View Full Version : Are computer games an artform?

05-07-2007, 05:12 PM
Ars Technica has a very interesting article: http://arstechnica.com/articles/culture/game-writing-1.ars

It deals with the question of whether good writing in games is bound to rise, how it is perceived in the business, and whether good game writing isn't really an indication of artistic expression in the same manner as novels or movies...

I'd take KotOR2 as an example. Even though the game is harmed by cut content, the writing and dialogue is still rather unusual. How many have quoted Kreia in their sig, for instance? I know I have...

05-07-2007, 05:29 PM
In a word, yes, but not just in writing.

For example, suppose you play Doom, without any story whatsoever. But you get to destroy evild emons. You receive a visceral thrill in that killing and that murdering of demons. If you even play Pac-Man, the music and the gameplay can excite you and make you quite, quite happy. Neither of those games have good storylines. But they have good gameplay.

And that is also part of artwork. Artwork serves to please, to excite, and to make happy, and you are pleased by a work of art that has an actual, hidden covert meaning or if you are pleased by superficial "Here's a gun, go kill stuff!" artwork has succeded regardless. It is supposed to make you feel happy, and now that you are happy, artwork has won! Why else are graphics considered one of the key elements in games after all?

What you are asking therefore, is not that should games be considered artwork, but rather, should games have great stories (which is a totally different question altogether)? I agree with you, which is why I posted that Experiment a long time ago to prove it. However, I do not think it is quite possible to prove that a storyline is better than gameplay. Unless we are able to conclusively prove (or at least fabricate) that storylines can attract more sales than mere gameplay, we will be stuck with bad storylines...but I don't think that is necessary at all to worry. Each gamer is different, after all. You may appeal to some gamers who love great storylines, but at the expense of getting other people to hate your story and see it as stupid. An example is that very same quote that was in that article in the begining. He saw it as the greatest thing ever that set the done...I saw it as, well, blah.

Commericalization of everything is a necessiaty, and in some cases, it tells you how succesful something is. You need this sort of tallies to figure stuff out. And the more popular a game is (since people have to pay for it, which takes a lot of their time), could that be the better the game actually is? Artwork serves to please after all...

05-07-2007, 05:44 PM
Writing and animation and some other design aspects could be considered art forms; not fine art, but art forms. But a game itself is not a work of art. Not all that entertains is art.

05-07-2007, 05:46 PM
Art is that which is made with the intention of stimulating the human senses as well as the human mind and/or spirit. There is no general agreed-upon definition of art, since defining the boundaries of "art" is subjective, but the impetus for art is often called human creativity.

Sounds like art to me.

Then again, er. That could mean, well, this little forum post is also considered art. As well as the computer on which I am typing this post.

05-07-2007, 06:24 PM
Writing and animation and some other design aspects could be considered art forms; not fine art, but art forms. But a game itself is not a work of art. Not all that entertains is art.

In Shakespeare's time, seeing one of his plays was considered less artistic than seeing an Arnold movie is today. In fact, it was considered only one step above visiting a brothel...

Sorry, I don't mean to be vulgar, but that is actually quite true.

So what does that tell us about art, when Shakespeare's work is considered timeless classics today - and frequently classics at that, which are "only for the educated" and not "for the masses" (IMHO, the "masses" don't know what they're missing...) ??

Another example, H.R. Giger is an absolutely brilliant swiss painter. Some of his work is truly haunting and incredible at the same time, if you ask me - just so you know you have been warned before you click this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:TheShiverWalpurgis.jpg

Yet Giger also worked on movies, because he, by his own statements, he finds that movies were more important than the paintings in the 20th century (and I think that goes for the 21st century as well). His work on movies has had profound impact, I would say, given that he designed the Alien in the movie of the same name - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giger

What does this tell us? Is it an indication that we are unwilling to accept new ways of expression in our society simply because they appeal to the masses and so must be "low cultured"?

The comic book has struggled for decades to gain any sort of recognition. Only in recent years has the work of people like Alan Moore ("V for Vendetta", "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen", "Watchmen", "Batman: The Killing Joke"), Neil Gaiman ("Sandman") Frank Miller ("Sin City", "Give Me Liberty", "The Dark Knight Returns") and others begun to win some critical acclaim as works of art. Will Carl Barks be hailed as a great artist of the 20th century in 50 or 100 years, for example, for his classic artwork on Donald Duck and other comic strips for Disney? His work is actually as widely read as Shakespeare's...

GTK + JA = fun
05-07-2007, 06:37 PM
Oh yeah games are a form of art. I go to the Art Institue of Seattle for Media Arts and Animation . . .long story short: I do 3D modeling and animation with Programs like Maya and stuff for movies and games. It is art, all the design, ideas and work that goes into making just a single character or story or game level is very intense.

05-08-2007, 11:48 AM
that's a stupid question, really.

05-08-2007, 12:27 PM
Can art be entertaining? Yes. Are video games entertaining? Yes. There is your answer.