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Adrian Griffin

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Are video games art? How can we convince people of its potential and help it evolve?

Video games often get a bad rap in the media for triggering violent behavior in young people, and people often fail to realize the artistic nature of video games. I'd like to know your opinions on if video games can and should be considered an art form, how to evolve it into something bigger in the public mind than a mere digital toy to waste away with, and how to put forward more varied content.

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  • Gord G 50+

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    Mar 12 2014: What's art? The pragmatic answer suggests it's how our culture chooses to define it - in which case, anything can be deemed art. If art is an existential truism then we will never have a definitive answer.

    Video games embody multiple disciplines that transverse the theoretical, applied and aesthetic, each of which can inspire originality. But I've always felt originality is only the starting point for art. I feel true art must resonate at a deeper level. I think true art doesn't simply decorate, it expands our awareness. It alters the very way we perceive the world.

    So to answer your question…video games have the potential to be art but that doesn't mean they are art.
  • Mar 18 2014: I think it is really difficult to define art and the definition of art is constantly changing. Video games touch a lot of the current definitions. Joseph Beuys' definition of social sculpture for example states that an artist begins a sculpture and then others can contribute to them. That constantly happens with video games. People design their own characters and create things like armor, houses etc. for others to download. Games like Minecraft make the people create whole worlds. That is just a small aspect. The designers of video games put a lot of effort into creating a world, a story and they often criticize or portrait society and make you think about it. Therefore video games are far more than just wasted time. It depends on the game how many artistic aspects you can find in them. Most people who criticize video games also never even tried them and just heard about them in the media.
  • Mar 18 2014: War is a symptom of boredom. It is boring at the top of the food chain. Online war is harmless fun but not art because art is beauty and war is not.
  • Mar 17 2014: There are many things that could lead video games to being both art and not. Just like Gord G said what's art. personally I say videogames are art because it is a mixture between technology, the human idea, and imagery. However, just like with art you can pieces like Picasso or those done by a 4 year old with crayons. In regards to how to evolve video games, as long as creativity and the human mind expands along with technological advances video games will expand and could potentially be used to help better the community. With how the media portray video games, as long as the media can point its finger at something and say, "it's because of that" they will do it.The media is a fair weather friend that showcases the achievements when they are grand and the failure when they are disastrous. In that sense, until the media changes it idea about what to inform the nation about video games will almost always get a bad reputation.
  • Mar 14 2014: God I hope not, if video games are art then the world sure has taken a big dive. While the art used in video games might be quite good its actual simplistic style, crude storylines and stereotypical characters are hollow. How in the world can killing people or monsters ever be some kind of art. Its basically rubbish pandering to the usual lowest common denominator.
  • Mar 12 2014: Yes video games are some sort of an art. But not like the Mona lisa or something like that. They are meant for entertainment not really anything else, NORMALLY. And yeah video games do get a bad rep in the media for people becoming aggressive, but in all honesty don't listen to channels like fox, cnn, nsbc, or anything like that because they all have different political opinions and it gets to the point, which is, "what is really going on with this?" The art in video games is the part that the game artists do, yeah its an actual job that people go to school for, and that would be the back drops in skyrim or the armor, stuff that you do not really pay attention to but make the game look realistic. Gaming its self is not an art form or anything close, its a hobby and a form of entertainment, similar to a cartoon.
  • Mar 12 2014: Whether I agree or not, it will reach its potential in this regard, and it will evolve. No need to push whatsoever.
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    Mar 11 2014: Here is a great TED talk on why the curator of MOMA has now brought video games into that venerable museum as art: http://www.ted.com/talks/paola_antonelli_why_i_brought_pacman_to_moma

    You can also find online an interview with distinguished author Salman Rushdie of the narrative potential he sees in video games. http://bigthink.com/videos/video-games-and-the-future-of-storytelling

    I predict that having such people promoting video games as an artistic medium, particularly in a very visited place like MOMA, will make the idea of games as a potential artistic vehicle very mainstream very quickly.

    That art schools offer coursework and degree programs in this area further establishes it as an art form: http://new.artinstitutes.edu/seattle/Programs/game-art-and-design/87