Gamasutra's Christian Nutt argues that the road to improving the cultural currency of games lies not in wishing you're making "art", but making small changes to improve products already in development.
"The problem with [the idea that there's an art establishment to aspire to] is that it isn't even remotely close to reflecting the state of art in 21st century America. To think that there is a single, generally agreed upon concept of art is to get it precisely backwards. Americans' attitude towards art is profoundly divided, disjointed and confused; and my message to gamers is to simply ignore the "is-it-art?" debate altogether."
Shadow of the Colossus and Ico are two of the most reliably cited games when the discussion of games as art looms -- at least when we're talking about games produced by large, professional development studios.
At this year's GDC when director Fumito Ueda was point-blank asked about that, he responded, "My team and I are making a game which is close to art -- that's what people say. Personally I don't think that way. We're making a game to entertain people. Sometimes my personality and my team's might be reflected on the game, and it might look like art, but it is a game to entertain people. That kind of feedback is welcome but it's not what I'm trying to achieve."
"I think we want to call games art to give meaning to them. We want them to have more substance and we're finding that too many people consider them to be just games without finding any deeper meaning. It is noble to want that to change. We want people to understand exactly what it is we do and why. But, why must it be art or not? What true difference does it make? If we make great things that people can experience and enjoy -- isn't that really the point?"
Yes. That's the point. Now instead of talking about it, let's find the approach that actually works.
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