Logic: Why Mass Effect is not Art.

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I decided to do away with any pretense in the title that we are dealing with video games as a whole, we all know why this thread is being written, along with the hundreds of others. The difference between this thread and the others is that I will lay out several logical reasons why "artistic vision" is no defence of the immutability of Mass Effect's Ending.

1) Copies of Art are bought, not licensed.

It is interesting to relate the "artistic vision" argument by bioware to the "We will ban you from ever playing your games" strategy of EA's origin when it comes to modding. Making a change to a purchased copy of Mass Effect for private use will result in a ban from Origin, essentially locking you out of your purchase. This does not follow the artistic vision declaration. If I buy a copy of the Mona Lisa I am free to scribble all over it if it adds to my enjoyment in private use. Similarily, if I purchase a movie I am free to (admittedly poorly) add myself to the background of scenes looking bemused using editing software if I so choose, so long as it is for private viewing. Try to so much as improve the textures on Mass Effect and you will find yourself on the blunt end of a ban hammer. This is because unlike art, Mass Effect is not purchased. It is licensed from a corporation whom at any time can revoke your ability to play. The seperates Mass Effect from a piece of art which is bought and appreciated/interpreted however someone chooses in an active fashion, from a service such as cable, which is paid for and then passively recieved. I'm assuming we can all agree cable, despite having been worked on by creative human beings, is not art because noone can ever truly own cable. One of the key elements of art that make it so attractive to humans is it's ability to be owned and enjoyed, whether it be now or twenty years from now.

2) Interactivity is a quality of sports and competition, not art.

This is perhaps the most important reason for distinguishing mass effect, or any video game, from art. The ability to interact with a medium, to change, play, or compete with it, excludes it from being art. Tennis is not art, it is a sport. The people who created tennis are not artists. Monopoly is a game, not art. The people who created monopoly are not artists. Admittedly those who created the board and figurines are artists, just as those who created the landscapes and textures in Mass Effect are artists. But Mass Effect itself is not art, it is a game that uses art to immerse. Monopoly is not art, it is a game that uses art to immerse. The inevitable response is "But a violin can be played, is a violin not art?" The difference here is that when a violin is played it creates art, music which can be recorded and enjoyed later. I would relate that to someone creating machinima from a game. Both music and machinima are art, but the violin and mass effect, the tools used to make the art, are not art in themselves simply for having been the tool used to create.

3) The story of Mass Effect is not literature

The most compelling point an advocate of "video games as art" can make is to say that even if the gameplay of Mass Effect is not art, the story itself is. Their point is compelling, after all the story of this universe is both compelling and moving. In addition, it does resemble the art form of literature, using the written word to record the artistic expression of stories. However, it only resembles this art form, it is not this art form itself. The reason Mass Effect cannot be treated as an art form due to its story is the same reason that driving your car cannot be considered art, because the interactive nature prohibits an exact duplication. To elaborate, in the videogame Mass Effect not a single person will recieve the same story. This isnt just marketing "Every story is different!" bullshit, this is literal fact. It may take me twenty bullets to kill a maruader and you only 19, but that very difference launches the game away from being art and towards being just that, a game. Art must be identical to all who experience it, it must be our perception that changes it. If you classify an activity such as playing Mass Effect "art", then you must call me driving my Toyota Tundra "Art". In both cases we are using products that were worked on and designed by a hard working group of professionals who considered beauty and functionality as part of their paradigms for creation. Neither of these groups created art, they created a product.

tl;dr? the strongest logical failings of calling Mass Effect "art" are its inability to be owned and therefore permanently enjoyed, its interactive nature rendering it an activity rather than a art, and its inability to be replicated putting it on par with driving ones car.

Active discussion encouraged. If you can logically and without vitriol offer reasons why video games are art, by all means lay out your argument.

Judas_Iscariot:
I decided to do away with any pretense in the title that we are dealing with video games as a whole, we all know why this thread is being written, along with the hundreds of others. The difference between this thread and the others is that I will lay out several logical reasons why "artistic vision" is no defence of the immutability of Mass Effect's Ending.

1) Copies of Art are bought, not licensed.

It is interesting to relate the "artistic vision" argument by bioware to the "We will ban you from ever playing your games" strategy of EA's origin when it comes to modding. Making a change to a purchased copy of Mass Effect for private use will result in a ban from Origin, essentially locking you out of your purchase. This does not follow the artistic vision declaration. If I buy a copy of the Mona Lisa I am free to scribble all over it if it adds to my enjoyment in private use. Similarily, if I purchase a movie I am free to (admittedly poorly) add myself to the background of scenes looking bemused using editing software if I so choose, so long as it is for private viewing. Try to so much as improve the textures on Mass Effect and you will find yourself on the blunt end of a ban hammer. This is because unlike art, Mass Effect is not purchased. It is licensed from a corporation whom at any time can revoke your ability to play. The seperates Mass Effect from a piece of art which is bought and appreciated/interpreted however someone chooses in an active fashion, from a service such as cable, which is paid for and then passively recieved. I'm assuming we can all agree cable, despite having been worked on by creative human beings, is not art because noone can ever truly own cable. One of the key elements of art that make it so attractive to humans is it's ability to be owned and enjoyed, whether it be now or twenty years from now.

So wait, art is something you have to own? What about stage plays, or spoken word poetry, or ballets? Or any kind of performance based art. Or art that degrades or is destroyed with time (street art, nature installations, temporary installations etc). I'm not 100% sure on the actual laws concerning film distribution, but I'm inclined to think that it doesn't hold up. It's purposely limiting ME to it's Origin distribution system. If Citizen Kane is on Netflix, does that revoke it's title as art? To be closer to your point I guess, there are plenty of films on Netflix where it's impossible to get a DVD copy of it, are they not art because their rights are being held by someone who isn't interested in DVD distribution or there wasn't a monetary means to physically produce them?

2) Interactivity is a quality of sports and competition, not art.

This is perhaps the most important reason for distinguishing mass effect, or any video game, from art. The ability to interact with a medium, to change, play, or compete with it, excludes it from being art. Tennis is not art, it is a sport. The people who created tennis are not artists. Monopoly is a game, not art. The people who created monopoly are not artists. Admittedly those who created the board and figurines are artists, just as those who created the landscapes and textures in Mass Effect are artists. But Mass Effect itself is not art, it is a game that uses art to immerse. Monopoly is not art, it is a game that uses art to immerse. The inevitable response is "But a violin can be played, is a violin not art?" The difference here is that when a violin is played it creates art, music which can be recorded and enjoyed later. I would relate that to someone creating machinima from a game. Both music and machinima are art, but the violin and mass effect, the tools used to make the art, are not art in themselves simply for having been the tool used to create.

I'm going to chalk this up to not having a lot of knowledge about non-stupidly-famous art. But there is plenty of interactive art. "Cut Piece" I think is the most famous example, but I recently went to the National Gallery and their special exhibition had a interactive piece (I forgot the artists name, so sorry)

3) The story of Mass Effect is not literature

The most compelling point an advocate of "video games as art" can make is to say that even if the gameplay of Mass Effect is not art, the story itself is. Their point is compelling, after all the story of this universe is both compelling and moving. In addition, it does resemble the art form of literature, using the written word to record the artistic expression of stories. However, it only resembles this art form, it is not this art form itself. The reason Mass Effect cannot be treated as an art form due to its story is the same reason that driving your car cannot be considered art, because the interactive nature prohibits an exact duplication. To elaborate, in the videogame Mass Effect not a single person will recieve the same story. This isnt just marketing "Every story is different!" bullshit, this is literal fact. It may take me twenty bullets to kill a maruader and you only 19, but that very difference launches the game away from being art and towards being just that, a game. Art must be identical to all who experience it, it must be our perception that changes it. If you classify an activity such as playing Mass Effect "art", then you must call me driving my Toyota Tundra "Art". In both cases we are using products that were worked on and designed by a hard working group of professionals who considered beauty and functionality as part of their paradigms for creation. Neither of these groups created art, they created a product.

I'm sorry but this logic is absolutely terrible. Because it's not experienced the same way it's not art? Either I'm misunderstanding you (and if I am, please elaborate) or this is absurd, and I *really* hope that I won't have to defend that assertion. If I misunderstood your two previous posts as well, feel free to clarify.

I agree with every point you've presented. I honestly don't understand why people keep jumping up and down about this "game" = "art" business. What does it matter? In the end we got a shitty ending to a shitty game. The quality of the product should be the issue not how "artistic" it is.Especially when artistic expression starts affecting the overall quality of the product
And seriously, EA games? They just crap out games once a year and slap price tags on em'. If they are artists, the whole Renaissance era is a lie.

Though I should mentioned interactivity is a broad term, becareful with this point, it will get muddy. I know many artists claim that looking and interpreting art is the "interactive" part.

Judas_Iscariot:

3) The story of Mass Effect is not literature

I don't think anyone was in danger of confusing Mass Effect 3 with a book.

Kahunaburger:

Judas_Iscariot:

3) The story of Mass Effect is not literature

I don't think anyone was in danger of confusing Mass Effect 3 with a book.

This does explain why my copy of Mass Effect 3 gave me such severe eye strain.

EClaris:

So wait, art is something you have to own? What about stage plays, or spoken word poetry, or ballets? Or any kind of performance based art. Or art that degrades or is destroyed with time (street art, nature installations, temporary installations etc). I'm not 100% sure on the actual laws concerning film distribution, but I'm inclined to think that it doesn't hold up. It's purposely limiting ME to it's Origin distribution system. If Citizen Kane is on Netflix, does that revoke it's title as art? To be closer to your point I guess, there are plenty of films on Netflix where it's impossible to get a DVD copy of it, are they not art because their rights are being held by someone who isn't interested in DVD distribution or there wasn't a monetary means to physically produce them?

In performance based art you are purchasing the right to witness it a single time, roughly equal to buying a movie ticket. The key point here is that you can buy a play book and write in your own sections and have yourself and friends perform it for your own private amusement. The play itself is art. Actors portaying the characters are just interpreting the art.

Film distrubution laws are just that, distribution. If you edit a film for your personal enjoyment and sow it only to yourself you are well within your rights. Mass Effect edited for your personal enjoyment gets you punished.

The netflix example holds water though. I would say, however, that only proves that Netflix is not art. You can still purchase the actual art (The films) and change them for your personal enjoyment.

I'm going to chalk this up to not having a lot of knowledge about non-stupidly-famous art. But there is plenty of interactive art. "Cut Piece" I think is the most famous example, but I recently went to the National Gallery and their special exhibition had a interactive piece (I forgot the artists name, so sorry)

I would need to see this art to formulate a response.

I'm sorry but this logic is absolutely terrible. Because it's not experienced the same way it's not art? Either I'm misunderstanding you (and if I am, please elaborate) or this is absurd, and I *really* hope that I won't have to defend that assertion. If I misunderstood your two previous posts as well, feel free to clarify.

It is not because it isnt experienced the same way, it is because it is not PRESENTED the same way. The game is just that, a game. Each time you play it is a completely different story. It may follow the same loose plot, as a game of RISK does, but it is not reproduceable. Because of this if you consider playing a game of mass effect art, you need to consider playing a game of monopoly art, or if you consider the game itself art, you need to consider all forms of board games art as well. Because they follow the same structure. They both may use narrative for cohesiveness, but ultimately the actions of the interacter shape the presentation.

Judas_Iscariot:
1) Copies of Art are bought, not licensed.

Orchestras, ranging from school to professional, have to purchase licenses from music publishers to obtain parts in order to perform pieces of music.

The musicians do not own the music, just like how players of a game do not own the game.

Judas_Iscariot:
It is not because it isnt experienced the same way, it is because it is not PRESENTED the same way. The game is just that, a game. Each time you play it is a completely different story. It may follow the same loose plot, as a game of RISK does, but it is not reproduceable. Because of this if you consider playing a game of mass effect art, you need to consider playing a game of monopoly art, or if you consider the game itself art, you need to consider all forms of board games art as well. Because they follow the same structure. They both may use narrative for cohesiveness, but ultimately the actions of the interacter shape the presentation.

No, that's not scanning for me. You've made several stretches of logic, but this one just loses me.

Here's the thing, you're arguing that the way you consume the material is what differentiates it from art. By engaging in gameplay, that makes it not art. But if this strictly mechanical action is how you are defining it, then you are saying that literature is art because it's in books and you turn pages.

I define art not as the product that we consume, but the experience we implicitly feel. Now, there is a more abstract school of thought that pertains to the media itself. Have you ever seen David Cronenberg's Videodrome?

Judas_Iscariot:

3) The story of Mass Effect is not literature

So by your logic, Movies and music are not art. When you create a game you are making art. Is this that hard of a concept to understand. By your logic, books are not art because you are turning pages and interacting with it.

I haven't really been hearing a lot of people say Mass Effect is a prime example of art.
Hell, the best part about it is the story, and it isn't even a good one.
It is just told very well. But that's a different point entirely.

And can games in general be art? Some can, some can't. I'm sure 90% of people would see certain sculptures, movies, music pieces, or paintings, and classify some as an art and some as shit/not art (Being shit and not being aren't are NOT the same thing, just to clarify), so I don't see why the distinction can't be made for games.

Logic has no place at all in any discussion about art, regardless of the point of view being expressed. I won't even go into the fallacies of the OP's individual points.

Maybe this would mean anything if you wouldn't try to effectively impose your idea of what "art" is onto everyone else as if you are the final arbiter to it.
I've seen many people do that by now and it's kind of related to the church trying to force their shitty antiquated morals onto everyone else.
So kindly back off.

Judas_Iscariot:
I decided to do away with any pretense in the title that we are dealing with video games as a whole, we all know why this thread is being written, along with the hundreds of others. The difference between this thread and the others is that I will lay out several logical reasons why "artistic vision" is no defence of the immutability of Mass Effect's Ending.

1) Copies of Art are bought, not licensed.

It is interesting to relate the "artistic vision" argument by bioware to the "We will ban you from ever playing your games" strategy of EA's origin when it comes to modding. Making a change to a purchased copy of Mass Effect for private use will result in a ban from Origin, essentially locking you out of your purchase. This does not follow the artistic vision declaration. If I buy a copy of the Mona Lisa I am free to scribble all over it if it adds to my enjoyment in private use. Similarily, if I purchase a movie I am free to (admittedly poorly) add myself to the background of scenes looking bemused using editing software if I so choose, so long as it is for private viewing. Try to so much as improve the textures on Mass Effect and you will find yourself on the blunt end of a ban hammer. This is because unlike art, Mass Effect is not purchased. It is licensed from a corporation whom at any time can revoke your ability to play. The seperates Mass Effect from a piece of art which is bought and appreciated/interpreted however someone chooses in an active fashion, from a service such as cable, which is paid for and then passively recieved. I'm assuming we can all agree cable, despite having been worked on by creative human beings, is not art because noone can ever truly own cable. One of the key elements of art that make it so attractive to humans is it's ability to be owned and enjoyed, whether it be now or twenty years from now.

2) Interactivity is a quality of sports and competition, not art.

This is perhaps the most important reason for distinguishing mass effect, or any video game, from art. The ability to interact with a medium, to change, play, or compete with it, excludes it from being art. Tennis is not art, it is a sport. The people who created tennis are not artists. Monopoly is a game, not art. The people who created monopoly are not artists. Admittedly those who created the board and figurines are artists, just as those who created the landscapes and textures in Mass Effect are artists. But Mass Effect itself is not art, it is a game that uses art to immerse. Monopoly is not art, it is a game that uses art to immerse. The inevitable response is "But a violin can be played, is a violin not art?" The difference here is that when a violin is played it creates art, music which can be recorded and enjoyed later. I would relate that to someone creating machinima from a game. Both music and machinima are art, but the violin and mass effect, the tools used to make the art, are not art in themselves simply for having been the tool used to create.

3) The story of Mass Effect is not literature

The most compelling point an advocate of "video games as art" can make is to say that even if the gameplay of Mass Effect is not art, the story itself is. Their point is compelling, after all the story of this universe is both compelling and moving. In addition, it does resemble the art form of literature, using the written word to record the artistic expression of stories. However, it only resembles this art form, it is not this art form itself. The reason Mass Effect cannot be treated as an art form due to its story is the same reason that driving your car cannot be considered art, because the interactive nature prohibits an exact duplication. To elaborate, in the videogame Mass Effect not a single person will recieve the same story. This isnt just marketing "Every story is different!" bullshit, this is literal fact. It may take me twenty bullets to kill a maruader and you only 19, but that very difference launches the game away from being art and towards being just that, a game. Art must be identical to all who experience it, it must be our perception that changes it. If you classify an activity such as playing Mass Effect "art", then you must call me driving my Toyota Tundra "Art". In both cases we are using products that were worked on and designed by a hard working group of professionals who considered beauty and functionality as part of their paradigms for creation. Neither of these groups created art, they created a product.

tl;dr? the strongest logical failings of calling Mass Effect "art" are its inability to be owned and therefore permanently enjoyed, its interactive nature rendering it an activity rather than a art, and its inability to be replicated putting it on par with driving ones car.

Active discussion encouraged. If you can logically and without vitriol offer reasons why video games are art, by all means lay out your argument.

I find your name to be kind of fitting with the title. Good play too.

And now I will proceed to tear your points down.

1) Go to the MET, MoMA Gugenheim ANY art gallery and you will SEE ART THAT IS LICENSED. *EDIT* Unless it is a private gallery.

Also this:

Aircross:

Judas_Iscariot:
1) Copies of Art are bought, not licensed.

Orchestras, ranging from school to professional, have to purchase licenses from music publishers to obtain parts in order to perform pieces of music.

The musicians do not own the music, just like how players of a game do not own the game.

2) There are actually THOUSANDS of interactive art exhibits around the world. One of which is at the afformentioned Gugenheim. Its an art display on sound.

3) Not all art is Literature so this point is quite frankly pointless. Like someone already said what about Stage Plays or Ballets. Those are not literature but still considered art. What about movies? Not literature but still art. Yes some movies are not art but a lot of it can be. I for one consider Momento to be art.

Things like movies and games the value of the art is by who is seeing it. Like I for one HATE modern art. Still went to the Gugenheim recently which is a huge modern art museum. Yeah you might make the argument that Modern Art isn't art but to some people it is.

TL;DR
My last point. Games are an art form whether or not you consider it art is up to the person who is playing it. Just like how modern art to some is shit and to others its a master piece. Same with games.

Art is only a word attached to a loose concept, it can be shaped into whatever meaning we'd like it to have and if a game meets that criteria than it qualifies as art to that particular person. A happy meal toy, dice, and a barbie glued to a plank of wood doesn't qualify as art to me.

The title of this thread should be, "Why Mass Effect Doesn't Qualify As Art To Me Individually".

I'm sorry, but... bullshit. Absolute bullshit.

The first point is a non-issue entirely. Never in discussion of art has its form of distribution ever factored into its very status as art. Never. One could use your logic to also argue that film is not art because movie rental places exist and do not "sell" the material, but rent it out temporarily. But that would be stupid. Just like this argument.

The second point is one of the most interesting arguments against games as art, but still a failure. Basically what you're saying is that interactivity has not been part of art in the past, and thus it cannot be part of it now. It's an incredibly anti-progressive and short-sighted argument. So adding interactivity to art means it's no longer art? How can you claim that? New elements have often been added to art over the years; images, video, sound, even stories themselves. The addition of these elements did not disqualify the works as art, they created new art forms. The exact same thing is happening here with the entire medium of video games.

The third point is essentially the same problem, but rather than claiming "game + art = game" (as though the two had to be mutually exclusive), you're claiming that the fact that slightly different experiences can be had makes it not art. I'm sorry, I just see absolutely no valid logic in this. Regardless of these different experiences, you are still experiencing the game exactly as the creators, the artists, intended. Even a game like Mass Effect, which lets you choose drastically different story paths, is entirely within the bounds allowed and created by the developers. Absolutely nothing you can do (outside of breaking the game, but that's akin to re-editing a movie, which hardly disqualifies the original as art) is outside of the creators' intended actions for the game. No matter what you do, no matter how many different experiences there are, they are all designed specifically by the creators to be the experience they want. That is art. They have created art.

I'm sorry, but I kind of thought these arguments were all dead. They were around a lot a while ago, but died off when each one got so decisively defeated by basic logic and a shred of aesthetic understanding. I don't mean to be unkind, but I do mean to be harsh; none of these arguments hold water. They are old, tired, and ultimately hold no significance or relevance to the discussion of video games as art, as games, or as a cultural force.

So... You are just applying your definition of what it means to be art to videogames? Perfectly reasonable, but I do not see what we are supposed to discuss here.

Also,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interactive_art

Judas_Iscariot:
1) Copies of Art are bought, not licensed.

2) Interactivity is a quality of sports and competition, not art.

3) The story of Mass Effect is not literature

1) Dance.

2) Interactive installation.

3) It's in part a work of literature, a quite cheesy one but still.

Very poor post mate.

Edit: A classic form of interactive installation: http://vimeo.com/8525186

Heeeeey, another guy with the near deistic power to influence the known world and decree what is and isn't art. Love you guys.

Hey, while you're at it, can you make grabbing your crotch in public art? I've always wanted to be an artist...

1 and 2. That is pretty fucking arbitrary right there. You may as well say cars can't be art because you drive them, or plays because there is more than one artist. All pretty fucking arbitrary.

3. Ah, because every story is the same every reading for every individual. And if that isn't so then the work isn't art. So Melville is not a true artist since many of his works read entirely differently the second time around thanks to the many layers of irony. And consequentially Moby Dick is not art. All those thousands of literary essays written over the years wasted. Thank you OP for freeing Engish majors around the globe from ever having to write about that book again.

I reject your definition of art and replace it with my own.

And thus is the crux of the "Games As Art" debate.

I don't think gamers will benefit from letting developers label anything off the shelf as "art". I know we love our games but this art debate is just their little way of derailing the quality issues of their games.

I can come up with even more unrelated reasons that things aren't art, I bet.

My dog is not art because art does not drool and lick itself.

My water is not art because art doesn't come in tubes.

Mass Effect is not art because art does not feature customizable faces.

While these may be absurd, they are at least as valid as the OP's reasons.

lacktheknack:
I reject your definition of art and replace it with my own.

And thus is the crux of the "Games As Art" debate.

This.

It's not art to you, OP, because, by your definition, art does not include games. By other people's definition of art (almost all of which differ on some level) games ARE art. Both views are equally valid as there is no real indisputable definition of what classifies something as art.

This isn't really a debatable subject. You may as well talk about your favorite color and all of your logical reasons as to why it is superior.

Zeel:
I don't think gamers will benefit from letting developers label anything off the shelf as "art". I know we love our games but this art debate is just their little way of derailing the quality issues of their games.

I don't think it matters. EA/Bioware create games to make money, nothing wrong with that, they are companies; in the list of priorities making art is maybe a 1/1,000,000 what is worth making money.

What we can't allow is to accept bad products because they are "art", especially not products that are as standard and cliched as ME 3. Think about it, wich franchise is less original and risky this days CoD or ME? If they risked something and ended up with crap, like Schafer or Molyneux here and there, fair enough, but if you are going to make a AAA run of the mill bluckbuster i expect you to stick to the script, not pull up some crap to create controversy and keep your franchise DLC market alive at the end and then call it "art" when the shit hits the fan.

Revnak:
1 and 2. That is pretty fucking arbitrary right there. You may as well say cars can't be art because you drive them, or plays because there is more than one artist. All pretty fucking arbitrary.

3. Ah, because every story is the same every reading for every individual. And if that isn't so then the work isn't art. So Melville is not a true artist since many of his works read entirely differently the second time around thanks to the many layers of irony. And consequentially Moby Dick is not art. All those thousands of literary essays written over the years wasted. Thank you OP for freeing Engish majors around the globe from ever having to write about that book again.

What he's saying is that it can't be considered an expression of artistic vision because the experience is determined by the player and not the artist.

There are certain aspects of any game that can be considered artistic, like character design and such, but that doesn't render the entire experience art; in the same way, you could have a hand-crafted chess board, but the actual game "chess" is not art. Soccer is not art either. Beer pong is not art. Anything that satisfies the human need for play is not art. It's still worthwhile of course, but the category is different.

drummond13:
This isn't really a debatable subject. You may as well talk about your favorite color and all of your logical reasons as to why it is superior.

This is a silly statement. The value of art is definitely subjective, but the definition is not - or, at least, it isn't to nearly the same degree. It's perfectly reasonable to set a definition for what constitutes "art." Otherwise you have a society where dipping tennis balls in mayonnaise or sitting naked in a meat-lined fake ovary carries the same designation as the Mona Lisa.

peruvianskys:
What he's saying is that it can't be considered an expression of artistic vision because the experience is determined by the player and not the artist.

Ahhh... mate, in all the artforms the experience is determined by the creator (and performer if applicable) and the receptor. When I hear Mozart's K626 my experience is radically different to yours.

Edit: It's not even a new idea, it has been in art appreciation 101 forever now.

Dobule Edit: Damn, now i remember i need to convert that Mozart collection from ape to mp3 to hear it on the road.

Movies aren't art because, unlike plays, the "performance" only happens once, and can be copied a million times over with no additional artistic effort. An important part of performing arts is how an individual group performs it differently each time, but with movies that's not the case. No matter many times I watch a given movie, it will have the exact same actors delivering the exact same lines in the exact same way.

Also, unlike paintings or sculptures, copies of movies are still considered the movie. A photo copied Picasso is not a Picasso, but a DVD of a movie is still a movie. Music is different because the song, the actual notes, is something entirely different from a given recording of said song. Listening to an MP3 of a song is like watching a videotape of a play. That one version is not the song, because it can be sung by different artists at different times all over the world. The same song sung twice is the same song. The same movie filmed twice is not the same movie.

Basically, movies are not art because, as we all know, art is defined by a random collection of arbitrary features of other mediums, and not any sort of higher philosophical idea.

Wait, what were we talking about again?

"Art" is a completely meaningless word, as it's definition is completely subjective, and varies from person to person. Therefore, arguing about what does or doesn't constitute art is as constructive as arguing over what the best color is.

SEE ALSO: What I said in the last "Games are/aren't art" thread:

In my opinion, something can't be considered art until it has badgers in it. So obviously games (and actually, most things) are not art. Unless they have badgers in them, of course.

This thread is silly.

Tanakh:

Ahhh... mate, in all the artforms the experience is determined by the creator (and performer if applicable) and the receptor. When I hear Mozart's K626 my experience is radically different to yours.

Edit: It's not even a new idea, it has been in art appreciation 101 forever now.

There's a difference between the reaction to the art and the presentation of the art itself. You and I may have different reactions to classical music, but we're simply interpreting a single, uniform piece in different ways.

An example of a piece where we would actually make two different pieces, not simply give rise to two interpretations, would be if an artist said "The sound of you getting ready to go to work this morning is my musical piece." Because the artist is not the one dictating the details of the performance, the "work" is by necessity devoid of artistic intent, unless of course the artistic intent was to demonstrate that lack of intent - but if that were the case, then the act of stating those parameters for the piece would be the art itself, not the actual sounds of us preparing for work.

Frozen Donkey Wheel2:

This thread is silly.

Sigh... all of them are... Until one of them actually declares crotch-grabbing an art. Then I'll be all over that

*Captcha: "on the ball" .... See, even the website agrees with me

peruvianskys:

Revnak:
1 and 2. That is pretty fucking arbitrary right there. You may as well say cars can't be art because you drive them, or plays because there is more than one artist. All pretty fucking arbitrary.

3. Ah, because every story is the same every reading for every individual. And if that isn't so then the work isn't art. So Melville is not a true artist since many of his works read entirely differently the second time around thanks to the many layers of irony. And consequentially Moby Dick is not art. All those thousands of literary essays written over the years wasted. Thank you OP for freeing Engish majors around the globe from ever having to write about that book again.

What he's saying is that it can't be considered an expression of artistic vision because the experience is determined by the player and not the artist.

There are certain aspects of any game that can be considered artistic, like character design and such, but that doesn't render the entire experience art; in the same way, you could have a hand-crafted chess board, but the actual game "chess" is not art. Soccer is not art either. Beer pong is not art. Anything that satisfies the human need for play is not art. It's still worthwhile of course, but the category is different.

That is a pretty specific and largely arbitrary need to single out. Needs like sex, communication, and hunger are fine, but play is a huge no-no. The fuck is up with that. And when did we stop understanding that the audience has always had a say in how they experienced art? Artists define the work, the work only posses a certain number of valid experiences based on how it is defined, and the audience experiences any number of these, as well as any number of invalid experiences brought about by faulty perception. All art, including games abides by this and any artist who tells you what their work really means is lying to you.

I think the question we need to be asking here is not "is Mass Effect/the video game medium as a whole art?" We need to ask ourselves what we think defines "art" first.

Problem is, everyone has a different definition of art, because art, by nature, emotionally engages people. And everyone has unique emotions, therefore we will all have different things that emotionally provoke us. So we're going to have different definitions of art.

Mass Effect is a story that provoked a wide range of emotional responses from me. That makes it art in my books.

OP has the right to his/her opinion, of course. I'm just advising against blanket statements on such an emotional and individual subject.

peruvianskys:

This is a silly statement. The value of art is definitely subjective, but the definition is not - or, at least, it isn't to nearly the same degree. It's perfectly reasonable to set a definition for what constitutes "art." Otherwise you have a society where dipping tennis balls in mayonnaise or sitting naked in a meat-lined fake ovary carries the same designation as the Mona Lisa.

Or taking a photo of a crucifix in a jar of piss. Because, you know, that would just be silly.

Art is whatever the fuck I say it is, how about that?

Frozen Donkey Wheel2:
"Art" is a completely meaningless word, as it's definition is completely subjective, and varies from person to person.

This is where I disagree with a vast majority of people on this board. Art has a very concrete, but very broad, definition. The long and short of it is, if anyone considers something art, it is art. Any definition beyond that is personal, rather than technical... which renders it, yes, meaningless for the purpose of communication (which is the purpose of language).

So, OT: I'm certain that someone, somewhere considers the Mass Effect series art... therefore it is art.

Frozen Donkey Wheel2:
This thread is silly.

This, I agree with.

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