In defense of video games as art.

Topic started by Marshal Victory on May 13, 2014. Last post by Marshal Victory 8 months, 3 weeks ago.
Post by Marshal Victory (2,776 posts) See mini bio Level 14

Now for the longest time ( since high school 1985 ) I have said art is simply opinion. An For years an years I have watched attacks on the video game industry by well meaning an not so well meaning people. So imagine my surprise to stumble across a well written an historical look at video games as art an the attacks their of.

""Video games can never be art," thundered movie critic Roger Ebert in 2010. Responding to a provocative TED Talk that argued the opposite, Ebert dismissed the examples mentioned in the presentation, sniffing that they "do not raise my hopes for a video game that will deserve my attention long enough to play it. They are, I regret to say, pathetic."

Now this is one of among the many things I would disagree with Ebert . But for those interested in the history of video game attackers an a fair look at how the critics of video games were wrong with their long term predictions, please read the whole article. It covers all the big points an predictions of the nay sayers of negativity of video games.

Thought enuff of the 2 page article to make a blog post about it. But it does have a few things to discuss. As video games seem to have a large chunk of the entertainment dollar will we see more attacks soon? So even NPR fudging numbers so much so NPR had to list movie advertising as a profit for movies not a expense. That seems like a sure thing we will see more but I think more subtle ones.

Also of note if one looks at gross then things look a bit different. Problem with the comparison is net. The movie industry can show a net loss an still make money. Its call Hollywood accounting The video game industry can not do that. Or at least has not learned to do that.

Some would question if video games will ever be as big as movies. But it is time an accounting that will tell the tale. Think that line was crossed when Hollywood made movies based on video games. An continue to try an cash in on their popularity. Oddly enuff one could argue how the horror movie industry was attacked an predictions of what those movies would cause. Is fairly similar to the claims vs video games. Which were similar to the attacks on pen and paper rpgs Which was similar to attacks on books.

Post by hitsusatsu11 (10,747 posts) See mini bio Level 20

Art is subjective. If soup cans are art (no disrespect to Warhol but come on) then super mario bros 3 is a masterpiece.

Post by sickVisionz (4,325 posts) See mini bio Level 24

Ebert doubled back on that prior to his death. I think games can be art but I hate that what counts as an "artsy" game are usually just titles with an interesting aesthetic. To me that is like judging music as art based off of the album cover. Artful visuals in a game should be one thing but I wish more credit would go to what actually separates gaming as a medium: the gameplay and mechanics.

But anyways, I think anything that can display a difference between a master craftsman's ability vs someone who isn't in addition to being open for multiple interpretations and approaches in its creation yielding varying result yet each being valid is art. Perhaps not as easily identifiable to the uninformed as a beautiful painting or a thought provoking poem might be, but still art nonetheless.

Post by Marshal Victory (2,776 posts) See mini bio Level 14

@hitsusatsu11: Yup . "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." is the more flowery way of saying art is opinion. Thus subjective to peoples personal tastes.

Do not forget Warhol also used ( borrowed cough copied ) comic art to. From Superman to even turning Elvis into a Noir styled outline of himself. People to this day consider this high art. Where as a off color pallet an a projector can make the same effect. I would argue he was as much a product as the products he turned into "art".

Once said that in front of my art teacher years ago an she almost had a fit. Calm as I could be asked her then what is art? Her reply from her years of study was typical. " what moves you when you look at it. " I said OK this does not move me, so to me its not art . Thus art is opinion. She turned red an said you can not belittle art to something as subjective as opinion. Told her "An yet we do. An I just did. An so do you." She did not talk to me for a week.

Good times good times :)

Post by Marshal Victory (2,776 posts) See mini bio Level 14

@sickVisionz: Even as well worded as that is it still boils down to art is opinion. Your opinion on what it is was very similar to mine years ago. When I drew more an actually used my imagination while I was learning Photoshop. The avatar I use was made in Photoshop 6 I think. Would not call it art but a friend of mine has. So even after the person who creates something , their can be a difference in opinion in if it is or if it is not.

I can say with out a doubt that some of the video games I have played over the years, have moved me far more than Andy Warhol's Soup Cans. Can also say I have read comics that moved me more than film to. As well as anime that has moved me more than TV. But thats a low bar.

Post by hitsusatsu11 (10,747 posts) See mini bio Level 20

@Marshal Victory: Im not big into video games, especially modern ones, but for me anyways when I look at the full picture of aesthetics (visuals, music, and general feel) There are quite a few games I would peg as works of art. Some of the older Mario works and Donkey Kong Country come to mind.

As for Warhol, he was a decent sketch artist initially but its debatable as to how much he actually did on his prints (I.e he didnt just paint pictures he had an elaborate system in place that required the help of many assistants to prouce a print) Same with his movies s, most of the later stuff that bears his name wasnt rrly directed by him. Iirc for Woman in Revolt be only got behind the camera for a couple scenes, the rest of the time he just wondered around aimlessly.

Im not a big fan of his artwork, Black Lenin is the only print I rrly like of his. But I do think he had vision in bringing in the whole factory scene with the velvets and Eddie Sedgwick. I also got a kick out of the story that Bob Dylan supposedly used a Warhol Elvis as a dart board and then traded it for a couch.

Post by Marshal Victory (2,776 posts) See mini bio Level 14

@hitsusatsu11: Wonder if that was in the time span when the record company made Dylan stop smoking an he sounded um off.

Also 3rd teir zone in The Elder Scrolls Online felt like I walked into a Larry Elmore painting. His Fall / Halloween stuff. Him an Jeff Easley Are some of my favorite illustrators.

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