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Opinion: Forget 'Games As Art' - Try A New Approach, says Gamasutra article

Forums - Gaming Discussion - Opinion: Forget 'Games As Art' - Try A New Approach, says Gamasutra article

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.


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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."

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 "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.

full article on

http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=22569



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Loss of Credibility of Gamesutra +1

Remind me not to rely on them when an artistic game comes out since it seems like this guy doesn't have any vision for originality is what it seems.



Video Games aren't about art, they are about two major things:

1) Sport - challenges and skill and overall fun games, which is what sports are

2) Interaction - Being immersed in something virtual to get off of 'real world' stress

"Art" has nothing to do with it, or maybe the art is simply indefinable. But only fools make games for art, people make games for "sport" and "interaction".



Isn't almost all art "interaction" though? Movies try to establish a suspense of disbelief. And teachers tell you to read books to "go to another world".

To me, most art is escapism...



I meant "art" in the form of culture, not imagination. Like, Many Shakespearian works are considered 'art' but they don't really take you into a different world, their not as interactive/immersive as say Lord of the Rings.



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Haha, video games as art, how entertaining. I agree with the article. I simply cannot imagine some fat guy with glasses living in his mother's basement with a Playstation 3 with a piece of "art" in front of him.



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Serapheart said:
Video Games aren't about art, they are about two major things:

1) Sport - challenges and skill and overall fun games, which is what sports are

2) Interaction - Being immersed in something virtual to get off of 'real world' stress

"Art" has nothing to do with it, or maybe the art is simply indefinable. But only fools make games for art, people make games for "sport" and "interaction".

Almost every form of entertainment can also be viewed as an art. Music, Movies, and Video games.

Art has nothing to do with the interaction or the sport aspect of a game as much as it has to do with the overall atmosphere of the game. (not the best description but I can't put into words exactly what the art of it is.)

There are games that are like Flower, Heavy Rain, Madworld, Okami,  Tales of Vesperia, and LocoRoco that specifically are going for a particular atmosphere. Yes, they aren't massive successes but each game has its own feel to it and that makes them great games. The same can be said about games like Halo 3, Castle Crashers, LittleBigPlanet, Ratchet & Clank Future, Gran Turismo, Super Mario Galaxy, Legend of Zelda (Pretty much any of them from N64 era and up), they created their own atmosphere and between putting in great graphics, they have their own specific feel to each of them.

What he seems to be saying is to take something generic and then advance 1 thing in it and release the game. I think that's a bad thing to do because it leads to monotony.



Games are not art. They are trying to sell themselves. So developers should try to sell the games as best they can. Mostely that entails making the games fun. Therefore, developers should try to make they're games as fun as possible.



"Pier was a chef, a gifted and respected chef who made millions selling his dishes to the residents of New York City and Boston, he even had a famous jingle playing in those cities that everyone knew by heart. He also had a restaurant in Los Angeles, but not expecting LA to have such a massive population he only used his name on that restaurant and left it to his least capable and cheapest chefs. While his New York restaurant sold kobe beef for $100 and his Boston restaurant sold lobster for $50, his LA restaurant sold cheap hotdogs for $30. Initially these hot dogs sold fairly well because residents of los angeles were starving for good food and hoped that the famous name would denote a high quality, but most were disappointed with what they ate. Seeing the success of his cheap hot dogs in LA, Pier thought "why bother giving Los Angeles quality meats when I can oversell them on cheap hotdogs forever, and since I don't care about the product anyways, why bother advertising them? So Pier continued to only sell cheap hotdogs in LA and was surprised to see that they no longer sold. Pier's conclusion? Residents of Los Angeles don't like food."

"The so-called "hardcore" gamer is a marketing brainwashed, innovation shunting, self-righteous idiot who pays videogame makers far too much money than what is delivered."

Why does this argument of 'games as art' keep coming up? The gaming medium has already eclipsed all other mediums in sales. WHy does it need to feel 'accepted' by some hidden snooty art critics now? Are they out to win some awards? All their awards were built internally by their own peers voting for other gaming based people to win gaming awards. Just like the Movie Industry did. Only with more credibility instead of voting for themselves to win an Oscar.

The simple fact is that all art is subjective and all art has, at one time, been considered 'taboo' or 'lesser' than something else. Including literature, movies and even paintings. There's no need for game producers to seek affirmation from the louvre for their work. They see plenty of that in their paycheck and the fans of their games. Leave that to all the guys sipping their Double Mocha Latte's while staring at Andy Warhol's 'Chambell's Soup Cans' and trying to find a hidden meaning behind it.

Also, if you ask my personal opinion, something is simply art when it is a conscientious work of media done with attention to detail that is meant to be appreciated by other people. This is why even newspaper articles and news recordings of tragic events have been considered 'art'. I don't see why a game couldn't be considered art as well.



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