In response to "Tripping the Arcade Fantastic" from The Escapist Forum:

Scrumpmonkey:
Sounds... prencious. My main problem with the indie scene is that most of what they produce is just stapling Dostoyevsky to Mario bros over and over again and sitting back going "Look how clever we are!". There is a lot more happening OUTSIDE of this mainly American model of 'indie' (which has come to mean the genre of "Pretencious platformer") where people are making full 3d games without being owned by giant publishers but instead using them to their advantage. Look at places like 4A games, CD Projekt RED, GSC Gameworld, Codemasters. This is the model i would like to see indie games take, games that can stand soulder to shoulder with the big boys in ambition and scope not prencious little 2d projects.

'Indie' exsits has an almost ruthlessly hipster reaction to 'the evil mainstream' in which it exists in the vaccum of it's own percived cool. These people could do more to interface with the big players and maybe try and bring the likes of EA or Activision on side. The melding of the Indie scene and the big players to add backing to ideas with smart market understanding is the only way we are going to move gaming forward.

As it stands i can't help but seeing these people has buying a bottle of wine, some thift store cloths and pretending to be a wino at the train station. Sure being indie is 'cool' but sometimes you actually have to go beyond making games about stick men which is really a metaphore for capitalism.

The pretentious appearance of the indie games is probably spot on, but it's just a response to the dull formula of the mainstream. When the movers and shakers of the industry are just rereleasing 'Space Marines in Tones of Gray' for the 15th time, you aren't going to change the way people think with Minecraft, no matter how cool it is. You're going to make games that are actually gritty and depressing and bring gamers' attention to how, no matter what the big shots say, there are alternatives. Most gamers won't even understand this alternative, but that's how they end up hearing about Minecraft on the first place.

Plus there are plenty of indie developers that start with high brow artistic titles and end up with gameplay-first retro games that still manage to be revolutionary. Terry Cavanagh's 'Don't Look Back' is pretty high brow, but you can see how it led to the simple but tightly woven VVVVVV. Overall it's common for most creative people to produce consistently more accessible works as their trade grows better.

And of course... the article was all about people drinking beer and talking shit while playing games on old tyme arcades. It wasn't exactly Snobcon 2010.

- The Random One

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In response to "The Philosophy of Game Design, Part Three" from The Escapist Forum: I can tell there are much confused wanderings in your soul. I have come to make all things clear, and shall now give you the one true definition of art. Prepare your mind.

Art is any intentional form of human expression.

There you have it. Hear me now, believe me later.

(Oh, and video games have elements of art, some games have major art elements, some have minor. Does this make games on the whole art? I'm not sure. I'd probably prefer to call games simply "games" and not "art", but follow up by saying games include art that's just as significant as any other traditional art. Therefore, games are superior to pure art because they not only contain art but also other elements.)

- Brumbek

Er, definition of art must by default leave "intention" out of the picture. You can't know if the person who made the thing, or if it even WAS a person, had any intentions of making anything. Or if it was actual design, or accident.

You can find something designed by an aleatory algorithm totally beautiful and artistic, so where does that leave "art?" Really now, art is from the view of the observer and pretending it isn't is writing yourself into a corner. If you observed the result of said algorithm WITHOUT the knowledge that it wasn't someone that consciously designed it, and instead the person who wrote the algorithm did it as, say, homework for a class with zero interest in it being art or anything like that, then what?

This is the reason these definitions fail:

"Art is any intentional form of human expression."

Not really as my example above shoots a rather huge hole in this as you can't tell intention just by the finished product. You need extra information that may or may not be available and everything else is assumption.

and

"Art is a pattern of sensory input designed to alter the mental state of a person who perceives it."

My example above also shows that "design" can be entirely accidental or aleatory. That you perceive an illusion of "design" in things isn't false, but it doesn't mean actual design (by somebody) must be necessarily involved. It can be an accident, and again this requires information that may or may not be available. Design assumes intention and you may or may not be able to get this information from only the finished result.

And it creates the retarded scenario that finding out something behind the previously thought work of "art" makes it suddenly not "art." Which would be the logical consequence of such definitions, and it really makes absolutely no sense as information ex-post-facto can't negate the experience you already had.

Hence, saying X is or isn't "art" is nonsense, since it's only a personal opinion. Others may share it, it may be part of culture, but it's simply a personal judgment. You can't objectively state X is art, you can just explain your reasons, but they are subjective.

And that's how you can tell these arguments about games being or not being "art" are made by people who have, often, no real understanding of modern aesthetics and modern art history. In reality there's so much stuff out there that you'd find extremely conflicting opinions on it being or not being "art" that games are kind of insignificant in comparison. After all, people have been arguing about this for a long, long, long, time.

- Ytmh

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