I think Jim Sterling nails the whole "games as art" discussion.
It's hard to take that guy seriously but it's easy to answer his question why gamers are looking for approval for games. That's the essence of games, the sticker for your work reward from kindergarten, high scores, unlockables, gamerscore, games are all about approval. Same as art really. Bunch of paintings on the wall, literature in the bookcase, classic movies on the shelf, now which games fit in with that.