Are video games forms of art?

I found this article this morning:

I found it interesting as I hadn’t even considered it a question. Realizing this is a forum of artists, I’m just curious as to what others think about this (or if they even do). It is interesting to explore the philosophy of this I think. I never heard of this Limbo game either, picutre they have seems kinda cool (I might have to explore it more).

Games certainly are an art form … performance art, and the “performer” is a digital computer. All of the sets, costumes, other actors, special visual effects, audio, and so on, are also contributions by other artists. And the whole production is whetted and polished against the fickle tastes of an eight-year old kid (and his parents). :wink:

well, I’d say they’re definitely art, in a way :smiley: (was very glad to see a Zelda game in that list in the article…which I kinda skimmed through. Wind Waker was an excellent choice)

when you look at the visual style of a game, the story, the music (very important factor), the environments, the animation, it’s really just like a movie, only difference being that you control one or more main characters and you’re the one who drives the events. :smiley:

btw, all the video games I’m thinking of and describing are on consoles, not PC games :slight_smile:

look at the new Halo Reach Game, the detail and design put into and just the overall view could be nothing less than art, its beautiful.

meh. its a fine line between art and just grunt work, imo.
depends on the game.
some games certainly have a sense of artism to it…
for example, the prime series had amazing enviroments that each told a story.

I don’t see how they’re not art, all the environments, characters, items must be designed and created, music has to composed and written, a story has to be told; aren’t all of those different aspects considered art? Now all of those have to go well together to give the game an atmosphere. Though some games are not very good examples of art, CoD for example might have good graphics but they lack creativity and the stories are awful.

Games can be art. I wouldn’t argue that all of them are art, I think it depends on the intention. It must go beyond the surface, just because it looks good doesn’t make it art, even if it has good art in it. To be in and of itself a work of art, a game must have some sort of deeper meaning. Looking nice is not enough (in fact, looking nice is not even a prerequisite).

I agree with a number of points PlantPerson said, some games may be more in the way of entertainment than art, there aren’t many people who’d consider Solitair art for example (it’s a playing card game), and it’s the most played digital game in history.

lol, Solitaire :stuck_out_tongue: I agree though, not every game should be considered a work of art…

…just the Zelda series :evilgrin:


look at god of war 3!

What about it?

Incidentally, if you guys are curious which games I would consider works of art, I’ll nominate two just for starters:

Riven, the sequel to Myst, came out back in 1997. Its prerendered graphics have held up pretty well, save the resolution, due in part to the amazing concept art of Richard Vander Wende, which is simultaneously surreal and believable. The storyline is complex and richly detailed, and even the acting is good.

Machinarium. Came out last year if I remember correctly. This is a silly little adventure game about robots. I’m not saying that it’s a perfect work of art (some of its puzzles are poorly thought out), but it’s an enjoyable little story with excellent whimsical art that’s a joy to look at. It’s masterfully put together, and as an indie developer, you know they’re not in it for he money.

Darwinia is another good one.

Hmm some games are art some are not. Some games just look and sound like shit. Some does not…I would consider this old ps1 games a work of art. Look at the prerendered background combined with the music…that is art in my opinion.

I think games with prerendered background are more art like. Since it feels more like walking through a painting instead of moving around with polygons.

As far as I’m concerned, video games are kicking modern art’s ass in terms of quality and artistic merit. Go to any modern art gallery and you will see what I mean- it’s a farce to say the least.

*edit: side note: I don’t even play video games any more. Well, not a lot…

If games are considered an art form, wouldn’t that make programming an art form also?

Maybe it boils down to what is the real difference between a Van Gogh vs. the multitude of Daz “Art” on Deviant Art? I.E. Fine art, common art, clip art, etc. Maybe a similar concept applies to video games. Or maybe, video games aren’t art, maybe video games are the new venue (art display). Or maybe our tastes have become so unsensible, we wouldn’t recognize fine art if it was right in front of our noses.

I do agree with the opinions, in the sense that video games can be art, but not all are. There seems to be some defining threshold that isn’t really understood, and is subjective in addition to that.

art in its essence

art != pretty pictures/graphics. :stuck_out_tongue:

most games certainly aren’t art. i tend to agree a bit with roger ebert here.

…and the majority of 3d artists aren’t really artists either but craftspeople. that’s why i don’t like the term “3d artist”. but this also may be a language thing. in english there don’t seem to be as exact distinctions as in my native language. :stuck_out_tongue:

Art = Beautiful

A game is art if it’s beautiful to someone. Personally I don’t think Zelda the little green anime faggot is art. It’s not beautiful to me, it’s just a silly “cool” character for some boys and girls out there. I don’t like the super mario music nor do I like the little muschrooms or the storyline of the game. It’s not art to me, but it’s art to somebody else.

Games can be fun, but fun doesn’t mean beautiful. It’s not the same thing. So games that are fun only isn’t art. Something has to be beautiful in order to be art. So…I would say that:

Beautiful story
Beautiful music
Beautiful graphics

A really artistic game

This rules our these games to be artful games.
-World of warcraft
-Call of duty
-Grand theft auto

I don’t want to put all the games down that aren’t art. There are too many of them. Zelda for example isn’t a very artistic game, at least if we follow my idea of what art is. ART=BEAUTIFUL. Ugly games can’t be art…imo. Some people might find:


But the people who look upon a skinned human being and say it’s art are often not sane enough to be taken seriously. So therefore I say beautiful things are art.

I have decided to rip zelda apart. Since it’s such a fanboyish game, and so overrated. First of all…graphics, the graphics reminds me of something a 4 year old would appreciate. This shows what kind of world the fans of zelda live in. They live in a kindergardeen world.

The music, it’s just beep pling ding bong. Once again it sounds like sounds from toys, nothing for a grown experienced brain would call art.

The storyline is once again something a mother would make her little Gustav fall aslepp to. The little cute Gustav only 4 years old…this isn’t art. Maybe to a 4 year old, but this shows that the games or movies that are the most popular aren’t always the best ones.

There are a lot of idiots out there, that would consider all sort of things art. Most anime for example…there are a lot of people and teens who love anime. And would consider it art. Yeah it’s art…for a 3 year old.

Compare the art of a 3 year old to the art of a 75 year old man. To a 75 year old man anime wouldn’t even be considered art. It would be ugly to him. It wouldn’t be called art…ask the oldest wisest most experienced men in the world what they would consider art.

THAT is what art is…what is the most serious beautiful game that has ever been made? Hmmm…too bad there aren’t too many. That is because most games are made of nerdy virgins that hasn’t have had any real life experiences except of the stuff they have had grown up with.

Of all the games I have played so far, I have two games that I think could qualify as the most artistic of them all. Once again these games have flaws since they have been made by nerdy people with little life experience. But we are talking games now ok…

-Final Fantasy IX
-The Dust

Final fantasy IX because of it’s very grown up atmosphere. There is less coolness in it and more real things in it. It’s not good because it’s cool or dark…or badass villains. It’s good because it’s so calm and down to earth in so many ways.

The Dust because it once again is a very calm game. You don’t run around shooting peoples heads off. You just walk around in a almost dead town trying to solve the puzzles. In both these games the music is beautiful and compliments the graphics very well.

Just so no one can break down my two choices of most artistic games. I will break them down myself. Final fantasy IX being made in Japan suffers from the anime disease. If you pick it up and play it for 1 hour it will remind you of something out of a children book. It takes awhile before you see the true art in the game.

The dust suffers from being made in 1995 and being 3D. The graphics could be a lot better…well there you go folks.

Art=Beautiful…Zelda is not grown up art. But the art of a 4 year old unexperienced brain. The brain of a emo boy :wink:


Art is not necessarily beautiful, beauty is a matter of opinion. Art is human effort, skill, emotion, creativity. Recently I watched Coraline, and I was just blown away by the clothing of it- the hand-knitted sweaters, basically everything cut and stitched by hand. To me that alone is the art of it. Zelda’s theme may seem lame to some, but the end product is the result of enough quality, skilled human effort to make your head explode. Those people are great artists, and although confined to the limitations of hardware, make wonderful things.

To you it’s beautiful then…wonderful=Beautiful. Even a 4 year old can be artistic and draw a picture of a tree. Some might find that tree artistic and beautiful. But there is higher art and there is lesser art.

People with long life experience got a better picture of the world and what is beautiful in this world. When you look and listen to your little zelda game you might find it beautiful and a expression of something you can relate to.

You may not realize it, but by saying Zelda is one of the most artistic games you have ever played. This shows what kind of level of development your brain is at. You probably sit all day watching cartoons on the internet.

You haven’t got enough experience to understand what true art is. Ask your grandfather to play some games and then ask him which game is the most artistic one. All these polls saying Zelda is the best game ever or most artistic game ever.

The people who vote in these polls are 16 year old emo boys living in their moms basements. Or fat brainwashed kids that sit all day watching anime or running around in online games. Killing muschrooms or boars…(World of warcraft).

You have to understand that what is popular doesn’t always mean it’s beautiful or artistic. It often means it’s utter shit…! And I’m sorry to say it, but Zelda is shit. :o