Video Games as Art
Video games and art have a strange relationship. Many people don’t view them as being art because they are “games,” or “just for fun” or a variety of other reasons. I think video games themselves are great works of art and they inspire great works of art.
To prove my point, read this article from Kotaku, which is awesome, but specifically for this quote:
“The whole document we put together was great, but just as we handed it in, the most amazing thing happened. The ‘Game On’ festival began. The Game On Exhibition was held in the Queensland State Library and was government funded! Here’s an exhibit, at the library, celebrating the history and artistic merit of video games, and we had the curator of the event write a big document stating that gaming has artistic merit.”
Boom. Video games have artistic merit, and it was facilitated by a library. (See? Games, information, and libraries really are connected)
But, since I’m a good librarian, let’s talk about a few other ways games are validated as art:
The art within games
The motivating factor with a lot of gamers is to see what kinds of art are offered within a video game. I’ve never been this type of player, so I’m going to refer to the words of others to make my point for me:
Gabe was talking about an upcoming game he is playing called Kingdoms of Amalur, and said;
A big part of the reason I play games is for “new art”. That is the thing more often than not that keeps me progressing. What will the next level or zone look like?
As soon as he said it, I knew it was true for me.
One thing along these lines that I can definitely get behind, is how beautiful some games are. It’s a completely personal opinion and very subjective a lot of times, but the visual artistry behind many games is just spectacular. Sometimes it’s so moving, that people make representations of art within games, within other games. Very meta.
There’s also a great video of employees from Bioware talking about video games as art. I appreciate it because it crosses the spectrum of visual arts and talks about different kinds of art as well. It’s important to note that video games as art are not just the visuals, there is also the literature and the story involved, plus the concept of the game as a whole being one piece of art.
Using video game content outside of the games as art
Here’s where the line gets even more blurry for me. What if someone is creating traditional art (or maybe not so traditional art), but the content is about video games? Does that legitimize video games as art? Or does it legitimize the art being created because of the art that was originally in the video game? Is this art? Are these?
If I created a video game that was about treasured pieces of art, would that legitimize video games as art?
What if there is an art curator at a major video game company that handles all of the video game art displayed at the company, wouldn’t that be cool? Oh, wait, it already exists.
I saved this section for last because it’s both the coolest and the most validating for my argument that video games are art.
If you have not yet heard about or seen this exhibit, you should read up on it because it’s great. The Smithsonian put together a huge exhibit of the history of video games as art, and actually allowed for a huge community to vote on which game should be included (some of the choices were crazy hard. How do you pick between Zelda: A Link to the Past and Chrono Trigger? That’s just mean). I hope I get a chance to see this in person.
Link Round-up for ya:
Anyone out there been to see this yet? How is it?
Video games are perdy and artistic and stuff.
Ding! You’ve leveled up! Please see your local librarian for training.
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