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 Are Video Games Art? 
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Dragon Tamer
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Well? What do you guys/gals think?

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Sun Sep 23, 2012 6:16 pm
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Pokemon Master
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Well, no.
To spare you all the time and the horrible pathway of which my logic flows, I will sum up as best I can, my 4- page, 10-paragraph-or-so essay on "What Exactly is Art?"
Art these days consists of six things: theater (for some reason), music (albeit lacking in art, nowadays just crap), film (video), film (photography), drawings, and the classic art (like pottery, fine china, and stuff of that nature). Video games are difficult to create (like the six I mentioned), have some trace of the creator's personal touch, and are visual. But, can we classify it as art by just those reasons? No, we cannot. While having the creator's touch, video games lack the most important feature for it to be considered art: meaning. For instance, if someone were to approach me and state that video games are an art, and will defend it to the death, then I'll probably just laugh at them and their horrible belief that CoD/Mario/Pokemon/Battlefield portrays anything in our culture/society, and then shove them in a pit of boiling lava.
Not to mention that in order to make video games at a professional level, you have to take SAG classes in a university. SAG is more closer to IT and Engineering than art.
So, that is why I believe the answer to your question is no.

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Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:36 pm
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Pokemon Master
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Samurott wrote:
theater (for some reason)

I'm just going to chime in on this singular fragment of your post for a second: theater is definitely a form of art. It's also one of the best forms of art, in my opinion, since the portrayal of the characters by the actors can make the same play have a different feel to it. If you haven't read Hamlet by Shakespeare, please read that and then say that it isn't art; if you have read it, do it again, since you missed something if you don't think that theater is art.

On-topic: I think video games can be art. Not most of them, for sure. But when the artistry, story, and the gamer's experience come together just right, I think that it's possible to create an interactive piece of art. I couldn't think of a specific game off the top of my head that fits this combination of qualities, but there has to be at least one out there in the wild blue yonder...

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Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:12 am
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Pokemon Ranger
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Sprites, characters, voices, landscape, story, etc.
These are arts.
So yes, video game is art.

A good example is Final Fantasy series.

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Video games...They are Art, if only a not yet truly recognized form of art imo...

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Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:06 am
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To try to define art so rigidly is a fool's errand. Art comes in many forms. Do not be so quick to foist your narrow opinion or tastes on others and parade it as fact.

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Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:36 pm
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Yes, they are. It takes writers to make the plot, designers and graphic artists to create the characters and setting, musicians to create the soundtrack and more recently actors to voice and provide motion capture for the characters. All of these are artistic aspects and all of these people are by definition artists. On a more fundamental level, you really need to have an artistic vision and idea to create a video game and follow through with it.

Samurott, the fact that you brush video games off as an art form because they don't have "meaning" is quite close-minded. Most of the examples of series that you listed are a bit on the shallow side, and that's beyond the fact that meaning in general is interpretive and depends on the individual. For example, the character of Celes Chere from Final Fantasy VI inspires me with her storyline and character throughout the game. She faces monumental challenges at one point in the story and as a result she all but gives up on life until the smallest symbol of hope inspires her to keep fighting, which ends up being the catalyst for the protagonists regrouping and then eventually triumphing over the villain. Her determination is something that I can take away from the video game and apply to my own real life. That's meaning.

You can even take Halo for example. On the surface it seems like just another dumb alien shooting game, but there are true moments of heart within the storyline. The relationship between Master Chief and Cortana, for example, is brought alive by the development of the characters and the performances of the actors. In the cutscene at the end of the Cortana stage in Halo 3, I have no issues believing that John and Cortana are two people that deeply care for each other, that they're both willing to risk their lives for each other and that John's presence is enough to save Cortana's sanity. The fact that a video game can examine human relationships to that level is indeed meaningful.

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Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:14 pm
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I guess I can't really argue against that Frost. Point taken!
Oh, and Rex? I consider theater an art, eventhough I don't value it such highly as others.

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Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:30 am
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Samurott wrote:
Oh, and Rex? I consider theater an art, even though I don't value it such as highly as others.

I know. Your (original) post clearly showed this. The "(for some reason)" aspect implied that you didn't think it deserved to be in the category of art as much as the other examples you posted. In return, I posted my reasoning against your implied argument. Additionally, you also attacked modern music for not "lacking in the art nowadays." This is the opinion of a layman, one who doesn't know just how much goes into making many different types of music. For instance, I used to deride screamo as something that wasn't music (the vocal aspects, at least) because it's screaming, not singing. Then a friend of mine pointed out that if I tried to do it, I'd realize that it's probably a lot harder than it appears. And modern music tends to be more heavy on emotion, imo, because a lot of it is based on people's personal experiences, as opposed to, say, 17th century music, which, although they have more of the technical aspects of playing an instrument bound up within them, I find harder to connect to.

So, as Frost said, the meanings we find within art are subjective. But whether or not WE value it as highly as others, that doesn't mean we should instantly decry a specific piece or genre simply because it isn't to our taste.

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Wed Oct 10, 2012 7:19 am
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Yes. It combines four separate types of art:

- Graphic Design
- Music
- Writing
- Programming

If they anyone thinks they are not art, could you please explain why you think so? Because I can't fathom how anyone could believe that video games are not art.

EDIT/PS: I, for one, can find more artistic vision in a game than in one of my mom's oil paintings, which certainly qualify as traditional art.

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Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:10 pm
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Mektar wrote:
Yes. It combines four separate types of art:

- Graphic Design
- Music
- Writing
- Programming

...is programming really an art? I know that it takes skill to make an efficient, useful program, but I don't think that it qualifies in any sense of the word as art. But the others I can agree with.

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Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:19 pm
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Samurott wrote:

Art these days consists of six things: theater (for some reason), music (albeit lacking in art, nowadays just crap), film (video), film (photography), drawings, and the classic art (like pottery, fine china, and stuff of that nature).


I guess literature would be in the classic art?

Video games contain music, pictures, sometimes cut scenes (film), and sometimes voice acting (theater), so that's about 4 of your six arts. Lots of video games are better than the art that middle schoolers make, and a lot of that is just "I'm gonna draw a penguin" which really doesn't have any meaning. Some games are definitely art. If they have a style, such as games made with an 8-bit or retro feel yet are from within the last few years. That's definitely a component of art. Some games really affect people, make people cry, affect how the see the world, affect how they are as a person. For example, The World Ends With You is one of those games that I've seen people talk about a lot, and most of them say that it really had an impact on them. It has a message: enjoy the moment, appreciate other people, let your world expand by opening up to the worlds of other people. It speaks to people. Some games do that. Some games are art.

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Fri Oct 12, 2012 4:39 pm
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Programming and aesthetics go hand in hand in many cases...

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Sun Oct 14, 2012 6:18 am
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I'm in a programming class right now. It's very difficult. The people that can do it easily are artists in my book.

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Sun Oct 14, 2012 9:00 am
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rex09 wrote:
...is programming really an art? I know that it takes skill to make an efficient, useful program, but I don't think that it qualifies in any sense of the word as art. But the others I can agree with.


I'm trying to think of a good example, but I'm sure you can program something that expresses something in someway.

That was as vague as hell.

This isn't the best example, but the system mechanics of Silent Hill. They're programed to make the player feel a sense of fear. Yeah, that isn't a emotion, quota-quote, but you're feeling something... yeah, that's a bad example. But you see what I mean? Hopefully?

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Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:54 pm
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Coliflowerz wrote:
rex09 wrote:
...is programming really an art? I know that it takes skill to make an efficient, useful program, but I don't think that it qualifies in any sense of the word as art. But the others I can agree with.


I'm trying to think of a good example, but I'm sure you can program something that expresses something in someway.

That was as vague as hell.

This isn't the best example, but the system mechanics of Silent Hill. They're programed to make the player feel a sense of fear. Yeah, that isn't a emotion, quota-quote, but you're feeling something... yeah, that's a bad example. But you see what I mean? Hopefully?

Yeah, definitely. Fear is one of the most powerful emotions (I think it qualifies) that we can feel; it helps activate our survival instincts. I think the whole fear-based games (Amnesia, Slenderman) really take off just because that feeling is so intense. In Amnesia's case, it also has an interesting storyline.

As far as the programming being an art thing, here's my argument for it not being an art: the functionality of the program is all that matters. The steps taken do not matter. One very skilled programmer could take (and I don't know if this is realistic or not, but anyway) 100 lines of code to create a specific program. Another programmer could take 150 lines to do the same thing, but you might not be able to tell the difference between the two; the end result is the same. So, yes, it requires skill to do correctly, and it generates admiration for those able to do it well. But technique has no effect on the end result.

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Sun Oct 28, 2012 12:00 pm
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http://entertainment.time.com/2012/11/30/which-14-video-games-made-it-into-momas-permanent-collection/

^Video games are now art. End of story.

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Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:42 pm
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Well, then again, I guess it would apply to a few games. AC5, for example, is 'art.' When Chopper dies because he can't bail out of his plane, the player feels genuinely sad. I've beat the game like 10 times now and that mission still makes me sad. I even try to follow Chopper to make sure no one can hit him, and it always happens. If a game can make the player react in the same way their in-game character does, I guess you could classify it as art.

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Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:55 am
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Well, as long as it takes creativity and contains other formes of art as well (like music and designing), I can classify it as art. And all this talk about meaning isn't quite right. Video games might have meaning for some people. The meaning of a work of art isn't something that can be defined in any way.

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Art touches some people, never all people. I played a game where you played as dead people playing a long game to get their lives back, and I felt very empathetic, I don't think that aspect of the game really affected too many other people the same way, but since it was about a loner learning to enjoy life outside of his headphones, it had a lot of good lines about accepting people. "Only by allowing strangers in can we find new ways to be ourselves."

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Thu Dec 06, 2012 4:34 pm
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While I'm ecstatic that Pac-Man, Tetris, and Legend of Zelda are on the list, I can't help but think that Cave Story and Pokemon should be on there. Okay, maybe Pokemon doesn't fit the curator's parameters, but at least Cave Story is waaaaay more deserving of a spot than the museum getting a second Mario game. The first one of course should be there, but are two really necessary when there are so many more deserving games out there that could take its place? Whether it be FFI, Pokemon Red/Blue/Green, Cave Story, Kid Icarus, take your pick, really!

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Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:39 pm
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I am horribly disappointed that neither of the Team Ico games are on the list. They are truly artworks. Everything about them just screams art. If y'all haven't played Shadow of the Colossus or Ico, find a copy and play them. Two of the best games out there for PS2/PS3.

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Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:46 pm
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Aww I don't have PS2/PS3. But I think The World Ends With You or even Kingdom Hearts should be on the list. And I totally agree about not having 2 Mario games.

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Wed Dec 26, 2012 1:34 pm
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