Video games as art.

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Silentpony:
Someone else walking in saying 'No, I think Paradise Lost is actually about Keanu Reeve's struggle to get into shape to play Neo in Matrix 5 in the year 328.m889 so that the Cronenbergs of the Horse Head nebula learn the magic of Friendship' has no merit, and doesn't deserve consideration, regardless of 'but mah opinionz is neva wrongz!'

You're right, that doesn't deserve consideration and has no merit. But not because you said so. Because it's a specious load of nonsense that you pulled directly out of your ass.

Humor me. What is your definition of art?

BeetleManiac:

Silentpony:
Someone else walking in saying 'No, I think Paradise Lost is actually about Keanu Reeve's struggle to get into shape to play Neo in Matrix 5 in the year 328.m889 so that the Cronenbergs of the Horse Head nebula learn the magic of Friendship' has no merit, and doesn't deserve consideration, regardless of 'but mah opinionz is neva wrongz!'

You're right, that doesn't deserve consideration and has no merit. But not because you said so. Because it's a specious load of nonsense that you pulled directly out of your ass.

Humor me. What is your definition of art?

My definition is simple. Art is whatever the artist says it is.

I think some games could be called art, and that games have elements that are artistic but as a rule i treat them as games.. i dont consider tennis, scrabble or D&D art

Silentpony:
My definition is simple. Art is whatever the artist says it is.

So everything is art, and thus nothing is art because there's nothing to distinguish art from literally everything else?

What if I tell you that something is art in bad faith? What if I declare something to be art, but there's no real intellectual or emotional context, no real expression of anything in it? Does it remain art in such a case?

BeetleManiac:

Silentpony:
My definition is simple. Art is whatever the artist says it is.

So everything is art, and thus nothing is art because there's nothing to distinguish art from literally everything else?

What if I tell you that something is art in bad faith? What if I declare something to be art, but there's no real intellectual or emotional context, no real expression of anything in it? Does it remain art in such a case?

If you're telling me in bad faith, you're lying. Therefore you don't actually mean it.

And who is to say what constitutes enough int, emo or exp context to be art? One man's trash is another man's treasure and all. Just because you don't get why its art, doesn't mean the artist doesn't either. And you're not owed any explanation about the context either. To the artist, X is art. And as the creator of said art, the artist gets to define when its art and when its not.

Someone takes a piss, its nothing. Same person takes a piss in a Golden Shower porno, now its art. The artist defines art, nothing more, and nothing less.

Of course they're art

..until someone tries to think critically about one in ways you don't like (like representation)

and then they're just games

until someone says playing games is a waste of time

and then they're art

..until someone tries to think crit-

CaitSeith:

Silentpony:
Always remember art sucks. How many artist can you name, or claim to have seen pieces by? A hundred? Two if you studied art. two and a half if you have a PhD in Art History.

Out of how many hundreds of millions of artists in history?

Labeling something, anything, as art is kinda meaningless because art is forgotten and ignored just as much as anything else. Might as well call video games tacos.

Art is not a label or a status symbol (nor a badge of shame). You should learn that. Otherwise art as a practice will always be something foreign to you.

It obviously is a status symbol, otherwise why would someone create a thread asking if his/her favorite hobby qualifies as a certain esteemed classification of human endeavour? As opposed to the frivolous, childish waste of time that most people view them as.

Silentpony:
Someone takes a piss, its nothing. Same person takes a piss in a Golden Shower porno, now its art. The artist defines art, nothing more, and nothing less.

Then why bother having an audience at all? If the audience reaction to the art is irrelevant, then consuming art is nothing more than masturbation.

What about the people who take something different away from the work than was originally intended? Are they wrong about their feelings? Are they lying? Have they misinterpreted their own opinions?

What about artists like David Lynch and Neil Peart who encourage the audience to find their own meaning in the art? Are they bad artists for not coming right out and telling you how to feel? What about artists who choose not to talk about their work and the content thereof, trusting on the audience to find some meaning, any meaning in it?

BeetleManiac:

Silentpony:
My definition is simple. Art is whatever the artist says it is.

So everything is art, and thus nothing is art because there's nothing to distinguish art from literally everything else?

What if I tell you that something is art in bad faith? What if I declare something to be art, but there's no real intellectual or emotional context, no real expression of anything in it? Does it remain art in such a case?

I want to jump in here, just with my two cents, and say that the defining feature there is that the artist has said it is art, immediately framing the viewing or consumption of information as a presentation of sorts, whether 'fallacious' or not. I feel that that does serve to distinguish it as art, even if it feels flippant or arbitrary. If you say something is art in bad faith, then it's still up to the viewer (or audience, or consumer, etc.) to ultimately decide this. And no, they are not bad artists, it is their choice as to whether informing you, or telling you, how to feel, is part of the work's presentation or not. But finding your own meaning isn't necessarily the only intended way that work can be presented, either- the artist can definitely contribute or even direct the dialogue of information.

BeetleManiac:

Silentpony:
Someone takes a piss, its nothing. Same person takes a piss in a Golden Shower porno, now its art. The artist defines art, nothing more, and nothing less.

Then why bother having an audience at all? If the audience reaction to the art is irrelevant, then consuming art is nothing more than masturbation.

What about the people who take something different away from the work than was originally intended? Are they wrong about their feelings? Are they lying? Have they misinterpreted their own opinions?

What about artists like David Lynch and Neil Peart who encourage the audience to find their own meaning in the art? Are they bad artists for not coming right out and telling you how to feel? What about artists who choose not to talk about their work and the content thereof, trusting on the audience to find some meaning, any meaning in it?

Hardly. Someone who is 'wrong' in their interpretation of art isn't wrong. They're simply meaningless. Which is very specifically not that same as wrong.
Watch a black dude piss on an Asian male-to-female transgender model, and claim its actually an interpretation of post-war neo-colonialism militarism in relation to Brazil and Yugoslavia.
Are you lying? No. Are you wrong? No. Are you irrelevant? Absolutely. You are nothing to this.

A video game is a creative endeavor like a film or a book, and unique in that it requires constant input and in the case of some RPGs can be directed by the player in non-standard ways. It has images (art), sound (music) and more recent games have plot (written/spoken stories) so yes I believe they are art and deserves all the protections afforded to film, literature, visual arts and music.

Blood Brain Barrier:

CaitSeith:

Silentpony:
Always remember art sucks. How many artist can you name, or claim to have seen pieces by? A hundred? Two if you studied art. two and a half if you have a PhD in Art History.

Out of how many hundreds of millions of artists in history?

Labeling something, anything, as art is kinda meaningless because art is forgotten and ignored just as much as anything else. Might as well call video games tacos.

Art is not a label or a status symbol (nor a badge of shame). You should learn that. Otherwise art as a practice will always be something foreign to you.

It obviously is a status symbol, otherwise why would someone create a thread asking if his/her favorite hobby qualifies as a certain esteemed classification of human endeavour? As opposed to the frivolous, childish waste of time that most people view them as.

Because that someone personally considers it as a status symbol. Besides, a huge number of people don't see art as something to esteem, but as a category for pretentious work. When used in any of these two ways, we aren't having a discussion about art; but about taste.

undeadsuitor:
Of course they're art

..until someone tries to think critically about one in ways you don't like (like representation)

and then they're just games

until someone says playing games is a waste of time

and then they're art

..until someone tries to think crit-

It's Schrodinger's Art.

EDIT: Wow, thanks Escapist. I forgot you don't like "special characters" for a moment there.

Silentpony:
Hardly. Someone who is 'wrong' in their interpretation of art isn't wrong. They're simply meaningless. Which is very specifically not that same as wrong.
Watch a black dude piss on an Asian male-to-female transgender model, and claim its actually an interpretation of post-war neo-colonialism militarism in relation to Brazil and Yugoslavia.
Are you lying? No. Are you wrong? No. Are you irrelevant? Absolutely. You are nothing to this.

This brings us back to the question of why have an audience at all? And it still doesn't address the question of what to think of artists who deliberately avoid talking about the meaning of their work.

BeetleManiac:

Silentpony:
Hardly. Someone who is 'wrong' in their interpretation of art isn't wrong. They're simply meaningless. Which is very specifically not that same as wrong.
Watch a black dude piss on an Asian male-to-female transgender model, and claim its actually an interpretation of post-war neo-colonialism militarism in relation to Brazil and Yugoslavia.
Are you lying? No. Are you wrong? No. Are you irrelevant? Absolutely. You are nothing to this.

This brings us back to the question of why have an audience at all? And it still doesn't address the question of what to think of artists who deliberately avoid talking about the meaning of their work.

There doesn't need to be an audience for art to happen. Art isn't defined by the presence of an audience.

And if an artists avoids talking about the meaning of their work, sure. No problem. No one is entitled to know what a piece of art means. And if someone else wants to make up a meaning, again, sure. The made up meaning isn't the art's actual meaning of course.

I don't know how it can not be when they can incorporate all the other mediums. Also, isn't art/taste in general subjective? One mans trash can be another mans treasure and all that jazz.

VG_Addict:
Do you consider video games to be art?

Yeah, sure. Art is a nebulous term, so why the fuck not?

If yes, what games do you point to as examples?

All of them? I mean, doesn't drawing arbitrary dividing lines between which games are and aren't "art" sort of undermine the whole exercise? Subjectivity and all that.

Do you think video games will ever be taken as seriously as movies or literature?

Given that the video game industry, as a media entertainment industry, has surpassed the literature and film industries...by orders of magnitude...I'm gonna go ahead and say that yes, they are taken very seriously.

Or are we considering the narrow-minded, antiquated opinions of fat, angry, jaded movie critics, neckbearded internet keyboard warriors, bible-thumping soccer moms, and 'greatest generation-ers' the ONLY valid opinions on what is and isn't "art"?

Can't we all agree that art is SUBJECTIVE? Anything can be considered "art" by anyone, but that does not then imbue said "thing" with an objective, fundamental quality that must be universally accepted by all. One person's masterpiece is another's waste of paint, the latter taking nothing from the "artist" or their efforts.

I think the OP was asking if a videogame might ever exist as a work capable of gaining serious consideration by audiences beyond established gamers and/or serve as a vehicle to austere and intellectual appreciations beyond simple "entertainment." My ex-girlfriend, never played video games, but I finally coaxed her into trying PS3's "Flower," and she loved it; she thought it was beautiful. I would and do call "Flower" art; you or anyone else might not agree; neither opinion has any bearing on the other let alone could one serve to objectively define "Flower."

I consider it as much art as I do film, pictures, photography, music and any other "art form".
They can be art, but most of the times they aren't. I wouldn't call any Michael Bay movies art, nor do I consider any of the popular big names in video games as art. I enjoy Katy Perry but I don't consider her music as art.

BeetleManiac:
then consuming art is nothing more than masturbation.

I will let you know that masturbation is the highest form of art.

I don't care. Most developers shouldn't care. Not even Fumito Ueda cared. He didn't wanna call his games art, since they were designed to sell. The desire for artistic value is hurting games. I partly blame the Europeans.

"It's a franchise that has historically acutely underperformed in Europe. Hack and slash games tend to not do so well in Europe, so the narrative this time around will make a big difference. European gamers love narrative games."

http://gamingbolt.com/god-of-war-will-be-more-narrative-focused-according-to-sony

Silentpony:
There doesn't need to be an audience for art to happen. Art isn't defined by the presence of an audience.

And if an artists avoids talking about the meaning of their work, sure. No problem. No one is entitled to know what a piece of art means. And if someone else wants to make up a meaning, again, sure. The made up meaning isn't the art's actual meaning of course.

Then what is the relationship between audience and art? Why have an audience at all? What is the point?

But is the meaning of the work a brute fact? Is only the original intent valid as interpretation? Why bother analyzing a work through multiple lenses, as is the practice in the art world? Where do we draw the line between the emotional reaction to artistry and pareidolia?

Further, can we really know for sure what the artist thought of the work, especially when they're dead and left no record of their thoughts on the matter? In absence of a "prime" explanation for the meaning within a work, we have to interpret on our own. And by your logic, that would mean everyone who has ever watched Eraserhead is watching it wrong, because David Lynch is on the record saying that he has never heard anyone analyze the film for the meaning he was originally thinking of.

A lot of artists will tell you, and happily at that, that once they complete a work and put it out to the world, it is no longer exclusively theirs. It belongs to the world. They're not concerned with other people "getting it right." If you feel something while consuming it, then they have done their jobs.

Ezekiel:
I don't care. Most developers shouldn't care. Not even Fumito Ueda cared. He didn't wanna call his games art, since they were designed to sell. The desire for artistic value is hurting games. I partly blame the Europeans.

"It's a franchise that has historically acutely underperformed in Europe. Hack and slash games tend to not do so well in Europe, so the narrative this time around will make a big difference. European gamers love narrative games."

http://gamingbolt.com/god-of-war-will-be-more-narrative-focused-according-to-sony

Damn us cultured and sophisticated Europeans. Why do we keep wanting artforms to progress and mature?

Nick Cave:

Ezekiel:
I don't care. Most developers shouldn't care. Not even Fumito Ueda cared. He didn't wanna call his games art, since they were designed to sell. The desire for artistic value is hurting games. I partly blame the Europeans.

"It's a franchise that has historically acutely underperformed in Europe. Hack and slash games tend to not do so well in Europe, so the narrative this time around will make a big difference. European gamers love narrative games."

http://gamingbolt.com/god-of-war-will-be-more-narrative-focused-according-to-sony

Damn us cultured and sophisticated Europeans. Why do we keep wanting artforms to progress and mature?

That should happen naturally. They're getting watered down by their narratives.

Ezekiel:
That should happen naturally. They're getting watered down by their narratives.

What do you think naturally means? It's people experimenting and trying new things and then we as a collective see in hindsight what works and what doesn't.

I won't pretend narrative games are usually even decent, but attempting to approach something from a more mature narrative angle is a good thing. What would the world gain from a God of War that was exactly like the rest of 'em? Oh wait, that was God of War: Ascension.

Yeah. But anything can be art, from the Mona Lisa to a Turd on a plate. So, something being art or not doesn't really matter outside of sp3cific circumstances.

Nick Cave:

Ezekiel:
That should happen naturally. They're getting watered down by their narratives.

What do you think naturally means? It's people experimenting and trying new things and then we as a collective see in hindsight what works and what doesn't.

Not really. Players are settling for mediocrity. I liked a lot of the old game design better. Games have become too big and popular for their own good.

I won't pretend narrative games are usually even decent, but attempting to approach something from a more mature narrative angle is a good thing. What would the world gain from a God of War that was exactly like the rest of 'em? Oh wait, that was God of War: Ascension.

Nobody wants a new God of War to be exactly like the old ones. But there are better ways to do it than a generic walk and talk. I'm sick of every big budget game going the """cinematic""" route. I gave a few suggestions in the God of War theories thread, post 62 and below.

Well, if they weren't, then I dunno what the makers of Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, and The Last Guardian were up to.

Seriously, though, the answer is an emphatic YES.

BeetleManiac:

Silentpony:
There doesn't need to be an audience for art to happen. Art isn't defined by the presence of an audience.

And if an artists avoids talking about the meaning of their work, sure. No problem. No one is entitled to know what a piece of art means. And if someone else wants to make up a meaning, again, sure. The made up meaning isn't the art's actual meaning of course.

Then what is the relationship between audience and art? Why have an audience at all? What is the point?

There doesn't need to be an audience at all for art. Unless you want to put your art on display, there is no point to having an audience.
I could paint a warhammer model right now, and its art. I fully intend to never show it to anyone, lock it away in my closet. Its still art. I don't need an audience's approval for it to be art.
The relationship is very simple. There is art. Sometimes there is an audience. Done.

Silentpony:
There doesn't need to be an audience at all for art. Unless you want to put your art on display, there is no point to having an audience.
I could paint a warhammer model right now, and its art. I fully intend to never show it to anyone, lock it away in my closet. Its still art. I don't need an audience's approval for it to be art.
The relationship is very simple. There is art. Sometimes there is an audience. Done.

Okay. I don't necessarily disagree with some of that. Outside approval doesn't factor into the equation of whether or not the work has an intended meaning, on that we agree. But when the work is made public, or even just shown to a single other person, what is the role of that person in the broader artistic experience? Do they have a responsibility to get it right? If they don't get it right, does that invalidate their emotional/intellectual reaction?

Furthermore, what happens when the work has transcended the artist? It's doubtful that Bram Stoker was thinking specifically of psychosexual parables when he wrote "Dracula." The filmmakers of the French New Wave started their careers with no notion that they were creating a whole new paradigm in cinema, they just wanted to tell the stories of life in mid-20th century France without all the middle-brow pablum getting in the way. Tony Iommi still prefers to think of Black Sabbath as a blues rock band as opposed to one of the first gen metal bands. Does the creator remain the supreme authority on their own work indefinitely? Or is there a point at which the work, after being released to the public, starts to take on a life of its own?

I ask because human beings are the ultimate X-factor. No plan survives contact with the masses. Not even art is immune to this. Who could have predicted The Matrix would turn out to be a transgender coming-out narrative? Or that some would appropriate the imagery of the red pill to justify their own bigotry?

A lot of modern critical and artistic theory recognizes that since art is made by people, those people are influenced by the nature of the market for art and the industry that distributes that art to the masses. Furthermore, the reactions of society determines what happens to that art when it becomes public. Those reactions in turn inform the market and the industry. And that societal reaction is in turn a conglomerate of the collective reactions of individuals, all of whom are guaranteed to go on some creative endeavors in their life, even if it's just to keep a notebook full of doodles of stuff they like. Some of them will go on to take up careers in the arts as well.

It's complicated and how much you want to dig into the true complexities depends on how much you care. I could spend hours talking about the artistic merits of Akira Kurosawa's filmography, but you may or may not care. You can dig deep into the various sub-genres of horror literature, but maybe it's not your thing.

Am I making any sense here?

Do I consider video games (general) to be art? No. Plenty of video games don't count as art in my book. Though if you'd ask what my criteria are for a game to be art, I can't give them to you. Actually, I'd say that taking a video game as a whole it can't be art. But they can have things in them that can be considered art.

Examples: Too many to list. There's a ton of them out there that have something I consider 'art' in them.

Thing is, games are never just art. In fact, no game has art as it's main focus, as far as I know. The gameplay always comes first. Since, you know, it's a GAME you PLAY. :P So it feels kinda stupid to me to call games art. As they're so much more than just that.

As for the medium ever being taken 'seriously' like literature and movies...I think so. It all depends on what you consider 'being taken seriously'. Games have already come a long way though. The basement dweller stereotype still prevails, but games have become pretty mainstream these days. It's become a multi-million dollar business. Thousands of people go to tournaments, just to watch other people sit behind a computer and play games. And the prize money is nothing to sneeze at, if you win. I think that once the old garde that didn't grow up with videogames is all gone, it will start to be taken a lot more seriously. After all, by that time pretty much everyone alive will have played videogames at some point. Even those stuffy old guys in top government positions. Though that will probably take another 20~30 years or so.

I wouldn't call games 'art' but they are most definitely craft. Art needs to be either transformative or be of particular significance of a particular time period hence why something can only be considered 'art' years(or sometimes hundreds of years) after the fact. Art needs to challenge and change ideas and leave a historic trace. I think games definitely borrows(sometimes heavily) from artistic sources but I don't really think that makes it art in itself(not that this diminishes the value whatsoever as games can be more creative than many examples of established art). There can definitely be a degree of artistic integrity in popular culture but ultimately it's made to entertain not to provoke a message or memorialize the Zeitgeist.

Ofcourse, this in no way precludes someone dragging up copies of Silent Hill 2 and Dark Souls a hundred years from now and declaring it part of the cultural and artistic lexicon. After all Vincent van Gogh was considered a hack in his day and age. :p

sanquin:

Thing is, games are never just art. In fact, no game has art as it's main focus, as far as I know. The gameplay always comes first. Since, you know, it's a GAME you PLAY. :P So it feels kinda stupid to me to call games art. As they're so much more than just that.

I got the sense that you feel that art puts some kind of limits.

CaitSeith:
I got the sense that you feel that art puts some kind of limits.

I see art by itself as limited, yes. Though art as part of a whole isn't.

I'd say it depends on the strictness of the definition. The act of competition and test of skills, even in context, is something slightly different, potentially even directly opposed to how art is commonly understood. Meaning, it tends to be less "pure" or "high" art - because it could be much more artful without that element. (You could also think of it as "intensity", however with less the "strain" the better and potenitally with more liberty, originality and subtlety.)

I tended to qualify the argument of direct opposition to art somewhat by the "tension" also experienced in drama, and skill, ideally as a kind of "flow", (potentially) a kind of immersive "meditation" of the human condition - the idea of perfection that is experienced and sought for in art. (However still often favouring specific impulses of empowerment and validation for winning a contest.)

I'm just trying to describe it and make a proposition there.

But in a less strict sense, particularly of "high" art, yes, they are.

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