Games as art - why do we even care?!?

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This is something that's been bouncing around in my head for a while now:

Why do we even care if games are considered "art" or not?

As long as we're enjoying them, what does it matter if the rest of the world doesn't think they're art?

Are our egos really so fragile that we need games to be considered art in order for the time we spend playing them to seem worthwhile? Will our lives somehow be different if people see gaming as something akin to visiting a gallery or watching a noir film rather than just sitting in front of a screen mashing buttons?

Fans of all sorts of music - be it metal, electronic, hip hop, punk, whatever - have had people telling them for years that their preferred music is "just noise" and "not real music". But do they care? On the whole, no, they don't. They're too busy having fun. Should gamers be taking a leaf out of their book and just ignoring the whole issue?

I think it has to do more with the respect given to the media without 'artistic rights'. You can approach more meaningful topics with something that has respect than something considered a 'toy' by a large amount of people.

Just like 'Six Days in Fallujah', a documentary type game supported and even helped along by soldiers who wanted their story out there in a medium which can bring you even more in than a book or a movie. But because it was a video game, people scoffed and found it disrespectful that the developers would even consider making such a tragic event into entertainment. Eventually the publisher backed up because it rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.

You'd never even question a documentary or biography/historical book about it. (Unless it was taking a controversial stance or POV)

If video games gain the same status as film or literature, it'll open doors. We can experience more and that's what it's all about, at least IMO.

Edit:

Not to say that suddenly makes COD or Farmville art.

I for one don't. Mostly because the aaa industry isn't suddenly going to start making really good creative games if they are called art. mediocrity sells and is easy to make and there isn't going to be some sort of massive new market demographic opened up just because you made your game artsy fartsy. Calling them art isn't some sort of incentive for any developer to try harder and make better games, and that is the whole point of this I feel. Just let people make games, support people who have bright and experimental ideas regardless of some stupid "Art guise It's a special snowflake" label and things will continue to change and improve.

Lucem712:
I think it has to do more with the respect given to the media without 'artistic rights'. You can approach more meaningful topics with something that has respect than something considered a 'toy' by a large amount of people.

Just like 'Six Days in Fallujah', a documentary type game supported and even helped along by soldiers who wanted their story out there in a medium which can bring you even more in than a book or a movie. But because it was a video game, people scoffed and found it disrespectful that the developers would even consider making such a tragic event into entertainment. Eventually the publisher backed up because it rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.

You'd never even question a documentary or biography/historical book about it. (Unless it was taking a controversial stance or POV)

If video games gain the same status as film or literature, it'll open doors. We can experience more and that's what it's all about, at least IMO.

I'd just like to say that you don't suddenly have to be considered art and be respected by people to make something like six days in Fallujah, but making something like six days in Fallujah is a chance to show people that games are respectable and we can make art. The current mindset of "we need permission from the public to be creative and make things they won't play anyway" is totally backwards. Developers should make whatever they want and the public should grow to accept us because of it, not let us once they have accepted it. The industry as a whole needs to man up and stop being pushed around, not get some green card from a different medium most people regard as mindless entertainment anyway.

him over there:
I for one don't. Mostly because the aaa industry isn't suddenly going to start making really good creative games if they are called art. mediocrity sells and is easy to make and there isn't going to be some sort of massive new market demographic opened up just because you made your game artsy fartsy. Calling them art isn't some sort of incentive for any developer to try harder and make better games, and that is the whole point of this I feel. Just let people make games, support people who have bright and experimental ideas regardless of some stupid "Art guise It's a special snowflake" label and things will continue to change and improve.

Lucem712:
I think it has to do more with the respect given to the media without 'artistic rights'. You can approach more meaningful topics with something that has respect than something considered a 'toy' by a large amount of people.

Just like 'Six Days in Fallujah', a documentary type game supported and even helped along by soldiers who wanted their story out there in a medium which can bring you even more in than a book or a movie. But because it was a video game, people scoffed and found it disrespectful that the developers would even consider making such a tragic event into entertainment. Eventually the publisher backed up because it rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.

You'd never even question a documentary or biography/historical book about it. (Unless it was taking a controversial stance or POV)

If video games gain the same status as film or literature, it'll open doors. We can experience more and that's what it's all about, at least IMO.

I'd just like to say that you don't suddenly have to be considered art and be respected by people to make something like six days in Fallujah, but making something like six days in Fallujah is a chance to show people that games are respectable and we can make art. The current mindset of "we need permission from the public to be creative and make things they won't play anyway" is totally backwards. Developers should make whatever they want and the public should grow to accept us because of it, not let us once they have accepted it. The industry as a whole needs to man up and stop being pushed around, not get some green card from a different medium most people regard as mindless entertainment anyway.

I see it in the evolution of comic books. They started as something geared toward children (Though, video games have never been geared exclusively towards kids) and when Marvel started doing more serious topics (and attracting older readers), suddenly everyone was up in arms. They considered them things for children. But, they made it. They became graphic novels, capable of tackling much more important topics.

The art title isn't something easily one, it isn't an instant win. For games to be considered art, they do have to fight. They have to earn the respect.

In the end, the art title comes when we prove that we are deserving as the title.

Lucem712:
much needed snip

Oh I understand what you are saying about being accepted, it's just the way you worded it, especially using the six days example made it seem to me like you were saying that games can't explore these complex themes until they are considered art instead of being considered art because these complex mature games were made even though people didn't consider it art.

All I'm saying is that six days in Fallujah should have helped prove that games are mature not be denied being made because the industry was worried that they weren't considered mature enough to make it. If developers were more secure and sure of themselves and their medium we wouldn't need others respect or approval to make these kinds of titles, and that is what it boils down to anyway, the games.

him over there:

Lucem712:
much needed snip

Oh I understand what you are saying about being accepted, it's just the way you worded it, especially using the six days example made it seem to me like you were saying that games can't explore these complex themes until they are considered art instead of being considered art because these complex mature games were made even though people didn't consider it art.

All I'm saying is that six days in Fallujah should have helped prove that games are mature not be denied being made because the industry was worried that they weren't considered mature enough to make it. If developers were more secure and sure of themselves and their medium we wouldn't need others respect or approval to make these kinds of titles, and that is what it boils down to anyway, the games.

Ooh, I see! Konami (If I remember correctly) should have stuck in there, should have shown that this medium can handle a topic maturely and with respect. I heard sometime back that the game is completely (or almost) finished just needs a publisher. I hope they find someway to get it out there. (Even if would be a bit aged by the time it was released)

Lucem712:

him over there:

Lucem712:
much needed snip

Oh I understand what you are saying about being accepted, it's just the way you worded it, especially using the six days example made it seem to me like you were saying that games can't explore these complex themes until they are considered art instead of being considered art because these complex mature games were made even though people didn't consider it art.

All I'm saying is that six days in Fallujah should have helped prove that games are mature not be denied being made because the industry was worried that they weren't considered mature enough to make it. If developers were more secure and sure of themselves and their medium we wouldn't need others respect or approval to make these kinds of titles, and that is what it boils down to anyway, the games.

Ooh, I see! Konami (If I remember correctly) should have stuck in there, should have shown that this medium can handle a topic maturely and with respect. I heard sometime back that the game is completely (or almost) finished just needs a publisher. I hope they find someway to get it out there. (Even if would be a bit aged by the time it was released)

That's pretty much the jist of what I said yeah. However You might notice my first post said I don't care about games as art. I don't mean that I don't want games to be more artistic or complex just that we shouldn't have to call it art to do that. I feel the best way to describe it is that the industry has self esteem issues. They feel they can't make these titles because nobody will take them seriously and being considered art is going to give it the security it needs to start crafting these kinds of games.

I don't think we need to do this, I just want developers to go "Fuck you movie industry and music industry and Literature industry, we don't need to be approved by some third party that doesn't care or know anything about the medium anyway to create and experiment with the visionary new games we want to make!" Because if we do that we will get better and more diverse games, and isn't that what it's about? we want great games whether they're called art or not.

Captcha: that's right, wow how fitting.

AD-Stu:

Are our egos really so fragile that we need games to be considered art in order for the time we spend playing them to seem worthwhile?

Pretty much. The video gaming community gets downtrodden a fair bit by the remainder of society, since Video Gaming is a relatively new art form that has only recently began flourishing with games like Bioshock, Braid and Majora's Mask. Considering that other "wastes of time" like watching movies and reading books gathers such support from the artistic community, isn't it only fair that we want our games to get the same respect?

Maybe in another decade or two, Video Gaming will be considered (artistically speaking) equal to movies and books, but for now it's just gotta mature a bit more first.

him over there:

That's pretty much the jist of what I said yeah. However You might notice my first post said I don't care about games as art. I don't mean that I don't want games to be more artistic or complex just that we shouldn't have to call it art to do that. I feel the best way to describe it is that the industry has self esteem issues. They feel they can't make these titles because nobody will take them seriously and being considered art is going to give it the security it needs to start crafting these kinds of games.

I don't think we need to do this, I just want developers to go "Fuck you movie industry and music industry and Literature industry, we don't need to be approved by some third party that doesn't care or know anything about the medium anyway to create and experiment with the visionary new games we want to make!" Because if we do that we will get better and more diverse games, and isn't that what it's about? we want great games whether they're called art or not.

Captcha: that's right, wow how fitting.

The title just comes with the territory. It's not the title that's important, I know, its the things you did to achieve it. I'm not saying the game industry should strive to be 'artsy' because that can often crash and burn because games can't always be artistic in the same way film/literature can be. Just that they should take some risks and just..be more :)

AD-Stu:
This is something that's been bouncing around in my head for a while now:

Why do we even care if games are considered "art" or not?

As long as we're enjoying them, what does it matter if the rest of the world doesn't think they're art?

Are our egos really so fragile that we need games to be considered art in order for the time we spend playing them to seem worthwhile? Will our lives somehow be different if people see gaming as something akin to visiting a gallery or watching a noir film rather than just sitting in front of a screen mashing buttons?

Fans of all sorts of music - be it metal, electronic, hip hop, punk, whatever - have had people telling them for years that their preferred music is "just noise" and "not real music". But do they care? On the whole, no, they don't. They're too busy having fun. Should gamers be taking a leaf out of their book and just ignoring the whole issue?

Because of legal protection, it wasn't that long ago that games as a whole were under fire by lawmakers claiming that they were not entitled to the same protections as other forms of media or speech. Video games being art allows them to be considered a protected medium, and helps ensure their place remains secure.

I tend to say that Video games are an artistic medium capable of having art created using it, but I do not believe that all video games can be considered art, especially seeing as a lot of them are totally driven by profit and nothing but, being little more than a formula being plugged in to make money. In the case of things like ME3 a lot of the contreversy ultimatly comes down to an ending that was almost entirely dictated by the business ambitions of the publisher, and didn't fit with the game, and arguably ruined any artistic merits it might have had.

To be blunt I am fond of a very tight definition of what counts as artwork, as I feel being too nebulous about it allows anything to be defended that way which violates the intention of the protections placed on it. When it comes to things like music for example I'm of the believe that a lot of rap music shouldn't be defended as artwork, and represents a detriment to both society and the assimilation of black culture into society. I do not feel "it's everyone elses fault, crime is okay, killing the police is a good thing, I'm entitled to success" or whatever is anything but a deteriment to society. But this applies to a lot of other things as well. Basically art loses meaning when everyone is an artist. What's more there is a differance between artwork that criticises society and social conventions and something that is flat out anti-social and/or sociopathic.. or intended to basically "troll" everyone who experiences it without any real meaning (despite what might be said) other than to get a rise out of people.

That said the prescence of sex and violence, even in ultra-intense forums should not have something declared to not be art or unworthy of protection on it's own. It all comes down to the standard of "offensive, and without redeeming value" which is the nessicary standard to get something banned, and that we're far too liberal in what counts as redeeming value.

At any rate I'm getting off topic, but the whole "games as art" thing comes down to people wanting games to be taken more seriously, but also to legal protection, which is why it's taken off since the whole Supreme Court fiasco.

Lucem712:

him over there:

That's pretty much the jist of what I said yeah. However You might notice my first post said I don't care about games as art. I don't mean that I don't want games to be more artistic or complex just that we shouldn't have to call it art to do that. I feel the best way to describe it is that the industry has self esteem issues. They feel they can't make these titles because nobody will take them seriously and being considered art is going to give it the security it needs to start crafting these kinds of games.

I don't think we need to do this, I just want developers to go "Fuck you movie industry and music industry and Literature industry, we don't need to be approved by some third party that doesn't care or know anything about the medium anyway to create and experiment with the visionary new games we want to make!" Because if we do that we will get better and more diverse games, and isn't that what it's about? we want great games whether they're called art or not.

Captcha: that's right, wow how fitting.

The title just comes with the territory. It's not the title that's important, I know, its the things you did to achieve it. I'm not saying the game industry should strive to be 'artsy' because that can often crash and burn because games can't always be artistic in the same way film/literature can be. Just that they should take some risks and just..be more :)

Here Here an idea we can all rejoice over, just a shame there seem to be people obsessed over it like the title itself is the epitome of achievement. The games themselves are the achievements guys.

him over there:

Lucem712:

The title just comes with the territory. It's not the title that's important, I know, its the things you did to achieve it. I'm not saying the game industry should strive to be 'artsy' because that can often crash and burn because games can't always be artistic in the same way film/literature can be. Just that they should take some risks and just..be more :)

Here Here an idea we can all rejoice over, just a shame there seem to be people obsessed over it like the title itself is the epitome of achievement. The games themselves are the achievements guys.

Let's break out the bubbly! Speakin' of more artistically inclined games, I've been hearing a-lot of good things about Journey. Have you played it?

Lucem712:

him over there:

Lucem712:

The title just comes with the territory. It's not the title that's important, I know, its the things you did to achieve it. I'm not saying the game industry should strive to be 'artsy' because that can often crash and burn because games can't always be artistic in the same way film/literature can be. Just that they should take some risks and just..be more :)

Here Here an idea we can all rejoice over, just a shame there seem to be people obsessed over it like the title itself is the epitome of achievement. The games themselves are the achievements guys.

Let's break out the bubbly! Speakin' of more artistically inclined games, I've been hearing a-lot of good things about Journey. Have you played it?

Been meaning to look into it, but I'm not sure I'm the type who would get the most out of it. I hear it's really poignant and touching sad, I'm looking for something more despairingly angry sad.

That is a tough question to really answer. Certainly there is some level of desiring justification for time, money and interest devoted. You can't really discount that but, for me, I find it just to be a case of it being what they are. Not to say that every videogame is or has to be art, but that the medium has as much potential as art as things that are considered art every day by even the most common of laymen (if not more due to it's interactive nature). There is literally no reason why a piece of music, or a reel of film, or a painted canvas, or a hand molded sculpture is art and yet a videogame can't be as well.

Let's say that you're sitting at a table with someone and in the middle of said table is a freshly picked apple. The person you're with looks at the apple, perhaps cocking their head and squinting as if in contemplation. After a brief moment they then announce assuredly that the apple is not a piece of fruit. Does it really impact you personally all that much if your companion makes that statement? Of course not, but would it not bother you regardless? Would you honestly not feel at least an interior urge to correct them and show them how wrong they are?

I'd say for first amendment rights, if they're art they are protected under free speech and all that jazz. If they weren't the government would be allowed to censor it. I don't really care about what the masses think, except when they try to meddle in things they don't understand.

Lucem712:
I see it in the evolution of comic books. They started as something geared toward children (Though, video games have never been geared exclusively towards kids) and when Marvel started doing more serious topics (and attracting older readers), suddenly everyone was up in arms. They considered them things for children. But, they made it. They became graphic novels, capable of tackling much more important topics.

Are comics/graphic novels really considered art though? My perception at least is that people from the "legitimate" art world are sniggering behind their hands when anyone mentions art and comics in the same sentence. They're certainly not given the same level of respect in galleries, libraries and the like that more traditional works are given.

And again - if you enjoy comics and graphic novels, why should you care whether some douchebag in a turtleneck considers them "art" or not?

Daget Sparrow:
Considering that other "wastes of time" like watching movies and reading books gathers such support from the artistic community, isn't it only fair that we want our games to get the same respect?

I guess the degree to which you want that is up to the individual, but I've got to ask this:

If society at large considered the game you're playing to be art, would that really have an effect on your enjoyment of it? Would it change the experience in any meaningful way?

Personally, I don't see how it could.

Therumancer:
Because of legal protection, it wasn't that long ago that games as a whole were under fire by lawmakers claiming that they were not entitled to the same protections as other forms of media or speech. Video games being art allows them to be considered a protected medium, and helps ensure their place remains secure.

Could you be more specific? I'm not a lawyer, so maybe I'm missing something, but creators can protect all sorts of things that aren't classified as "art", so I don't see how video games are being left out...

AD-Stu:

Lucem712:
I see it in the evolution of comic books. They started as something geared toward children (Though, video games have never been geared exclusively towards kids) and when Marvel started doing more serious topics (and attracting older readers), suddenly everyone was up in arms. They considered them things for children. But, they made it. They became graphic novels, capable of tackling much more important topics.

Are comics/graphic novels really considered art though? My perception at least is that people from the "legitimate" art world are sniggering behind their hands when anyone mentions art and comics in the same sentence. They're certainly not given the same level of respect in galleries, libraries and the like that more traditional works are given.

And again - if you enjoy comics and graphic novels, why should you care whether some douchebag in a turtleneck considers them "art" or not?

I don't think that's really important, I couldn't care less what some snobby art critic thinks. They aren't as respect as literature or film but they aren't considered for children (or at-least, I haven't heard anyone recently make that stance) and are allowed to have more controversial and artistically inclined material.

It isn't really acceptance by the art community, it's more having earned the title in the general populous so that they aren't so quick to scoff at a more artistically inclined or controversial video-game. At least, IMO.

Lucem712:
I don't think that's really important, I couldn't care less what some snobby art critic thinks. They aren't as respect as literature or film but they aren't considered for children (or at-least, I haven't heard anyone recently make that stance) and are allowed to have more controversial and artistically inclined material.

It isn't really acceptance by the art community, it's more having earned the title in the general populous so that they aren't so quick to scoff at a more artistically inclined or controversial video-game. At least, IMO.

I don't think video games have been considered just for children for years either - hell, in my country we've been having a legislative debate for at least ten years about keeping a lot of games out of the hands of children.

As it stands, there's absolutely nothing stopping video games from having controversial or "artistically inclined" (however you define that) content. We know this because developers have been doing it for decades.

And if the general populous "scoffs" at those games, I'm still left wondering: what actual difference does it make to our enjoyment of them?

AD-Stu:

Lucem712:
I don't think that's really important, I couldn't care less what some snobby art critic thinks. They aren't as respect as literature or film but they aren't considered for children (or at-least, I haven't heard anyone recently make that stance) and are allowed to have more controversial and artistically inclined material.

It isn't really acceptance by the art community, it's more having earned the title in the general populous so that they aren't so quick to scoff at a more artistically inclined or controversial video-game. At least, IMO.

I don't think video games have been considered just for children for years either - hell, in my country we've been having a legislative debate for at least ten years about keeping a lot of games out of the hands of children.

As it stands, there's absolutely nothing stopping video games from having controversial or "artistically inclined" (however you define that) content. We know this because developers have been doing it for decades.

And if the general populous "scoffs" at those games, I'm still left wondering: what actual difference does it make to our enjoyment of them?

You have to remember that the game industry is about making money. Publishers want as much money as possible and if they release a game that is controversial and upsets people because of it's content, then that game and it's publisher are going to be dragged through the mud. Hell, even tame content is dragged through the mud.

Artistic games aren't financially viable because people don't take them seriously. It's not that being considered art allows games to be more exhaustive in it's topic, it's the steps taken to be considered a serious art-form and thus earn that title that allow it to do so.

The general populous ruins a-lot of things by misunderstanding things, just look at the ME 'sex scene' debacle. It ruins our enjoyment because they, who understand nothing of the medium, can effect what gets released.

AD-Stu:
Are our egos really so fragile that we need games to be considered art in order for the time we spend playing them to seem worthwhile?

Yes, actually. That's basically it.

Gamers would prefer to be seen as patrons of a respected artistic medium rather than as people who waste significant amounts of time on childish and meaningless amusements.

I think it's an understandable desire, albeit one that can get a bit pathetic.

Lucem712:
You have to remember that the game industry is about making money. Publishers want as much money as possible and if they release a game that is controversial and upsets people because of it's content, then that game and it's publisher are going to be dragged through the mud. Hell, even tame content is dragged through the mud.

Artistic games aren't financially viable because people don't take them seriously. It's not that being considered art allows games to be more exhaustive in it's topic, it's the steps taken to be considered a serious art-form and thus earn that title that allow it to do so.

The general populous ruins a-lot of things by misunderstanding things, just look at the ME 'sex scene' debacle. It ruins our enjoyment because they, who understand nothing of the medium, can effect what gets released.

There's not necessarily anything wrong with being "dragged through the mud" though - in fact games publishers often court controversy to increase sales. The Modern Warfare 2 airport scene, anyone? I'm not saying it was art, but it's proof positive that controversy doesn't always hurt sales. Same goes for pretty much the entire Grand Theft Auto series, and any number of other games.

Legitimate/traditional artists do exactly the same thing to draw attention and interest to their works. Andres Serrano and Spencer Tunick are just a couple of modern examples, and there are countless others dating back to the birth of "art" itself.

On your last point, how exactly did the original Mass Effect sex scene "debacle" ruin anyone's enjoyment of the game? It's not like it got the game banned or anything (if anything it probably scored it a few more sales) and I still enjoyed the game just fine. Nor did it have any effect on the sequels, as they have very similar (and potentially even more controversial) scenes in them.

Point is, none of this had any effect on my enjoyment of these games. I don't believe my experience with them would have been any different if they were considered "art".

Zhukov:

AD-Stu:
Are our egos really so fragile that we need games to be considered art in order for the time we spend playing them to seem worthwhile?

Yes, actually. That's basically it.

Gamers would prefer to be seen as patrons of a respected artistic medium rather than as people who waste significant amounts of time on childish and meaningless amusements.

I think it's an understandable desire, albeit one that can get a bit pathetic.

I can understand it too - I'm just thinking that rather than fighting the uphill/impossible battle of converting the way everyone else in the world thinks, gamers would be a lot better off if they just got over their own issues, ignored the whole labelling issue and enjoyed games for what they are.

AD-Stu:

Lucem712:
You have to remember that the game industry is about making money. Publishers want as much money as possible and if they release a game that is controversial and upsets people because of it's content, then that game and it's publisher are going to be dragged through the mud. Hell, even tame content is dragged through the mud.

Artistic games aren't financially viable because people don't take them seriously. It's not that being considered art allows games to be more exhaustive in it's topic, it's the steps taken to be considered a serious art-form and thus earn that title that allow it to do so.

The general populous ruins a-lot of things by misunderstanding things, just look at the ME 'sex scene' debacle. It ruins our enjoyment because they, who understand nothing of the medium, can effect what gets released.

There's not necessarily anything wrong with being "dragged through the mud" though - in fact games publishers often court controversy to increase sales. The Modern Warfare 2 airport scene, anyone? I'm not saying it was art, but it's proof positive that controversy doesn't always hurt sales. Same goes for pretty much the entire Grand Theft Auto series, and any number of other games.

Legitimate/traditional artists do exactly the same thing to draw attention and interest to their works. Andres Serrano and Spencer Tunick are just a couple of modern examples, and there are countless others dating back to the birth of "art" itself.

On your last point, how exactly did the original Mass Effect sex scene "debacle" ruin anyone's enjoyment of the game? It's not like it got the game banned or anything (if anything it probably scored it a few more sales) and I still enjoyed the game just fine. Nor did it have any effect on the sequels, as they have very similar (and potentially even more controversial) scenes in them.

Point is, none of this had any effect on my enjoyment of these games. I don't believe my experience with them would have been any different if they were considered "art".

This discussion has been done to death, frankly. There is no right answer. You don't have to think they are art, that's fine. I already discussed this with another member on this very discussion and I'm a bit tired of all this back and forth. If you think I'm wrong, that's fine to. I don't much care. You have a wonderful day sir and/or madame and I'm off to play some RDR

AD-Stu:
I can understand it too - I'm just thinking that rather than fighting the uphill/impossible battle of converting the way everyone else in the world thinks, gamers would be a lot better off if they just got over their own issues, ignored the whole labelling issue and enjoyed games for what they are.

Well... yeah.

"Get over your issues, enjoy the things you like and to hell with anyone who says different" is about as sound as advice gets.

However, actually doing that is evidently harder than it sounds.

Lucem712:
This discussion has been done to death, frankly. There is no right answer. You don't have to think they are art, that's fine. I already discussed this with another member on this very discussion and I'm a bit tired of all this back and forth. If you think I'm wrong, that's fine to. I don't much care. You have a wonderful day sir and/or madame and I'm off to play some RDR

*shrugs*

If your concern is that video games not being considered "art" is limiting the kind of games we have access to, and that we'd have a broader range of gaming experienced available to us if they were, then I can respect that. I don't agree with it, but I can respect it.

FWIW, I firmly beleive something like Six Days In Fallujah is an isolated example and it was driven very much by economics, not art. A proposed television series or film that garnered that much vehmently negative press would probably have been cancelled as well, "art" or not because it's highly likely nobody would have paid to see it or bought advertising space during it.

Zhukov:
Well... yeah.

"Get over your issues, enjoy the things you like and to hell with anyone who says different" is about as sound as advice gets.

However, actually doing that is evidently harder than it sounds.

Yeah - rock and a hard place, I guess. I just wonder how many gamers have even considered it as an option...

My contribution to this thread is this:

1.

Games as 'art', in the terms of the ME3 furore, is just a pissweak excuse for someone producing a shit product and then not being able to take criticism. That's it. ME3 is a product for MASS CONSUMPTION. Over 3 million copies shipped. Harden up and join the rest of the world in understanding that 'the customer is why'. Unless, of course, you don't want to have a future in the industry.

2.

The video game industry is still in its infancy. A whole lot of people making the games are gamers themselves and are passionate about their product. They are NOT necessarily good businesspeople. They will be dragged, kicking and screaming, one way or the other. If you do not satisfy your customers, you will not have customers.

It gets us a lot more props with the "real" world.

And unless you have the wrong definition, it is art. It's just that people are making a huge deal out of that, when it really doesn't matter. Art can suck. Art can be shitty art. That scribble that my 2 year old niece drew on my homework is art. And it sucks.

Believe me, I let her know how much it sucked.

Indecipherable:
Games as 'art', in the terms of the ME3 furore, is just a pissweak excuse for someone producing a shit product and then not being able to take criticism. That's it. ME3 is a product for MASS CONSUMPTION. Over 3 million copies shipped. Harden up and join the rest of the world in understanding that 'the customer is why'. Unless, of course, you don't want to have a future in the industry.

God damn it... They didn't produce a "shit product"- even the people who hate ending agree that the rest of the game is at least good. Since no one knows their intentions for the ending, no one can say whether they were just lazy, or meaning it as a sort of cliffhanger, or just trying to make it open ended, or anything else. All we know is that people didn't like it, and that has never been a reason for anyone to be required to change what they made. Harden up and join the rest of the world in understanding that when you buy something and you don't like it, you deal with it.

AD-Stu:
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Therumancer:
Because of legal protection, it wasn't that long ago that games as a whole were under fire by lawmakers claiming that they were not entitled to the same protections as other forms of media or speech. Video games being art allows them to be considered a protected medium, and helps ensure their place remains secure.

Could you be more specific? I'm not a lawyer, so maybe I'm missing something, but creators can protect all sorts of things that aren't classified as "art", so I don't see how video games are being left out...

Here is a starter link there is a lot on it, The Escapist also covered it heavily:

http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2011/06/27/supreme-court-decides-video-games-case.aspx

The basic fight was that California wanted to make it a criminally enforcable offense to sell video games to minors as opposed to the industry self-policing through a private ratings system. The ratings you see on games now are a guideline created by the industry itself as opposed to by law makers, and have no real legal weight behind them. This incidently applies to other forms of rated media when you get down to it. A movie rating by the MPAA is not actually law because the goverment didn't create it. It's complicated and I won't go into the whole thing, but the basic point is that making it an actual crime to sell an "M" rated game to a minor is a sticky issue.

Due to the way the laws are written the goverment isn't supposed to have direct control over the media and the abillity to directly decide who can see or watch what, and what's suitable for the public or to whom in the public... even though it would love to have such power. The basic arguement was that games were differant from other kinds of media and could fall under goverment purview for this kind of control where things like books and movies won't.

The "Games Are Art" thing was always around but got big in the face of these battles due to the arguement being made that aside from just media and speech protection, as a form of art games should be beyond goverment regulation.

Seemingly the issue of "punishing people for selling mature material to kids" is benign, but was a big deal because just to take action would involve giving the goverment power it's not supposed to have, and create a dangerous precedent. "Games As Art" sort of became a big defense as everything possible was being thrown out to get the Supreme Court to tell the goverment it couldn't legally control video games.

JoesshittyOs:
It gets us a lot more props with the "real" world.

And unless you have the wrong definition, it is art. It's just that people are making a huge deal out of that, when it really doesn't matter. Art can suck. Art can be shitty art. That scribble that my 2 year old niece drew on my homework is art. And it sucks.

Believe me, I let her know how much it sucked.

The question is though, why do we feel we need those "props" with the real world?

Will our partners/parents/whatever suddenly be OK with us playing games all night if we're "consuming art" rather than playing games? Would it even be a good thing if they were?

You raise an interesting point in defining art though. "Art" is an incredibly poorly defined, highly subjective term. There really is no definitive answer to the question "What is art?"

I sure as hell don't want to get bogged down in trying to answer impossible questions here. But given it's such a poorly-defined target, I think it's another reason this is kind of a hopeless/pointless cause.

Phlakes:

Indecipherable:
Games as 'art', in the terms of the ME3 furore, is just a pissweak excuse for someone producing a shit product and then not being able to take criticism. That's it. ME3 is a product for MASS CONSUMPTION. Over 3 million copies shipped. Harden up and join the rest of the world in understanding that 'the customer is why'. Unless, of course, you don't want to have a future in the industry.

God damn it... They didn't produce a "shit product"- even the people who hate ending agree that the rest of the game is at least good. Since no one knows their intentions for the ending, no one can say whether they were just lazy, or meaning it as a sort of cliffhanger, or just trying to make it open ended, or anything else. All we know is that people didn't like it, and that has never been a reason for anyone to be required to change what they made. Harden up and join the rest of the world in understanding that when you buy something and you don't like it, you deal with it.

1. There are numerous polls showing that a large amount of people have said the ending ruined the game, so you're wrong there.

2. It doesn't matter the intentions, only what we can perceive and enjoy. "You don't know what they wanted so you can't criticise" is shameful. So you're wrong there.

3. In the business world if people don't like what you are selling that's a serious issue. So you're wrong for the third time.

4. The final cavalier statement is exactly how businesses fail. My way of dealing with it, if they continue to disappoint, is to stop buying. And there's a whole lot of others who have expressed the same.

Therumancer:
Here is a starter link there is a lot on it, The Escapist also covered it heavily:

http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2011/06/27/supreme-court-decides-video-games-case.aspx

The basic fight was that California wanted to make it a criminally enforcable offense to sell video games to minors as opposed to the industry self-policing through a private ratings system. The ratings you see on games now are a guideline created by the industry itself as opposed to by law makers, and have no real legal weight behind them. This incidently applies to other forms of rated media when you get down to it. A movie rating by the MPAA is not actually law because the goverment didn't create it. It's complicated and I won't go into the whole thing, but the basic point is that making it an actual crime to sell an "M" rated game to a minor is a sticky issue.

Ah. That strikes me as a uniquely American issue then - in my country (Australia) rating schemes and age restrictions are enforced by law for video games, movies and a bunch of other stuff.

The reason why it's important to think about video games as art, and to show other people that video games can be art, is because we want others to know that this hobby of ours isn't simply equivalent to spending several hours a day masturbating. Why play games instead of simply spending that time jerking off? Because it's not just about killing time, nor is it just about fun or enjoyment, even though those are an important part of the experience. It's about wanting to see something new, to experience something you've never experienced before. It's about wanting to be challenged.

A good game, just like a good book or a good film, can enrich you as a person. It can change you.

Thinking of games as art changes the way we perceive the medium but also changes our expectations from it. To label the medium as art is to encourage game companies to push boundaries and try something new. To communicate to them that they need to start thinking about the artistic value of a work rather than merely the profit value of it is the first step toward getting them to start producing better games rather than merely pumping out lazy half-finished sequels with loads of DLC. Getting games classified as art means gamers must be thought of as an audience rather than merely as cows to be milked.

Games are a pretty new medium, still, and they're great... but they could be so much better. With games as art, the goal of game design shifts, and the result is better games! Such a view benefits not just gamers, but society as a whole, which would gain a rich, full new medium of artistic expression with so many possibilities yet to be explored.

I hate the games are art label because it only serves two purposes.

1. It allows reporters who love video games an opportunity to talk about them at work and still get paid for it.

2. As a marketing ploy to get you to play games that you would not otherwise play. Braid, Flower, Scary Girl, and so many other games have a following because some marketing executive called it an art house game and we gamers fell for it. They are great games on their own, but they did not explode in popularity until someone called them "art." I am sorry if you liked it, but Dear Ester bored the hell out of me. Nothing happens in the game. This game was labeled art and people flocked to it on droves and defend it for being boring because I somehow don't get it or some nonsense.

I care purely because it's a state I feel games have already achieved on certain occasions and I have a deep disrespect for people who dismiss things out of hand without considering all the relevant facts.

My stance has never been games ARE art so much as games CAN be art, it's happened and will continue to happen but not all games are or should be 'art', however we decide art is defined. It can be found in everything from the entirety of Silent Hill 2 or single sequences like the endgame to Braid or a surprisingly effecting moment of gameplay from Splinter Cell: Convictions, and in my observation the people who deny such things rarely provide good reasoning to back up their claims.

That kind of stubborn, short-sighted talk annoys me in any setting but gets especially insufferable when it's directly connected to something I care deeply about. Games don't need the validation of other people, though obviously it'd be nice, but those other people need to either get on board or get out of the way.

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