Indie Game Dev | CS Student

Image RSS Feed Latest Screens
Attack of the Squares!
Blog RSS Feed Report abuse Latest Blog: Should Games Be Considered Art?

1 comment by kurieus on Dec 1st, 2013

I started writing an article a couple of weeks back considering whether games should be considered art. Ultimately I came to the conclusion that games are indeed a form of art. It wasn’t an easy decision though. I hit road blocks at every turn. Every argument I started to reason, I thought of a counter argument. I found a lot of reasons why some games should be considered art and some games shouldn’t be. I found a lot of reasons why some pieces of art should be considered art and some shouldn’t be.

Let me try and explain.

I originally argued that all art can be classified as art because it delivers a message. That’s what separates the arts and crafts, the message from the utilitarian use. That definition didn’t always hold up though. The best example I can think of is listed below in my original piece – Tony Smith’s “Die”. It’s supposed to mean many different things. Its six foot by six foot in size so it represents death. I personally don’t see it. I don’t understand it. I see a large box.

I have other examples. Salvador dali, for instance, creates some very interesting work. I like it. I’ll admit, I am a fan. It has no common message though. The same goes for the countless pictures of Christian art created through the renaissance. They typically tell a story and warn people of not offending the church. They are basically period propaganda pieces. Would the propaganda posters of WW2 or today be considered art?

What about architecture? Why is that considered art while pottery is not? Both are utilitarian in nature. Both serve a purpose and neither (usually) share any message.

So what is art then? I still firmly believe that the difference between art and crafts is that art shares a message of some kind. Art will often deliver an emotional message. That is what separates literature from art; art delivers its message through emotions and images while literature delivers it through reason and words. Crafts don’t deliver a message but are merely aesthetically pleasing and help accomplish a task. Because of that definition, art may not mean the same to all people. It also encompasses my biggest conflict; why are films considered art and not video games?

Certainly, not all films are art nor are all games. Like film though, games can make a person feel. They can transmit a state of being, a sense of urgency, and transplant the thoughts or a person in some other time or universe. They can deliver a message. They can provoke players to feel and to respond in the same way that traditional art would.

If one would think that games can’t make audiences feel then I would remind people of the death of Aerith. The death of Aerith at Sephiroth’s hands (Final Fantasy 7) sparked massive fan fair and rumors. Players couldn’t handle her death. Rumors spread all over the internet that Aerith was coming back and that she wasn’t really dead. (I should remind readers that these rumors spread during the early days of the computer boom and internet adoption, back during the hay days of AOL to put it into perspective. Internet use wasn’t the same then as it is now which only furthers the proof of impact of Aeirth’s death) Players actually mourned her death. They wanted to seek redemption. Her death made players feel. The Battlefield series, as much as I wouldn’t want to admit it, force players to realize the angst and destruction of war. “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream” generally make people feel despair.

Games do provoke an emotion and response. They deliver a message in a way that neither film, nor traditional art, nor literature can. It’s a new media that is still very much in its infancy. The level of detail and creativity required to provoke such response have only come about in the last 20 years, a short time in the world of art. I think that’s why many critiques don’t consider games to be art. It’s to new. I assure everyone though that games are both a form of art and entertainment. They liven the soul and speak to people. They make players react and think in ways that other media can’t.

AMC - The Walking Dead

AMC - The Walking Dead

Fans & Clans group with 200 members, open to all members

AMC - The Walking Dead / The Walking Dead is an American post-apocalyptic television drama series developed by Frank Darabont. It is based on the comic...

Post comment Comments
kurieus Nov 4 2013, 7:19pm says:

I just finished making Attack of the Squares! It's my first experiment/game. It leaves a lot of improvement but I;m happy with it.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Post a Comment
click to sign in

You are not logged in, your comment will be anonymous unless you join the community today (totally free - or sign in with your social account on the right) which we encourage all contributors to do.

2000 characters limit; HTML formatting and smileys are not supported - text only

Offline Since
Dec 1, 2013
United States United States
Member Watch
Track this member
Activity Points
38,335 of 474,606
0 members
Time Online
1 second
Site Visits
Profile Visitors
1,671 (3 today)
Private Message
Send Now
Members Only
Google Talk
Members Only

Latest tweets from @kurieus

So apparently web #onenote works well as a place to write code for random stuff when you don't have access to an editor.

3hours 39mins ago

When your prototype game turns grown men into children playing, excellent feeling!

6hours 18mins ago

Remember, let's accept that we have different view points and move along. We are not children.

12hours 27mins ago

RT @Kotaku: The indie developer who said he'd kill Gabe Newell has resigned:

12hours 28mins ago

#30daydev Day 3: Menu added, more tweaks made, xtra scenery done, lots to go!

16hours 4mins ago

Weird twist of fate. Complain about bug - fix it two seconds later...

16hours 58mins ago

Nailing own this stupid physics bug. Objects aren't shooting in the right direction.

17hours 0mins ago

It's time to get my dev hands dirty and read some docs. Dad requested a special app for his phone...

Oct 20 2014, 9:15pm

It appears #thon is going on again at Penn State. Support if you can. It's an awesome cause!

Oct 20 2014, 2:39pm

@30daysofdev Day 2: Droid enviro setup, More sprites fixed, More objects added. Not a bad 2nd day.

Oct 20 2014, 10:00am

No one is friends with kurieus awww. You should invite your mates to the site, or make new ones.