Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Video Games As Art

This is a question I see a lot, so I'm going to have a small talk about it!

When I was with my buddy a few days ago, we were discussing what games could be considered "art" and why.  It was an interesting discussion but we were finding it extremely difficult to come up with things outside of the obvious titles. 

This isn't because there aren't any others, there are plenty of others, but it's because it's hard to pin down the rules behind why or why not you can regard a game a piece of art.  What makes this even harder is that the rules that govern my opinion on why a game is art will almost certainly be different on why you, the person reading this right now, would consider a game to be art or not.

What adds another layer of difficulty to the whole problem is that, in my opinion, games can be considered art in more than one way.  The music, the visuals, the story, the voice acting, writing, execution of game play elements, all of these things on their own could be considered art.  So just because a game has shit game play doesn't mean that there isn't some degree of artistry in the visuals or music, or even the story telling, but do these factors stop the whole game from being considered art or not? That's really only for you to decide.

Just to give a little example which I hope to expand on in the future, Nier is a game I'd consider to be rather artistic in the sense that the music and story were fucking fantastic.  That said, Nier is a game with repetitive game play and pretty crappy graphics.  Despite that I felt genuinely invested in the characters, plot and lore of that world, and was almost sad to see it end.  It yanked an emotional response from the lump of coal in my chest I call a heart, and that, to me, makes it something you could consider art.

I could probably write a fucking book on video games as an art form, but instead I'm going to butt heads with my friend and potentially make a video series about what games we consider to be art and why.   Keep an eye out for it but it'll probably take a long time to get that sort of project off the ground, but hopefully we'll make something enjoyable to watch.

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