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Forums - Gaming Discussion - Do you see games as pieces of art? *potential spoilers*

 

Are games a type of art?

Yes 37 68.52%
 
No 11 20.37%
 
Undecided 5 9.26%
 
Just want to see the results 1 1.85%
 
Total:54
Spindel said:

I answered ”No” on the question in the poll.

And in general I stand by that even if there are some (few) exceptions.

Generally speaking if we look at the present day games are mass produced consumer goods more similar to a plastic garden flamingo that you buy at The Dollar Store than art. Games can contain assets that in some circumstances can be considered art, but in most cases they don’t.

A big reason for me saying this is that the industry as it stands today is extreamley formulaic, and as soon as you are formulaic you aren’t art you are massproduced consumer goods. Once in a while there comes along a game that truly does something new and then we have the exception that would be considered as art, the copycats that come after that follows the formula are not art.

There where more games that I would consider art in the early days of computer/video games, in part because the less formulaic approach, an example to this is a series like Zelda that nowaday (until BotW) has been extremely formulaic but if you look at the first 2 games there was no formula (yet).

But also because the bigger limitations in hardware. The hardware simply didn’t allow for grand visions so the developers had to come up with workarounds to try to get close to that grand vision and in the process actually sometimes created a piece of art in the process, an example of this that springs to mind is the first Silent Hill.

When it comes to storytelling I have not seen or experienced any game that even approeches the lowest level pulp stories. And to me John Carmacs quote from the mid 90ies: ”Story in a game is like a story in a porn movie. It's expected to be there, but it's not that important.” still holds true. To me it’s obvious that people raving about how good the story is in a game simply don’t read books.

All this apply to music and movies though 

And there are tons of books with really crappy stories. I don't think evert art needs to have quality, that are tons of mediocre artists and art pieces 



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IcaroRibeiro said:
Spindel said:

I answered â€ÂNoâ€Â on the question in the poll.

And in general I stand by that even if there are some (few) exceptions.

Generally speaking if we look at the present day games are mass produced consumer goods more similar to a plastic garden flamingo that you buy at The Dollar Store than art. Games can contain assets that in some circumstances can be considered art, but in most cases they don’t.

A big reason for me saying this is that the industry as it stands today is extreamley formulaic, and as soon as you are formulaic you aren’t art you are massproduced consumer goods. Once in a while there comes along a game that truly does something new and then we have the exception that would be considered as art, the copycats that come after that follows the formula are not art.

There where more games that I would consider art in the early days of computer/video games, in part because the less formulaic approach, an example to this is a series like Zelda that nowaday (until BotW) has been extremely formulaic but if you look at the first 2 games there was no formula (yet).

But also because the bigger limitations in hardware. The hardware simply didn’t allow for grand visions so the developers had to come up with workarounds to try to get close to that grand vision and in the process actually sometimes created a piece of art in the process, an example of this that springs to mind is the first Silent Hill.

When it comes to storytelling I have not seen or experienced any game that even approeches the lowest level pulp stories. And to me John Carmacs quote from the mid 90ies: â€ÂStory in a game is like a story in a porn movie. It's expected to be there, but it's not that important.â€Â still holds true. To me it’s obvious that people raving about how good the story is in a game simply don’t read books.

All this apply to music and movies though 

And there are tons of books with really crappy stories. I don't think evert art needs to have quality, that are tons of mediocre artists and art pieces 

Regarding your comment on music and movies I totally agree. Avengers Endgame isn’t art, it’s entertainment and I enjoy it as it is but I would never call it art. On the music side most is entertainment as well and should be enjoyed as such (this is especially true for pop/radio music).

Regarding books (fiction) I never said that all books have good stories and I guess I wasn’t really clear that I didn’t claim all fiction books are art. What I meant is that even books with bad stories have deeper and better storytelling than games. Games in my experience (I haven’t played them all) are simplistic.



Spindel said:
IcaroRibeiro said:

All this apply to music and movies though 

And there are tons of books with really crappy stories. I don't think evert art needs to have quality, that are tons of mediocre artists and art pieces 

Regarding your comment on music and movies I totally agree. Avengers Endgame isn’t art, it’s entertainment and I enjoy it as it is but I would never call it art. On the music side most is entertainment as well and should be enjoyed as such (this is especially true for pop/radio music).

Regarding books (fiction) I never said that all books have good stories and I guess I wasn’t really clear that I didn’t claim all fiction books are art. What I meant is that even books with bad stories have deeper and better storytelling than games. Games in my experience (I haven’t played them all) are simplistic.

Try The Last of Us 2, it has a simple plot but the storytelling goes deep. The screenplay is clever, think like an animated movie. 

Regarding the rest of your comment, you seem to place value in art, which is, with all due respect, a very shallow definition, reaching any kind of quality score is not requirement for art specially because art can't be scored in any arbitrary metric, when something cross a line of being just entertainment and becomes art? There are tons of music and movies that are now classics were regarded as nothing more than just entertainment when originally released. 



Yes, but not in a graphic sense.



IcaroRibeiro said:
Spindel said:

Regarding your comment on music and movies I totally agree. Avengers Endgame isn’t art, it’s entertainment and I enjoy it as it is but I would never call it art. On the music side most is entertainment as well and should be enjoyed as such (this is especially true for pop/radio music).

Regarding books (fiction) I never said that all books have good stories and I guess I wasn’t really clear that I didn’t claim all fiction books are art. What I meant is that even books with bad stories have deeper and better storytelling than games. Games in my experience (I haven’t played them all) are simplistic.

Try The Last of Us 2, it has a simple plot but the storytelling goes deep. The screenplay is clever, think like an animated movie. 

Regarding the rest of your comment, you seem to place value in art, which is, with all due respect, a very shallow definition, reaching any kind of quality score is not requirement for art specially because art can't be scored in any arbitrary metric, when something cross a line of being just entertainment and becomes art? There are tons of music and movies that are now classics were regarded as nothing more than just entertainment when originally released. 

From my perspective people confuse culture and cultural value with art. 

Computer games are a part of our culture and have a cultural value, but most of them are not art. 



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Captain_Yuri said:

Depends on the game.

Games like Breath of the Wild or Starfield or God of War or Elden Ring, sure.

But then there are other games like Asscreed from Ubisoft who I see more as products to satisfy shareholders than actual Art.

Well, elevator music is also art, just not *good* art.



3DS-FC: 4511-1768-7903 (Mii-Name: Mnementh), Nintendo-Network-ID: Mnementh, Switch: SW-7706-3819-9381 (Mnementh)

my greatest games: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021

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Chrkeller said:
ClassicGamingWizzz said:

Art can be a painting. But you can go to a museum and see a turd on top of a rock and they claim its art.

You can play the last of us , why its not art ? But you see a movie like pulp fiction and its art.
Is battle Royale game art ?

Who gives a shit.

I don't think it matters.  My wife is an artist, and most artist (just my experience) view "true" art as non functional.  It is kind of a defining feature.  But yeah, I agree, it doesn't really matter.  I would rather play a videogame than go to a museum...  so people should just enjoy whatever it is they enjoy.

Be careful with everything that precedes any concept with "true": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman

But yeah, a lot of artists don't want to do anything functional, in fear of it being picked up and used by companies to make a lot of money and this compromising their artistic vision. An example here is Hello Kitty. It is undoubtful an artful creation, but as a franchise also a big moneymaker. Is Yuko Shimizu - the artist behind the concept - happy with the use of her character? I don't know. But it doesn't matter for the decision that Hello Kitty is a product of art.

But you could argue, Hello Kitty itself is non-functional, even though the character is printed mostly on functional products. But a lot of architecture is functional (as architecture usually is), yet also many especially historic architecture is very well considered art. I mean, the Colloseum in Rome had clearly a function, yet it is considered historic art. I wonder if back then some roman artists considered the architect of the colloseum as a sell-out, because they designed for lots of money.



3DS-FC: 4511-1768-7903 (Mii-Name: Mnementh), Nintendo-Network-ID: Mnementh, Switch: SW-7706-3819-9381 (Mnementh)

my greatest games: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021

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Sorry if I don't answer to the full extent of your post. But consider my agreement of including "standing the test of time" in the definition.

The_Liquid_Laser said:

Are games art?  Yes, definitely.

However, I think there is really an implied question, "Can games be fine art?"

There is really a desire for games to be taken as seriously as other entertainment mediums which have works of fine art.  Can video games ever be elevated to the level of Shakespeare's "Hamlet" or Michelangelo's "David"?  In order to answer this question there first needs to be some kind of reasonable definition for "fine art".

Funny thing about Shakespeare: he was considered cheap entertainment for the masses back in his days, just like many other contemporary dramatists. Yet we forgot about all the others, while holding Shakespeare in high regard. His works truly stood the test of time.

I wonder if something like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will be talked about in 70 years like we today talk about Casablanca. I kinda doubt it.

Games don't live long enough yet, to give a real insight here. In comparison I think games are at a point where movies introduced color and sound into the technology. So in my opinion at this point games have all the basic technological tools available, that the medium can have (there are always refinements, as were for movies), but games are still in the infancy in regards of exploration how to use the medium. You are right, Tetris lived kinda long, nearly 40 years (1984), so props to Alexey Pajitnow.



3DS-FC: 4511-1768-7903 (Mii-Name: Mnementh), Nintendo-Network-ID: Mnementh, Switch: SW-7706-3819-9381 (Mnementh)

my greatest games: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021

10 years greatest game event!

bets: [peak year] [+], [1], [2], [3], [4]

theRepublic said:

I guess I would say they are as much art as any other collaborative entertainment project that a lot of different people work on, like movies, or TV shows. But first and foremost, I view all of those as consumer products. It is a business, and all of these things are made to make money. That is the number one goal. Making "art" or "high art" or "fine art" or whatever you want to call it are all secondary.

You are right, that most games are both, art and an entertainment product. And sadly for most gaming companies they design first fir an entertainment product.

This year we saw some game designers critizice design decisions of Elden Ring, while the game itself became very successful. I think that illustrates the difference perfectly. All these critics had valid criticism if you wanted to make Elden Ring a better entertainment product. Yet it was successful, because in the design of the game art became a much higher priority than in most high profile games of the past few years, so it stood out as much more artful. Don't get me wrong, a lot of design decisions in Elden Ring are still for an entertainment product, but it found a different balance in it's design goals.



3DS-FC: 4511-1768-7903 (Mii-Name: Mnementh), Nintendo-Network-ID: Mnementh, Switch: SW-7706-3819-9381 (Mnementh)

my greatest games: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021

10 years greatest game event!

bets: [peak year] [+], [1], [2], [3], [4]

IcaroRibeiro said:

I was reading there must be a line dividing what is art and is craft and design. I guess this line really exists, I'm a software engineer and software engineering isn't REALLY engineering, but it's design. It's creative, as I can write my code in a perfectly different way of another developer and we somewhat arrive at the same results, this make coding software craft and design for most part, even though it's still largely based on science. I, indeed, think this is what set software engineering and computer science apart

However people who design aesthetic concepts for websites and apps in general, they are concerned with how people will perceive their work, so here while we are still doing design we are starting to cross the line from design to arts. Games are similar, it has science components, design components and art components

When devs need to think how to solve vectorial problems to be able define the physics of a game, games are science
When devs need to think how the physics can be used to create levels and and challenges, games are design
When devs need to think how they can they can use sounds to creative immersive experience to communicate and evoke some kind of feelings, games are art

Makes sense for me

As a software engineer myself, I can fully relate to this post. On my shelf resides a book named 'The Art of Computer Programming' by Donald Knuth. I try to follow the principles of Software Craftmanship. There is Perl Poetry, which tries to be functional (being an actual program) while also reads as another artistic meaning.

Games usually try to lean either into being a product (like most AAA) or sometimes into being artistic (some indie games). Usually there is this split in design choices, but an area where I think both are merged well is architecture. In architecture the goal is to have something functional, yet at the same time expressive. Which is great I think. There are few examples that excel at a synthesis of these two in gaming, for me personally A Short Hike and Katamary Damacy come to mind.

Last edited by Mnementh - on 19 June 2022

3DS-FC: 4511-1768-7903 (Mii-Name: Mnementh), Nintendo-Network-ID: Mnementh, Switch: SW-7706-3819-9381 (Mnementh)

my greatest games: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021

10 years greatest game event!

bets: [peak year] [+], [1], [2], [3], [4]