This is an older Blog post I had floating around, but it's still relevant given the current trends still being discussed, so I thought I'd dig it up and post it here, see what you guys and gals thought.
How Some Games CAN Be Considered Art, While Some Will Always Remain Video Games.
It's become the biggest debate of our time. And considering the recent news for and against, it's a debate that hasn't really died down.
Can video games be considered art? It's a question that I've avoided answering because, to me, it's like asking me if I like steak....but only if they were made from horses.
Now that I've got that disturbing image in your mind, let's move on shall we?
I do believe that games, certain video games, can be a form of high art. You can find art in almost anything. A pile of junk to one person might simply be a pile of junk. But to a creative mind, a mind that can see beyond the visual limitations and see the potential it carries to make people think on a higher level, that pile of junk can be an artistic statement. These kinds of video games lets you witness its story, its spectacular vistas, its emotional wellspring moments, and even sometimes let you decide how you came to these key plot moments, letting you alter and change and tweak the experience until it all becomes a very personal thing. Mainly because the game not only forms itself around your choices (or lack thereof), it tailors itself around you.
That's why I think it can be art. But at the same time, it's an art form that is not set in stone. It can, and often is, a representation of being malleable. If that wasn't the case, no game out there would be cranking out DLC on a regular basis. DLC can, and sometimes will, fundamentally change the way you interact with that art. Because it can often place you in the shoes of people (or creatures or...) that you would not normally be able to walk in without.
And yet I do believe that there are some games out there that simply cannot be art due to the fact that it's simply being pushed to break mass market sales. Call of Duty, at its infancy, was a game that became an interactive statement of the untold viewpoints from people who had witnessed, walked, and trudged through the hell that is war.
Now a days, in the hands of someone who values the dollar above the artistic statements it used to make, Call of Duty is the perfect example of video games not being art but simply a mass marketed product made for video game players. Whatever artistic statement it once made is now long lost under Activision/Bobby Kotick's "We've sold over 10 million units just in America alone! Hundred Dollar Bills Ya'll!!!" It has lost all sense of what it used to be, and simply become a factory line product.
So yes, video games can be art. In the hands of a master crafter, who takes his time to create and slowly shape a masterpiece, it can be high art. It can invoke strong emotional responses from the people who look at it, study it, interact with it, and eventually buy it. Except now, when art used to be basically set in stone, it can now have things added to it. It can be altered and changed by DLC. It can still present its core ideal, its core visual print, but thanks to DLC it can be altered beyond what it once was. Beyond what it used to be. Hence, it is a malleable form of art.
And no, in that I can also see where and how video games can, and still are, a form of commercial consumerism, a mass marketed product. In the hands of someone who only sees a dollar where I see a smile. In the hands of someone who sees a factory line product where I see unique potential. In the hands of someone who doesn't hesitate to fire and close and put people out of jobs when it fails to sell his projected 50 million copies. In the hands of someone who grows fat off the land but doesn't lift a finger to help the very people who carry his fat ass on their shoulders.
People like that ruin the potential art that video games can be, and simply fuels the fire for the people who argue that it can't.
Reprint: The Great Debate
Blog entry posted by wastelander75, Jul 17, 2012.