266: Videogame Myths Debunked

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Videogame Myths Debunked

Myths and misconceptions swirl around the videogame industry in a cloud of misinformation. C. J. Davies breaks through that mist and shines light on a few common videogame myths.

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That article you attributed to The Guardian appears to be from The Telegraph.

Aside from that, I have only one issue with this article: the claim that games aren't social. Online multiplayer is not "social in a very loose sense". You're interacting with other people - therefore it's social. The fact that it's indirect interaction doesn't make it any less social. And I don't agree that singleplayer is necessarily solitary. Try living in a house of game nuts. You'll find that while one person is playing a game, other people are watching him play and everyone's talking, often about the game being played. This seems to me far more social than reading a book (which no-one else can share in) or listening to music or watching a movie (meaning you need people to be quiet).

I think Scobie brings up a pretty good point. Still, it was an interesting article. When it comes to cloud gaming, though, the deal breaker for me is the fact that my games could be taken from me if the mods decided to ban my account. It doesn't really matter how "convenient" the system is if I can't use it. :/ Same could be said for people who don't have internet.

C J Davies:
Myth: Game Design Is An Auteur's Medium

Blame the Molyneuxs. Blame the Wrights. Blame the Bleszinkis. Blame anyone who boldly proclaims a game as their "vision," creating a skewed impression of a lone Terminator-like figure, battling with inhuman power against all odds to lovingly handcraft every line of code.

And at all costs, DON'T blame the press for running furthest (for free) with the most ridiculous examples given above. I don't see how you can talk about the myth without also discussing its most powerful vector.

But, then again, I think there's something wrong with this whole myth's frame…

C J Davies:
Just as Hollywood likes to venerate the director (shunting every other important filmmaking role out of the limelight), the videogame public all too often focuses on one benevolent figurehead. While there invariably has to be a Big Boss calling the shots, this can often mean that the collaborative nature of design is shamefully overlooked. Games are not made by one person, but rather a team of dedicated designers and support staff.

The auteur theory in cinema is a critical (not systemic, i.e. "Hollywood") reaction to all the credit going to the studio or producer instead of, you know, anyone who actually labored on the film. It was a statement that the director's vision survived in spite of the apparatus of studio, which was argued as mainly interference. In modern criticism, the auteur notion of primary vision often extends (in a collaborative sense) to the screenwriter and even to DP or editing roles. A great example of the former would be Mario Puzzo's inseparability from The Godfather, and modern critics tend to include him as integral to a full critique of those films.

Auteur theory was never a self label of the Hollywood industry; it was a theory of critique focusing on the director, championed by a director, and a (gasp) French one, at that. It was also never meant to disappear the little people; to attempt to describe the Key Grip as central to the vision that brought "Lord Of The Rings" to life seems a bit disingenuous to me. The auteur theory of criticism is not about diminishing the little people, it's about placing the captain's hat on the captain of the ship, not the admiral of the navy, or the deckhand. For good or bad, mind you. Just ask Orson Welles.

So, it seems your recounting of the basis of the myth is, in itself, something of a myth.

Good article. I agree with you on many of the points you raised, both against the bad myths and sometimes the good myths. However, there is one point where I disagree. "Gaming is not social".

True, single player gaming is the cornerstone of gaming as an entity, and yes, it does not need to be defended to people citing the old "antisocial" stereotype. However there are so many examples of gaming as a social medium. First off, later in your article you mention how WoW is one of the most popular games ever. I'm sure thousands of those users will testify to how they have met some really good friends while playing, with friendships that endure in the real world as well.
Secondly theres the whole aspect of console multiplayer. Theres nothing like a great evening in with 3 other mates, 4 controllers and a console with a rack of multiplayer games.
Finally theres the aspect of gaming culture which being a gamer allows you an insight into. These forums for example are social and active and all of this thanks to gaming. This can easily be applied to real life situations and conversations when gaming is often a great topic to chat about and compare experiences.

For these reasons I think gaming is social, and I hope some people will agree with me. Other than that though I enjoyed the article :)

Scobie:
Try living in a house of game nuts. You'll find that while one person is playing a game, other people are watching him play and everyone's talking, often about the game being played. This seems to me far more social than reading a book (which no-one else can share in) or listening to music or watching a movie (you need people to be quiet).

My housemate and I are both gamers, though not really 'nuts'. A week or so back we had great fun on a game together without even playing multiplayer; he stuck Civilization: Revolution in his PS3 and we spent several hours strategizing, planning our moves and builds, discussing combat tactics etc. The current shift in multiplayer gaming seems to be more towards WoW or Xbox live style multiplayer rather than some friends sharing a sofa, but as you say you can have fun with a game even when you aren't the one playing it.

C J Davies:

While online multiplayer ("social" in a very loose sense, by the way) is hugely popular, the single-player experience still remains the cornerstone of gaming. In essence, that is socially isolating because it is an activity that is usually performed alone.

When playing over (for example) Xbox live, you are alone - but only physically. You are still enjoying (for a given value of 'enjoying') the company of others. You are interacting with other human beings; your actions, albeit interpreted via a virtual avatar, have an effect on their virtual avatar, they hear your words and vice versa. Interaction takes place. This is socialising. Is making a telephone call to a friend being social? After all, you are physically alone and only interacting vocally with someone far away.

While I do agree with your point that single-player is still the cornerstone of gaming, I worry about how long for. Big-budget games like Modern Warfare or Left 4 Dead are pure multiplayer with a bit of single-player thrown in to pass the time. I'm a single-player by nature. I don't have the reaction time or skill to go against the kind of person who competes against others whenever they play. I hope I never get to a point where the majority of games are marketed to the multiplayer crowd.

C J Davies:

Braid. Shadow Of The Colossus. Portal. BioShock. Ocarina Of Time. Five titles that destroy this myth completely. Games are art, just as gravity pulls you to Earth and water quenches your thirst. It's not even debateable.

Well, clearly it is debateable. Did you not see the whole debate? I agree with you that games are self-evidently art, but there are a lot of people (gamers included) who disagree.

While well written there's one problem:

People who can use their brain to some extend already know this (or will know this when they are no longer 14). Anyone who NEEDS TO BE TOLD will not read the article. Pity, really.

"Videogames make you smarter"

Well videogames have never really been fully exploited as the powerful learning tool they could be, there is this weird disconnect between 'learning' games and regualr games like there was some kind of schism in the mid 70s and they have been evolving in completely different directions.

Playing a game won't make you more smart but playing the right game can teach you a lot even if you don't realise it is.

Thanks to Mass Effect 2 many gamers will know what Irridium and Pladaium are. Thanks to the STALKER series many gamers will have looked up the incident, it's long term effects and have some knowledge of the vast areas still effected by the ecological disaster.

Scobie:
I have only one issue with this article: the claim that games aren't social. Online multiplayer is not "social in a very loose sense". You're interacting with other people - therefore it's social. The fact that it's indirect interaction doesn't make it any less social.

When you drive you technically interact with others indirectly... does that make driving a social activity?

Scobie:
And I don't agree that singleplayer is necessarily solitary. Try living in a house of game nuts. You'll find that while one person is playing a game, other people are watching him play and everyone's talking, often about the game being played.

This I definitely agree with. Gaming with a crowd is a very social activity (so long as you have the crowd). This is a lot like the arcades. I also used to know some people who would sit down together and play the end of FF10 and cry every few weeks. This si also social. However, the only way online gaming would be "social" is if you are all chatting together while you do it. Simply being bodies in motion interacting is no more social than walking down a crowded street or, as I said before, driving. Playing WoW or EQ was hugely social for me, but playing Castle Crashers on Xbox live... not as much,

Scobie:
That article you attributed to The Guardian appears to be from The Telegraph.

Aside from that, I have only one issue with this article: the claim that games aren't social. Online multiplayer is not "social in a very loose sense". You're interacting with other people - therefore it's social. The fact that it's indirect interaction doesn't make it any less social. And I don't agree that singleplayer is necessarily solitary. Try living in a house of game nuts. You'll find that while one person is playing a game, other people are watching him play and everyone's talking, often about the game being played. This seems to me far more social than reading a book (which no-one else can share in) or listening to music or watching a movie (meaning you need people to be quiet).

only 7 percent of conversation is the words themselves, the rest is tone of voice, body language, facial expression and the like. so you see, the seemingly social aspects of mmo's and online gaming is really a tiny snippet of actual socialising. its just not very social.

This article feels like it is aimed at 7-14 year-olds. Is this intentional?

Anyone who says Braid doesn't have artistic merit needs to take another look. It has plenty of artistic merit... What it lacks is gameplay merit. Someone should have told those guys that a rewind time button isn't an acceptable substitute for proper level design.

Good article. Some myths I found out that I already knew and some are an opinionated piece.

mjc0961:
Anyone who says Braid doesn't have artistic merit needs to take another look. It has plenty of artistic merit... What it lacks is gameplay merit. Someone should have told those guys that a rewind time button isn't an acceptable substitute for proper level design.

In order for a game to have artistic merit, its gameplay must help achieve its artistic vision.

SonicWaffle:

C J Davies:

Braid. Shadow Of The Colossus. Portal. BioShock. Ocarina Of Time. Five titles that destroy this myth completely. Games are art, just as gravity pulls you to Earth and water quenches your thirst. It's not even debateable.

Well, clearly it is debateable. Did you not see the whole debate? I agree with you that games are self-evidently art, but there are a lot of people (gamers included) who disagree.

Debate here! Portal? It's a quirky, funny puzzle game. A work of art? Not even close. Just being different doesn't make it art. Ocarina of Time? Immersive. Excellent game. Solid narrative. Doesn't make it a work of art. Same with BioShock.

Good graphics, music and/or narrative do not make games artistic. None of those games I mentioned (Having not played Braid of Shadow of the Colossus) have gameplay which helps acheive an artistic vision. The closest games I've played have been Ico and I Wanna Be The Guy.

A few points I'd like to touch.
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Games have no artistic merit. This is something that is up for debate. And mentioning a few games and then claiming your argument to be foolproof is absolutely the worst kind of fallacious argumentation in my honest opinion. It's absolutely ridiculous.

Now, to the actual issue. I don't think of games as art because they are not something you merely gaze at. I don't think art is something you interact with. I would call games a utility or an application of sorts. Even if the point is entertainment. With no practical applications, but maybe mental or psychological applications (we need something to keep our spirits up).

You gaze a pictures, and maybe discuss them. You listen to music. You don't do these kind of things with games.
I would like to stress, however, that this is my opinion on games as art.

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Gaming is social. There is a large percentage of people that only play online games. Gaming probably isn't social by definition, but it most certainly can be (in the sense we are talking about now).

However, it doesn't matter how many people you play with, the contact and communication is limited. Some just chat, but others talk. As in, no visual communication whatsoever. This means that most acquired social skills (that most people take for granted) get lax, and gamers might end up not being as good at "the social game". This is more than a concern if the affected actually care to nurture this attribute.

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Cloud Computing. First, 'debunking' by using the words of skeptics is hardly realistic. Secondly, OnLive can work in places in Europe. Would it be so hard to imagine that in the future (I know this isn't valid, because we aren't talking about the future... Oh wait...) America would reach this stage as well?

Don't forget Google's attempt at pushing the capabilities of the internet (in the US) by installing fiber optic cables. And it has only begun.
..

This was an interesting read. One of the most interesting articles in recent times here on the escapist. I very much enjoyed it, and many of the points made were great.

The Guardian article links to a broken Telegraph page...

lemme put it this way: if you are on high school you don't want to play meaningless stuff and only pick the most vauable games, and this habit changes into a rule over time.
It's positive you didn't use the word bust in conjuctions with myths.

CitySquirrel:

Scobie:
I have only one issue with this article: the claim that games aren't social. Online multiplayer is not "social in a very loose sense". You're interacting with other people - therefore it's social. The fact that it's indirect interaction doesn't make it any less social.

When you drive you technically interact with others indirectly... does that make driving a social activity?

Scobie:
And I don't agree that singleplayer is necessarily solitary. Try living in a house of game nuts. You'll find that while one person is playing a game, other people are watching him play and everyone's talking, often about the game being played.

This I definitely agree with. Gaming with a crowd is a very social activity (so long as you have the crowd). This is a lot like the arcades. I also used to know some people who would sit down together and play the end of FF10 and cry every few weeks. This si also social. However, the only way online gaming would be "social" is if you are all chatting together while you do it. Simply being bodies in motion interacting is no more social than walking down a crowded street or, as I said before, driving. Playing WoW or EQ was hugely social for me, but playing Castle Crashers on Xbox live... not as much,

I really should have put myself better there. I admit that simply interacting with other people is not sufficient for an activity to be social. I got the impression the author was having a dig at people talking to each other in, say, WoW, or chatting to each other over Xbox Live. In either of those cases you're talking to people and having fun with them, and this is definitely a social activity, which means the article's blanket dismissal of online interaction in games is unfair. Either that or the author is only thinking of playing Modern Warfare 2 over Xbox Live without talking to each other, and ignoring other kinds of online gaming. In either case, the argument that gaming isn't a social activity falls apart.

I could also argue that the critical difference between playing games online and driving somewhere is that when you drive you're doing it purely to get somewhere, whereas when you game online a large part of the point is interacting with other people. WoW or BF2142 would be awfully boring without other people playing with you. Of course, this probably counts as a "loose definition" of social.

Kellerb:

Scobie:
That article you attributed to The Guardian appears to be from The Telegraph.

Aside from that, I have only one issue with this article: the claim that games aren't social. Online multiplayer is not "social in a very loose sense". You're interacting with other people - therefore it's social. The fact that it's indirect interaction doesn't make it any less social. And I don't agree that singleplayer is necessarily solitary. Try living in a house of game nuts. You'll find that while one person is playing a game, other people are watching him play and everyone's talking, often about the game being played. This seems to me far more social than reading a book (which no-one else can share in) or listening to music or watching a movie (meaning you need people to be quiet).

only 7 percent of conversation is the words themselves, the rest is tone of voice, body language, facial expression and the like. so you see, the seemingly social aspects of mmo's and online gaming is really a tiny snippet of actual socialising. its just not very social.

Only 7% of in-the-flesh conversation is verbal. 100% of online conversation is made up of speech (including tone of voice) or whatever we can get to show on the screen. It's not as if, when I write to you in this forum post, tone of voice, facial expression, body language and the like is just hanging there unused, and 93% of the meaning of what I say is contained in those elements of conversation and doesn't get through. We know that we don't have a lot of the options to communicate that we do in everyday conversation, so we compensate - with a particular style of writing, with emoticons, with incredibly expressive memetic images and, if the worst comes to the worst, by simply writing more clearly. While communicating online might be less subtle or efficient than talking face-to-face, we still manage to pack a whole lot of meaning in there. People make friends and fall in love online. I myself have had a great deal of hilarious conversations online. Sounds social enough to me.

I disagree that single player is still the gaming cornerstone. Yes, you still have your RPGs like Mass Effect and Dragon Age, but games such as Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and Modern Warfare 2 are all about the multiplayer. In my opinion, the single player campaigns felt sort of tacked onto the multiplayer experience.

I have a criminology text book which I used in college which had a page on "Gaming Causing Violence". It detailed how some teen stole a car, got arrested, killed a cop, and then fled. Of course, everyone in the report blamed video games. In reality, the kid was an extremely disturbed individual. The media loves to jump on to stories like that, completely ignoring the truth of the matter which lies in the offender's screwed up brain.

Also, why on earth are people scared of new things destroying the old? I mean, has Netflix destroyed DVDs? Has the Kindle destroyed books? Have laptops destroyed desktops? Have Segways destroyed bicycles? Has Bluray destroyed anything? Casual gaming will not destroy "real" gaming. That's retarded. People who buy Wii Fit will probably never buy Gears of War 3. People who buy Gears of War 3 will probably not buy Wii Fit. They are two separate markets.

40 percent of gamers are women (42 percent in an online capacity)

I've said this before and I'll say it again. This is false. These statistics include girls who sit on facebook all day and play farmville as "gamers". If they sit around and play wii fit and sometimes play bejeweled online that they are a "gamer". These people are not gamers. They may occasionaly play a game, but that doesn't make them a gamer. (Obviously doesn't apply to all women, don't jump on me)

Scobie:

Kellerb:
only 7 percent of conversation is the words themselves, the rest is tone of voice, body language, facial expression and the like.

Only 7% of in-the-flesh conversation is verbal. 100% of online conversation is made up of speech (including tone of voice) or whatever we can get to show on the screen

And 63% of statistics are made up. Far, FAR, more than 7% of communication is verbal. The most you can get accross with tone and body language is basic emotion; something that can be effectively, often better, transfered through words. Various artforms are devoted to this. Everything other than that basic emotion is communicated through words; just try communicating without them.

JEBWrench:

Debate here! Portal? It's a quirky, funny puzzle game. A work of art? Not even close. Just being different doesn't make it art. Ocarina of Time? Immersive. Excellent game. Solid narrative. Doesn't make it a work of art. Same with BioShock.

Good graphics, music and/or narrative do not make games artistic. None of those games I mentioned (Having not played Braid of Shadow of the Colossus) have gameplay which helps acheive an artistic vision. The closest games I've played have been Ico and I Wanna Be The Guy.

The Mona Lisa? Just a picture of a woman with a wonky smile. Nice to look at, but art? No. The Lord of the Rings? Immersive, great book, solid narrative. Doesn't make it a work of art. The Godfather had a fantastic story and masterful acting, along with solid direction, but does that make it art?

My point here is that the arguments you're using against those games being art can equally be used against things which the majority of people do consider art. To me, art means something that'll evoke emotions, really make me feel something. I'm currently re-playing the original Mass Effect, and just the other day I finished Noveria. Since I'm the kind of guy who always plays the good guy, I'm being evil on this playthrough, which meant killing the Rachni queen:

It genuinely upset me. Despite being, at the back of my mind, fully aware that it was a fictional character I felt awful when I made the decision to kill her. I had a much more powerful emotional reaction from a simple choice in a video game than I would have to most classical works of art. That is the "artistic vision" that games are aiming to achieve - to make us feel, whether it's exultation at finally beating a boss, joy at a happy ending, fear when stumbling around Silent Hill in the fog or anger at ourselves for what we've chosen to do within the game.

Dioxide20:
I disagree that single player is still the gaming cornerstone. Yes, you still have your RPGs like Mass Effect and Dragon Age, but games such as Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and Modern Warfare 2 are all about the multiplayer. In my opinion, the single player campaigns felt sort of tacked onto the multiplayer experience.

and Alien swarm, Left 4 deads, etfc.

4 the article author: I'll show you what casual is: tutorial to gaming.

A better title for this piece would be:

7 THINGS I AM VERY UPSET ABOUT

In order to call something a "myth debunk" you should have pretty incontrovertible evidence on your side. The author claims several things that are based upon loose definitions, such as the "games as art"-problem, are myths.

Also he repeats piss poor statistics, like those on the gender issue. Not to mention that he thinks hardcore gaming isn't dying because Red Dead Redemption sold well...

All in all an interesting opinion piece but nothing like myth-debunking.

Nincompoop:
A few points I'd like to touch.
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Games have no artistic merit. This is something that is up for debate. And mentioning a few games and then claiming your argument to be foolproof is absolutely the worst kind of fallacious argumentation in my honest opinion. It's absolutely ridiculous.

Now, to the actual issue. I don't think of games as art because they are not something you merely gaze at. I don't think art is something you interact with. I would call games a utility or an application of sorts. Even if the point is entertainment. With no practical applications, but maybe mental or psychological applications (we need something to keep our spirits up).

You gaze a pictures, and maybe discuss them. You listen to music. You don't do these kind of things with games.
I would like to stress, however, that this is my opinion on games as art.

While I do agree with you that just spouting examples without giving them context or further explanation, I also disagree with your idea that something isn't art just because it has utility use and "clams us down" (I can think of tons of calming music).

I would argue my self, but since your argument was the same as Roger Ebert's ill fated reasoning, and I don't think I can word this better, I will post the Game Overthinker's (aka moviebob's) respounce to him as my counter argument. http://screwattack.com/videos/TGO-Episode-35-A-Response-to-Roger-Ebert

I have to say I am very disappointed with the opening of this article. To open with such a controversial topic (games causing violence) and then 'debunk' it in one short paragraph with no evidence or references or, seemingly, any actual research done into the subject seems very lazy.

Like the second 'myth' you tackle, these are issues that interest me, and that I have read a lot about. I'm not saying games cause violence, but there is an awful lot of scientific research which has been done on the topic, with the usual variety of results.

You seem to have got away with this due to the fact that you're writing to a particularly biased audience (male gamers), but it's bad science and terrible journalism.

If you're going to tell me that what I think is wrong, you're going to need to back it up a little more than just saying "The blunt fact is...".

And games causing violence isn't a cliché, it's a real issue, and if you want to address it, you need to know what you're talking about.

I'm sure everyone else on this comments page will tear me apart for that, since people like to hold convictions and then worry about finding proof for them afterwards, but I'm afraid the evidence DOES matter.

Similarly with your comments on games and intelligence. IQ tests are designed to be unaffected by a person's experience. If playing games raised your IQ test score, then the IQ test would be broken. There is however a lot of research being done into the application of intelligence, and that games can be used as a valuable tool. Again, this just stinks of you having done no research. A two paragraph debunk, which seems to only address the issues that Brain Traning is rubbish (I could have told you that) and that the people who play video games are no more likely to be smart (a very different statement to the one you were supposed to be debunking).

Kellerb:
only 7 percent of conversation is the words themselves, the rest is tone of voice, body language, facial expression and the like. so you see, the seemingly social aspects of mmo's and online gaming is really a tiny snippet of actual socialising. its just not very social.

%7? Where does that statistic come from? That seems like a very small amount, especially since words are crucial to expressing any idea beyond basic mood or intent. Also, like Scobie said, people have developed ways to express these things online. It is why you say "lol" after a joke... no one is really laughing, but it is a form of punctuation denoting "JOKE HERE". Or why you add "=)" so that the person knows it was said with pleasant intent. In fact, internet emotional punctuation might be plainer than peoples body language and facial expressions.

SonicWaffle:

The Mona Lisa? Just a picture of a woman with a wonky smile. Nice to look at, but art? No. The Lord of the Rings? Immersive, great book, solid narrative. Doesn't make it a work of art. The Godfather had a fantastic story and masterful acting, along with solid direction, but does that make it art?

The difference here, and the crux of my point, is that those aforementioned pieces take full advantage of the entirety of the medium they are in, rather than a few pieces.

Until GAMEPLAY can be used to effectively convey artistic vision, than video games will not be an artistic medium, rather than a collection of other media.

Until the experience of a game can somehow evoke the question of "why am I pressing X to jump" in a contextual sense, then I stand by my earlier statement.

I'd imagine the No Girls In Gaming myth is an extention of No Girls on the Internet fallacy. I think there was an Escapist article on that, back in the early issues.

JEBWrench:

Until the experience of a game can somehow evoke the question of "why am I pressing X to jump" in a contextual sense, then I stand by my earlier statement.

You need to play more games. There is lots of this out there.

I read a recent quote attacking a similar point of view regarding popular games which went along these lines...

Criticising gaming as a medium while only referring to the commercial game scene is like watching the top 10 hollywood blockbusters and then claiming that films cannot be art.

There is a lot of good stuff going on in the indie game scene. Get into it. It's art, and the kids love it. Win.

EDIT: Also, claiming the the Mona Lisa takes full advantage of the medium of 'paint on canvas' is absolute Bull.

JEBWrench:

In order for a game to have artistic merit, its gameplay must help achieve its artistic vision.

Debate here! Portal? It's a quirky, funny puzzle game. A work of art? Not even close. Just being different doesn't make it art. Ocarina of Time? Immersive. Excellent game. Solid narrative. Doesn't make it a work of art. Same with BioShock.

Good graphics, music and/or narrative do not make games artistic. None of those games I mentioned (Having not played Braid of Shadow of the Colossus) have gameplay which helps acheive an artistic vision. The closest games I've played have been Ico and I Wanna Be The Guy.

What is an artistic vision, and how does a game like Portal fail to achieve such a thing? It makes some very statements about science without ethics, and these statements are made much more profound by the fact that YOU are the rat running around in the maze. You're not simply watching it, or reading about it, or hearing it, but rather you become that role and get to experience it first hand. That is the artistry of a game--you get to see it from the inside.

Take the ending sequence of Portal (SPOILER!). When fighting Glados you knock off pieces of her, and drop them into an incinerator, but while you're carrying the pieces they talk to you. If you listen to what each one says, it's clear that they each represent a cornerstone of science. And the first module to go (and in science, the first thing people forget) is Ethics. After that is Curiosity (the module keeps asking you a bunch of questions "Who are you? Where are we going? What's that?), then Logic (the module flatly spits out a bunch of mathematical mumbo-jumbo), and finally Frenzied Zealotry (the last module snarling and hissing at you as you carry it). The fact that you are destroying them is really satirical.

So there you have symbolism, metaphor, social commentary, satire, and a vision. That sounds pretty artistic to me. That's more than many movies have. And the gameplay is the medium by which this is all conveyed. It wouldn't work if you simply watched it like a movie, or looked at a screen shot like a painting. You have to play it to feel it.

In addition, almost every game incorporates several elements that, by themselves, would meet most peoples' criteria for art--artwork, music, story, etc. What about a game de-artistic-ates these elements? I think we can all agree that a picture a video game artist draws is art, when it's just on a piece of paper or scanned into a PC screen. Why does it become non-art when it is part of a game?

Ultimately, Art is just a word, and this whole debate is a silly dispute over word definitions. And regardless of what anyone else thinks, games are art to ME. I suppose you can make your own decisions about that. But I would argue that, at this point, games exhibit so many similarities with other accepted mediums of art that it is up to someone to prove why games are NOT art.

bglamb:

You need to play more games. There is lots of this out there.

Criticising gaming as a medium while only referring to the commercial game scene is like watching the top 10 hollywood blockbusters and then claiming that films cannot be art.

Having been a gamer of all sorts for the past 20+ years, I think I can debunk the "you need to play more games" thing.

There is a lot of good stuff going on in the indie game scene. Get into it. It's art, and the kids love it. Win.

EDIT: Also, claiming the the Mona Lisa takes full advantage of the medium of 'paint on canvas' is absolute Bull.

From the indie game scene, The Path and World of Goo come close, as does the aforementioned I Wanna Be The Guy. Miegakure looks extremely promising.

As for the Mona Lisa, like any paint on canvas, there's more than just the picture. There's the use of broad vs. narrow brush strokes, the blending of color, the choice of what kind of paints. Direction of strokes, orientation and perspective of subjects.

Helmutye:
Ultimately, Art is just a word, and this whole debate is a silly dispute over word definitions. And regardless of what anyone else thinks, games are art to ME. I suppose you can make your own decisions about that. But I would argue that, at this point, games exhibit so many similarities with other accepted mediums of art that it is up to someone to prove why games are NOT art.

Except that, and this is where Portal falls flat:

The Gameplay itself is still separated from the artistic experience. Cinema manages to make the collective experience of group viewing be an integral part of the artistic experience.

Games as of yet fail to take advantage of their single greatest difference between other media.

Whoever wrote that article for the Telegraph gave me rage. They're the kind of women who give the rest of us a bad name, by obsessing over falling in love and white weddings and eventually having 2.1 children. I'm not saying that anything about this is wrong (albeit annoying), and that there's not genuine gaming addicts out there ruining relationships, but by God, they don't half support the stereotype that anything outside that realm of domestic perfection is shockingly outrageous.

Gee, lady, ever think that your husband just wants to escape to a world that doesn't contain his nagging wife?

More OT: That thing about around 40% of the gaming market are girls. Is that entirely accurate? Because I'd imagine that for some girls, qualifying as a 'gamer' would be mostly playing games like FarmVille, Wii Fit, etc.

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