Video Games as Art: Yes? No? Maybe?

All things controller driven will be talked about here.

Postby TheAllSeeingEye on Tue Jan 30, 2007 6:37 pm

Like I said. Art is in the eye of the beholder.

Have you seen some of the most rediculous pieces that are slapped together and labeled as art? The Baltic gallery in my home town exhibits some of the most horrendous productions that people flock to see in their thousands. Who can forget the eternal works of 'breadhead'? A man whose repertoir consists entirely of wearing a loaf of bread on his head. Tell me. How can that be considered viable art but the craft put into making a videogame can be dismissed so easily.

The dictionary describes art as: the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance

I'd say games can easily fall into that description.
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Postby The Ginger Man on Tue Jan 30, 2007 7:14 pm

Here's the deal with "art." It has no definition. In a forum, you can't go by personal definition, b/c I could argue my used kleenex was more artistic than Wind Waker (and I could, mind you). So we need to put art in parameters. Since we can't define art based on specific points of composition, we'll have to define art in a historical sense....so here goes.

I think for a piece to ultimately be defined as art, its medium must be critically analyzed and academically studied as art. By this defintion, video games are not art. The majority of games are defined by their entertainment and marketing value. While this may also be said of many films, cinema itself is analyzed and studied as art...video games are not.

While there are some recent games that have been classified as art by internal supporters (people who play games), the medium has not been justified by the public as "art." Eventually, when the medium recieves critical and academic justification, many of these games may resurface as precursors to an artistic revolution.

But no...video games are not art.
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Postby TheAllSeeingEye on Tue Jan 30, 2007 8:51 pm

Sorry. But if art has no definition then, by default, you cant define anything as art since there are no criteria for classification.

If your assumption is based on the premise that art can only encompass topics debated by people in an academic environment, might I point out that there are a number of groups, colleges and Universities that run courses and degrees on the subject. Infact, a quick google search will bring up a whole plethora of essays and dissertations on the matter.

I'm not suggesting that every videogame ever made could be considered as art, (and neither can every movie ever made make that claim either), but there are without doubt a number of games, and the people who work on them, that are worthy or recognition.
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Postby cinephile2000 on Tue Jan 30, 2007 9:01 pm

I put art into this catagory it has to have a creator a audience and a meaning. If the creator was trying to comunicate a feeling or a an idea through a video game and gave that game or sold that game then it is art. If your used kleenex had a meaning or idea behind it and was seen by another person other than you then it is art as well.

A video game is most definitly an artistic endevor by the creators. Take Halo, or Final Fantasy these two franchises excell at making the audience or player feel emotions while plaing the game.
Just remember, your special like everyone else.
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Postby The Ginger Man on Tue Jan 30, 2007 9:53 pm

TheAllSeeingEye wrote:Sorry. But if art has no definition then, by default, you cant define anything as art since there are no criteria for classification.

If your assumption is based on the premise that art can only encompass topics debated by people in an academic environment, might I point out that there are a number of groups, colleges and Universities that run courses and degrees on the subject. Infact, a quick google search will bring up a whole plethora of essays and dissertations on the matter.

I'm not suggesting that every videogame ever made could be considered as art, (and neither can every movie ever made make that claim either), but there are without doubt a number of games, and the people who work on them, that are worthy or recognition.


I'm not saying games and the people who work on them aren't worthy of recognition. But that doesn't make them art.

And you're right...I did say you can't define art. What I said was, you can define how society classifies art...which is by medium. Example: a particular sculpture may not be considered art, but the medium of sculpting is. Therefore my statement that since video games have not been widely accepted as art by modern culture, by this definition, the medium is not art.

And I did google "Video Games as Art." In the first three pages of links, there was only one academic link. http://culturalpolicy.uchicago.edu/conf2001/papers/sandor.html And it discussed the art of photography in regards to video games. Everything else? Blogs, video game websites, and the occasional news article asking IF games will ever be art.

I assume you chose to ignore my statement that for a medium to be considered art, it must be publicly critiqued as art. That doesn't mean "on message boards," and it doesn't mean "is it or isn't it." That means professional critical reviews are commonly written and published in regards to a game's artistic merit." But this will develop from the academic study of games as art.

Listen, games are great, k? But they haven't become art...yet. Do I think they will? You bet! But the industry as a whole needs alot of change to reach that point.
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Postby TheAllSeeingEye on Tue Jan 30, 2007 9:55 pm

Well put cinephile.

'Art Critics' are forever talking about the emotions stirred by the paintings or books they review.

The Legend of Zelda games were made by Miyamoto not only as a game to entertain but to emote the feelings he had as a child, hiking and exploring rural parts of Japan, in the player. I think everyone who has ever played one of his masterpieces will agree.

As for public opinion. Like someone else said, art takes many forms and i'm remembering the hooha a little while back when graffiti was introduced as an art form. The 'establishment' couldn't see the appeal, after all grafiti was the work of mindless vandals, not artists. Today it's widely accepted as a valid artform. Yes, it took a while for it to be commonly accepted, but it was no less artistic 20 years ago than it is today.
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Postby The Ginger Man on Tue Jan 30, 2007 10:05 pm

cinephile2000 wrote:A video game is most definitly an artistic endevor by the creators. Take Halo, or Final Fantasy these two franchises excell at making the audience or player feel emotions while plaing the game.


I would argue this point. Video games are designed by committees. The game you start making is rarely the game you ship. That's b/c you change writers, artists, stories, gameplay, art styles, etc....generally b/c of info gathered from organized playtests. A game's main goal is to reach the broadest market available and sell the most units. WindWaker doesn't exist b/c Miyamoto set out to create art. It exists b/c Zelda has a massive, built-in fanbase and Miyamoto took up sailing as a hobby.

And while I mention Miyamoto, I do agree the man is brilliant. While I wouldn't call all his games "masterpieces," the man knows what he's doing and creates fairly original games. But his genius doesn't justify an art form. Martin Scorcese shooting a sex scene for a film doesn't make the porn industy art. Picasso's paints don't make mine worth hanging in a museum. If the commercial outweighs the artistic, the medium is not an artform...until the medium is accepted as an artform. Its a glorious catch-22.

And please note, I'm not saying these certain games you bring up are NOT art. I'm saying the medium of video games is not art.
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Postby TheAllSeeingEye on Tue Jan 30, 2007 10:13 pm

The Ginger Man, i certainly hope i don't come across as deliberately argumentative, it's not my aim here.

I didn't choose to ignore your statement; i thought i had understood your meaning when i refered to the discussion of art in general academia. Let me rectify that by allowing me to ask exactly who is/are the governing bodies that certify what is and isn't art? What defines a professional critic and what makes that critics opinion more valid than people who review or discuss games on blogs and other websites?

There are papers on google, it requires a little more searching, try "video game dissertation" and variations on that phrase; you will find them.

It's funny you mention pornography since, for a long time, it was only legal because it was classified as a valid art form. Some aspects of it are STILL considered art, not the butt-man stuff though, thats pure filth.

As for the medium not being art. Well in that case i can argue that cinema is not a valid artform since a great deal of the movies we see are eye candy with no hidden alegories or other deeper meaning. They too, like videogames, are art by committee being rewritten and shot according to test screenings etc. You concur that some games can be classed as art but the medium cannot, do you propose then that every movie ever made has artistic value?
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Postby The Ginger Man on Tue Jan 30, 2007 10:27 pm

AllSeeing, you speak fairly. I also hope I'm not coming across as just fighting for no reason. I'm sorry for insinuating you ignored one of my statements.

I googled what you suggested and it brought up a large number of Ludology links. Which is actually what I was talking about! I think we're close to common ground here. I think the difference in opinion is that I'm looking at it from a strict, academic view rather than a beholder view.

Ludology is the new field of video game studies in regards to humanities. This is exactly what I meant by academic studies. By critical analysis, I meant that which comes from academic publishing which later becomes professional, social criticism...much like film criticism. Ludology still being very young, it has yet to establish firm acadmeic roots to support artistic claims. But I agree, it will get there!

You bring up an excellent point about grafitti. And I concede that. Games are artistic, yes. Video Games as a whole, however are not art. Why? B/C the academic and critical analysis is not yet strong enough to give the concept broad, social acceptance.

But hey, I gotta run for the evening. An excellent debate all around, guys. Seriously, this has been a blast. Look forward to more conversation with you around here.
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Postby TheAllSeeingEye on Tue Jan 30, 2007 10:45 pm

Ginger Man, i get where you are coming from, i know i come across a little too pigheaded sometimes, but seriously i know what you mean.

For me, i think some games can already be classified as an art form. There's no denying the skill, time and effort put into some games and as such i feel that the hard work put into them should elevate them to something more than a childs game and not be dismissed.

Anyway, i'm glad you've found some of the stuff i was telling you about. I was going to mention ludology.org but i was afraid you'd dismiss it. I'm glad that, in some way, you can see where i'm coming from more clearly.

Has been a great discussion. I hope someone else can come in now and stir the pot for a while.
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Postby MonkeyM666 on Wed Jan 31, 2007 6:46 am

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WawaWewa…!
Stir the pot you say? :D

Very interesting sides to video games as art debate. I have to say that it's been one of the more academic discussions about games I've read.

You both make great points, but I'd have to side with The Ginger Man. Video games are close, and may be breaking through as truly artistic pieces now with the next gen but the industry hasn't been there until now. I'd say that Shadow of the Colossus could be one of the first examples of art as a game. Mark the point that I said, could... :)

The argument of 'designed by committees' I don't think is that valid I'm afraid, as film, sculpture, large scale painting (Sistine Chapel for example) etc are a team effort. Art doesn’t have to be completed by one man, if it was we could have a large amount of singular life works and no collections.

So here's the next point to discuss. If a game (or list of 5 games) could be classed as art and placed down for study what would they be? Mine are… and this is a bit of a rough and ready list…

Final Fantasy 7 (The cinematic story-line and constant pacing make it as good as any epic film)

Final Fantasy X (abstract and self explorative together with breathtaking imagery)

Katamari Damacy (pop art, and pure original design)

Shadow of the Colossus (it’s just an amazing looking game with a very simple and slightly sad story)

I can’t really think of any others, but these are the one’s that I have played and know a bit about (Shadow of the Colossus I’ve only played a demo).

So…. Any thoughts?
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Postby magicmonkey on Wed Jan 31, 2007 7:25 am

As, previously stated in this thread. I think "Tetris" is a work of art, as is "pong" and "pac-man" and "space invaders". Just programming a machine can be an artform, jus nobody appreciates it.
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Postby MonkeyM666 on Wed Jan 31, 2007 8:13 am

Ahhh.... pacman.... How I love having a few beers and slamming that yellow guy around.

Same as kirk and havoc....
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Postby Doc Holliday on Wed Jan 31, 2007 8:18 am

I'm caught between the two schools of thought so far. On a visual level there's already plenty games that can be described art - but I get where Ebert was coming from too - I wouldn't put any game so far on a level with, say, the canon of literature.

But I do expect the day to come when that statement is rendered null and void - computer games are still well in tehir infancy compared to other art forms - and there's plenty evidence already of their evolving. And credit where credits due - its pretty much the Asian designers and developers that are leading the way here - or so it feels to me when I go shopping for a new game.

That's not to pour scorn on other markets - I'll always have room on my shelf for something like VICE CITY...but games like ICO so far seem only to come from Asia. Its a whole other mentality and I love it. There was some other game, where you were like in one big disaster movie - al your guy could do was run, jump etc - no weapons (as I recall). Avoiding earthquakes and other side-effects of a natural disaster, trying to help others and all the while slowly figuring out what has just happened to the world.

If I had to pick one element out of the FINAL FANTASY series tha was the one responsible for me blindly buying every single new installment, its not the beautiful graphics, not the myriad of OCD-feeding mini-games, not even the achingly beautiful music - its the central themes that get thrown up...whether it be a disparate group thrown together, coping with loss, the dangers of machina and so forth.

I think these games will be the ones that one day pave the way to loftier grounds for the medium.

On a whole other level we are just now beginning to see games like FAHRENHEIT, which could be described as art in another sense, heralding a new blurring of the lines between film and game. Once that has evolved further it is only a matter of time until a game uses it to tell a tale beyond typical gaming territory of shooting stuff.

These are exciting times!
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Postby Doc Holliday on Wed Jan 31, 2007 8:19 am

MonkeyM666 wrote:Ahhh.... pacman.... How I love having a few beers and slamming that yellow guy around.


Racist!
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Postby AtomicHyperbole on Wed Jan 31, 2007 8:25 am

If only Farenheit hadn't had made some massive fucking narrative errors and resisted veering off into bollocks territory, I would've loved it.
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Postby MonkeyM666 on Wed Jan 31, 2007 8:35 am

Doc Holliday wrote:
MonkeyM666 wrote:Ahhh.... pacman.... How I love having a few beers and slamming that yellow guy around.


Racist!


LOL...

Nice comments above Doc. Very true about FF. The group is a very important part of the FF universe. I hate to say it but they all kinda go along the lines of 'Stranger/orphan/parents died kid is a small town meets up with a friend who inturn meets up with some other strangers who all become friends and then there's a bad guy.' And I get sucked in every time.
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Postby Doc Holliday on Wed Jan 31, 2007 8:39 am

AtomicHyperbole wrote:If only Farenheit hadn't had made some massive fucking narrative errors and resisted veering off into bollocks territory, I would've loved it.


I forgave it those sins - but nor am I blind to them. The interface, gameplay and visual presentation kept it high in my esteem, but I'm a sucker for novelty values.

But you're right - its not to say games shouldn't be fantastical, but turns like you get at the end of Fahrenheit, narratively speaking, are likely to severely impede any serious consideration of the game as anything other than simply entertainment - art or otherwise.

It was a breath of fresh air though, in terms of presentation - and the games stuff like FAHRENHEIT could lead to may just be the next step forwards.

Saying that though, FAHRENHEIT is a couple of years old already - and not much seems to have followed in its footsteps so far :cry:
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Postby MonkeyM666 on Wed Jan 31, 2007 8:41 am

I haven't played FAHRENHEIT.... :(
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Postby Doc Holliday on Wed Jan 31, 2007 8:54 am

You should be able to pick it up dirt cheap by now Monkey.

Mind you, seeing as how you're of the FF persuasion I wouldn't even say that - you're obviously capable of the 'Door closed, phone off, shutters down, outside bad' approach to gaming - just hire it out - you'll finish it in less than 20 hours.

Great game though - closest I've come to yet in forgetting I was playing a game and thinking I was watching a film.

Apart from about 75% of Metal Gear Solid 2 of course.
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Postby AtomicHyperbole on Wed Jan 31, 2007 9:10 am

The makers for Farenheit ARE working on followup... can't remember what it's called now, Hard Rain or something. Search around their website, methinks there's a video test of a fake actress.
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Postby MonkeyM666 on Wed Jan 31, 2007 9:56 am

Doc Holliday wrote:You should be able to pick it up dirt cheap by now Monkey.

Mind you, seeing as how you're of the FF persuasion I wouldn't even say that - you're obviously capable of the 'Door closed, phone off, shutters down, outside bad' approach to gaming - just hire it out - you'll finish it in less than 20 hours.

Great game though - closest I've come to yet in forgetting I was playing a
game and thinking I was watching a film.

Apart from about 75% of Metal Gear Solid 2 of course.


I can surely lock my self in a room and do that...

£5 - Game Hire
£15 - Esky filled with beers
£10 - big bowl of pistachios
£50 - a chopping block filled with reefer.


20hrs of gameplay that you wont remember the next day....


priceless :D

I try and reserve only a couple of long haul games like that a year these days. I have shit to do and I just don't do it when I'm staring at all of those pretty pixels.
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Postby TheAllSeeingEye on Wed Jan 31, 2007 10:55 am

I have to say I enjoyed Fahrenheit too. I saw it on sale in Gamestation last weekend for £6 i think. Well worth a purchase.

The game that I truly class as art is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It's the best game I have ever played. Nothing since comes close to capturing what that game offered; it's also why i refer to Shigeru Miyamoto as a genius.

Likewise, i think the Metal Gear Solid games are worthy candidates too. Alot of people focus too much on the movie like gameplay but in there is a story with a prophetic feel to it; MGS2 covers the hot political topics of today; protection of civil liberties and national identities vs the people who would like to destroy them.

Final Fantasy is a franchise that speaks for itself.
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Postby MonkeyM666 on Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:01 am

TheAllSeeingEye wrote:The game that I truly class as art is The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It's the best game I have ever played. Nothing since comes close to capturing what that game offered; it's also why i refer to Shigeru Miyamoto as a genius.


I always liked Majora's Mask more... I think that the little refinements as well as the ability to change into various characters really solidified it for me. No one really seems to talk about it any more.

Have you played Twilight Princess? Does it stay true to the Zelda themes etc, etc.... it does look beautful, even though it is SD.
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Postby godzillasushi on Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:33 am

The Ginger Man wrote:I think for a piece to ultimately be defined as art, its medium must be critically analyzed and academically studied as art. By this defintion, video games are not art. The majority of games are defined by their entertainment and marketing value. While this may also be said of many films, cinema itself is analyzed and studied as art...video games are not.


But this is only because games have been advanced for such a short period of time. Games havn't had the chance to be analyzed and studied. At every point in time, an art form was in its infancy and people disregarded it all. Give it some time and eventually it will get there.

Monkey666 wrote:Have you played Twilight Princess? Does it stay true to the Zelda themes etc, etc.... it does look beautful, even though it is SD.


It does in fact play exactly like a Zelda game should. Thats one of the flaws for me. It feels exactly like Ocarina of Time. The game looks much more detailed then anything before it, but the gameplay just hasnt evolved one little bit. Good for some people, but ive been playing these games long enough to know that its time for a change or something. Graphically its pretty ugly, but good for a Cube game which is the version I got.

Monkey666 wrote:So here's the next point to discuss. If a game (or list of 5 games) could be classed as art and placed down for study what would they be?


Since the new generation consoles have come out, ive had to completely change my feelings about other games.

Mario 64 - Easy, because its so original and unique.
Resident Evil 4 - Very atmospheric game with great design.
Donkey Kong's - The SNES ones created that colorful world with really awesome character design.
Forza - Ooooo yea I said it. Can a racing game like this be considered art? I think so...
Gears - Way too obvious.
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Postby MonkeyM666 on Wed Jan 31, 2007 12:00 pm

ooooohhh.... Donkey King. I had completely forgot about Nintendo's chunky primate brotherhood (They forgot about it too for a long time :)).

Dear, oh dear... I wouldn't be inclined to agree about the art side of it but it did look amazing with the '3d' scrolling graphics. I always loved the boss matches with the piles of bananas in the bg.

And Mario 64. That was amazing when I went to the console launch, I was a chubby little nerd with an open mouth and hungry eyes. I'm playing it on the DS now... it going portable so damned well.

Nice...







I may regret the ‘chubby nerd, hungry eyes comment’ but we’ll see… :)
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Postby Doc Holliday on Wed Jan 31, 2007 12:02 pm

I think its more the 'Open mouth and hungry eyes' that may have you rueing the day!!!
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Postby MonkeyM666 on Wed Jan 31, 2007 12:03 pm

lol...

I counted to 30 hit refresh and there you were Doc.




Nice work :D
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Postby Doc Holliday on Wed Jan 31, 2007 12:07 pm

Don't speak with your mouth full bitch!


*SLAP*
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Postby MonkeyM666 on Wed Jan 31, 2007 12:08 pm

:LWMF:


MMMerrg...mmm,m,....




COUGH!
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Postby Bob Samonkey on Wed Jan 31, 2007 12:14 pm

MonkeyM666 wrote:hungry eyes


Doc Holliday wrote:hungry eyes


Damn. Now I got that song stuck in my head...
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Postby MonkeyM666 on Wed Jan 31, 2007 12:21 pm

lol....


oh I mean...


:LWMF:

mmmrggrggg...M...mhhggggg...
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Postby The Ginger Man on Wed Jan 31, 2007 1:00 pm

MonkeyM666 wrote:The argument of 'designed by committees' I don't think is that valid I'm afraid, as film, sculpture, large scale painting (Sistine Chapel for example) etc are a team effort. Art doesn’t have to be completed by one man, if it was we could have a large amount of singular life works and no collections.


I think I should clarify what I meant with "designed by committee." Having multiple people work on it isn't the issue. The goal of designing by committee is the issue. Here's an example that mirrors meetings I've had.

Producer: Its an adventure game about a Wizard Prince who uses his rune powers to burn through the evil king's army and save the kingdom.

Marketing Guy: Can't do burning. Rules out the German market.

Playtest Organizer: The kids in the test said Wizard Princes are Dumbledore.

QA Guy: Assassins are cool. Make him an assassin with a mysterious past. The twist can be he's actually a Prince...the evil king's son.

Playtest Organizer: They said Kings are also Dumbledore. Teh Dumbledore, actually. Does anyone know what "teh" means?

QA Guy: Make it modern day...he's a mob hitman fighting his mob boss. Same thing.

PR Guy: What are runes? Will kids know what runes are?

QA Guy: It could be a magic gun.

Playtest Orgaziner: They said magic was Dumbledore, too.

QA Guy: It's an alien gun.

Marketing Guy: Ooooh, guns and aliens track well. Can it be an FPS?

PR Guy: Halo isn't coming out this year.

Marketing Guy: Perfect! We've got a window.

Producer: So it's an FPS about a hitman with a mysterious past using alien guns to fight his mob boss who might be his dad?

Marketing Guy: Unless you have a better idea.

Producer: I.....no. This is good.
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Postby Doc Holliday on Wed Jan 31, 2007 1:03 pm

That makes me laugh and cry in equal measure TGM, all the more so for knowing you speak from experience.
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Postby MonkeyM666 on Wed Jan 31, 2007 1:03 pm

ahhh... I get you... Corporations after maximising their profit. Nice way of putting it too Ginger.

Can we have more story on how 'Barbie Fashion Show' came about :wink:

EDIT: Thanks for the Thread name change mysterious Mod... :D
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Postby The Ginger Man on Wed Jan 31, 2007 1:14 pm

MonkeyM666 wrote:Can we have more story on how 'Barbie Fashion Show' came about :wink:


Oh that one's easy!

VP: Our contract for the Barbie IP says we have to release a game this year. Ideas?

Room Full of Male Game Designers: Uh....dress up? Girls play dress up with dolls, right?

VP: I think my daughter does.

Designers: So you want us to make a dress-up Barbie game?

VP: Whatever. We only need it to sell 20k at Walmart.

Designers: *cry silently at their desks*

:wink:
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Postby MonkeyM666 on Wed Jan 31, 2007 1:14 pm

:lol:
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Postby MonkeyM666 on Wed Jan 31, 2007 1:25 pm

Now you've got me thinking. If all games are manipulated by the corporations to maximise profit (yeah, I know... durrrr) and films are in the same boat, is art (in the sense of the mass media) in fear of being crushed in these formats. Is the drive for profits and that next product placement quashing the artist?

I'm thinking no not yet, but it'll be harder for games to move away from it because you need the big boys to play with you to get a game anywhere (flash games DO NOT count as art, I’ll say this right now). You can’t really make an amazing game without the support of the formats you plan to release on (well at the moment… it’s SOOOO much more work if your doing it on your own, or even with a group of friends. Then you have licensing issues, promotion, developer packs etc). Films can still make it using word of mouth and blood sweat and tears. Well, sometime it can... you just need a camera, sheet and a projector. If it's really good it'll get out there.

Thoughts….?
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Postby The Ginger Man on Wed Jan 31, 2007 2:01 pm

Films...not so much. Games, possibly. Keep in mind, developers are small groups of programmers, working on an IP for a publisher, who pays them on a milestone basis...with the milestone requirements being set by the publisher. These guys work from paycheck to paycheck and when the paychecks stop....the company closes.

Now is it wrong for publishers to create games this way? Not really. A movie studio can spend $125 mil to have Spielburg churn out a film in 5 months that will rake in just as much in the opening weekend and continue to earn money for weeks and later in DVD sales. Games don't have that earning potential. A game bombs during its one-time release...its bombed for good.

So a publisher is spending say $20 mil (just in dev payments) over 2-3 years to produce something that may be "out-dated" before it's finished and hoping consumers will eventually pay $60 for it. And they're doing this on multiple titles, all coming from different developers of different skill. Then you add in shareholders, financial quarters, and the real business side of business...well, you see how it starts to make sense. It's not that corporations don't want to be artistic...it's that being artistic can easily kill a corporation.

Film is full of visionaries. Games...not as much. We've got Miyamoto, Will Wright, Sid Miers...maybe a few others. These guys get to do what they want b/c they've made people money...much like film visionaries. But they were only considered visionaries b/c their ideas made money. If no one bought The Sims, we would not be getting Spore. This is b/c games aren't widely accepted as art. There is no public forum to award VG's artistic merit. Film has The Oscars, Globes, Cannes...all sorts of things that give studios and directors creative collateral. Games don't have this...so creative collateral is only useful in regards to the # of units sold.
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Postby godzillasushi on Wed Jan 31, 2007 3:02 pm

MonkeyM666 wrote:Now you've got me thinking. If all games are manipulated by the corporations to maximise profit (yeah, I know... durrrr) and films are in the same boat, is art (in the sense of the mass media) in fear of being crushed in these formats. Is the drive for profits and that next product placement quashing the artist?


*pops in* Did somebody say EA? *zing*
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Postby havocSchultz on Wed Jan 31, 2007 4:04 pm

The Ginger Man wrote:Films...not so much. Games, possibly. Keep in mind, developers are small groups of programmers, working on an IP for a publisher, who pays them on a milestone basis...with the milestone requirements being set by the publisher. These guys work from paycheck to paycheck and when the paychecks stop....the company closes.

Now is it wrong for publishers to create games this way? Not really. A movie studio can spend $125 mil to have Spielburg churn out a film in 5 months that will rake in just as much in the opening weekend and continue to earn money for weeks and later in DVD sales. Games don't have that earning potential. A game bombs during its one-time release...its bombed for good.

So a publisher is spending say $20 mil (just in dev payments) over 2-3 years to produce something that may be "out-dated" before it's finished and hoping consumers will eventually pay $60 for it. And they're doing this on multiple titles, all coming from different developers of different skill. Then you add in shareholders, financial quarters, and the real business side of business...well, you see how it starts to make sense. It's not that corporations don't want to be artistic...it's that being artistic can easily kill a corporation.

Film is full of visionaries. Games...not as much. We've got Miyamoto, Will Wright, Sid Miers...maybe a few others. These guys get to do what they want b/c they've made people money...much like film visionaries. But they were only considered visionaries b/c their ideas made money. If no one bought The Sims, we would not be getting Spore. This is b/c games aren't widely accepted as art. There is no public forum to award VG's artistic merit. Film has The Oscars, Globes, Cannes...all sorts of things that give studios and directors creative collateral. Games don't have this...so creative collateral is only useful in regards to the # of units sold.




Ahem...
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Postby Chairman Kaga on Wed Jan 31, 2007 4:11 pm

The idea of an artist making art solely for/of themselves is relatively new. Being a hired gun and cranking out artworks for wealthy business people/the Church/Government/Kings/Caesars/Pharoahs etc was the norm for literally thousands of years. So don't think that manipulation of art by the people footing the bill is anything new or that it somehow threatens any artform's credibility.
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Postby TonyWilson on Wed Jan 31, 2007 4:18 pm

well it's actually an incredibly old idea. But it sure was the other way for a hell of along time especially when you talk about the most famous artists.
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Postby The Ginger Man on Wed Jan 31, 2007 4:21 pm

havocSchultz wrote:Ahem...


The Spike VGAs. You're joking, right?
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Postby TheAllSeeingEye on Wed Jan 31, 2007 4:35 pm

Just as a quick adendum to the awards/recognition topic. The BAFTA's have recently started giving awards out for videogames.

http://www.bafta.org/site/page20.html That page has some interesting reading on there, let me know what you think.

At the very least though, it shows that there are certainly people out there with more credibility than Spike or MTV giving kudos to developers.
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Postby Pacino86845 on Wed Jan 31, 2007 4:41 pm

I dunno Ginger, I get what you're saying about the business elements of games dominating the development pipeline, but couldn't the same arguments be made about animated films or comics?

I also think that the "infancy" argument still carries a lot of weight in defense of video games. I'm not sure games will be officially recognized as an art form of sorts, but until recently they've depended heavily on the technology available.

Arguments against video games' artistic merits that are based on the lack of the public's recognition don't stand up too well, though. We could look to the world of comics and even cartoons for reference. Comics were kids' stuff for decades, and now that we're finally in an era that recognizes art in the comic form, that recognition goes way back to the origins of the medium. I'm not saying it's a sure thing, but the same might happen to videogames, if it hasn't already started.
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Postby havocSchultz on Wed Jan 31, 2007 4:43 pm

The Ginger Man wrote:
havocSchultz wrote:Ahem...


The Spike VGAs. You're joking, right?


Yes...quite a bit...
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Postby The Ginger Man on Wed Jan 31, 2007 4:47 pm

Pacino86845 wrote:I dunno Ginger, I get what you're saying about the business elements of games dominating the development pipeline, but couldn't the same arguments be made about animated films or comics?

I also think that the "infancy" argument still carries a lot of weight in defense of video games. I'm not sure games will be officially recognized as an art form of sorts, but until recently they've depended heavily on the technology available.

Arguments against video games' artistic merits that are based on the lack of the public's recognition don't stand up too well, though. We could look to the world of comics and even cartoons for reference. Comics were kids' stuff for decades, and now that we're finally in an era that recognizes art in the comic form, that recognition goes way back to the origins of the medium. I'm not saying it's a sure thing, but the same might happen to videogames, if it hasn't already started.


But you and I could produce and publish a comic on quality with Marvel or DC all on our own. Same goes with an animated film. You cannot develop and publish a next-gen game without corporate intervention.

Did you know that before any game is released on a platform, the corp that owns the platform (Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo) reviews the game? If they don't feel it meets their standards, you must change the game to their specifications if you want it released. Publishing corporations can have things slide b/c favors and other business related things. But an independent developer would be completely at the whim of the big 3. And thats if an indepenant developer could get a development kit from those companies...which is needed to develop a game for a platform.
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Postby TheAllSeeingEye on Wed Jan 31, 2007 4:50 pm

godzillasushi wrote:
MonkeyM666 wrote:Now you've got me thinking. If all games are manipulated by the corporations to maximise profit (yeah, I know... durrrr) and films are in the same boat, is art (in the sense of the mass media) in fear of being crushed in these formats. Is the drive for profits and that next product placement quashing the artist?


*pops in* Did somebody say EA? *zing*


It's been known for a long time that EA don't actually have a creative staff. What they have is a large computer that runs a videogame making wizard that runs like this:

WHAT YEAR IS IT?:

PRESS ENTER TO CONTINUE

After that it churns out the same old game but with a different year in the title.
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Postby The Ginger Man on Wed Jan 31, 2007 4:54 pm

havocSchultz wrote:
The Ginger Man wrote:
havocSchultz wrote:Ahem...


The Spike VGAs. You're joking, right?


Yes...quite a bit...


Thank god :wink:
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