniya

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Roeper is still alive, he just got out of the show while Ebert was recovering from cancer surgery.  He spent almost 2 years hosting 'At The Movies' with a variety of guest hosts before announcing he was leaving the show.  He currently co-hosts the Roe Conn Show on Chicago's WLS-AM 890

Offline Inkidu

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Roeper is still alive, he just got out of the show while Ebert was recovering from cancer surgery.  He spent almost 2 years hosting 'At The Movies' with a variety of guest hosts before announcing he was leaving the show.  He currently co-hosts the Roe Conn Show on Chicago's WLS-AM 890
You're family uses you like a TV Guide don't they? -__-;

Offline Oniya

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Put it this way - when Mr. Oniya says 'he'll get his people on getting that information,' he's talking about me.  ;D