Video Games Can Never Be Art

edited April 2010 in General Chat
A lot of websites in the gaming sphere have been discussing Roger Ebert's claim that Video Games Can Never Be Art, generally without reading the post or even really thinking about the point. A lot of gamers strive for games to be given the "Art" label to give the industry a sense of legitimacy, importance, and purpose, and react powerfully and negatively to the assertion that games can be anything else.

I agree with Roger Ebert, for the most part. Now, considering many people may just read the TITLE of his blog post and go into a rant, I'll at least try and get someone to read some of it by quoting a relevant section here:
One obvious difference between art and games is that you can win a game. It has rules, points, objectives, and an outcome. Santiago might cite a immersive game without points or rules, but I would say then it ceases to be a game and becomes a representation of a story, a novel, a play, dance, a film. Those are things you cannot win; you can only experience them.

Note games, especially those often considered "Art". Consider Ebert's role in the film industry. He is a critic. A film critic's job is to take in everything in a scene, understand the message shown, to gauge the value of something with an understanding of its basic mechanical workings. Think of the mechanical workings of a game, stripped down to the barest elements to keep its definition.

Okami is pretty. But at the very base level, Okami is a set of rules and objectives. It has nice graphics, and those might be considered "art". A game with an amazing story is still that: a game with an amazing story. The mechanical workings of the game are still a set of rules and objectives that should be met. If you then go ahead and claim that no it's not, that's covered above. Because those aren't "games" anymore, they're interactive art pieces.

Think of adventure games. Now, many people may argue that these are art pieces. After all, they're heavily story-focused, generally rely heavily on writing, and until recently a lot of them even used hand-painted backdrops. But then you go into what an adventure game IS? It is a series of puzzles that must be solved to win. These are puzzles that are heavily supplemented by writing, graphic design, and other artistic elements, but however thickly these things are draped over the core mechanics, the point remains that the mechanical workings of a game are sets of objectives and rules that should be completed and followed. A game is meant to be won, or possibly lost.

I am arguing that video games as we know them are not art, though various aspects of them can be considered art. You may say that the graphic design of a board game, the picture made by a jigsaw puzzle, or painted game pieces are "art", but would the actual puzzle be art? Would the actual board game be art? No, they're games, supplemented by artistic elements.

There is only one game I know of that even begin to consider "art", and that is Lose/Lose. Is it a GOOD game, is it GOOD art? I don't know. But its very mechanical workings are set to make you reconsider what you value, and whether or not that message happens to be conveyed well or not, the point is that it is a game by definition, and I think it's likely art by definition.

tl;dr version: I hate video games and the entire gaming industry. This isn't art, these "video games" are GARBAGE. Also, I slept with your mother. By the way, she should know that she should get herself checked.
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Comments

  • edited April 2010
    Short and true: Video games are art as much as a painting, music or any built object can be. There exist certain rules for what is considered as beeing art and according to these rules there do exist good and bad ones. Last but not least the art is in the eye of the beholder.
  • edited April 2010
    My accounting teacher once said that accounting is an art.
  • edited April 2010
    taumel wrote: »
    Short and true: Video games are art as much as a painting, music or any built object can be.
    Why?
    There exist certain rules for what is considered as beeing good and according to these rules there do exist good and bad ones.
    Art has never been defined as "something that can be called 'good'." A person's performance in bed with their sexual partner could be considered "good" and rated by a variety of criteria(stamina, technique, etc), but it would not be considered "art".
    Last but not least the art is in the eye of the beholder.
    I'm an art piece, by the way. Also, I sometimes have to scoop up my dog's art when he doesn't drop his art pieces in the yard like he's supposed to.
    tredlow wrote: »
    My accounting teacher once said that accounting is an art.
    Your accounting teacher probably knew a lot more about accounting than art.
  • edited April 2010
    @Rather Dashing
    I suggest you lookup what the term art means.
  • edited April 2010
    A game is meant to be won, or possibly lost.

    You can't win The Sims. Or Sim City. Or Spore.
  • edited April 2010
    Your accounting teacher probably knew a lot more about accounting than art.

    Hence his title as 'accounting teacher', I guess.
  • edited April 2010
    taumel wrote: »
    @Rather Dashing
    I suggest you lookup what the term art means.
    I suggest you look up what the term "game" means.
    Afr0 wrote: »
    You can't win The Sims. Or Sim City. Or Spore.
    Win or lose is a somewhat broad rule of thumb, I suppose. In all of those games, though, the structure is one of objectives and rules. You move on to the next stage or the next piece of content or simply pass the objective by doing something to satisfy the rules.
    tredlow wrote: »
    Hence his title as 'accounting teacher', I guess.
    I would assume the art teacher might make a rather poor accounting teacher.
  • edited April 2010
    Afr0 wrote: »
    You can't win The Sims. Or Sim City. Or Spore.
    I suspect that he has not really an idea of how games are crafted, what makes them tick or he's just mad at them. Film critics a.o. are having a bad time these days.

    It's also rather stupid excluding games where you have to win from beeing art. Tetris for instance in my opinion is a piece of art regarding gameplay and gaming rules.
  • edited April 2010
    @Rather Dashing
    What's your point?
  • edited April 2010
    taumel wrote: »
    @Rather Dashing
    What's your point?
    My point is that the game itself is not art, but a mechanical thing that operates on rules and objectives. Unless you call every exertion of human effort to create a thing "art", you simply cannot call a game "art". If I build a gun, is it art? Why is it, or why is it not? Is a jigsaw puzzle art? Is Chess art? Why is it, or why is it not? What of mass-produced consumer gadgets? Is my cellphone art? Why or why not?
  • edited April 2010
    You said a game with a good story is just that; a game with a good story, then what does that make a film with a good story? Films are also heavily supplemented with elements such as art design, writing and sound, and yet they, as a whole, can still be considered art.

    Yes, a game is meant to be won, or possibly lost, but we don't enjoy a video game because we can win or lose, it's how we are supposed to win or lose that matters and makes each video-game different. Like how 'taste' is an aspect only found in the culinary arts, maybe 'rules' is an aspect only found in the art of video games.
    If I build a gun, is it art? Why is it, or why is it not? Is a jigsaw puzzle art? Is Chess art? Why is it, or why is it not? What of mass-produced consumer gadgets? Is my cellphone art? Why or why not?

    Well, mass-produced consumer gadgets are not art because their primary function is to make life more convenient. Both Chess and Jigsaw puzzles, like video games, have rules, yes, but their primary function is to invoke emotions in the human mind, which is the basic purpose of art.

    I don't know about guns.
  • edited April 2010
    So you're saying the mechanical workings and structure of a game prevent it from being art? Consider this then: is architecture a form of art? Is an amazingly designed bridge or cathedral excluded from being art on the grounds that it is also functional? That's... narrow.
    You say games have a purpose and structure to them beyond just being experienced. I say: so what? I don't see how the added structure and options can take away from the artisticness. Playing through a game is a different kind of experience from the usual art forms, but I don't see how it's necessarily a less artistic one.
  • edited April 2010
    I did read most of his post, and I would have to say that "never" is a not just a very long time, but also an all-inclusive adverb, meaning nothing at all ever anywhere.

    The first thing that comes to my mind is: define art.

    Ebert says in his post that
    One obvious difference between art and games is that you can win a game. It has rules, points, objectives, and an outcome. Santiago might cite a immersive game without points or rules, but I would say then it ceases to be a game and becomes a representation of a story, a novel, a play, dance, a film. Those are things you cannot win; you can only experience them.

    What he's saying here is that stories are also not an art form. Sure, if one's definition of art were inclusive only to those physical objects which are themselves tangible, then I suppose Ebert is right. The Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines art as "the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects; also : works so produced." This definition says "especially," not "specifically."

    Therefore, I disagree with Ebert. I would say I define art as something which is created with the intention of evoking or imparting an emotion, thought, or imagination. The medium used to convey such is irrelevant (which makes the point about having rules and objectives moot.) This then would expand art to include such things that are used together to form a narrative. A story can be told in such a way to be equally as thought-provoking as a painting or scuplture, even as such to have different meaning for different people. Suffice it to say, I think that to say stories themselves can not be viewed as an art form is folly and untrue.


    By my reckoning if stories can be considered an art form, so then can video games (which are at the very least also used as a medium in telling a story or narrative) also be considered art.
  • edited April 2010
    My point is that the game itself is not art, but a mechanical thing that operates on rules and objectives. Unless you call every exertion of human effort to create a thing "art", you simply cannot call a game "art". If I build a gun, is it art? Why is it, or why is it not? Is a jigsaw puzzle art? Is Chess art? Why is it, or why is it not? What of mass-produced consumer gadgets? Is my cellphone art? Why or why not?

    Again i suggest that you lookup what the term art means and think about it.

    As i already wrote art exists in various forms, it can be a movie, a poem as well as a chair or a game. A computer game contains of so many ingredients where each category alone counts as beeing art by the majority, like the graphics, the music or the models. In adventures you have the texts, you also have a camera to move and show the appropriate angles, the story and so on. If something is coded in a fantastic way this is art as well. And in addition to all those pieces a computer game is more than just the sum of it's components. It's about how all of these pieces work together and what they can achieve. I say this can be a rather complex piece of art and a beast as well.

    I would consider chess as art because it has clear, simple but brilliant gaming rules. A mass product like the iPhone is art from it's design. These things are art due to certain rules and measurements in their disciplines and such rules also exist for paintings or movies. You can master something according to such rules or you can break them in a convincing way, art.
  • edited April 2010
    taumel wrote: »
    I would consider chess as art because it has clear, simple but brilliant gaming rules. A mass product like the iPhone is art from it's design. These things are art due to certain rules and measurements in their disciplines and such rules also exist for paintings or movies. You can master something according to such rules or you can break them in a convincing way, art.

    You know what? you're right. I take back what I said in the previous post about mass products not being art.
  • edited April 2010
    I liked what Ron Gilbert had to say about it.
  • edited April 2010
    Chyron8472 wrote: »
    Therefore, I disagree with Ebert. I would say I define art as something which is created with the intention of evoking or imparting an emotion, thought, or imagination. The medium used to convey such is irrelevant (which makes the point about having rules and objectives moot.) This then would expand art to include such things that are used together to form a narrative. A story can be told in such a way to be equally as thought-provoking as a painting or scuplture, even as such to have different meaning for different people. Suffice it to say, I think that to say stories themselves can not be viewed as an art form is folly and untrue.

    This makes me think.
    Can anything that is created with the intention of evoking or imparting a thought be considered art?
    Take the Bible. Compare it to Sim City.
    These are both created with the intention of evoking thought(s), moreso than actual feelings.
    I'm not saying they're not art, I'm just saying... they're more... logically inclined (in the case of the Bible; more religiously inclined) than something that contains stuff designed to form a narrative (the Bible forms a narrative, but it is documental in nature rather than... fantastical)
  • edited April 2010
    tredlow wrote: »
    You said a game with a good story is just that; a game with a good story, then what does that make a film with a good story? Films are also heavily supplemented with elements such as art design, writing and sound, and yet they, as a whole, can still be considered art.
    I think you missed the point here: There is nothing about a film's core element that is not art, there is not a thing at the "center" of a film, anything that defines what a film actually is that isn't art, something that the artistic aspect is wrapped around. A shot film is, densely and at its very core, art.

    A group of people making a game is making a competition for the player. Can a competition be called art? For example, a dance competition is not art. The dancing itself is art, so the competition contains art, it is heavily associated with an art, but the raw value of rating a performance and comparing it to others is not an art itself.
    Yes, a game is meant to be won, or possibly lost, but we don't enjoy a video game because we can win or lose, it's how we are supposed to win or lose that matters and makes each video-game different. Like how 'taste' is an aspect only found in the culinary arts, maybe 'rules' is an aspect only found in the art of video games.
    Under this idea, though, Chess is a work of art, as well as:

    -Pong
    -Football
    -Pissing contests
    -Political debates
    -American Idol.
    Both Chess and Jigsaw puzzles, like video games, have rules, yes, but their primary function is to invoke emotions in the human mind, which is the basic purpose of art.
    I disagree with this. The primary purpose of Chess is to provide a competition of wits between two players. The primary purpose of a jigsaw puzzle is to provide a competition for the puzzle-solver with the puzzle itself.
    Chyron8472 wrote: »
    I did read most of his post
    Admirable! At least you're not going into this discussion completely uninformed with the arguments we're working with here.
    and I would have to say that "never" is a not just a very long time, but also an all-inclusive adverb, meaning nothing at all ever anywhere.
    He all but said so. You could probably do better to read slightly closer. =P
    What he's saying here is that stories are also not an art form.
    Wait, where? You're misinterpreting something here, because I can't possibly find where you got this interpretation. I'm going to ignore the rest of the post that deals with this assumption until I understand where you're getting this idea, so there's no basis for conversation. I'll skip to the next mostly unrelated point.
    (which makes the point about having rules and objectives moot.)[/B]
    A competition is not a medium, though. If you had people play a sport in a beautifully crafted arena, created a narrative around the game, and included a booming soundtrack...would that make the competition itself art? Or would the story, the soundtrack, and the arena itself all be artistic elements converging on top of a game?
    (which are at the very least also used as a medium in telling a story or narrative)
    How?
    taumel wrote: »
    Again i suggest that you lookup what the term art means and think about it.
    Done and done, well before deciding to start a thread.
    I would consider chess as art because it has clear, simple but brilliant gaming rules. A mass product like the iPhone is art from it's design. These things are art due to certain rules and measurements in their disciplines and such rules also exist for paintings or movies. You can master something according to such rules or you can break them in a convincing way, art.
    If you can consider a competition to be an art by the definition you follow, then sure, games are art. But then so is any competition with excellently executed rules, except "excellently executed" is never in any art definition(judgement of quality should not factor into the definition of what "art" is), so a contest to see who can piss farther is art. If that's OK by you, then alright, call games art.
  • edited April 2010
    @Rather Dashing
    I guess a pissing contest can range from beeing completely dumb to beeing art. It depends on so many aspects and how you stage it.

    I don't understand why the interactivity in a game and so all the resulting more in complexity, prevents it from beeing art in your opinion. According to your interpretation a cutscene in a game could be art (=movie) whilst the playable part can't be anymore.

    This doesn't make the slightest sense to me and i continue suggesting... :O)
  • edited April 2010
    Ahhh the old "What is art?!" discussion

    I happen to be in art school and we had this discussion many times in art history class. Anyway, what it always came down to is that when someone creates something, and says it's art, it's art. Art doesn't mean that everyone has to think it's beautiful, like Taumel said, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    So if I crap on the sidewalk, stick a flag in it and call it art, it´s art. Doesn´t mean you have to like it.
  • edited April 2010
    Video games have various types of art in them, but I'm not convinced yet that the total product can be considered art.

    I have lots of board and card games with nifty illustrations, but I don't consider the games themselves to be art. I play Dungeons and Dragons with hand-painted miniatures, and I tell a good story when I'm DMing, but the experience of playing the game is not something I would consider to be art.

    I think you can find art in video games, but I just don't know if video games are art.
  • edited April 2010
    You're just a programmer, you're excused. :O)
  • edited April 2010
    taumel wrote: »
    You're just a programmer, you're excused. :O)

    Ah! But I paint miniatures. And I improv characters in Dungeons and Dragons. And I design games. And on, and on...

    Everybody has an artistic side. :)
  • edited April 2010
    Just in case it wasn't obvious, i was kidding, at least to a large degree. ;O)
  • edited April 2010
    Just my two cents.

    I can't look at Grim Fandango or the Monkey Island games and not consider them art. They contain art of all kinds - music and visual artwork (pictures/images). They contain a story line and deep characters just like what is seen in films - which are often considered art. They are a mixture of many art forms, just like films are. Just because the events unfold as a result of the completion of a series of tasks undertaken and filled out by a player, why does this cause them to be unworthy of being called art. I guess it just depends on the game, I wouldn't exactly call racing games, mindless first person shooters or Pacman and Space Invaders art because many of them don't really have any deep or meaningful story to them and they aren't exactly beneficial, but games with well-written stories, emotion and relationship shown between the characters as well as excellent scenery and good music - these games can certainly be called art, how could they not be? Grim Fandango and Monkey Island could easily be adapted and transformed into films because they almost are; they share many of the same elements of a film. The only major difference is that one is interactive whilst the other isn't.
  • edited April 2010
    My first thoughts when reading the title was:

    - Mmh, videogames make the player an active part of something, does it still count as art if the person who's experiencing it has to, pretty much, become part of the art?

    I mean paintings, sculptures, movies and even books are mostly passive. Sure, you need to turn pages in a book, and you're active inside but the point is that you can experience them without hands, let's say. The art has been completed. I that sense, videogames are more like some kind of performing art, if it's an art, where the player ends up being an artist as well as the people who made the game (although I guess to a much lesser degree in most cases).

    I also thought:

    - Aren't videogames too useful to be called art?

    I mean, lots of them teach you skills, be them mental or physical. I thought one of the main points of art was that it wasn't useful. On the other hand, books do the same thing. But I would say a textbook for instance isn't usually art, while a novel might be. Then does that mean some games are art and some aren't?

    Of course the sentences is "games can never be art", in which case they don't need to all be art for the sentence to be wrong. Only some of them.

    I think my conclusion is that those games that tell a story can probably be called art if a book, movie or comic can, but I can see why them being interactive would make people disagree on that (Is it still art if you need to build the sculpture from pre-cut pieces? Is it still art if you need to follow the numbers to paint?) Obviously the player's "help" as an artist is called there to tell the story. Does the unpainted paint-by-number, does the unstarted jigsaw puzzle count as art because they have all the pieces for what they will become? Or do they become art only once they've been completed by someone else?

    The concept of "win" or "lose" I think comes from that. I'd say more it's about "completing". Usually the person experiencing the art doesn't need to complete something actively, only the artist does. When looking at a complicated painting, when reading a book, when watching a movie, you can "finish" taking them in, but they were already whole to begin with.

    Mmh... I guess games are, too. Maybe games are a type of art that's an experiencing art. Like performing art, but from the non-artist point of view, where they're put to contribution.
    In a way, books, movies and comics fit in there, since you also need to experience them in some way along some time. Games make the player be more part of the game than the others, but otherwise it's pretty similar.

    I guess I mostly disagree with the idea that no games can be art. But I don't think ALL games are art, either.
  • edited April 2010
    Under this idea, though, Chess is a work of art, as well as:

    -Pong
    -Football
    -Pissing contests
    -Political debates
    -American Idol.

    It really depends, doesn't it? I mean, if the pissing contest is judged by distance or duration, then I agree that it can't be called art. But let's just say that it is judged by how well the contestants can create a picture in the sand with their urine, then I think that could be defined as art.
  • edited April 2010
    I can't look at Grim Fandango or the Monkey Island games and not consider them art. They contain art of all kinds

    It's an interesting question, though. Is a museum art? Is something art just because it contains art? Is the box holding a stack of comic books art? Is a DVD menu art? Are a bunch of thumbnails on a webpage art?

    For some reason my brain has drawn the distinction that video games are containers for art. I use a video game to access the art inside of it, moving from piece to piece...
  • edited April 2010
    About the interaction bit :

    Think of "stage arts" like theater, live music, dancing...
    There IS an interaction there between the perfomer(s) and the audience. each affects the other. It's not visible or palpable but it's definitely there, and it affects the performance.
    So why does this interaction between the piece that a developper offers and the audience who plays it suddenly makes it "not art" ?
    Developpers are striving to reduce the interface aspect of games as much as possible, in order to immerse the player more and hopefully reinforce this feeling of direct interaction, and i think this is one way to emphasize the artistic aspect of games, by making it more, i dunno... integrated to the whole thing, instead of having a succession of "game" then "artsy cutscene"...
  • edited April 2010
    Well, an 'Art Form' is an activity or a piece of artistic work that can be regarded as a medium of artistic expression. Being 'regarded' is a matter of opinion, so basically, it's something that can be created/performed in an infinite number of ways, based on the vision of the artist, while at the same time has one basic rule to the creator (A movie is something to be watched. You can create a movie any way you want, but as long as it can be watched by an audience, it's a movie, no matter the quality or content).

    So, when it comes right down to it, making video games, or rules, can technically be called an art form. Yes, this means that making rules for a pissing contest is art, just like how a painting made of cow manure can be called an art form.

    This does not mean that every human effort is a form of art, for some activities have only one correct solution. For instance, there's only one way to correctly answer a math problem. If the answer is wrong, then it is not technically a correct way to answer a math problem, while a video game with bugs and errors, as long as it's in any way playable, is still technically a video game.
  • edited April 2010
    [TTG] Yare wrote: »
    It's an interesting question, though. Is a museum art? Is something art just because it contains art? Is the box holding a stack of comic books art? Is a DVD menu art? Are a bunch of thumbnails on a webpage art?

    For some reason my brain has drawn the distinction that video games are containers for art. I use a video game to access the art inside of it, moving from piece to piece...

    Then why is a film not considered a 'container for art'?
  • edited April 2010
    I think some of you guys are confusing "art" with "work". Art is defined as skilled workmanship, or a craft or trade using principles or methods. It has other meanings than this but lets discuss these meanings. An artist is someone who is the workman who creates the work. You're confusing the work with the art. The process of game design itself can be an art, in fact its an art which can be practiced by one or more artists. The game itself ,however, is the work, not the art.

    The definition of art that Roger Ebert was referring to were the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance. Except in the case of specific "art games" like Cloud or that PS3 game with the flowers, this definition generally does not apply to video games at all, nor to people making them. However the first definition does. In fact the first definition applies to anyone who does a job, such as a programmer, trash collector, carpenter, policeman, detective, architect, etc.
  • edited April 2010
    I think everybody in this topic is using a different definition of "art".
  • edited April 2010
    My statements may come from ignorance and presumption but I don't wish to be drawn into a semantic debate over the terms I use. Showing me the definition of words is of no interest to me. I know what they mean, I have read the dictionary.

    I personally understand why game makers want games to be considered art, it stems from the whole freedom of expression idea and would lend government protection rather than limitation of what they can create. It might not allow for every type of game to be commercially sold as some games are not publicly acceptable but it would certainly be very useful in the never ending battle against government censorship.

    Game elements can certainly be considered art. Animations, models, or even background images are all forms of art. Music within games manages to have an even more personal meaning for gamers because we experience it in a different way than most music is delivered and some of my favorite music comes from video games. These are two examples of how something created for a game can be considered art.

    However, as much as we'd like to call programming an art it is not. Programming is a science with predictable outcomes and repeatable results, even if sometimes games don't perform as expected and have bugs or exploits. Programming is a science with rules and terms that must be understood into order to make a functional program. If you ignore these rules the program doesn't work.

    This is the reason why games themselves cannot be art. They follow a looser but similar principal. All games follow rules and an underlying rule governs all games. All games must have input from the player, objectives or events triggered by the player's actions, and rules to govern the player's actions. If a player plays by the rules they are rewarded in some way in order to create an impetus to continue playing.

    These ideas are fundamental precepts of games and if you remove these from the equation of video games they cease to be games. Meanwhile music, images, and writing are art because they need not follow any rules. Jarring and harsh sounds can create Skronking Music, disturbing images of violence or gore are likewise given the moniker art even if they are painful to look at, and nonsense poems or combinations of words exist as artistic expression.

    If a game ignores the rules that the player must have some level of interactivity and do not have a reward/punishment system of some kind the game isn't really a game. How can you play something with no goals? Even if the goal is as simple as see the next piece of the story, it still is a goal. The story may be compelling and artistic, but that's another game element not the game itself.

    Creating games is more akin to a science than one of art, even if many elements of game design are considered art. Game mechanics are a soft science, similar to sociology. Their results are not always predictable but are always measurable.


    Games are a legitimate form of expression because they do have many of their base elements as art. Stories are art, music is art, and game artists are some of the most creative people I know but mechanics are not an art. They are a system which can be tested, examined, and improved.

    So Ebert is right, even if his ability to express himself is terrible(this published writer has a huge grammar error in his own diatribe). Games are not an art and shouldn't pretend to be such, because they are much more than that. They are the fusion of several different kinds of art and two types of science. Computer science and a strange use of human psychology.

    I'm certainly open to debating my supposition on this because I may not be 100% correct, but please consider this as a possibility before rebuttal.
  • edited April 2010
    Regarding the interactivity aspect: There are lot's of museums around which contain interactive installations in various fields and which are considered as beeing art since many years.

    For the museum idea: There do exist museums which are art on their own due to their architecture for instance but beside of this this comparison doesn't make a lot of sense because the game itself isn't just a container like a zip file, it's more the creative glue which puts it all together in a certain way. And all of this together makes the game.
  • edited April 2010
    taumel wrote: »
    I don't understand why the interactivity in a game and so all the resulting more in complexity, prevents it from beeing art in your opinion. According to your interpretation a cutscene in a game would be art (=movie) whilst the playable part can't be anymore.
    Interactivity by itself does not make something not art. Rather, it's the game part that makes something not art.

    How is a set of objectives art?
    How are sets of rules art?
    taumel wrote: »
    This doesn't make the slightest sense to me and i continue suggesting... :O)
    The "You have no idea what this word means" argument here has about as much weight as "You're dumb", and I think the latter would be a lot more cathartic for you. You can keep adding "You have no idea what art means" at the bottom of your posts for the rest of time, but I would think that any person who really knows what art means and why I am wrong would be able to coherently explain what the difference is.
    [TTG] Yare wrote: »
    Video games have various types of art in them, but I'm not convinced yet that the total product can be considered art.

    I have lots of board and card games with nifty illustrations, but I don't consider the games themselves to be art. I play Dungeons and Dragons with hand-painted miniatures, and I tell a good story when I'm DMing, but the experience of playing the game is not something I would consider to be art.

    I think you can find art in video games, but I just don't know if video games are art.
    I find this post to be very enlightening, actually. As a programmer, after all, you are one of the guys that deals with the game at its most basic level. Honestly, I can only begin to attempt to understand what you do.
    Just my two cents.

    I can't look at Grim Fandango or the Monkey Island games and not consider them art. They contain art of all kinds - music and visual artwork (pictures/images). They contain a story line and deep characters just like what is seen in films - which are often considered art. They are a mixture of many art forms, just like films are.
    The word used here is "contain". These elements are art, but is the game art? This is like discussing whether or not a picture frame is art, when the question was is the paining inside it art?

    (don't start arguing about picture frames possibly being art. Whether they are or not does not matter. The point is, you're talking about the wrong thing altogether)
    Just because the events unfold as a result of the completion of a series of tasks undertaken and filled out by a player, why does this cause them to be unworthy of being called art[?]
    Ah, that's easy!

    See, video games aren't stories that advance with player interaction. You're tacking the wrong thing on as an unnecessary element. The definition of a GAME is essentially "A player or set of players working toward a given objective/set of objectives, within a certain set of rules, sometimes competitively, for amusement or competition". Monkey Island is a series of puzzles. That is what makes it a game. The story, the music, the graphics, these are elements on TOP of the game.
    I guess it just depends on the game, I wouldn't exactly call racing games, mindless first person shooters or Pacman and Space Invaders art because many of them don't really have any deep or meaningful story to them and they aren't exactly beneficial
    What do you mean "beneficial"? Why is the graphic design of Monkey Island count as artistic, but not Pac-Man? Why is Pac-Man's music not art, but Monkey Island's is? What about Ms. Pac-Man's narrative? It is limited, of course, but there is one.
    but games with well-written stories, emotion and relationship shown between the characters as well as excellent scenery and good music - these games can certainly be called art, how could they not be? Grim Fandango and Monkey Island could easily be adapted and transformed into films because they almost are; they share many of the same elements of a film. The only major difference is that one is interactive whilst the other isn't.
    Again, it cannot be defined as a game if it does not have objectives and a set of rules under which those objectives are intended to be met. And so, those rules and objectives are the core value of a "game". That is what a GAME is. And you can dress it up, you can dress it up a lot with artistic elements, but that's just it: THAT is where the art is, outside of the "game".
    I think some of you guys are confusing "art" with "work". Art is defined as skilled workmanship, or a craft or trade using principles or methods. It has other meanings than this but lets discuss these meanings. An artist is someone who is the workman who creates the work. You're confusing the work with the art. The process of game design itself can be an art, in fact its an art which can be practiced by one or more artists. The game itself ,however, is the work, not the art.
    Who is using this definition? Anywhere? Specifically, colloquially. I'd like to know. I believe we all understand that we are talking about:
    The definition of art that Roger Ebert was referring to were the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance. Except in the case of specific "art games" like Cloud or that PS3 game with the flowers, this definition generally does not apply to video games at all, nor to people making them. However the first definition does. In fact the first definition applies to anyone who does a job, such as a programmer, trash collector, carpenter, policeman, detective, architect, etc.
    It has been awhile since I messed with "Cloud", so I may be wrong with this, but I'm pretty sure it's not a game by Ebert's own definition. A game has objectives, Cloud does not. Cloud is an interactive art piece, which is entirely different from a game.

    Flower is not art. Flower tasks the player with obtaining pedals to advance. The process of collecting things is not art, and the need to collect a certain number, the competition to obtain them? This is not art. It is a collect the dots game with many artistic elements contained within.
    Then why is a film not considered a 'container for art'?
    Why would it be? What about the very core definition of "film" is not artistic in any way? As opposed to video games, whose core definition is by no means artistic(unless you happen to have a definition of art that allows all sports to be considered an art form).
  • edited April 2010
    Shwoo wrote: »
    I think everybody in this topic is using a different definition of "art".

    I think everybody in the world is using a different definition of "art".
  • edited April 2010
    Avistew wrote: »
    I think everybody in the world is using a different definition of "art".
    That's okay. All you need to know is "Can your definition of art contain 'football'(either one)? If not, then video games are not art, but something that art is added to." It's like saying that marble is art, rather than the sculpture, that building materials and techniques are art, rather than the creative visual design elements of architecture, or that the paper onto which a book is printed is art.
  • edited April 2010
    Roivas wrote: »
    My statements may come from ignorance and presumption but I don't wish to be drawn into a semantic debate over the terms I use. Showing me the definition of words is of no interest to me. I know what they mean, I have read the dictionary.
    Apparently not.
    I personally understand why game makers want games to be considered art, it stems from the whole freedom of expression idea and would lend government protection rather than limitation of what they can create. It might not allow for every type of game to be commercially sold as some games are not publicly acceptable but it would certainly be very useful in the never ending battle against government censorship.
    No, they want it to be considered art because it is art.
    Game elements can certainly be considered art. Animations, models, or even background images are all forms of art. Music within games manages to have an even more personal meaning for gamers because we experience it in a different way than most music is delivered and some of my favorite music comes from video games. These are two examples of how something created for a game can be considered art.
    True, many forms of art are put together in a game. This is true. It looks like you're on the right track after all...
    However, as much as we'd like to call programming an art it is not.
    ...Oh.
    Programming is a science with predictable outcomes and repeatable results, even if sometimes games don't perform as expected and have bugs or exploits. Programming is a science with rules and terms that must be understood into order to make a functional program. If you ignore these rules the program doesn't work.
    I'll repeat myself here again though. Try to pay attention instead of "I know what it means so shut up with yer definitions duuur hurr". Because you don't. Art is defined as skilled workmanship, or a craft or trade using principles or methods. An artist is someone who is the workman who creates the work. The process of programming itself can be an art. The program itself, however, is the work, not the art.

    This is the reason why games themselves cannot be art. They follow a looser but similar principal. All games follow rules and an underlying rule governs all games. All games must have input from the player, objectives or events triggered by the player's actions, and rules to govern the player's actions. If a player plays by the rules they are rewarded in some way in order to create an impetus to continue playing.[/quote]
    You're right, the game itself is not the art. The game design and creation is.
    Creating games is more akin to a science than one of art, even if many elements of game design are considered art. Game mechanics are a soft science, similar to sociology. Their results are not always predictable but are always measurable.
    The results of a piece of art like a painting are not predictable either, but are always measurable. The artist doesn't know a piece of art will be good or popular or considered great until after he's finished it and let things take their course. No one can predict how a piece of art will turn out.
    Games are a legitimate form of expression because they do have many of their base elements as art. Stories are art, music is art, and game artists are some of the most creative people I know but mechanics are not an art. They are a system which can be tested, examined, and improved.

    So Ebert is right, even if his ability to express himself is terrible(this published writer has a huge grammar error in his own diatribe). Games are not an art and shouldn't pretend to be such, because they are much more than that. They are the fusion of several different kinds of art and two types of science. Computer science and a strange use of human psychology.
    Painting itself can be considered a system as well. It requires many components such as lighting, composition, color, anatomy, etc. to make it work. Without one of these, the piece won't function. As far as I know computer science and psychology are crafts and trades using principles and methods.
    I'm certainly open to debating my supposition on this because I may not be 100% correct, but please consider this as a possibility before rebuttal.
    I did. It doesn't work for me so I disagree.
    That's okay. All you need to know is "Can your definition of art contain 'football'(either one)? If not, then video games are not art, but something that art is added to." It's like saying that marble is art, rather than the sculpture, that building materials and techniques are art, rather than the creative visual design elements of architecture, or that the paper onto which a book is printed is art.
    Marble is a natural rock. It has nothing to do with this discussion. Building materials had to be mined or made, therefore they are works made by artists of their craft. Techniques are part of the art. Paper had to be made, by skilled craftsmen as well.
  • edited April 2010
    That's okay. All you need to know is "Can your definition of art contain 'football'(either one)? If not, then video games are not art, but something that art is added to."

    ... What about a painting? It's not art! It's something (a blank canvas) that art is added to.
    It's a bit silly, I mean, art is always expressed through a medium and has a container most of the time.

    But I think art is about feelings and as such, debates about it are unlikely to get anywhere.
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