ARE VIDEO GAMES ART?
Commercially viabile and HAVing cultural impact, can vIDEO GAMES be considered art?
"We want to make games that will be compared with the works of Shakespeare" - Victor Kislyi, CEO Wargaming.net Those are some big words from one of the gaming industry’s bigger players. Equaling the illustrious works of Shakespeare is quite ambitious, but it drudges up a basic question: Can video games be considered art?
One definition of art is something which elicits an emotional response and exists for the sole purpose of existing. The truly great works of art are those that stand the test of time. Music, movies, dance, theater, painting, sculpture, architecture and many other mediums meet the criteria to be considered art, and have their own masterpieces that have withstood the test of time. But whether video games fall in the same bracket isn’t clear.
Many of the components of a video game, on their own, are already widely accepted to be art. The narrative arcs for video games – like the one of Bioshock Infinite – are getting to a point where they rival the depth and impact found in literature. Developers are working towards making their in-game cut-scenes and gameplay meet the cinematic standards of movies. The direction of games such as Journey is on par with modern art. Unfortunately though, the sum of the parts sometimes does not turn out to be the same as their components. As time progresses, video game titles may evoke emotions in players comparable to the great works of art. But a quick look at the gaming industry shows that timelessness is a hard target for games to meet. The industry is built on perpetual forward motion, with the next console, the next graphics card, the next platform making older titles obsolete. Perhaps in the future there will be one gaming platform to rule them, and we may get our first video game masterpiece which will play on for centuries to come. Perhaps not.
But there is one hurdle which will forever bar video games from being considered art. They are games. Games, by definition, have winners and losers. Games, by definition, exist to determine a victor. Unfortunately this is at odds with art, which exists as a thing of beauty with no other purpose or function. Much like chess, video games in their current guise have a stronger claim to be considered a sport than an art.
"As time progresses, video game titles may evoke emotions in players comparable to the great works