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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 serve an aesthetic purpose

Hundreds of hours are spent on the artwork and aesthetic appeal of the modern video game. With so many talented concept artists, 3D modelers, and texture artists involved in the making of a single video game, one would be hard-pressed to deny the artistic power behind a video game.
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Context

The Argument

There is a lot of aesthetic intent behind a video game. Artists of all kinds come together to help create a game from beginning to end. Storyboarding, character design, 3D rendering/spritework, texture work, promotional and concept art are all examples of the kinds of art which go into the creation of a single game.[1] With so many artists collaborating their efforts into a project of this size, how can one deny the artistic impact that the game is going to have on the player in the end? There are many games which are aesthetically pleasing and emotionally-charged. Each player has their own preference of a game's art style; some prefer realism to the point that the characters and scenery look exactly like real life, others prefer a more cartoony or cell-shaded style which is simplified but allows for more creative freedom. This is no different from how different people enjoy differing art styles (eg. impressionism, contemporary, abstract, cartoony, etc.). Video games undeniably offer an aesthetic appeal to a wide range of players around the world, and thus serve an aesthetic purpose just as powerful as any other form of art.

Counter arguments

Just because there is an aesthetic influence behind something, this does not make it art. A piece of dinnerware may have been designed with artistic elements; a pretty pattern around the rim of a bowl, a picturesque scene in the center of a plate. But the function of the dinnerware is not to be used as art; it is to hold the food that one intends to eat. Video games are toys to be played with. Artistic elements may go into creating a game, but its overall function is not to sit on a shelf or be hung on a wall and appreciated as art; it is to be played.[2]

Framing

Premises

[P1] Video games serve an aesthetic purpose and therefore must be considered art.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Just because a video game has artistic elements does not mean it is meant to function as a work of art.

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://electronics.howstuffworks.com/making-a-video-game.htm
  2. https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/news240106kojimaart

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This page was last edited on Friday, 24 Apr 2020 at 15:43 UTC