December 10th, 2012
Video Games Are Art
Are video games art? Up until the early 21st century, the dominant ideology surrounding this topic is resounding “No”. Art critics, such as Roger Ebert that state “video games cannot be art.” (Roger Ebert's Journal), and philosophers continually dismiss the idea. This ideology is no longer an accepted truth. I will argue that video games are a form of art. Video Games have gone from simple games and concepts such as Pong (1975) to modern day, epic titles like Uncharted 3 (2011), and with that they have evolved from simple forms of entertainment to as sophisticated a form of art as any. Video games evoke great emotion from the players, much like the audience of any other form of art. Video games also should be considered a form of art because of the vast amount of tools and media that are combined to create the games that we play today. The list of games that can be considered art increases each year and it spans over many generations, consoles, and genres.
Art is defined as “The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination,”. According to this definition, if things such as paintings, film and music are considered to be art, then video games clearly fall into the category as well. Video games today are as creative as anything. Video games allow for so much creative freedom to create any setting, any character and have the ability to interact with all of those and create a new world. Games take creativity and allow you to immerse yourself within it. In games like the series of Mass Effect (2007-2012), you are able to put a certain amount of creative input into the game yourself. You dictate many facets of the game. You can customize your character, whether it be gender, race or just the general way your character looks. Secondly, your decisions affect the world of the game. You can dictate what your character says and through that change the course of events and how other characters in the game think of you. It is essentially a new world. The game includes it's own lore, deals with issues that we deal with today but in a new world and in a more lighthearted fashion that definitely makes the player think. These issues include those of race barriers and the fear of technology taking over. When it comes to actual labour going into a game, it is very similar to that of a film. They include things such as motion capture. Which is essentially capturing the real life movements of someone and that translates to a sort of acting. The second element of that acting is contributed to the voice-over acting for characters. This gives freedom of imagination to match any human with any voice you wish. The list then goes on for ages to include animators, set designers, sound designers and much more. The credits to people at the end of the games are much like that of movies and it all contributes to a fantastically entertaining piece of art.
Many people view games as simply a form of entertainment. While they are indeed entertaining, they should be considered forms of art for many different reasons. Art evokes emotion, whether it be from a beautiful orchestral medley or a gorgeous landscape painting. Video games do the same. In the modern day gaming industry, games are more than just getting from beginning to end and win the game, they involve the player in many ways. In The Walking Dead: The Game (2012), you are put in control of Lee Everett, a former university professor who is on his way to prison. The game is very unorthodox in many ways, it is much less about having action-packed gameplay or incredibly realistic graphics. It is focused on engrossing the player in the story and with the characters. It involves some point and click battles, which is necessary for the setting it takes place in, but it is heavily focused on choice. Everything you do in the game has an effect. Whether it be from not giving someone a portion...