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Are video games an art form?

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I've heard the arguments before. Are video games art? Some will say no, others will say yes. I'm with the latter, as I think video games are for sure art. Much like movies, tv, music, poetry etc can be considered art, than video games definitely are art too. 

Games like Okami, Journey, Stray, Metal Gear Solid 3, Red Dead Redemption 2 , and so much more. 

I consider many movies and TV shows art as well. So video games definitely deserve to fit into that too. What do you think?

And what games do you consider a work of art?

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I said it all before, specifically in the post below on this thread. Spoiler alert, the answer is no. Video games are not a form art. Its not that I'm coming down on games, far from it, but video games do not fit into my definition of what constitutes as art.


Because I know that is not a popular opinion, I respectfully ask anyone who wishes to respond to me to read the quote as a responce from somebody who clearly didn't bother I'm just going to ignore.


On 6/8/2021 at 9:38 PM, Shagger said:


The classic forums of artistic expression are probably the easiest examples to use to explain this with. A painting or a statue has no practical purpose, purely creative. There's just vain, opulent, arbitrary things that don't do anything to help anyone. Inanimate objects that only exist to be admired, and nothing more. As soon as something has a use, it becomes something that isn't art. It's now a tool, a device, something that has a purpose beyond it's own vanity. Yes artwork can be (and some might argue needs to be) provocative. Make you think, make you feel, but that's a reaction created only by the admirer, not the object. It's not telling you to feel that way nor convince you of anything. It may have the complete opposite effect on you that the artist intended, and nobody would be able to argue. So you see, a provocation isn't something the work of art in question actually does, that's something you created yourself. Anything you do, say or even feel after admiring a work of art is still something you do on your own, so it's still the artwork itself is still not doing anything. It has no purpose, no function, outside of it's own vanity. That's what something needs to be art.


That's why I say a video game can't technically be a form of art because it's a challenge, a test of self. In that sense, I'd say it's more like a sport. Don't get me wrong though, just because something has a purpose and now can't be art, doesn't mean it can't be built, as least in part, with artistic merit and it can still be beautiful.


Take chess, for example. A game of chess is not an art form, it's a game that tests one's strategic thinking. It's design is built not through pure creativity, but on structure, a set of rules to govern the game. That's not art, that's built to a purpose based on rules, not artistic merit. However, does chess need art to exist? Is their artistic merit in it's design? Well, one look at these chess boards and the answer is obvious;









It terms of that deign structure built off the rules and parameters of the game, all these chess boards are exactly the same. A game of chess is technically no different played on any of these boards, or even on a bog basic, plastic piece of shit like this.




So you see, just because chess is not art, does not diminish how import art is in it's make up. Whilst the game may be technically exactly same no matter what board you play on, the creative element can enhance the experience enormously.


Video games are no different. They're basic designs are structured on rules, not creativity, but the aesthetics are and can add to the experience. Yes, the creative elements are more important than in a board game because the user interface is dependant of visual design, but that's something that's built to a purpose as well as aesthetics, so it's not entirely a creative endeavour. Aesthetics aren't the only creatives elements of a game either, there is also writing and music. So a video game is not art, but it is a test of self challenge that needs good art to reach it's full potential.


I hope that clears up any confusion over my point of view.


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I disagree. Chess itself isn't art but the pieces can be and so can the board obviously.

Video games are digital art, music, & motion. 

TIME magazine article on video games

In the above link it talks about this subject matter.

Here's part of it: 

"As an art form that has only existed in the digital space, video games are truly a collision of art and science. They include many forms of traditional artistic expression—sculpture in the form of 3D modeling, illustration, narrative arcs, and dynamic music—that combine to create something that transcends any one type.

Video games are also the only form of media that allows for personalizing the artistic experience while still retaining the authority of the artist. In video games we find three distinct voices: the creator, the game, and the player. Those who play a game are following the story of the author and are bound by the constructs of the rules—but based on the choices they make, the experience can be completely personal. If you can observe the work of another and find in it personal connection, then art has been achieved."

I think to say that video games are not a form of art is totally discounting all the artistic elements that go into these games. No offense. JMO.

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12 minutes ago, runswithspatulas said:

I disagree. Chess itself isn't art but the pieces can be and so can the board obviously....


Somehow, I knew somebody would not read what I said properly. If you had understood what I said you would see that opening sentence from you is pretty much a summery of my entire statement. So I'm not gonna bother with a rebuttle. If my post isn't worth reading then I'm sorry, but why should I show the same respect in kind?

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11 hours ago, Shagger said:


Somehow, I knew somebody would not read what I said properly. If you had understood what I said you would see that opening sentence from you is pretty much a summery of my entire statement. So I'm not gonna bother with a rebuttle. If my post isn't worth reading then I'm sorry, but why should I show the same respect in kind?

I read it but I obviously don't understand it. My apologies.

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They are an art form, but I don't think they're the highest form of art. There is no one highest form of art imo; however, there can be examples of the highest pieces of art from all art forms. Games like BioShock sit on the same pantheon as paintings like Mona Lisa and films like Inception.

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To me it all depends on a few things, but at it's core it's super vague and subjective. My answer, speaking as an artist, and a developer, and a consumer all at once, is both yes and no.

All games fit into being a form of expression, but that doesn't mean that every game tries to achieve the same results on an artistic scale, much like movies. Take two popular movie franchises that are also popular amongst people who play a lot of games, or nerds. Lord of the Rings, and the Marvel films.

The Lord of the Rings films are the biggest budget indie films in the world. They were completely handcrafted with clear intent in every area. It was made locally in NZ, and the production set out to make the film they wanted to make, and succeed. If you watch the behind-the-scenes stuff you can clearly see each and every person on the production team putting so much energy and passion into telling this story. The intent of the creators is palpable throughout the entire experience, which is an important thing when it comes to defining art, at least for me.

Compare this to the Marvel films which, enjoyable in their own right, fall into the category of being entertainment first-hand, and not really anything more than that. There's nothing wrong with this, of course, but the point still stands, in that the intent of the makers of these film series vary greatly.

Compare these two examples to two vastly different games, but still games. Ico, and Fifa. Ico is an entirely handcrafted experience made from a clear idea, and it shows constantly throughout the game. Whereas Fifa isn't much more than entertainment, as that's what it's supposed to be. The intent of the creators there isn't to evoke emotions other than just entertainment.

Within this debate there is often a misconception that art has some kind of required prerequisite. It either has to be auditory, visual, or a bunch of other arbitrary labels which I feel make the entire discussion kind of poinless because at the end of the day, it's subjective and everyone's viewpoint on it is completely different. I disagree with the notion that in order for something to be art it has to lack a function, which is false when taking into account that literature, music, film or paintings absolutely have a function. They evoke emotion and reaction from the person absorbing them, which may change that person's outlook on things, transforming them as a human being.

There are just as many games being nothing but toys, as there are movies being nothing more than something to make the end of the fiscal year report look better, or drawings that are just pointless scribbles.

To me, it's about the intent of the creator, and the recipients willingness to absorb that.


TLDR; it really just depends on what you think at the end of the day. I believe some games classify as art, but not all of them. It's a form of expression that can have alot of artistic value in it, and at the same time not. It's all totally relative to both product and individual.

Footnote: There's also an argument to be made for digital interactability being its totally own artform, as video games really are completely unique when it comes to the way you're absorbing/consuming it.


Edit: I think your reasonming is very interesting @Shagger. It's definitely the most eloquent way of reasoning against it being an artform. I will have to think about that in the future. I've been thinking along the same tracks but instead ended up at my "It's too vague to define" standpoint.

Edited by Tonberry
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In terms of digital art, I do feel that games do fall within that category. Much like music and movies can be classed as an art, I feel that games do fall within that category, and it does take a talent and a know how to create games and get them perfect and ready for play by those who enjoy games. I fully understand why there is the argument that they are either an art or not as many people do see art as being something different not something like gaming so I wouldn't say anyone is right or wrong in that instance for their opinion.

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