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Video games *can so* be art, so gnah!

Concept art for American McGee’s Alice.

Roger Ebert published a rather fascinating piece arguing that video games cannot be art. Not surprisingly, there’s been a lot of backlash. Video gamers are a loyal bunch, but it’s not that they need to justify what they love by calling it art. They honestly feel that video game creators are artists. That’s why they let Blizzard take years to release any game, because like the developers, gamers want them to get it right. There’s an intricate creative process that goes into developing a video game (even a bad one). And it’s no different than spending a decade on a sculpture (even an ugly one).

Ebert was compelled to broach the topic when he saw a TED presentation by Kellee Santiago, a game designer and president of thatgamecompany. In it, she attempts to prove that video games are, in fact, an art form. I enjoyed Santiago’s spiel, but I felt she didn’t tackle the artistic elements of videogames. While she focused on engagement and emotional involvement, she didn’t deal with design or conception and how these create engagement in the first place. This seems like the most obvious argument for a game designer. She also kept bringing up critical acclaim as though it were synonymous with artistic street cred, which it isn’t. Taste doesn’t art make, as Ebert admits. Anyhow, I don’t feel she makes much of a case for the art of video games. So I’m going to try.

Medievalism: the root of most RPGs.

I want to preface this by mentioning that in the earlier part of my career, I was a journalist for a video game news website. Here, reviews are one of the major draws. Otherwise, what’s considered news is the announcement of a new game in development, and as many bits and pieces of that game as the studio behind it is willing to reveal. Those bits and pieces usually constitute concept art, in-game screenshots, and trailers. Why are these things important to gamers? Because it helps them assess what the gaming environment is going to be like, and that’s integral to their experience of the game. Sure, you could argue that most games have an objective; some sort of MacGuffin that has to be won or conquered. But to paraphrase Ebert: it’s not what the game is about, it’s how it is about it. The people responsible for the “how” of any game are the designers, the writers, and the many creators involved in taking you on a journey through the game. Really, the process of creating a game is no less artistic than what went into weaving the Bayeux Tapestry.

So what is art, then? Santiago cites the Wikipedia definition, which says that “Art is the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way to affect the senses or emotions.” Like Ebert, I’m not convinced this encompasses the totality or complexity of art; the description feels inadequate. But I find it touches on an important part of the experience of art. It’s about engagement, and video games engage people; that much is easily recognizable.

That’s one way to get people’s attention.

Do video games engage people in the same way as art? It depends on the medium we’re talking about. It’s only fair to compare video games to other media that lend themselves to similar experiences. Is playing a video game the same as looking at a sculpture? Not in the least. Is it a bit like reading a book? Certainly, if we’re talking about fiction. It requires the same process of suspending one’s disbelief to accept an alternate universe that’s different from the reality we know. The absorption of a book is similar to playing a video game in that it’s immersive, even if the adventure isn’t yours in the strictest sense. Otherwise, the visual dimension of video games can be compared to watching animation or a film: there’s a moving picture, and the construction of it is as deliberate as anything Stanley Kubrick might have done. I’m not comparing video game designers to Stanley Kubrick, but I’m sure many of them are inspired by his work and have used it to feed the vision of their output. And like Kubrick, game creators work hard to elicit a specific response from their audience. Which brings me to my next point.

Art requires an audience. Without an audience, there is no art. Art is one half of a relationship and a dialogue. It has to be presented to someone else as art, and, whether good or bad, it has to be acknowledged as such. Art doesn’t require taste, just one crucial social transaction.

While those who play World of Warcraft may or may not attend the next Picasso exhibit, they belong to an enormous demographic and are hugely devoted to the work of their favourite artists. This also means that they give video game creators jobs. And this addresses a strange cultural paradox: we seem to have a bone to pick with artists who make money. Game designers, much like art directors in an ad agency, are artists with jobs. They’re not struggling financially. They impact culture in an important way. They have a widespread audience, and it’s incredibly, immediately receptive to their work. Dissenters call it “selling out,” but video game creators prefer “raison d’être.”

Can any game be art? I’m not sure about that. People have brought up chess a lot, and my problem here is with the mathematics of the game. It’s functional and objective-driven. This doesn’t take away the enjoyment of it, but there’s no engagement with the imaginary, which is what’s so distinct about video games. There’s no “what if” fancy in chess. It doesn’t make it a lesser game, just an inappropriate comparison.

One of the terrifying BioShock bad dudes.

Art isn’t just a component of video games. It’s necessary to enhance the gameplay.  An example that’s commonly brought up to negate this is the first-person shooter (FPS). They’re often touted as mindless and one-dimensional, which is fair enough if you consider that the genre mostly involves one repeated action. But the “first-person” aspect is what gives the genre substance. Players need the art to believe the first-person gameplay. They also need a unique reason to choose one FPS over another (enter the Quake vs. Unreal debate). Games like BioShock demonstrate that it’s infinitely more interesting to shoot things in a setting that’s entirely alien, where surprise is just around corner. What impressed fans and critics about this game wasn’t just the graphics; it was also its Randian underwater environment and dystopian story.  This means a lot of effort when into conceiving this world, and that’s not the work of marketers or project managers. These are storytellers at play in an interactive digital medium.

One of the many Final Fantasy landscapes. Someone was hired just to design the trees in this forest.

Immersion is even more important in role-playing games, and it can’t happen without a bewildering universe. Just the other day, the husband unit finally bought his copy of Final Fantasy XIII.  I’ve never played games from this franchise myself (I prefer straightforward adventure games), but if you’ve followed the series, it’s perhaps the best testament to the genre’s evolution. When you consider its 8-bit beginnings, it’s all the more astonishing that the gameplay graphics are now on par with the in-game movie sequences. FFXIII also boasts a whole ecosystem that makes me wonder how the developers came up with their flora, fauna and technology. Their world is both plausible and impossible, at least for now. And isn’t that good science fiction?

Though it’s a little dated now, my favourite game is American McGee’s Alice. Most of its reviews were the same: awesome universe, great gameplay, but the end boss sucked. In other words, the journey was greater than the destination. Since the game’s release, American McGee and his work have garnered something of a cult following, starting with toy models from Alice, including the sickly Cheshire cat and the sadistic White Rabbit. McGee, for his part, knew the Wonderland and Looking Glass mythologies so intricately that his reconstruction was solid. And the characters? Flawlessly designed.

American McGee’s Alice merch, sold at a geek store near you.

Since Alice’s release in 2000, McGee relocated to Shanghai and set up a new studio, Spicy Horse. When asked to list the advantages of working overseas, he said the biggest bonus was a “blue sky mentality. Game development [in Shanghai] is a relatively new industry, and there’s less of a ‘history burden’ in terms of conceptualizing games, studio structure, and development process. People are more open to radical ideas.” Among other things, his answer alludes to the multidisciplinary nature of game development, which, in this respect, is not unlike moviemaking.

I’m also a fan of time-management games, and while these don’t make use of mind-boggling graphics, an art team is still involved. Sally’s Salon doesn’t look realistic, but it doesn’t have to, and that’s part of the fun. We accept that in animation, so surely we can make a concession for time-killers. There are also games that take no time whatsoever to go to market (the TV franchises, the board game simulators, etc.). But that exists in the movie industry as well. It’s the part of the business that’s just business, and that can’t be helped.

In terms of the craft itself, a meticulous creative process has often been directly linked to a game’s success. And why shouldn’t it? It takes time to create a world, especially one that works. I might argue that it takes more effort than penning the next Nic Cage action flick. But I don’t think this has to be about choosing film, poetry or painting over video games. I don’t think you can only prefer one if you discredit the other. Video game creators use different tools and speak to a different audience, but there’s room for that too in the art world. Or rather, there should be.

Is playing a game an art? No more and no less than watching a movie. But as long as we rely on art to enhance the gaming experience, we simply can’t separate the video game itself from the art that’s involved in making it. To deny the artistic process that goes into creating games is, I believe, short-sighted, if a little snooty.

***

My buddy Roger has gotten a lot of flak for his piece, and while it was to be expected, I think it’s undeserved. He hasn’t discouraged dissent, he’s taken the more scathing comments in stride, and he’s even linked to this Cracked article and this academic paper on the art of video games. It’s fine to disagree with someone, but it’s important to recognize when you get to do it in the context of a discussion. On that front, Ebert’s been a real good sport.


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50 thoughts on “Video games *can so* be art, so gnah!

    • I’m gentle afterwards, too. Does that count? :-)

      To be fair, I don’t think you’re snooty, but the art world can be sometimes. Does that make sense?

  1. Roger has now spent HOURS reading and responding to comments about this topic.

    If he would just sit down with someone for 1 or 2 of those hours to witness one of the artful games you mentioned, his thesis may cease to exist.

    But then again, that might be the point? Roger may have just discovered the fine art of blog trolling.

    • I think we can’t be too quick to judge his piece on the subject. I really liked what he had to say about the cave etchings. Santiago’s “chicken scratches” was unfair and inadequate, and he gave it a lovely spin. Don’t forget Ebert’s willingness to give a shout-out to the dissent (this blog included). He doesn’t just want to stir the pot; he wants to have a discussion. And that’s healthy :-)

      • His above comment seems a bit too flippant for me to assume that he’s trying to have constructive conversation about this. I know he reccomended the blog via twitter, but I don’t understand how this respect is better reflected by joking around about the use of the word snooty, rather than actually addressing the points you make.

        I could probably extend this further and talk about Ebert’s fundamental misunderstanding about interactivity, but I might just be looking for a fight.

        Livvyjams: Flippant, really? I thought it somewhat affectionate (he and I back and forth on Twitter), if tongue-in-cheek. And then he turned around and not only tweeted the blog, but called it a “thoughtful rebuttal.” I don’t think it’s realistic to expect him to write a whole new blog where he claims a mea culpa and changes his mind, but otherwise, he’s been receptive to the criticism, which, to me, signals an openness to the discussion around this.
        :-)

      • I agree with the rest of the commenters in that your post is extremely thoughtful and exceptionally well-argued. And I’m not even a gamer! I’ve logged in *maybe* 4 or 5 hours of console game play in my life. And while Ebert’s initial post is likewise thoughtful, he does descend to the “chicken scratches” level of unfair and inadequate commenting when he labels the games on display as “pathetic.” When my wife — who is the gamer in the family — read his piece, she said (and I paraphrase), “he’s got some good points, but he loses credit for them when he uses the term ‘pathetic.’ That just betrays a hostility to the medium that I don’t think is deserved.”

        Daniel above is correct, I think, in that if Ebert were to spend some of his reading/commenting time on experiencing the medium he’s critiquing first-hand, then his thesis may evaporate. I agree that his willingness to engage in the debate and present dissenting commentary is very much a good thing, but it seems he’s doing it from an entrenched position rather than an exploratory one. But that’s just me.

        If nothing else, Ebert’s posting has led me to discover your blog, which seems to be a lovely place to spend some reading time. Glad to find it out here!

        Livvyjams: Glad you like the blog. I enjoy writing it.

      • Well the whole twitter discussion background is a little reassuring. I wasn’t really expecting a full 180 on issue, but there’s a class of commenter (or maybe it’s just me) who feels strawmanned by tweets like “ebertchicago: OMG! “His perspective is of someone who is not a Gamer.”-From one of the 800+ posts on my videogame entry. ” And, lacking a personal response or any sort of concession, it’s easy for endorsements to ring hollow.

        Livvyjams: I hear you, but I also feel that it’s irresponsible to change one’s stance overnight, especially as his points were otherwise well argued (my disagreement doesn’t change that). The fact is, while he may not know a lot about the artistic quality of *some* video games (because let’s be honest, some video games are also shite), he does know a lot about art. And it shows in the blog he wrote. Moreover, I’m not going to sway on this: Kellee Santiago fails to make a single compelling argument in the defense of video game art, on top of choosing poor examples from her own company’s pool of lesser games (a huge error in judgement on her part; a TED presentation is a perfect opportunity to humbly talk about the business you’re in, rather than promote your business). That said, once Ebert’s had the chance to research the issue more, it’s likely that we’ll see some amendment. And that’s fine by me. Anyone should reserve the right to change their minds, even if it’s not right away. But his opinions are usually well rounded, and I doubt he would have had the chance to round out his stance – at least to my liking – since Saturday, and based only on comments. While some of them were useful, a good many aren’t. So what if he’s not shouting, “mea culpa!” That doesn’t make his acknowledgement of my blog (and many others with opposing views) any less sincere. He’s also not shooting “the opposition” down when they present cogent arguments.

        I have every reason to believe he’s listening to the dissent with open ears, and because he’s chosen to approve each and every comment before it’s posted on his blog, he also has to read it. Since he’s replied to so many, it’s clear he’s not just giving these a cursery glance. He’s listening. He may not have decided to change his mind, or how he’d like to change his mind, but he’s listening. Imagine if politicians did the same. :-)

      • Your comments have gone a long way toward reducing my cynicism. If I can do so without comment spamming I’d like to air my personal grievances. Part of the perils of being raised on a medium founded on interaction I guess.

        I’ll agree that Ebert does solid job a of discussing art. I think he could have elaborated on the why the separation of artist and audience is necessary (and this brings some of the comments on instant gratification and wankery into new light), but that’s not my main beef. He’s claiming that labeling something a game does not demean it. Despite this, he assumes a definiton of games while discussing the definition of art. Games were the cornerstone example of terms only vaguely definable for one of the founding fathers of linguistics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game#Ludwig_Wittgenstein). To devote so much time to establishing a understanding for art while stating games must have a score, gives games a short shrift (though the TED clip is in part responsible for this). Tied into this lack of definition is an uncertainity of whether or not Ebert differentiates between the act of designing a game, the act of playing a game and whether or not either is an artistic act.

        I’m not going to try and defend the TED talk. Personally I’d rather someone discussing the artistic merits of interaction (I understand that this still wouldn’t address Ebert’s position). What Santiago did basically amounted to saying “I think you see where we’re going with this” and asking people how they could help. Waco certainly seems like the weakest choice, but there may be some hidden wisdom to it. I don’t know when talk was given, if it predates the Oprah appearance or the associated blog entries, but Waco’s vocal element may have been an attempt at poignance based on Roger’s initial alienation at losing his voice. But the cheap promotion angle does seem much more likely.

        Livvyjams: Good points all. Cheers!

  2. Great and insightful blog post. Ebert’s opinions of late have been rather questionable, and I wonder why he even bothered posting that video game blog other than to stir up some more controversy. One would think he enjoys that after reading his most recent review of Kick-ass and ensuing tweets questioning the intelligence of non-Chicago based reviewers.

    • I actually liked his piece on video games. I disagreed because I have a reason to, having worked in the video game industry. But that doesn’t make some of the points in his piece any less poignant, or relevant. And honestly, I really didn’t feel Santiago’s presentation gave him (or anyone) any reason to associate art with video games. I felt her talk diverged from that completely. Since his blog is focused on her material, his stance is fair enough.

  3. Great article… its so nice to see the points laid out a made. The pivotal points. Your right about not giving Ebert flack. I think most of the backlash on this issue is off the back of backlash for the Kick Ass fiasco. The timing of the two back to back articles does feel like a small assault focused on teens unnecessarily. While I agree with you about Ebert’s video game blog, I would have liked his review for Kick Ass to have tackled the artistic shortcomings of the film rather then the simple reactionary response.

    But again, great article and the best I’ve read on the subject.

    • I didn’t really feel his review of Kick Ass was reactionary. He’s been a movie reviewer for years, and given plenty of movies that weren’t meant for his demographic (e.g. children’s movies) a “thumbs up.” The whole “why do they need guns if they’re martial arts experts” comment was valid. It doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like the movie. I still might see it. But I kind of read his reviews religiously, so I’m completely biased.

      In any case, thank you for reading and enjoying my post. :-) I’m so touched by all this looooove! :-)

      • Sorry, but I tend to disagree. I think his review of Kick Ass *was* reactionary. He doesn’t engage with the text of the movie (or, as mentioned above, its artistic shortcomings), he reacts to a particular element of the film and allows that reaction to take up residence in the whole of the column. Some have compared it to his previous lambasting of Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, but in that review he at least deals with the whys insofar as the movie is concerned. He discusses context, frame composition, lens choice, etc. in describing why the film causes him such revulsion. There’s much to admire in his writing in that review. I may disagree with his assessment, and I may question the validity of the avenues he takes toward that assessment, but it’s a fine piece of criticism. There’s none of that in his review of Kick Ass. The closest he comes to grappling with the film is by saying “I know, I know. This is a satire. But a satire of what?”, after which he drops the subject. It comes close to his reactionary take on Paul Bartel’s Death Race 2000, which likewise seems oblivious to the points that (a) it’s a comedy aimed at adults, and (b) it’s a satire, instead focusing simply on a “what about the kids?” knee-jerk response.

        SPOILER for a film that has nothing to do with the subjects at hand follows.

        Now, I do not exaggerate when I make the statement that the Ebert-scripted Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is my second favorite film of all time. Right behind Kane. But I’m sure that there are those who are unwilling to engage with the film critically, and who might be repulsed by the fact that in the film’s climax, two women die seemingly for no more crime than being engaged in a lesbian relationship (stated explicitly in the film’s closing narration: “Roxanne and Casey’s love wasn’t evil, but evil came about because of it.”). One of the women being forced, unconscious, to perform fellatio on a pistol until it “goes off.” Now, I get that the film is intended to be over-the-top, a satire and a put-on; and that the events that transpire — as well as the closing narration — are all part of the parody of melodrama that is part and parcel of the satire (it’s not what it’s about, but how it’s about it, correct?). But those unwilling to engage with the film critically might be tempted just to ask “but a satire of what?” and leave it at that. Ebert’s better than that, and in comparison to his other valuable work, resorting to that simple response does seem reactionary.

        Livvyjams: Fair enough. I don’t necessarily agree that his review was reactionary, but your points are well argued. :-)

      • Haha if your happy to labour the point (is it laboring if we’re still discussing a part of the article?) then allow me to elaborate.

        I would of course agree in theory that a review is reactionary in the same way I would say that all documentaries are subjective. But its the attempt at objectivity that we all, and I as a moviegoer, appreciate I think.

        I think my frustration comes after seeing the online response to Roger’s review and then seeing the film myself, which I was quite disappointed with. I re-read the review and was upset because I felt the film was very open to intelligent criticism and quite susceptible to emotional outrage. I’m sure if Roger had wanted, he could have really torn into the fabric of the film, the broken rules, the lack of coherent theme, at least to a greater extent then he did. I think that tackling it the way he did was in fact the less effective way of convincing his audience of the films shortcomings. I felt it played into the films hands so to speak.

        Not that he owes anything to anyone, of course he’s earned the right to review anything however he wants, but based on my above notion, just felt like a missed opportunity. Now we have a lot of passionate (and angry) teens convincing themselves the film is better then it actually is.

        Livvyjams: I’m not sure what objectivity has to do with being reactionary, and in both theory and practice, true objectivity is nearly impossible to achieve. No film critic, least of all Roger Ebert, would ever claim to be objective in their reviews. Not only is it paradoxical, it’s also counter-productive. When we read a review, we want to know if someone liked something, and we want to know why. There’s nothing objective about the supply or the demand. What I’ve noted is that each time Ebert writes a bad review of a popular movie, he gets a lot of flak. I think it’s remarkable how he’s able to take it in stride, but then I suppose that’s part of the critic’s job description. I myself have enjoyed movies that he didn’t, and equally enjoyed reading his reviews. Otherwise, I felt that his review of Kick-Ass asked for a better satire. People have accused him of not “getting it,” but after reading his review of Zombieland – another satire, and a good one – I think he gets satire just fine. The questions he raised about Kick-Ass were valid, and while he didn’t focus on all the little things that were bad about the movie (which he rarely does anyhow), I felt satisfied in the big things that he pointed out.

      • I see your points. True objectivity is impossible I agree, but I don’t think striving for it is counterproductive. So often this results in clarity of perspective, something Kick Ass betrays throughout. This is something I too have always admired in Roger, the strong singular vision. Perhaps my real issue is not that he is reactionary, its just that I wasn’t comfortable with what I found that reaction to be.

        Livvyjams: Fair enough. :-)

  4. Brilliant response. It makes me wonder why video games cannot be art if all they do is add interactivity and control to existing art forms?

    Video Games share so much with “traditional” art mediums. The aim (mostly) is to tell a story: this is done with a plot and various storytelling techniques. Plot and/or storytelling is obviously not unique to video games- all art tells some kind of story. Video games then utilize music and visual animation to establish a mood and setting (just like other forms of art!) Finally with characters, written dialogue, and healthy heap of subtext and backstory- a world is created.

    So far nothing I’ve described is unique to video games. The only thing that video games have that is unique is interactivity and control. My question is: why does interactivity and control stop something from being art?

    PS I’m sure many people can give me plenty of examples of games that leave out storytelling, or character depth, etc. Fine. When I wrote that I was thinking about the game Final Fantasy 7, a story/character driven game.

    • I’m still a fan of American McGee. I think he took everything that was cool about Goth and made it…again (and better).

  5. I loved this article. It really communicates how I felt about the original post and its commenters.

    As for Roger’s comment, I’m not sure snooty is quite the word I’d use, either. It seems a combination of inexperience with the medium and personal preference is likely a closer match, but I get what you’re saying.

    Finally, video games have been compared to paintings, novels, and movies. I’d like to see them compared to architecture, since both are mostly internal out-of-sight structure and involve similar creative processes.

    • Oh my goodness, you’re so right! Plus, games have architects on their teams anyway. I’d love to see that analogy all fleshed out and stuff. Thanks for the comment!

  6. You mention Final Fantasy, and I’m glad you did. Uematsu’s scores for Final Fantasy I-X rival that of movie composers such as John Williams and can also be considered a form of art. I -love- the XIII soundtrack.

    • And what about that Portal end song? Wasn’t it the sh*t? What’s amazing is that this song was deliberately composed for that game, to match the tone and all sorts. It’s incredible what little baby universes these video games can be.

      • The part of video games I find most enthralling is definitely the music. I mean, just look at the feats of Koji Kondo, composer of the Super Mario theme and Legend of Zelda soundtracks. From an academic standpoint, they are technical masterpieces. (Just listen to that syncopation and time signature! 11/8!) From a layperson’s view, they’re catchy and iconic. The most amazing part to me, however, is how they loop endlessly. Not only are they designed to fit the environment, but they can be deep and beautiful and repetitive without being annoying.* Even the early 8-bit handheld games with good soundtracks are incredible feats of resourcefulness and creativity.

        *Not a feat all video games can claim.

      • The Okami OST is wonderful too.

        A couple years ago, I had the privilege of seeing Distant Worlds (a Final Fantasy concert) in Chicago. And it was wonderful. The Opera and Tina’s Theme made me cry.

    • Goodness, yes! I used to study music before going into English and I know exactly what you mean. A friend of mine, who’s also a sound engineer, experiments with 8-bit soundtracks to create his sound. I kinda like it.

      • Video game music has a very unique sound to it. I don’t just mean the computerized sounds of the 8-bit, I mean the melodies they use and the moods they create.
        I’m a DJ from brooklyn, and I’m going to try to sample some of the more subtle, atmospheric video game tracks and make them into rap beats. I think the key is to treat the music as music, and not “video game” music.

        I’m sampling this:

        Rather then this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEKDF_WbMlg

        -DJ 64 of the Lucas Project

  7. I think both sides have a very good point – you can neither reduce video games to being a program made for interactive entertainment nor to artistic creations.
    Modern games need both to become a whole. That’s what separates them from previous media, where the recipient only receives and is never interacting with the medium itself.
    Science, craft and art combined into a little ball of great, that’s what the really, really good games are.

  8. Great piece! As a kid I played a lot of video games, but sort of grew out, then grew back into playing them! My hubby got me addicted to World of Warcraft and I definitely can appreciate the “art” of the game. He does a lot of gaming, and there are some, in my opinion, boring games out there. The graphics for some of the FPS games are fantastic, but they do nothing for me. However, games like WOW, and another of my favourites Assassin’s Creed 2, are beautiful and the stories really engross you. I actually sat up many a late night just watching him play AC2 because the story pulled me in like watching a movie! Haven’t got the time to read Ebert’s review, but I’ll have to have a look at it.

    • Definitely have a look at it when you can. I disagreed, obviously, but I still enjoyed reading it. And I wouldn’t have reacted at all if it had left me indifferent, right?

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  10. Video games are art – in many of the same ways that movies are art. I doubt that anyone would deny that the movie Avatar is art. How then can you deny the game of the same name, which uses much of the same artwork, is also art?

    Games are an even more difficult art form since they are participatory in ways that traditional art is not. Paintings are meant to be stared at, not interacted with. Yet in games, we are dropped into a virtual universe, often with very different rules and it has to be crafted in such a way to have some degree of logic to it so that the player can figure out how to solve the puzzles and situations that are part of the game play.

    You interact with the objects and characters in the virtual world, and with newer games, crafting is now an option which means that players are creating entirely new objects inside the game.

    I too am a fan of Alice. I do miss my deck of playing cards :/

    • And you know, this is something that needs to be discussed in further detail: interactivity as art.

      As we’re talking about a function, how does it lend itself to art or an artistic experience? I think there are a lot of answers to that, so let’s start exploring it.

  11. As a gamer, I can deny that the Avatar game is “art.” It’s a knockoff, an afterthought, a color-by-numbers cashing-in mediocrity that carries none of the visceral brilliance of it’s inspiration.

    But Art in the gaming world is a very real thing. I see it in games like Flower, a sublimely brilliant, gentle, compelling event. Or, for previous gen games, Psychonauts, with its peculiar palette and deliciously warped sensibilities. Or in classic PC games like Homeworld, which was beautiful and carried a storyline as compelling and mature as the most carefully constructed novel. Or, frankly, in Super Mario Galaxy, which filled the screen with enough imaginative whimsy that I’d find myself laughing with wonder at it.

    Many games are garbage. Some games are…well…evil. But as Ms. Olivia suggests, this new medium can, most certainly, be art.

    • Hah! That’s “Mrs.” Olivia, now :-)

      I haven’t played or seen the Avatar game. I had high hopes for it, since the movie put forth such a fantastic, intricate universe, but if you don’t care for it, I’ll have to trust your judgement on this one. It’s too bad, though. I think it could have had strong groundwork for a great RPG.

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  13. Don’t just think about the visual art, the musical art often exceeds…

    Livvy Jams: Fair enough. I haven’t always been impressed by the music, but the point I’m making anyhow is that creating any video game, especially a good one, is the kind of craft that combines many talents, both artistic and technological. It’s a lot like making a movie, and part of the experience people enjoy is directly tied to the artistic craft that goes into it. This includes visuals and music.

  14. Of course yes! Video games are the products of the inventors creative games hence it’s an art! Well,that was my personal say. I don’y know about you guys. Thanks for sharing anyways!

  15. Wow!, this was a real quality post. In theory I’d like to write like this too – taking time and real effort to make a good article… but what can I say… I keep putting it off and never seem to get something done

  16. Seeing that we already happen to be discussing points regarding Video games can so be art, so gnah! Livvy Jams, Gaming captures the imagination of the players and uses the senses: sight, sound, too as touch. A great number of need the use of intelligence as well as method. Complex graphics, colours, top quality virtual realities are all set to grab as well as hold the attention of players. Multi-player gaming takes the interest towards the subsequent level -offers challenges too as new horizons to be conquered.

  17. Bonjour tout d’abord bravo pour votre site que j’ai parcouru avec plaisir. cet article a retenu tout mon attention car je le trouve bien rédigé et tres intéressant. d’habitude je ne commente pas les sites mais aujourd’hui je prends quelques instants pour le faire. Je vous contacterais pour faire un échange de lien avec mon propre site. En espérant vous lire bientot.

    Livvy Jams: Merci beaucoup!

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