291: Almost Art

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 NEXT
 

Second example. As sculptor can take a stone and create a believable and recognizable face of person that you know, depicting certaine emotion on his face, without recreating every single possible detail of real face; game programmer can create believable behaviour for a flock of deer, put them into believable forest and by playing with their behavior reflect primal fear of death, without recreating the whole system in its complexity. So why games are not art already?

CatmanStu:
What a load of pretentious bollocks.

The reason games aren't 'accepted' by the mass public is because of the insular community that the mediums current format creates. Look at Nintendo; they have widened the market for video games single handedly just by making them more accessible. How has the community responded to this? With 'hardcore gamers' screaming that the industry is being corrupted by 'casual gamers'. If gaming is to reach the masses IT HAS TO BE CASUAL!

This type of self serving 'games can be art' argument works from the deluded belief that art is only art if it has some sort of moral or intellectual high ground, but this will not create a mass interest in games as this is the same elitist viewpoint that fuels the entire modern art community. The same viewpoint that lets current artists set up piles of junk in an 'instillation' at a gallery and justify it with a description based on a conceptual or ideological loop of self referential symbolism that cannot be argued against due to 'intellectual' peer pressure.

Art, in my opinion, is anything created from imagination that elicits an intentional emotional reaction in the audience. So as far as I am concerned, games are already art; the trick is to let the general public see this too.

Personally, I have no problem with casual games.... as long as they are fun. This is why I have issues with Nintendo of late, and many other companies as well but that's for different reasons of lacking fun.

My issue with how Nintendo is acting lately is, most of the games they are producing, or allowing to be produced, on their systems is that they are largely either :Extremely swallow affably to which the fun may indeed be had, but it dissipates just as quickly as it is had. I can, for instance, have fun playing wii sports ; but only for an extremely limited amount of time before I grow bored again, and often sore as well but that's a completely different topic.

My second gripe, as well as the second type, of games you tend to see on Nintendo's consoles anymore are.... most are just plain BAD. Poorly designed, boring, or frustrating shovelwave(I believe that's the term) just churned out by the ton with very little in the way of any real quality, mostly targeted towards children and the ignorant.

You need to look to the future as an entertainment medium if you wish to survive. You need to stop trying to trick children, or parents of children, into buying crap just to swindle money out of them.

Most of the older gamers that still drive this industry via their sales started as gamers in childhood. Case in point myself. If I had not played a good game like Super Mario Brothers in my single digit childhood, I would probably not be playing games twenty years later.

It't not even a difficult concept. A quality product brings in repeat, sometimes fiercely loyal, customers. As a successful business [B]YOU WANT THOSE[/B].

I keep wondering if most game companies are headed by lunatics or imbeciles who can't gasp such a simple fact. Sure you don't want to spend more money on a project than you really need to, but it is better to over spend a little and give a quality product to your customers who may actually easily recoup any extra cost you put into the project, than it is to under do something, give out a subpar product and your customers will grow angry with you and stop doing business with you. [I][B] THIS IS NOT GOOD FOR BUSINESS.[/b][/i]

I guess I kind of got off on a massive tangent. In short, casual games with good quality that can be picked up and enjoyed by all is a good thing, and the thing to shoot for, poor quality casual games cause it will trick the uninformed but give them no further incentive to keep playing and playing games is a bad thing.

Okay to get slightly on topic more, then quickly shut up, this guy I believe I read was a developer. He seems to be kind of the out of touch developer who I question the sense and/or sanity of in relating to the people who actually buy his work.

The vibe I got from this article seemed to be largely pretentious and self-absorbed, with a nice dose of delusional artist screaming, "Why won't you fools understand my grand brilliant vision!?"

I really enjoyed this article, and fellow escapists some of your comments really englightened me so thank you very much ^^. My view is that as someone said he tends to generalize a bit my main thoguht was fable, yes there is hate but i truly loved this game, i followed it before it got realeased and watched videos of the making and etc. The developers were trying to make it so the player feels like a hero and the "message" of fable if there has to be one is that choices can make drastic effects ( even thou this was implemented poorly in the game ).

Thedek:

CatmanStu:
Edited for brevity

Edited for further brevity

I can completely understand the fear and disdain of a more widely accessible games market creating a dearth of mass produced dross with no creative merit, but that is the price of introducing an audience to a new medium.

First you give them casual, throw away products so they can develop an acceptance of the medium in the comfort of their predefined understanding of it; next you slowly introduce more complex design and story telling; finally culminating with the introduction of moral and social commentary.

Just as film had to go through the period of awful cut and paste action movies and comics had to go through the influx of shallow, creator owned, gritty super heroes to get to where they are now; games will have to go through a period where for every good quality release there are 50 shallow cashins.

CatmanStu:

Thedek:

CatmanStu:
Edited for brevity

Edited for further brevity

I can completely understand the fear and disdain of a more widely accessible games market creating a dearth of mass produced dross with no creative merit, but that is the price of introducing an audience to a new medium.

First you give them casual, throw away products so they can develop an acceptance of the medium in the comfort of their predefined understanding of it; next you slowly introduce more complex design and story telling; finally culminating with the introduction of moral and social commentary.

Just as film had to go through the period of awful cut and paste action movies and comics had to go through the influx of shallow, creator owned, gritty super heroes to get to where they are now; games will have to go through a period where for every good quality release there are 50 shallow cashins.

Hmmm. Perhaps. Maybe I'm simply looking through some nostalgia goggles when it comes to the games of my early childhood, but then again most professional journalists in this entrainment medium do insist that Super Mario Brothers is what got people out of the disdain for all the samey shovelware that Atari, Intellevision, and Collecovision, was putting out and saved the medium from, if not speedy oblivion then, at least a slow death by suffocating in obscurity.

That may have been a bit overwrought. I guess when I actually proofread what I write for more than two seconds that I tend to get a bit verbose.

Incidentally while I liked SMB it was not my favorite game of my childhood. That goes to Castlevania.

Would you believe that I have been playing that gave for about twenty years and I STILL can't beat the last boss? The last attempt I made I stopped counting at attempt thirty-three or so in a row.

I also shortly after saying it,realized the irony of screaming at my tv, in a fit of frustrated rage, "YOU EVIL BLOOD SUCKING SON OF A BITCH WHY WON'T YOU JUST DIE!?" when the source of my frustration was Dracula.

Point in fact if the game could speak it would likely say, "Well, duh."

13CBS:

Fangobra:
A lot of this seems to depend on Michael's personal definition of what art is.

And to be honest, that will always be the problem with declaring any medium a form of art.

Agreed. The entire debate over whether videogames are/should be/are not/can/can't be art seems irrelevant given that there is no agreed upon definition of art. A friend of mine believes that art MUST convey some sort of ideology, and thus anything that does not (including works made primarily to entertain) are not and cannot be art, whereas I disagree with such a notion. But who is to say that either of us are correct?

Well quite. Personally I think art is any created medium that has recieved some cognitive effort from the creator(s) into its creation. Unfortunately this isn't generally taken very seriously because it means things like pornography and flyers for double glazing sales are art, which most people seem loathe to accept...

People often use the term "art" to mean anything done well but for this discussion we need to use language with a bit more precision.
There are 4 common domains in the field of visual literacy.

(1) The first is basic visual communication. Many photographs, for example, are simply meant to document, record, or communicate the look of something. Photojournalism is an example of basic visual communication and people who do it well can win Pulitzer Prizes and other awards. In film this might include many documentary films.

(2) The second is design. People use visual forms to solve problems and make the world a better place for others. This includes 2D graphic design, 3D product design, 4D spatial design (architecture, etc.), and 5D experience design (including video games). In film, Avatar pushed the boundaries of design while also becoming an important part of visual culture (below).

(3) The third is visual culture. This includes folk arts, mass media, popular culture, crafts, etc. The public puts video games in this category which is usually appropriate because they are typically created as part of popular culture for mass audiences. In film, Harry Potter movies or "Hangover" might be examples of visual culture.

(4) The fourth is art. This includes attempts to explore oneself and one's place in humanity. Since the second half of the 20th century many of these forms do not focus on "story" - abstract art, films like the Cremaster Cycle by Matthew Barney, etc. When people begin making video games that aren't intended for mass audiences but are personal explorations and experiments with the medium then we will see more video games intended to be "art."

Each of these domains has exemplars and iconic masters - excellence and high quality can be found in all 4 domains - it is not a hierarchy. Like photography and film, video games will eventually have exemplars in all 4 domains even though they started as forms of (3) visual culture created by designers (2).

Read more at http://andDESIGNmagazine.blogspot.com

Mr. Samyn doesn't seem to get it. Saying that Resident Evil 5 isn't art so no zombie video games can be is like saying that since the Resident Evil movie wasn't art Night of the Living Dead can't be art either.

The quality of a medium as art is not determined by the least of its works. Literature as an art form isn't defined by Stephanie Meyer and film isn't defined by Sylvester Stallone. Video games as an art form are not defined by Koei.

Viik:
Second example. As sculptor can take a stone and create a believable and recognizable face of person that you know, depicting certaine emotion on his face, without recreating every single possible detail of real face; game programmer can create believable behaviour for a flock of deer, put them into believable forest and by playing with their behavior reflect primal fear of death, without recreating the whole system in its complexity. So why games are not art already?

Because sculptors don't just create an image. Sculptors use their image to tell a story that has a meaning and actually says something about the subject matter.

Game programmers whose aim is to recreate reality isn't creating a message about their subject matter.

Viik:

ThisNewGuy:
[quote="BreakfastMan" post="6.261943.9876457"]
You're missing the point of art. All of the art you've cited are heavily emphasized on context.

For example: phone number as art can be seen as a hypocritical irony about the identification of individuals by numbers.
2. never heard of this example
3. the blocks came at a time when art required form, Mondrian is radicalizing this concept by his exploration of what form means.
4. Most modern art is created in context (see street art), therefore, a simple doll can be artistic if there's a context to it. However, when you take a picture away from its context, sure they all look the same, therefore it's impossible for critics to say what's the art.

But the difference is that games include a self-contained context, meaning that the context is within the world itself; therefore, the art in games is in itself. And the point of it all is that, like the art that you've used as examples, games can achieve artistic merit if they say something meaningful within its own context. This means that even without outside context, games should be able to say something about their subjects, but without outside context, many modern paintings are just random scribbles.

In this case I would advice you to study theories behind game design, so you could easily find "artistic vision" behind game mechanics. As for many people phone number is just a number and not an art, for many "artist" developed set of gameplay rules are just rules. By following same path I could exclude all content from the game, leave only pure game mechanics and show that it has artistic meaning cause I can see it.

As to the article, sometimes I have a filling that some people working in gamedev should be working in movie poduction - they are trying too hard to make movies using game development technologies. Simple example is COD, most people here won't call it an art, ok. Now look from this side: many different players, with different goals, one wants to get the highes score, another is focused on teamplay, yet another one just one to get 100 frags with tomahawk and etc; some of them get similar emotions some not, some emotions are clear and some a basically mixed. Developers didn't put that experience into game, they created a basis for experience to happen individually to each player. Now lets look at The Path - prepared experince, the same for all players, enforced by how character in game is controled and strict rules of what player can do. Sorry but your "game" to me is less art than COD in terms of creating emotions.
Btw, many competetive games do have "something to tell about" - mostly to you about yourself and possibly your friends if you playing together.

I have actually read a lot of game theories, and they're all talking about a mean to evoke emotions or psychological behavior. But the evocation of emotion is still different from other art mediums because other art mediums aren't purposed to evoke emotions. Other art mediums evoke a message or say something meaningful about the subject matter, and the emotional reaction is to the message that the art evokes.

It's very convenient for people to say that games say something about the player, but while that's true, when games don't say anything about their subject matter of the experience, then the experience becomes a hollow one. And if the experience has no point to it, then the player has nothing to experience. Then how well can a non-experience really reveal a message about the player?

Also, I really don't like the idea of games revealing something about the player because I don't believe that player behavior in games is similar to behavior in real life. Like I said before, game mechanics are always designed to manipulate behavior or evoke emotions, so the resulting behavior/emotion is artificially manufactured anyways. It doesn't reveal anything about the player.

Btw, I'm not saying that games aren't already art. Very few games are, the vast majority of games are not. Some examples of games that actually have meanings and say something about their subject matter are Immortall and Ico. Immortall evoke a very prominent anti-war message and the importance of altruism. Ico evoke the message of the meaning of friendship, romance, and isolation. The majority of AAA games today evoke very superficial messages that are overly simplified. In my opinion, games are like pop-up books right now, a majority of them say a very simple message of moral value, but every once in a long time a pop up book will have a very evocative message with a lot of depth. That book will live on as art.

Great article. I agree with a lot of what was said here.

I'll say, though: games are not art. Movies are not art. Music is not art. Books are not art. Art just is. The artist chooses the medium that best fits the art. A good artist will make art fit the medium. A great artist will look at what medium can best express his art and endeavour to create it as such. An outstanding artist will look at a medium and create the art it needs. But even then, the medium follows the art.

I, too, have to disagree that games must deliver a story in order to be considered art. That is as inane as saying the importance of a song can only be conveyed by their lyrics. The lyrics can help a song fulfill its role, but the melody is more important, for the melody is music's thing, it's what it can deliver that no other medium can. Likewise, gameplay must be what speaks in a game. It's game's thing, and it's what games should focus on.

I am forced, at this point, to bring out Brenda Brathwaite[footnote=whose name I still can't spell, as my search for 'brenda braidwaithe' can attest[/footnote]'s Train, as well as her Trail of Tears follow up. Why did a woman versed in electronic games switch to physical games when she wanted to create a work of real depth? Is it because electronic games cannot carry such weight? No - it is because she wanted to deliver a message through gameplay, and gameplay can be delivered through a board game as well as through an electronic game, just like narrative can be delivered by writing or movies or games or even songs. She heard what she wanted to say and chose the medium to fit. This is why I believe setting out the make 'art games' is a futile endeavour - instead, set out to make art, and make games one of the fields in which you do so.

I, however, have to agree wholeheartedly that the games industry is at odds with games as an artform. The industry doesn't want games to be art. Art doesn't sell. Art is impredictable. Art is, often, umcomfortable. (Look at Six Days in Fallujah! Who would want to buy that, publishers must ask themselves.) And even the devs themselves often fall in the trap of thinking that they are looking outside the box when in fact they are just trying to stick more stuff in it.

I don't think games have an obligation to be deep. I don't think that because a medium can represent concepts like war and death in a heavy handed manner they should. There is a place for lightness, for fun, for playing cops and robbers. The problems is that gaming is mired in that place, unable to reach the margins of seriousness.

First, kudos to the Escapist for running and article that'll generate a lot of negative feedback.

Second, I find myself, due to my own beliefs, forced into the position that anything that even one sentient being considers art, is art by definition. If one argues that anything is not art, they lose a lot of their credibility when trying to promote something else. Art is not something with a set definition of rules that can be spliced onto some medium. Art is defined by its lack of definition. When someone paints a glorious portrait, any simpleton can piss on it and say it's nothing more than oils. But what makes that person's opinion less valid? Besides being off on a horribly meandering tangent, I'm trying to make the point that one cannot put rules on what's art and what isn't, because that makes art into a classification, the same as "RPG" or "Shooter."

Some things are there so we can pigeonhole bits of medium, not necessarily a bad thing, but it's not the same as applying a concept that would raise an example of a medium to some higher quality.

If someone says it's art, it is. And of course, anyone with half a brain can shoot holes in this explanation, because I'm not exactly a genius, I wanted to express my opinion.

ryukage_sama:
Mr. Samyn doesn't seem to get it. Saying that Resident Evil 5 isn't art so no zombie video games can be is like saying that since the Resident Evil movie wasn't art Night of the Living Dead can't be art either.

The quality of a medium as art is not determined by the least of its works. Literature as an art form isn't defined by Stephanie Meyer and film isn't defined by Sylvester Stallone. Video games as an art form are not defined by Koei.

Sure. But that's playing with the definition of art. Technically, yes, the worst romance novel ever written falls under the rubric of art. After all, there is nothing separating that from Pride and Prejudice other than quality (aside: Austen haters can deal. She's canon).

But let's be honest. There's a pretty steep signal to noise ratio between games that challenge our thoughts and emotions to games that make Michael Bay movies look like complex examinations of the human condition.

Now, I think there's enough good out there for someone who knows the genre to pick out enough great games to keep them happy. But is it any surprise that non-gamers who want more than pow pow bang bang (read: potential thoughtful audiences) are turned off by what they see at first glance? And given that, is it any surprise that game companies (who want to make money) often go for the low road over the high?

T

Crystalite:
But what about the games that already embrace the criteria you set up?
Are you saying there are none?
The Game you used as an illustration for the article, and indeed have made as I see, the Path, how is that not art? I played it quite a few times, and everytime it moved me and I thought I had learned something about people afterwards.
(Yeah, consider me a fan ;-))

The writer of this article was one of the developers on the Path. So... yeah... eat your words, and stuff.

Mouse One:
I haven't played Braid (although you've just talked me into downloading the demo). But I think the really well thought out bit in Bioshock was that much of the narrative depended on losing control of your character in those scenes. The Path has something similar, in fact-- a scene in which you can only travel in one direction, but must hit a key to move at all.

The thing is, in a book or movie, these scenes wouldn't work as well. The audience/reader has never had control, so there's no way to lose it or limit it. But that loss of control is huge in those particular games. Contrast this with the typical cut scene which is really just "okay, now watch a short movie". The difference is that the first examples *use* the game mechanics to make a point and impact the player emotionally.

I think as videogames mature, we're going to see more ideas like that. But there is no getting around the fact that often the game can detract from the narrative-- as in your example about RPG characters who really really need to get on with the mission but instead wander around looting barrels and running errands for locals. Pacing? Wot's dat? (Dragon Age, I love ya, but I'm looking at you here).

The thing is, I have been emotionally moved by bits in cut scenes. I'm really trying my hardest not to do any spoilers here, but there's two cut scenes in Half Life 2 episode 2 that made me drop the controller and almost cry. What I have yet to see is something that could move me while still giving my character the same complete control he's had all game. Maybe Limbo, but only maybe.

And yes, I can completely identify with you as far as Dragon Age goes. My elf was a hero of the nation, and also a champion nug wrangler. It was a little silly.

ShadowKirby:
Gameplay in itself can be art. You don't need an epic storyline or amazing art assets to create art.

I think a perfect illustration of this point is the game fl0w.
http://www.jenovachen.com/flowingames/flowing.htm

If this the below picture is considered art then video games are sure as hell art.
image

I find it hard to take this guy seriously. Every time I read anything he writes, he strikes me as either a narrow-minded moron or an outright fraud.

The art is outthere, in stories within the games that will make sit and challenge your moralities. While the message might not be subtle and blungeon you over the head with all the tact of a nuke, the messege is sent. Which is more than I can say for certain "art" games that are not only subtle in their message, but absolutely cryptic and boring in the direction of their gameplay. If the message is delivered in such a cryptic way that a majority of the audience misses it, then the artist has failed in his vision.

messy:
Well it was written by one of the makers of the game "the path". So perhaps they know a little bit about what actually goes on inside games.


Sorry if this comes across as singling you out or something, I mean no offense to you.

Can't you say the same thing about movies and literature as well, that most is just pointless entertainment?

The "are games art?" debate is getting really stale. How about we just assume that they are and go from there?

I an un-made bed can be 'art' then i think anything from Tetris upwards can be.

Okay, the "Are Video Games Art?" question has become tedious, and I'm convinced most people don't know what art is.

I want to put a hammer down: VIDEO GAMES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN ART, as have board games, card games, or sports games. Artistic merit has nothing to with content - it doesn't need story, or meaning, or cultural relevence. This article says that video games are too concerned with "rules and mechanics" to be art, but that's exactly what the art is. That's the crux on which the game designer (artist) tries to communicate an idea or emotion to the player (observer).

I want to quote a couple of obscure artists you've never heard of to support my point:

"The play's the thing"
-William Shakespeare

"All art is experience"
-Alfred Hitchcock

Hitchcock elaborates in this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uG43hjICE2U&feature=related
He basically explains why a painting of a bowl of fruit isn't made interesting by the fruit.

And if you think the person who invented chess wasn't an artist, you're lost.

Phuctifyno:
Okay, the "Are Video Games Art?" question has become tedious, and I'm convinced most people don't know what art is.

I want to put a hammer down: VIDEO GAMES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN ART, as have board games, card games, or sports games. Artistic merit has nothing to with content - it doesn't need story, or meaning, or cultural relevence. This article says that video games are too concerned with "rules and mechanics" to be art, but that's exactly what the art is. That's the crux on which the game designer (artist) tries to communicate an idea or emotion to the player (observer).

I want to quote a couple of obscure artists you've never heard of to support my point:

"The play's the thing"
-William Shakespeare

"All art is experience"
-Alfred Hitchcock

Hitchcock elaborates in this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uG43hjICE2U&feature=related
He basically explains why a painting of a bowl of fruit isn't made interesting by the fruit.

And if you think the person who invented chess wasn't an artist, you're lost.

THANK YOU! This is what I've been saying to people for ages, they've always been art. Growing up I just assumed people considered it as such, many other people I know thought the same. This whole debate popped up because of guys like Ebert setting off people and it just kind of grew out of control from there.

Gaming is above this kind of trivial crap, they're perfectly fine how they are and they don't need to be justified. This is a non-issue, nobody was saying games weren't art, it seems to have just been a battle fought by gamers with no opposition.

I apologize to people if I sound a bit annoyed or anything, but this is getting so stale and stupid now. Gaming has been art since bloody Space Invaders.

Also, thanks for posting that Hitchcock video, I'm a fan and I hadn't come across that before. He was a genius, the fact that the same statements can be applied to games decades later shows that games are just fine how they are as their "art form".

Have to say that I think this article is plain bunk. It does nothing, in my view, that many others who have called out to the industry to be 'artistic' have already done. And with much less bitching, to be sure.

Art is art. You can't define it. It would be like trying to define a raw emotion without using any other emotions to compare it or contrast it with. "One man's junk is another man's art". Don't remember who said that first, but he/she had a point. You and I and a hundred other readers may have 102 different views as to what 'art' is.

In my eyes, art is about emotion. If a painting, or song, or movie brings about some form of emotional response (be it joy, anger, disgust, elation) then I would call it 'art'. If not, then it's just a picture or what have you. I won't say that it's bad, but I won't consider it art in my eyes.

There have been quite a few video games that I will consider as 'art'. These have brought about emotional reactions from me in one way shape or form (that does not include frustration over bad control, etc =D). But my games may or may not be included in other people's lists. Be that as it may, I really don't feel that touting about that making video games must be 'art'. At least without some kind of suggestions as to 'how'. But if you gave any, would it still be art?

Good article, although I think the author has some pretty lofty ideals on what constitutes "art" and I take objection to his definitions. Why does art have to mean anything? Why must there be a message or meaning behind ones art? I find this kind of attitude to be part of the problem with art world. It's elitism. As an artist I can understand the psychological urge to want ones work to be meaningful and important, but really that's a narrow definition of art. To say that art must mean something to be considered art is limiting and an insult to all artists who simply enjoy making beautiful things.

I, for instance, work both in pencil and scratchboard, I am a surrealist and abstract artist. Most of my work in stream of consciousness style nonsense and that's the way I like it. I don't explore themes or lofty ideals, there is no greater meaning behind anything I make. I simply create beautiful (subjective of course) imagery for it's own sake. Is it not art? Is it not worthy of attention?

This games as art debate has always struck me as sort of silly because people can't agree on a definition to art. At it's most basic level, anything created with the intent to be aesthetically appealing can be considered art, it need not have deeper meaning. But no, no video games are not art even though they contain art. They are not art even though they provide a narrative framework through which the author can tell a tale or show off pretty scenery. At what point does the creation of a game become art? When it successfully grants insight into the human condition? That's too abstract. The Mona Lisa is a pretty picture and nothing more. Why is it art? Is it technical skill? Anyone can gain that level of skill with enough time and dedication. Why does the interactive nature of the medium even bring it's artistic nature into question? Why can't a "game" be "art"? Why the division? It's not like "games" and "art" are mutually exclusive.

I'm starting to ramble here. I guess all I'm trying to get at is art should not be defined requiring meaning. To pigeonhole art as some lofty high-brow thing is exactly what is wrong with the art industry. High-brow people making high-brow decision on what the rest of us low-brow people consider art. Unfortunately, creativity is part of the human condition and those who declare what is and isn't art are often those with the least contributions to the movement. Anyone can be creative and anything creative can be artistic. So why are games any different?

Currently video games are on par with regular cable TV on the Art scale.
They still haven`t reached a "movie classic" level of art yet.

To be honest, I am in a Drawing Class in College and I must say- Games are indeed an Art. Maybe perhaps their purpose is to entertain and catch people's attention, but you have to look past that to see there was a lot of work to be done to even get the Game's virtual world going.
They have Artists draw the characters, enviorment, buildings, creatures, technology, weaponry, clothing and more. They sketch so much, that they end up choosing one of of 20 amazing sketches of other characters and that's for each person they come up with or want to add into the actual game.

In Drawing class, I was taught that structure and figure was the concept of art and even though down the line, some art was hateful and pointed out the flaw of Society in some aspect, that art is the best way to express this ideal. Some games are truly a work of Art. If you played Mass Effect 2, the Graphics are breath taking. No matter how much you feel the game itself is focused on free will and choice, the game also has elements and functions around mainly the frame of artwork.

Without this, imagine playing say Resident Evil - without even putting thought into it and just going with trying to make the game entertaining, they wouldn't of worked so hard trying to match the 'theme' of Africa along some reigons. Or have some amazing texture of the setting of day and night on some missions. People overlook this and feel that Games are just looking better then ever, but you also must remember someone worked really hard to bring all that within the Game to be possible.

Being an Artist myself and knowing how hard it is to even make up the character, get around to their figure, placement in existence (as in what they are for, their purpose), giving them traits that suits the enviorment they live in, and so much more. My prjects take me months to complete and I am just doing this for Homework. These people put heart and soul into their Art with creativity, patients, dignity, and all the effort one could make out. Some may do it for money I admit, but overall Art is the eye-catching form of meaning through imagry. Which, I feel we take Games to lightly and bash on them without thinking for a second. Have you paused the game, to actually get a good glimpse on what you're seeing? Every detail was done with an Artist's hand, and that even if it's done by computer that the Artist had to draw it out and compose it like a map, mapping it out pretty much.

So, no offense of course and this is a good Article- but, I must stand up for my moral standards that Art is a big portion of the Gaming Industry and without it, the Games would be so plain that we might as well just throw in the fighting, missions, and all that like they were made in 1990's. But, even back then they took the time to draw it out and I have much respect for those who devote themselves to Gaming. I hope someday ether I or a noble person can take on this subject and interview it with much more detail and recieve positive feedback at the same time. This inflences me to feel that Games should be appreciated more due to that the Art placed with it's scenes, music, and even depth of character all make it what it really is - Worthy Game to pay $65.00 for including Tax.

Also wanted to say this but - Imagine if you were that Artist who constructed and planned out the Game's display of things yourself putting so much time and work over months to years into a Game and literally having to draw out every detail of something to no end and when the Game is finally released and you await how people will react to it - All you get is people bashing on it for it's Gameplay and no respect for the work you put into it's Art. Or, worse.. they dislike the form of Art it's based on and don't consider it Art all because it's a 'Game'. How upsetting and awful is that? Just wanted to let you know that.

This seems to be a call for a sea change in game design at large. Unfortunately we won't see such a change to the development landscape until the industry suffers from another collapse.

I'm actually kind of looking forward to gaming's Next Great Depression. The whole industry needs to be taken down a peg, I think. However he status quo will be protected as long as all these hapless, irredeemable morons keep buying Call of Duty.

Actually, we won't need another collapse. I bet you that if the next Call of Duty game flops (and at this point all it has to do to flop is sell under 1 million copies the first month) most, if not all, of the top-shelf development houses and publishers will have to stop and re-examine their practices.

It's been said before, but the consumers truly dictate the shape of the gaming landscape.

I think...it really depends on your definition of 'art'. If I'm interpreting this article correctly...what they're identifying as 'video game art' isn't very...profitable. I mean, by all means, it sounds great, but damn, we're in the real world here. Video games are meant to be 'sold', AKA have a selling-point/mechanic/fun/etc.

the Path was great and there are some peeps who try and combine the two (SMT series), but overall, I don't expect massive amounts of funding for this type of game.

So, honestly, when are we going to stop demanding games be "art," and simply LET them be art, as they stand? I am under the impression that intelligent humans, capable of full designing and running a game production, naturally seek to create interesting works of art. And, considering the immense subjectiveness of the term, why isn't anything they produce true art? I think that the problem we have is less that we don't have enough art, but simply because we are too quick to dismiss things as "not art enough." How are we going to move forward if we don't take an honest look at our mistakes as art? And will we not discover beauty within that which we, upon first sight, considered objectively bad?

Oh boy, another ignorant piece on art and gaming, how fun.

I skimmed through it after reading some of the opening statements and found this glittering nugget of idiocy:

And secondly, we're not talking about so-called high art here anyway. The fine art on display in museums of contemporary art has long lost the social and cultural relevance that we are after.

So YOU get to decide what "we" are after?

Geesh.

Oh also, I'm sick of people citing SPECIFIC games as examples "games are art," this is absolute idiocy. You can take goddamn Superman 64 and use THAT as an example games are art, rather than SotC or Braid or whatever other game that gets repeatedly mentioned. If your argument is to hold any water, you have to argue for the medium, not specific examples as they all sound like EXCEPTIONS to a rule.

In reality, there's no NEED to argue for games being or not being art. They just are what they are and what they are considered by others is not any of my business. I'm not trying to get one of my hobbies somehow "legitimized" like many of these fools seem to be doing, and therefore I don't fall into any of the above pitfalls.

People should really, really, lay off the topic.

Leave it alone, honestly, things will be perfectly fine without this well-intended attempt at defending something that needs no defending which in the end makes the whole thing look retarded.

And the above poster had it right:

I think that the problem we have is less that we don't have enough art, but simply because we are too quick to dismiss things as "not art enough.

This a thousand times. If it's not SotC or Braid it's not "art enough." What a bunch of shit.

I think that you should beware when defining art in such rigid boxes. Art is an illusive to define and personal thing. In some schools of artistic philosophy it exists only in the viewer.

Take for instance the carpenter who makes tables, on a schedule, one per month or he cannot feed his family. He lives on the same constricting 'timetable', even tighter, with a more direct cause-effect relationship between himself and his task, his art. The tables he makes are beautiful, one of a kind. They are art. All games are art whether we like it or not. They are as different as pieces of wood, and the grain of the carved lines. Is a table exciting? Does it instill broad emotional or political ideas in the viewer? No, and niether does the mona lisa. Most games are like those tables. Slightly different, and each a labor of love. The essence of their beauty lies in their uniqueness.

Remember though, that being art does not make something 'magical' or 'better'. Many works of art are trite, meaningless drivel.

-Knytemare

Knytemare:
Remember though, that being art does not make something 'magical' or 'better'. Many works of art are trite, meaningless drivel.

-Knytemare

Exactly. Now, I'm in the "games are art" camp, myself. I think Samyn made a mistake in titling his piece "Almost Art", as many are reading that as "games suck". Considering that Tale of Tales has made some of the most emotionally engaging, thought provoking, and dare I say, artistic games on the market today, that take on the piece is a bit ironic.

But, as Knytemare points out, art can suck. For the record, I've taken a couple of semesters of 3D character design, and have studied under professionals. I'm not a pro (yet), but I'm here to tell you that all the artistic ideas about form, perspective, gesture, what have you go into those 3D models you see in games. Then marketing turns to the designers and says "Put bigger ta tas on the chicks". Is the final model still art? Sure, but let's not kid ourselves and say it carries the same impact that the concept artist and character designer wanted.

Stepping away from the dead horse of "Are games art?", what Samyn is really trying to point out is that there are some very real obstacles to artistic expression in the industry as it currently stands. And he's right-- a small studio of like minded people can more easily realize their vision. Look at some of the great games of the last few years. Many of the best (in terms of emotional impact on the player) come from indie studios (Braid, Amnesia, and yes, the Path). Why is that, when they labor under budgets that are literally less than 5% of the typical AAA title? Because they have more freedom to express themselves.

And Samyn's also right when he says that gameplay considerations and marketing issues can be a further obstacle. Marketing is a necessary evil, but when you letting the marketing boys make artistic decisions is akin to letting the hospital billing department do surgery. It's just not their department.

Gameplay is a more intriguing issue, as I firmly believe it can add to the experience-- again, look at Braid (and thanks again for the poster who mentioned it, just started playing it a few days back). And, just to prove that AAA studios can make great works, the ending of Bioshock impacts the way it does largely because of the gameplay restrictions. BUT, having said that, often gameplay is far too independent, and often interferes with the message. Worrying about the "score" can pull one out of the emotional immersion of the gaming experience, and worse yet, can replace one's motivation. Players should want to continue the game for the experience of playing, not to satisfy some conditioned response. Anyone every grind for an item or level? Did you enjoy it? If not, why did you do it? (Extra Credits had a great video on Operant Conditioning a bit ago).

As game consumers and creators, we do need to think about and address these issues, or the artistic side of videogames will languish. Knee jerk "Hey that guy over there is dissing our hobby!" responses don't get us anywhere. We need to challenge our comfortable preconceptions and try new and hopefully rewarding ideas.

And if I can use the word, isn't that what art is about?

Pretty baseless article actually.

First, there are plenty of games that do involve the things you're talking about. Second, your qualifications are hopelessly entrenched in thinking about art in film. The undercurrent present throughout is that video games can only be art by emulating other art forms. Without more realistic graphics, you imply, we couldn't even hope for art. Now that we have photorealism, we can finally become film, just so long as we don't let "gameplay" get in the way. But gameplay is what makes games games. And then beyond that you have some apparent rules for what art must be. Your beliefs that art can only be intentional, that it can only arise in a certain process, that only the "author" can create art, that art can't be focused on providing a fun experience, are profoundly ridiculous. You can find famous, extremely important works of art that violate all of those dictums with relative ease.

Art has already been created within video games. It's created all the time. Little bits of pieces of it can be found in sublime moments in even the largest blockbusters and we're getting unbelievable avant-garde art from every direction with the proliferation of smaller games. Braid is probably the posterboy in the latter case: a game with a mechanic that feels integral to the plot, with thematic variations on a mechanical theme, each exploring a different aspect of gameplay and of the story and character. And it doesn't rely on photorealism, it doesn't have to imitate films, it doesn't need to eschew the entertainment of the gamer.

The inability to find art in games is just that, your inability to find it, not its lack of existence. Claiming that games haven't reached the status of art is an unwitting way of perpetuating that very idea endlessly. If you say that they aren't art, but could be, as is particularly popular right now, you can feel smugly superior in your knowledge of what art "is" without alienating your audience, the people you get to feel superior in comparison to. People fall into this trap easily on both sides - people like to feel superior and people like to have experts they can appeal to in order to decide things like this.

The way games will become recognised as art is through all of us ending this stupid nonsense about insisting that they aren't yet.

Thank you for your comments. I'm afraid I don't have the time to read all of them. I apologize for that.

There's one remark I wanted to make, though. My article is not intended as an argument for or against games being art or not. It starts from the premise that they are not and works its way up to how I think they can become art. It's a very hopeful, optimistic article.

It doesn't really have anything to do with the "objects" we call games. I'm sure many can be experienced as art. My criticism is of the way in which most games are made. Which is simply not an artistic process. My article is intended to encourage developers to approach game creation with a more artistic attitude. The original title of the article, by the way, was "Games, dare to be art!"

I realize that some of the things I say in the article, are predicated on my own personal vision of art for the future. And this vision is not exactly aligned with the achievements of the modernist movement in fine art from the previous century. In fact, I make games largely because I refuse to be involved with that movement. I'll try to explain my vision on art in a future article.

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here