Debating Games VS Art

One long standing battle has been if video games should be considered art or if they are just that a silly child’s game. Outsiders did not understand the art forms that games truly presented to the gamer. What is art really? Like the old saying “one mans trash is anothers treasure”. Here it is not dealing with trash at all but a beautiful form of art that has clearly moved from the days of blocks and shapes.

Back in the early days of gaming the argument may have had more wind behind the sails that video games were not art. Hours did go into making the game that would come across on your tv screen. Only problem is that two rectangles and a square are not considered art to most. This is where video games could be seen as a non art form by even the gamer. Now to say games are not an art form is a completely laughable statement. Sure some games don’t have a look of luster or shine but you can see the work and dedication poured into them. To say something is not art because it is not the traditional form of art is very close minded.

What is art though look it up in the dictionary and you may find that art is….

  1. The conscious production or arrangement of sounds, colors, forms, movements, or other elements in a manner that affects the sense of beauty, specifically the production of the beautiful in a graphic or plastic medium.
  2. The study of these activities.
  3. The product of these activities; human works of beauty considered as a group.

Final Fantasy Art

Reading this it seems to me that video games by design fall into the description of art perfectly. If a baker can make art with a cake or a blacksmith with stone why not a game company with their game. Think about the hours that go into every little detail to produce that perfect experience. Not just one art form is used a multitude of forms is combined into one fantastic journey giving you a real or fantasy world to delve into. Art can be found in games through the sound, levels, characters, background, story, movement and many other elements. Outside of the actual game though many traditional arts may be used to get a polished final product. Games start off as an idea in someones head something that will come across as a great game or story for gamers to play. First you start with the concept written out on paper you may then move on to the art to get a general idea that’s just for the first stages. Without going through every step maquettes or small scale models could be included, scripts, actors, voice actors, sound techs. Multiple forms of art slowly compile to become that disc you will soon pop into your favorite form of gaming device.

Recently it was revealed that the Smithsonian has interest in gaming as an art form. This comes directly from the Smithsonian website.

The Art of Video Games

March 16, 2012 – September 9, 2012

Video games have grown to become a significant part of our culture since the introduction of the first home video games in the early 1970s. More than seventy percent of American households play video games on a regular basis, and many families now have two generations of computer users, and gamers, at home.

Video games use images, actions, and player participation to tell stories and engage their audiences. In the same way as film, animation, and performance, they can be considered a compelling and influential form of narrative art.

Many museums have explored art inspired by video games, but this exhibition will be the first to examine comprehensively the evolution of video games themselves as an artistic medium. From the Atari VCS to the PlayStation 3, The Art of Video Games will show the development of visual effects and aesthetics during four decades, the emergence of games as a means for storytelling, the influence of world events and popular culture on game development, and the impact that the games can have on society. It will include multimedia presentations of game footage, video interviews with developers and artists, large prints of in-game screen shots, historic game consoles, and a selection of working game systems for visitors to play. In addition, the public will be asked to assist with the selection of materials for the show by choosing the games that they feel best represent particular moments in the overall timeline.

Chris Melissinos, video game industry expert and founder of PastPixels, is the guest curator of the exhibition.

With the release of this news does it have any bearing on the old question of video games as an art form. Everything depends on your audience whether or not video games will ever be considered a valid art form. Some skeptics will say that the abominations will never hold a candle to the likes of Monet, Picasso or Michelangelo.

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