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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 not art Show more Show less

Video games are not meant to elicit an aesthetic or emotional response from a player. They are instead a media which seeks to sell itself to as many people as possible, just like any mass-produced, off-the-shelf product. A car may look aesthetically pleasing, but it is still just a product meant to drive a person from point A to point B. A video game is the same.
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Video games are not art because art is not interactive

Art is something to be experienced, not influenced. Anything which claims to be interactive art is an activity, not a work of art. Video games fall into this category.
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Context

The Argument

Art is not interactive. Anything which requires player input forfeits the creator's control over their work, which is in opposition to the nature of art.[1] Art is meant to showcase the artist's skills,[2] not the player's. Video games rely solely on their ability to be manipulated by the consumer. There may be outstanding visuals, heartstring-pulling music, or an indredible story; but the artist loses control over all of that when the player is able to transform it as they see fit. Creator games and art programs allow the player to manipulate the art; music and sound creation games give players the chance to create their own music, and story-based games allow the player choices which can affect the outcome of the story. When the artists involved lose control over their own work, it is no longer theirs; it is the consumer's. It cannot be artwork when it can be played with like a toy. Interactive art is not art; it is an activity for people to take part in. Video games are interactive and therefore are not art.

Counter arguments

Interactive art is a step beyond traditional art. The artist doesn't lose control over their artwork by having someone else interact with it if that was their intention for the artwork. One could argue that the consumer is being manipilated by the art just as much as the art is being manipulated by the consumer. Video games follow this same principal. The path is all laid out for the player to follow; the choices are not as endless as they may seem, even for the most complex of games. The choices are programmed into the games by the game developers; that means that it was the developer's intention for the player to make one of those choices. Whatever path the player decides to take will lead them through the developer's artwork just as intended.

Framing

Premises

[P1] Interactive art is not art because it takes control away from the artist and gives it to the consumer. [P2] Video games are interactive and therefore are not art.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Interactive art does not take control away from the artist if the interaction was the artist's intention in the first place. [Rejecting P2] Video games are art because art can be interactive.

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/news301105ebert
  2. https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/news240106kojimaart

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This page was last edited on Friday, 1 May 2020 at 15:43 UTC