Games are not art.

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tr00per7:
Games arent art

you cant hang halo 3 in your living room, that would be fucking stupid.

I'd say games are as much as art as movies. Some movies are created to tell a compelling story or make a statement, others are for mindless entertainment. Games are similar where the entire medium isn't art, but some are.

Oh boy, you sure opened a can of worms here. In order to answer the question "Are video games art?" we would first need to have the answer to the question "What makes something art?". As I'm sure everyone has realized, we do not have a definite answer to this question and it has been though about by every major philosopher-and I'd wager most average people- for hundreds of years.

So essentially what I'm saying is there is no right answer here, it's just a variety of perspectives. From my own, I consider art to be something created from the mind and enjoyed in some way. A needfully vague definition to be sure, but I would consider video games art in the sense that the creators fabricate stories, visuals, audio, and allow a player to experience a variety of enjoyable emotion.

silent-treatment:

kouriichi:

silent-treatment:

I had a whole post written about this statement, but I decided that it would more then likely just piss you off, so I'll just give you Alfie Boe, and call it a day. The song starts at :54.

Captcha: face the music... lol

Yes, this is the type of Opera i hate. x:
This is not art to me. But thats just me. Your happy to enjoy it all you want, and it can be art to you, but to me, its people shouting at the top of their lungs in different tones.

Okay. That's chill man, but I really doubt there is an opera that you do like. Im not saying that its a bad thing, most of my friends don't like opera, but "soft oprea", what are you talking about, this is about as soft as it gets.

Its like.... Semi-Opera. Its less of.... Opera, and more of choir singing at a bit of a higher pitch. A little like this. Less high notes, more steady in rhythm. Less around a single person, more around a group effort for the best sound.

krellen:
Spotting a cougar: survival.
Running from a cougar: survival.
Climbing a tree to escape: survival.
Laughing at the cougar that cannot catch you: art.

Everything we do that is not directly related to survival is art. You can live without a game. It's only purpose is to enrich your life, not to preserve it, lengthen it, or propagate it.

Therefore it is art.

What?

You have officially just made my brain hurt. I'm trying to imagine how bowling or getting a goldfish could be considered art. It's not very fun.

So I suppose Battleship or Tickle Me Elmo could be considered art as well. Some could even argue that boiled rice or a roll of toilet paper could be art. The point is, everything can potentially be considered art. It is the broadness of the definition that makes me want it to be put into clear terms. To me, art is something that just sits somewhere and looks pretty and must be created by only ONE person. It seems like the main reason why people insist on calling video games art is so that their precious hobby can be protected from the bible-thumpers. If it means striking a blow against censorship, however, then I would have to accept video games as art (with fingers crossed behind my back, of course).

It depends entirely if it was meant to display creativity and feeling.

"The Path" is undeniably art.

"Rogue Warrior" almost certainly isn't.

Just because something is interactive doesn't mean it wasn't meant to convey feeling.

kouriichi:
Im saying "I like art. Just not the Art you like".

No you're saying it in a very irritating, juvenile fashion.

Still, it seems the answer to my question is, "Not much." I'm sorry I wasted my time.

Tanakh:

DrVornoff:
Then why insert yourself into the conversation if you have nothing of actual value to contribute?

Because tha's exactly the tone of this thread, and to a certain degree of this whole forum. Did you saw the OP? It is just as ridiculous as that guy's posts.

You are the one out of context, like a pro boxer seeing a middle school fight and getting in thre...

So I'm over-qualified to be in this discussion? As backhanded compliments go, I actually rather like that one.

Mimsofthedawg:
I don't think most people on here care about articulating their opinion (which is given for free, at the expense of time that could be spent with family, loved ones, games, or w/e) as well as Roger Ebert (who is paid to sit on his ass and say things). I used to. But then I realized that to TRULY win an argument on here I'd have to put in hours of time of research, so now I just state my opinions and if people want to flame me for it or get all upity because I make some semi-controversial statement (usually hinting at that I'm a Christian, a Conservative, or that I hate Half Life 2) they can do that and waste their time. I hope they're happy with it!

I was brought up being told that if you're going to open your mouth, you should be prepared to back up what comes out of it. In my family, we like to argue. All the time. Part of the appeal is in doing the research and hammering out the rhetoric, learning something new or deepening existing knowledge.

I know most people argue just to hear their own voices, but still... kind of annoying to me.

At any rate, I think I get what you're saying here too. Video games as art just need to develop. But hell, art itself is an ambiguous subject, and if you've ACTUALLY taken an art history course or read a basic book on art, you'd know that the exact definition of art is "ambiguous" and not really confined to a single term. Expression. That's art. And therefore, games are art.

The nature of art being difficult to define is precisely why I would like to have a real discussion about it with someone, but it's clear I'm never going to get that here. It's a shame. All the people I know in real life either already agree with me or don't care enough to hold a conversation on the subject. I feel like I can't get better if I'm not challenged with an opposing view or to expand my horizons and deepen my understanding.

The real question is to what degree are they art? Can they be compared to powerful works of literature and painting or will they never quite gain such prestige?

Like Ebert, never is a very long time. Part of the problem as I see it is that we don't have enough big names. No dispute, we have Wil Wright, Hideo Kojima, Tim Schafer, Peter Molyneux and a few others I'm doubtless forgetting. But we never really got someone like F.W. Murneau or Georges Meliers or Charlie Chaplin. We never got a Howard Hawk or Billy Wilder or John Ford. Hell, we never even got a Roger Corman. Can you imagine how much different the games industry would be today if around the turn of the millennium we had someone like Roger Corman? The mind boggles.

If you look at Wikipedia about what auteur theory actually means, you might agree with me that we could use a few more luminaries like that.

tr00per7:
Games arent art

you cant hang halo 3 in your living room, that would be fucking stupid.

So a poster of Justin Beiber is art because you can hang it?

Movies are not art because "the Expendables" exists?

Music is not art because Ricki Minaj made "you a stupid hoe?"

If the classification of art is that, then NOTHING is art. You have to do a case by case basis of what is art. You CANNOT make an entire genre art. Everything goes down to the intent of the creator.

Tree man:
Right then, Do any of you here classify games as art (to clarify I see art as paintings, sculptures, music and film.)

Because I sure don't, I don't think that games are art because art is non-interactive, you look at, or watch, or listen to art, then you formulate an opinion and leave the art behind. You may come back the next day and come away with a different opinion, but that will be because something on your end had changed.

By comparison, when you leave a game like Oblivion and come back the next day and make a new character, and put all your points into sneaking, the game changes, you may meet new characters who you never even knew about, you may discover new areas and items.

Art, in my opinion is stationary, games are not.

^ Your thoughts.

Art CAN be moving. Art can be anything. Hell, art doesn't even have to exist indefinitely. Some art is made of deliberately fragile materials that breaks down over time. Some art doesn't even last past a couple hours.

kouriichi:

Its like.... Semi-Opera. Its less of.... Opera, and more of choir singing at a bit of a higher pitch. A little like this. Less high notes, more steady in rhythm. Less around a single person, more around a group effort for the best sound.

Nice. Thanks, I like it a lot. So you like it more choral, I can respect that. It seems a little less focused on a story than the operas I've seen, but it is opera non-the-less.

But to say that the people who sing the other style sound bad, and are terrible people still doesn't sit well with me. What these people do is hard, and impressive man. At least show some respect.

Seriously great song though, I will look for more of that composers work.

I think something can only be considered art when it involves badgers. Therefore, games (and really most things) are not art.

Your thoughts?

I've said this many times in various contexts (and papers), and will say it again:

1. Whether A is B depends on definition of A and definition of B.
2. "Art" is not a uniformly and uniquely defined term. In any language, and particularly so in English (which is not centrally regulated, unlike many other languages).
3. Because B (art) here is not uniformly and uniquely defined, the question of whether A (games) are B (art) has no unique/correct answer.
4. If your definition (like OP's) defines art to be necessarily stationary, then games are not art.
5. If your definition does not define art to be necessarily stationary, then games can be art, unless your definition contains something else that prevents them from being art.

The discussion is therefore moot. Now, a probably more fundamental discussion is "What is and isn't art?" One can even, in theory, measure the quality of a possible answer in terms of, for example, how many people's recognition of art will be consistent with this definition. Or how all-inclusive it is. Or how consistent it is with what has historically been accepted as art (i.e., Duchamp's Fountain? Pollock's convergence? cinema? all cinema?). Or whatever other figure of merit you want to use. But it must still be understood, that without accepting a definition of B, the question of "Is A a B?" cannot be answered.

One other thing. This is pretty minor, but has been bugging me. One cannot actually "agree" or "disagree" with a DEFINITION. What one can do, is say something like this:
- "If you define 'art' as you did, most people will consider things art that are inconsistent with your definition."
- "If you define 'art' as you did, I will consider things are that are inconsistent with your definition."
- "Your definition is too narrow, and should be expanded, otherwise many techniques developed over the years for art criticism are not applicable to works that they are routinely applied to."
- "Your definition is too broad, and makes the term completely meaningless."

And last thing. Figuring out "Is A a B?" is actually separate from "Can A be analyzed as an instance of B, using techniques developed over the years for the analysis of B?" I do not think that A necessarily has to be B to be analyzed as B; such analysis may not be completely proper, but nevertheless illuminating. So this second question is a separate discussion, and perhaps a more appropriate one here.

99% of the time these debates achieve nothing because people argue over what art is or isn't without giving a definition of art. These arguments go round and round without people ever really knowing what they're arguing about. All I can say is it seems like your definition of art is much narrower than mine.

DrVornoff:
So I'm over-qualified to be in this discussion? As backhanded compliments go, I actually rather like that one.

I would say overqualified in art for it, but taking into account the baseline is "art is stationary" even Warhol would be (snap). Underqualified at reading the mood and pedagogy though; you seem to be able to teach the kids around here a lot, that seems better than to bash them for their opinions (however ignorant they might be).

This is seriously the silliest Escapist forum thread I've seen in a while. No offense to the original poster, but they obviously didn't think about it much before posting.
I mean, just take a moment and think about the ramifications of "art" being strictly non-interactive. Anyone who paints a picture, composes a song, directs a movie - if they're not making art, what are they doing exactly?
Art is simply defined as a medium with which certain ideas are presented. That's it - it's a very simple definition, and really almost anything can fall into it.

Now, I'm not saying that games are or aren't art - though I do believe they are - but I am saying that claiming art must be non-interactive is confuzzlingly daft.

That is all.

Tanakh:
I would say overqualified in art for it, but taking into account the baseline is "art is stationary" even Warhol would be (snap).

... I kinda like Andy Warhol myself.

I had hoped that just a line of questioning could goad the OP into something a little more... substantive. But it's starting to look as if he's jumped ship.

Underqualified at reading the mood and pedagogy though; you seem to be able to teach the kids around here a lot, that seems better than to bash them for their opinions (however ignorant they might be).

What can I say? I'm argumentative by nature. I freely admit that I don't like communicating by text. Hell, I don't even like communicating by phone. I need to be able to look someone in the eye and be able to read their voice at the same time to really get a feel for what they're saying. After college I cut my teeth as a busker, if that helps explain it.

Sadly, I don't even really consider myself an expert in art theory. I specialize in film, horror and sci-fi/fantasy in particular. Music, heavy metal especially, to a lesser degree. I actually don't like it when I'm not the dumbest person in the room. Which makes debates on the internet difficult since every time you think it can't get any lower, you'll find a gaping hole in the floor.

Again, the games as art debate is one I'd love to have on a real academic level either with someone far more educated than I am or with someone on roughly the same level if not higher who disagrees with me to one degree or another. It's just hard to find someone who can give me that.

Games are art.

Most games are not good art.

DrVornoff:
Again, the games as art debate is one I'd love to have on a real academic level either with someone far more educated than I am or with someone on roughly the same level if not higher who disagrees with me to one degree or another. It's just hard to find someone who can give me that.

I would suggest trying to have it at art forums, seems far more likely to find an art mayor who likes videogames there than a videogamer that knows art theory here. And it seems like a pointless debate, unless you can somehow give a precise & non subjective definition of art.

And Warhol was ok, it's what he started, first in pop art and now in most of art i see in galeries... pretentious mercenaries everywhere.

DrVornoff:
No dispute, we have Wil Wright, Hideo Kojima, Tim Schafer, Peter Molyneux and a few others I'm doubtless forgetting.

Humm... we start badly, two of those 4 suck ass at gameplay, though popular i am not sure they can be great examples for videogames.

Tree man:
(to clarify I see art as paintings, sculptures, music and film.)

This is usually my response when someone says that games aren't art. A game more or less consists of EVERY GOD DAMN ART FORM out there. I don't get it. It's art If I make a stand-alone 3D model or a song, but if I put them in a game it's not art anymore? Doesn't make sense to me.

Not all games are art, but not all "art games" are art, either. Games certainly can be art. Capable of evoking powerful emotions, allowing the user to interpret the things before them as they see fit. Journey has evoked just as much thought and consideration of both my life and a place in the world as did Norman Rockwell's The Shiner.

As always with this topic, it's up to the individual.

This has nothing to do with whether or not games are art but how art is defined.
If you exclude interactivity than it's not even a discussion as much as an inflammatory title intended to get people in a huff before they read your post.

But I'll play by your definition and counter that music is art, images can be art, stories are art, so whether or not games themselves are, they have the capacity to be entirely comprised of art.

Many aspects of a games world, characters, and themes do not change regardless of how you interact with them so to that end games could be considered art in all but mechanic.

All of that is slightly missing the point of why so many people consider games art though. I consider art to 'require' interactivity. Which does not exclude traditional arts in my mind, though you don't typically interact with them through vandalism or play. Even internal responses such as ideas and emotions are interaction. For example, very rarely do I listen to music without visually painting in my mind. I play with the scene, often trying to come up with more than one story for the same song.

tr00per7:
Games arent art

you cant hang halo 3 in your living room, that would be fucking stupid.

I would say you made an excellent point, but you broke my sarcasm meter. I demand recompense!

Honestly, I just hate the word "art".

Just make something you like, play what you like, hang up on your walls what you like. It's not that hard people.

rob_simple:

Tree man:

To clarify I see art as paintings, sculptures, music and film.

Art, in my opinion is stationary, games are not.

"Kinetic sculptor and artist Theo Jansen builds 'strandbeests' from yellow plastic tubing that is readily available in his native Holland."

Conclusion: Your argument has more holes than a whorehouse.

I'm not gonna lie, that video was fucking brilliant; both in conveying that even sculptured art doesn't have to be static, as well as just being undeniably awesome and creative.

OT: I myself like to see video games as a culmination of multiple forms of art that has the potential to become greater than any other artistic medium before it. Once a lot of the general public's negative stigma on gaming has passed, I hope to see the medium get taken more seriously and become more deep and thought-provoking as the other forms of art did.

However, just because video games isn't stationary and as widely accepted as paintings, sculptures, literature, movies, etc., is no reason to discount them, especially since they're still in the relative early stages of development. Sure there are many games out that many (even die-hard, loyal gamers) wouldn't accept as a form of artistic expression based on how terrible they might be. To counter that point, there are equally many, more likely even more so, shitty/forgettable paintings, novels, and films (anyone who has seen what the Cinema Snob normally reviews knows the depravity that medium can sink to), yet despite those flukes, they don't take away those mediums' rights as being called art.

I think anything that shows "expression and application of human creativity", and can illicit an emotional response, is art. What I classify as art may be different to what someone else does.

No matter what those naysayers present to prove games are not an art form, you have to remember that all types of art are supposed to be enjoyed in different ways:

Paintings, drawings, sculptures = Sight
Music = Hearing
Movies = Sight and Hearing
Culinary Arts = Taste/Smell/Sight(even hearing in some cases)
Video Games = Interactive Experience based off Sight and Hearing

This is just a very basic case I'm making, but I'm ready to fight tooth and nail to defend games as an art form. The uneducated need to be beaten with a stick enlightened.

Tanakh:
Humm... we start badly, two of those 4 suck ass at gameplay, though popular i am not sure they can be great examples for videogames.

Ah, but that's not the point of the argument. The point is that these are men who care deeply about their IPs and genuinely attempt to innovate. Peter for example may have a problem with gameplay, but I would argue that he is a true auteur because the entire design philosophy is influenced by his vision. I believe this is a good thing in the bigger picture. While most publishers are playing it safe churning out samey FPSs in hopes of catching some of Call of Duty's limelight, Peter is barreling ahead with his own ideas just because he wants to try them. The dude is so relentlessly optimistic and committed to the creative aspect of his work that I can't help respect him. I really do believe that we're better off having them than not. He may not be gaming's answer to David Cronenberg, one of my personal heroes, but it's a good thing that he's on board.

And I know how a lot of people feel about Hideo Kojima, but again I feel that we're better off with him than without. He's a wellspring of creativity, but restraint is his weak spot. Nevertheless, I believe his net influence on the industry will be a positive one.

I'm curious. I mentioned Roger Corman before. Are you familiar with his career?

If you are a gamer, and you think games can't be art...

You're doing it wrong.

How can games not be art when they include every form of art you just listed?

A more important thing to note is that art is timeless. For example, even centuries from now people will still be able to appreciate the Mona Lisa, maybe there will still be studies on Citizen Kane. I'm sure that even classical music will have it's part.

Games are not timeless. Granted, not a lot of time has passed in the grand scheme of things but generally speaking people want to play whats new, NOT what has the most artistic value. This makes games a piece of entertainment, which is not a bad thing at all. Even if it is art, who cares?! I don't need to seek validation for my hobby. I've enjoyed gaming for decades and I didn't give a toss what anybody thought of me.

DrVornoff:
The point is that these are men who care deeply about their IPs and genuinely attempt to innovate.

I mentioned Roger Corman before. Are you familiar with his career?

Nop, i am not familiar, I seldom if ever actively try to see a B film, or any film this day for that matter; his career is quite impressive though.

Humm, they do care, and they do have an imprint, innovate though? Well, Schafer does try at least.

The vision that most of them have is just too different. If you asked Kojima what's the art media that is closer to videogames, I am almost sure he would say movies.

I disagree, for me good videogames can be like movies, great ones never, the great videogames for me are closer to modern dance: the developer puts the choreography, the console gives us our body and muscles and the gamer performs. If it was to me to show that games can be art, i would show stuff like this or this other one, maybe even this; the problem is like in dance or football you can't appreciate it to it's fullest extent without being a practicioner; but see the whole videos and tell me if there is not intrinsic beauty in them.

Personaly i don't care about progressing videogames as a sotrytelling medium, though there are some like Witcher 2 that do that amazlingly well, i want videogames that focus on gameplay and let the rest exsist to imporve said experience. That's why companies like Valve or Blizzard with their obsessive focus on polished gameplay are my favourites, why i would take a game by Icefrog over one from Peter Molyneux any day or play Battlefield 3 over any MGS.

Vanilla_Druid:
So I suppose Battleship or Tickle Me Elmo could be considered art as well. Some could even argue that boiled rice or a roll of toilet paper could be art. The point is, everything can potentially be considered art. It is the broadness of the definition that makes me want it to be put into clear terms. To me, art is something that just sits somewhere and looks pretty and must be created by only ONE person. It seems like the main reason why people insist on calling video games art is so that their precious hobby can be protected from the bible-thumpers. If it means striking a blow against censorship, however, then I would have to accept video games as art (with fingers crossed behind my back, of course).

That would imply that multiple authors of a artistic piece could not exist. What about interpretations or covers? Although one person is creating material, they are doing so only through the work of another. By your definition, no modern band can create art because it might be a collaborative effort and therefore not the creation of one person.

I'm curious why the number of creators matters to your definition. If you see a painting hanging on a wall, does it matter to your sensibilities of art if it was created by a single person making 100 strokes or 100 people making 1 stroke? Do you have to have knowledge about the creator to fully appreciate it?

"I don't know if it's art, but I know what I like."

I find myself agreeing with the quote from Man on Fire, anything done with sufficient skill, emotion, and mastery so that the effort transforms the [insert whatever here] beyond the mundane is art.

There is the flip side as well, art appreciation. It is a learned skilled. There was an experiment with violinist Joshua Bell in a subway...World Class violinist, tuned instrument, emotional music, but the setting was a subway...the banality of the setting and the expectations of the people didn't allow them to perceive what would normally be considered an artistic performance.

Just bored studying for midterms.

Tree man:

Art, in my opinion is stationary, games are not.

^ Your thoughts.

I don't get much out of paintings or photography or any of that, but music is something altogether different. For example, when I hear a great song, it stays with me. I don't leave it behind because I can't leave it behind. To me, art is not stationary, art (or I should say GOOD art) follows me and encourages me to come back. Games do the same thing. The thing about art though, is that it is an entirely subjective thing. There is no objective way of defining art, or at least not one that is any good. Games may not be art to you, but they are certainly art to a lot of other people, myself included. The bottom line is, you're not wrong and neither am I.

EDIT:

Evil Alpaca:
If you see a painting hanging on a wall, does it matter to your sensibilities of art if it was created by a single person making 100 strokes or 100 people making 1 stroke? Do you have to have knowledge about the creator to fully appreciate it?

Brilliantly said.

idarkphoenixi:
A more important thing to note is that art is timeless. For example, even centuries from now people will still be able to appreciate the Mona Lisa, maybe there will still be studies on Citizen Kane. I'm sure that even classical music will have it's part.

Games are not timeless. Granted, not a lot of time has passed in the grand scheme of things but generally speaking people want to play whats new, NOT what has the most artistic value. This makes games a piece of entertainment, which is not a bad thing at all. Even if it is art, who cares?! I don't need to seek validation for my hobby. I've enjoyed gaming for decades and I didn't give a toss what anybody thought of me.

That timelessness thing is so full of holes, I don't even know where to begin. Art is not in any way timeless. Our interpretations and feelings toward it can and must change with the seasons. If timelessness is your standard then there is no art.

boag:
im all for having a philosophical about the definition of art, but Im not sure the current shitstorm will allow for proper discussion to take place.

This, I'm afraid. For the record, i agree with OP (but not for the reasons stated), but the current issue with the ME3 endings make it so people don't really have their heads on straight. Let it cool for a month or so, then we can talk :|

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