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  1. smith270
    smith270 April 29, 2014 at 4:43 pm |

    Viewing video games as works of art is tough distinction. Some are ravaged with compelling story and emotional value that entice, attract and envelope the user in the entire experience; and isn’t that what art is all about? Otherwise, some titles create less than captivating, and masterful displays of senselessness; but really it’s hard to come by these.
    Video games have the power to draw the user into the experience. Titles such as Dead Space, DIshonored, Spider-man, can draw the user closer to the characters and make the feel emotions contingent with the plot. We fear getting caught, cower in corners, or feel our adrenaline rush as we hurry to save the day. Art that hangs in a museum, or music that we hear on the radio, can have similar effects on our senses.
    Even video games containing only objective, and without story, can put a person in a certain state. Take Lethal League for example:

    http://lethalleague.reptile-games.com/prototype/

    I would argue that when games become less about plot and more about puzzles and brain teasers, they can become even greater forms of artwork.
    “He argues that if he were to take $5 million dollar work of art, remove it from its frame, and hang it up at a local restaurant with a price tag of $150 on it, almost nobody would recognize it as a masterpiece. The context in which we view the art, says Leithauser, goes a long way towards creating our appreciation of it.”
    Some people just don’t “get into” video games though. They aren’t fans of the genre, and even when they do play video games, they actively try to keep a separate distinction alive. These kinds of people would do not appreciate video games the same way people who do not appreciate symphonic music resist from fully accepting it.
    An interactive experience is one thing, but video games with their fully developed, plot and visuals and characters, leave not much to the imagination, but rather one need only to control/manipulate the outcome.
    It is here that we may find our dilemma. When we look at a Pollock, or Warhol, we are left to ask ourselves, “what is the artist trying to say here?” With video games, this question is often times moot. A developed storyline should answer most questions…and even a game like pac-man is simplistic to the point where the user knows, “I an a yellow circle, I eat dots, and run away from ghosts.” But hardly ever do users ask, “Why?” Why does he eat dots? What do they taste like? How do the Ghosts fit into all this? And what is the motivation to continue his quest?
    Art is often times mysterious and complex, and that’s something that video games sometimes lack. Critics of video games as art would reject it on this basis, but video games are evolving and creating even more complex schemes of interaction for the users. Simulations and Open-world models help to create less defined characters and cause the user to reflect on their actions and understand how their influence affects those around them, and what it in turn says about them in the end. It isn’t until you kill a frequently visited NPC in Skyrim that you realize what power you poses, and how fragile life can be. But it isn’t until we start asking the bigger questions, such as “Why this all matters,” or “what does that say about my character,” that video games will more definitely become form of art:
    it all comes down to emotion and questioning.

  2. EmilyDiMartino
    EmilyDiMartino May 1, 2014 at 12:11 pm |

    Roger Ebert brought up the controversial statement that “video games ‘will never become an art form.’” I think to state this is rather harsh for video games combine many art forms into one interactive space. To not call video games art is to not call graphic design art. Breaking up the components of a video game, we have artists who have to draw every component of what we see on the screen before putting it on the computer. There are also computer designers who take those drawings and transfer them onto the computer, possibly making them in 3D. There are also programmers who have to code all the movements and scenes for the game and testers who work to find the bugs. One of the more important background pieces for me in a video game is the music, which a composer sits down and writes, then brings in musicians to play. One of my favorite game series, Legend of Zelda, combines all the qualities of a great design, excellent programming and really beautiful music to make an enjoyable experience.
    I think one of the reasons why people may think video games are not an art for is because they view it as violent, a bad influence, a distraction and they never really look at it. Video games are almost like extended movies, which are art, in that you have writers and filmmakers working with the artistic mediums to create an easily accessible medium. We can watch movies and play video games at home and I think that people are stuck in the fact that they would have to go out and see paintings or listen to classical music to be exposed to art. The article brought up Joshua Bell, a violinist, who played some of the best violin music known to man, on the sidewalk, without anyone really recognizing it. People do not understand that art is all around us and video games are a part of that. If anything they could be more artistic than just a drawing because of the combination of these different mediums. People need to get rid of the tunnel vision they have for certain things, not just video games, and be open to new ideas and ways of thinking about the world around them. Art is everywhere; people are just too blind to see it or too narrow-minded to accept it.

  3. brown169
    brown169 May 1, 2014 at 12:37 pm |

    This article makes some interesting points, starting with Robert Ebert claiming that video games will never become art something I disagree with strongly; in fact, I believe they already are art. While video games are not flat, 2D paintings on a wall they still follow the original values of classical art: balance, accuracy and beauty. The balance of a game comes from the game play itself. If a game is unbalanced it will make the game too hard or too easy for the player and therefore make it not fun. The accuracy comes from how accurate the 3D models look like real life objects, as well as how people interact and AI things like that. The beauty of a game comes from storytelling and event the scripting, some stories being so compelling and heart wrenching that they deserve Emmy nominees. Even thought balance, accuracy and beauty take on a different meaning than in traditional art when it comes to video games, they are still present. This is ok because video games are a different form of art. You wouldn’t look at a classical painting and an independent film and try to apply the same meaning to the values within them so why would you try to do that with video games? This is just one example of how video games are art.

    Another example is how they are made. Even if you don’t consider the end product a work of art, everything that goes into making a video game is a work of art in and of itself. The coding that goes into a video game is a long poem in a different language that most people don’t understand. Where normal poetry makes the imagination come to life through imagery, coding takes it a step further and physical makes game objects come to life through it’s wording and placement. Also, the 3D models in a game are artworks too. 3D artists can spend countless hours making a hyper-realistic model for a game, an involved process that not only deals with modelling the form of something but also texturing it to make it life-like. A 3D model is like a 3D painting that not only incorporates the form of an object but the color of it as well. To me, it is far more impressive when someone creates a hyper realistic 3D model than when they create a hyper realistic 2D painting.

    Lastly, the article brings up the point that we do not view video games as art because they are not placed in the context of an art area. For a very good example the article brings up Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain”. Outside of an art museum it is looked at as an urinal on the ground with some writing on it. Inside an art gallery it is looked at as a masterful 3D sculpture. You can compare “Fountain” to video games, outside they’re just games but inside they’re works of art. No one has truely appreciated this notion until recently, with MOMA in NYC admitting 14 games into it’s collection. Not only do they admit them into the exhibit, but they also come right out and say that video games are in fact art (source below).

    Also following the context example, the article points out the experiment Joshua Bell playing classical pieces of music in a subway station. The article states that only 2 people stopped and recognized what they were hearing because they were trained in classical music and understood it. This can also apply to video games. For people who don’t know how games are made they just think that they magically appear. But for those trained in the art of video games know everything that goes into making a game and therefore can truly appreciate a finished product. So for Robert Ebert to say that video games are not art without fully understanding what goes into making a game is just plain ignorance.

    So all in all, there are many aspects of a video game that make them art. They have the same values as classical art but incorporate them in a different way, like all forms of art do. The 3D models and coding that goes into a game are art in and of themselves. Lastly, to fully understand the art side of a video game they have to be placed into an art context. MOMA has already taken steps to show that video games are art by placing them into their exhibit. Also, one must fully understand what it takes to make a video game, only then can they truly appreciate video games as art forms and comment on whether they are art or not.

    Source: https://www.moma.org/explore/inside_out/2012/11/29/video-games-14-in-the-collection-for-starters/

  4. silfae
    silfae May 1, 2014 at 6:28 pm |

    Controversial indeed “video games will never become an art form” stated by
    Roger Ebert nothing of a shocker from an individual who used to produce articles and was film critic. The article leaves me in shock as I continued reading when it states that gamers do not understand “the disheveled art in America”. Disheveled is the correct way to describe art it is not neat nor can you say its pretty behind art there are stories, hard frustrating hours of hard work, emotion, and focus. Ebert was wrong to state that video games aren’t an art form or that they will never be art simply because video games contain images in motion, story lines that are followed as levels are beat as one plays. An Avatar takes so much effort and decision making for someone to say that video games will never become art is a bit bashful. For Americans to agree with this will take years for video games to be consider of such high level. But comments like this makes me believe that Americans are closed minded and a bit ignorant.

  5. Dominoj
    Dominoj May 2, 2014 at 8:00 pm |

    This article covers the issue of weather or not video games are art, it is a issue that constantly comes up. This time the issue is brought up by Roger Ebert a popular film critic. On top of being well known as a movie critic, people who follow the video game industry will most likely know him as the guy who shows up every couple of months to say how video games are not art. This time it seems he took it a step forward and stated that not only are games not art, but that they could never be art. Mr Ebert came to this conclusion from watching the movie Hitman which is based of the Hitman game series. The writer then goes on to try to explain the holes in Mr. Eberts conclusion.

    This issue is something that video games end up trying to fight every little while, and the more it comes up the more annoying it becomes. First things first I personally believe video games are art, every aspect that makes up a video game on its own is a piece of art. From the writing, the models, textures, the music, and many more pieces. This issue has become so annoying to be because the only people who ever come out and say video games are not art are people who are complete ignorant of what video games are. These people have most likely never played a video game and just have no clue about the amount of work that goes into one. It is also the simple fact that video games are the new guy on the block compared to the other mediums like Writing, Art, and Film. Speaking of film i think Mr. Ebert should have taken a look back to before films were considered art. The new medium is always treated poorly and misunderstood its just the way that it is. I think people just need to see how meadiums have grown throughout history and just realize that video games are no different.

    links
    http://www.theguardian.com/technology/gamesblog/2014/jan/08/video-games-art-and-the-shock-of-the-new

    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-art-of-video-games-101131359/?no-ist

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK-HYNXdIJI

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