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Are video games art? Show more Show less

The debate over what counts as art has raged for centuries. Famous artists who we know today as legends were once under scrutiny for their art forms in one way or another. Today the debate continues, but with a new subject under scrutiny: Video games. So are video games art, or just another hyped up fad?

Video games are art Show more Show less

Just like any modern form of entertainment media, video games are undeniably an art form. No one debates the legitimacy of film, photography, or digital paintings as art. So why should video games, which are essentially interactive movies, be excluded?
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Video games are modern art

Video games may not live up to the standards of art aficionados of the past, but times and cultures are changing. In the history of art, there have always been new and rising art forms whose legitimacy in the world of art were vehemently debated. Video games are the new Picassos; widely criticized, but art all the same.
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Context

The Argument

Art has been defined as many things over time, and is no longer as simple as it was once thought of. Paintings, drawings, and sculptures were once the only media in existence which was considered as art, but as technology grew, art also grew to include more art forms. It didn't always happen overnight; much of which we know as art today, such as writing[1] and film,[2] were once controversial and rejected as art forms. Video games are the latest art form to follow this trend of controversy and rejection. While some would debate that video games are just a mindless distraction, many would argue that it is indeed art. A video game may not have been considered art in the past, but today it is definitively a modern art form. Video games are like interactive films in which there is a story taking place, but the player ultimately chooses how that story progresses. One could say that video games are the next evolution of film, or at least a branch of it. A similar example would be "choose your own adventure" novels. A video game can even be thought of as a marriage of film and "choose your own adventure" books. Since both film and writing are considered art, video games should naturally be considered the same.

Counter arguments

Anything in which "choice" is an option cannot be considered art. Art is an expression of the artist, so only the artist has any say or control over their art. Viewers of art are passive; they may utilize their own values and experiences to help them interpret the art, but they do not choose what the art looks like, what medium the artist used, or what the artist's intent was. The artwork is finished by the time it reaches the viewer, and the same universal artwork is seen by everyone. A video game is nothing but choices. Where there is still choice, there is no "finish." As the player progresses through a video game, they are directly influencing the game's final outcome; how much gold will you have by the end of the game, what secrets will you have discovered, which possible storyline ending will you get? Video games are not art because the creators are not the ones to finish it; the player is. The creators have no say in how a person finishes their game, or if they even finish their game at all. There is no one, universal ending to the game, so there is no finished artwork that everyone can see; instead there are endless possible outcomes and not everyone will see them all. Without a definitive final form, a universal artwork does not exist.

Framing

Premises

[P1] Video games are modern art because they are an evolved form of artistic expressions such as film or "choose your own adventure" novels.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Video games are not art because the players have the final choice in the game's outcome, not the creators.

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://fs.blog/2013/02/an-old-argument-against-writing/
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VbNkDXfP_0

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This page was last edited on Monday, 27 Apr 2020 at 19:42 UTC