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Are games art?
#1
While this is certainly nothing new, Roger Ebert has once again reiterated his claim that video games cannot be "art."



http://www.digitalspy.com/gaming/news/a2...e-art.html



What do you think?



I certainly have my own opinions on the subject. A lot of gamers do tend to conflate "good entertainment" with "art," but what exactly is art? How does one define it?



And as much as I respect Ebert's opinions on movies (even if we don't always agree), the fact that he is ready to pass judgment on an entire medium without having actually studied that medium is disappointing.
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#2
anything you design is art, so i think it's art. that's just my vague opinion.
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#3
old fart. Ebert, of course <img src='http://www.halvsie.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/tongue.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Tongue' />
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#4
That depends on if he classifies movies as "art" or not. If he does, then yes, the creation of movies and big-budget games are similar enough now where they should share the same classification. Of course the smaller indy stuff in both industries should also count, but just figured it may be a bit easier to compare the two when the movie staff has CG animators/programmers, etc., and the game staff has directors, producers, storyboarders, actors, etc.
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#5
More to the point, he doesn't think they can be fine art. Hapadeity actually has the right of it, pretty much anything is art, but there is a difference between, say, Spiderman 2 and Seven Samurai. One is a superhero movie with explosions and spandex, and the other is Akira Goddamn Kurosawa. That, I think, is why comparisons to Hollywood fall flat--yes, maybe Modern Warfare 2 has Hollywood-esque production values, but Hollywood is mostly garbage, and what isn't garbage isn't all Fine Art in the same way that, say, Steinbeck is. As much as I love Star Wars or Indiana Jones, if the far future enshrines these films as the greatest works of art produced by the twentieth century, I will suicide bomb the entire future.



In any case, just look at the poster kids for the Video Games Are Art crowd: Final Fantasy 6, Braid, and Silent Hill 2. First off, FF6 is crap and the opera scene isn't as good as it would be without the benefit of rose-colored glasses, but putting that aside, the characters aren't developed in the millions of battles that make up the bulk of the game, but in dialogue and cutscenes. It's basically a movie that makes you perform repetitive tasks to advance through each scene. Did Braid as a game--as a brain-bending puzzle game--strike you as art, or was this something that could have been done some other way? (No, let's face it, it's because it had a deliberately obtuse narrative and enough pretty Impressionistic pictures to fake it) Was Silent Hill 2 really improved by the fact that you weren't passively watching the character awkwardly swinging his pipe at a monster, but rather mashing a button and dying when you don't do it and wind up having to repeat the whole damned section over again? These are just movies with really stupid gimmicks. It's like if you were reading a book, but then you had to complete a sudoku before turning each page. Children of Men is not a movie for the ages, but the guns in that movie scared the hell out of me. In a video game, guns are either a joke, in which case all tension is lost, or guns are super deadly and you spend a whole lot of time dead and frustrated. It took a while for movies to stop being bad plays that you could take anywhere and really come into its own as an art form; likewise, video games aren't leveraging the one thing that makes them different from movies--their interactivity. If someone eventually does come up with something that establishes games as a legitimate form of High Art, then fucking hurray, but in the meantime if I want something that captures the tension and horror of medieval war I'll go to Brannagh's Henry V, not Medieval 2: Total War.





Of course, this whole discussion is irrelevant because within a generation, up-and-coming art historians of the Nerd Generation will be writing Ph.D dissertations with titles like "Murderous Mushrooms and Bottomless Pits: Mario, Gnosticism, and the Malevolent Materialism of the Mushroom Kingdom," and they will redefine art as we know it as surely as every other fucking generation is.



Edit: http://gotmedieval.blogspot.com/2010/02/...eview.html

Quote: A video game is like a book, one with many chapters. When you get the book, you're only allowed to read the first chapter, and if you don't read it well enough, you have to read it again. When you've finally read the first chapter correctly, you can go on to the next, and after that's read well the next, and so on and so on.



Often it'll just be one particular page that's hard to read, and if you mess it up you'll have to go back and read the whole chapter over from the beginning.



Scattered throughout any given chapter are optional pages, usually very boring and repetitive ones that you're not compelled to read, but if you do read them, it makes it easier to read the later chapters.***



Sometimes the book will refuse to let you read the next chapter until you've done something else unrelated, like solve a crossword puzzle or write your name with excellent penmanship in the margins.



Sometimes the book will suddenly have much better vocabulary and sentence structure, and usually during those times the book reads itself for you.



If you need to stop reading the book altogether for a while and go do something else, you are only allowed to put your bookmark in between certain pages scattered at regular intervals throughout the book.



If you want to reread a particular passage of the book, you may only start at one of the bookmarks and read forward until you get to it.



These books all require very fancy bookcases to read, and periodically new, more advanced bookcases are released which will not hold the books you currently have any more, forcing you to buy (often inferior) sequels to the books you've already read, or occasionally updated versions of the original books with sharper text and fancier fonts.



Also, most of these books are about jumping.



Do you see why Warrior Guy IV: Battle of the Death Slayers is not the same as Of Mice and Men?
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#6
[quote name='doorknobdeity' date='19 April 2010 - 11:08 PM' timestamp='1271743690' post='227319']

In any case, just look at the poster kids for the Video Games Are Art crowd: Final Fantasy 6, Braid, and Silent Hill 2.[/quote]



I definitely wouldn't put any of the Final Fantasies in the category of fine art. And you are right, anything can be art, but only a great visionary can make fine art. I do take some umbrage with Braid and Silent Hill 2 getting knocked, though. Games are still in their infancy. We still haven't even established a common language for storytelling or gameplay methodology. Of course they aren't perfect - there's plenty of things that could be cut to further hone the message, there are places that are arbitrarily long because players expect a certain amount of playtime for their money. But, the delivery of the story in, say, Silent Hill 2 is what makes it unique. That is not something you can recreate in a movie. Doubly so for games such as Ico and Bioshock. Braid was... close. The meat of the game was fun, but ultimately lacked a strong connection with the story and the end of the game. Once you got to the end and if you understood what just happened, it was an *amazing* ending. And it was one of the few games that I've ever played that actually used allegory instead of simply being a game about saving a princess. Too bad the story was obfuscated with bizarre storytelling techniques.



That being said, the most indisputable games-as-art examples that I've seen have all been indie games - Passage, Today I Die, etc. They are only 5-10 minute experiences, but have a tremendous amount of narrative depth. It's amazing how rich a narrative can become simply by empowering the audience. The audience brings with them their own context and they all draw something very different from the experience.
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#7
[quote name='Retishi' date='20 April 2010 - 07:16 AM' timestamp='1271740615' post='227317']

That depends on if he classifies movies as "art" or not. If he does, then yes, the creation of movies and big-budget games are similar enough now where they should share the same classification. Of course the smaller indy stuff in both industries should also count, but just figured it may be a bit easier to compare the two when the movie staff has CG animators/programmers, etc., and the game staff has directors, producers, storyboarders, actors, etc.

[/quote]



i agree...
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#8
A 16-year-old Ebert review of, of all things, a computer game.



http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/2.09/streetcred.html
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#9
Wait... is that fo'real?
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#10
Linked from the man's own Twitter account.
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#11
I don't really play video games that often. I think the last game i played was power pete. Before that it was rebel assault, then mario bros., zelda, and punch out.



I'd def. say mario bros was a work of art. I still remember the underwater scene and that really big rotating fireball thingy you had to jump over.
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