Video Games as Art: Yes? No? Maybe?

All things controller driven will be talked about here.

Postby TonyWilson on Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:01 am

MonkeyM666 wrote:
TonyWilson wrote:Really interesting thread. Just a quick question. Do those who consider videogames art think Chess is art or Backgammon? What about Risk?


Ummm.... no. They're games but I see where you’re going with this. I think that it's the overall package of music, graphics and the ever important gameplay are what pushes VG's into the art circle. Board games are strategic and luck based but not really art.

That's IMO mind you.


Ok, but what about a game with a beautifully painted or drawn board and gameplay that requires logic and skill?
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Postby magicmonkey on Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:02 am

Chess and Backgammon is an art, especially when played well.
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Postby tapehead on Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:03 am

TonyWilson wrote:
tapehead wrote:Who authored those?


Ha! :D

The french director Albert Lamorisse invented Risk.


pwnt :oops:
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Postby TonyWilson on Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:03 am

magicmonkey wrote:Chess and Backgammon is an art, especially when played well.


Yeh, that's sort of my thinking. So then beautiful visuals or sound design etc etc is not integral to making a great work of gaming art.
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Postby TonyWilson on Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:05 am

tapehead wrote:
TonyWilson wrote:
tapehead wrote:Who authored those?


Ha! :D

The french director Albert Lamorisse invented Risk.


pwnt :oops:



:twisted: :twisted: :twisted:


In the interests of fairness I did just wiki it.

:P
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Postby TonyWilson on Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:06 am

magicmonkey wrote:Chess and Backgammon is an art, especially when played well.


But is it the act of playing it well that's an art or the game itself? Is a videogame only great art if the person playing is very skilled?
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Postby magicmonkey on Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:06 am

TonyWilson wrote:
magicmonkey wrote:Chess and Backgammon is an art, especially when played well.


Yeh, that's sort of my thinking. So then beautiful visuals or sound design etc etc is not integral to making a great work of gaming art.


Indeed. I keep popping into this thread to stress that Tetris is art. Trancendant art at that.
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Postby magicmonkey on Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:08 am

TonyWilson wrote:
magicmonkey wrote:Chess and Backgammon is an art, especially when played well.


But is it the act of playing it well that's an art or the game itself? Is a videogame only great art if the person playing is very skilled?


Heh, you filthy editor!

Its the playa. A game on its own, without a player is not art. The same as an unread book, or an unwatched film. Here we go...
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Postby MonkeyM666 on Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:09 am

TonyWilson wrote:
MonkeyM666 wrote:
TonyWilson wrote:Really interesting thread. Just a quick question. Do those who consider videogames art think Chess is art or Backgammon? What about Risk?


Ummm.... no. They're games but I see where you’re going with this. I think that it's the overall package of music, graphics and the ever important gameplay are what pushes VG's into the art circle. Board games are strategic and luck based but not really art.

That's IMO mind you.


Ok, but what about a game with a beautifully painted or drawn board and gameplay that requires logic and skill?


Messing with our minds now arn't you Tony!

That's all fair, and a good comparison with VG's. I can't think of rebuttal at the moment... umm..... no, nothing :?

No wait! It's the level of detail... the attention to the narrative as well as logic and skill. The story and resulting universe that is created within a game makes that closer to art than a board game. This is one reason why I argue that Tetris isn't art it's design. Same with Chess...

I do love a game of chess (all be it I'm not very good)... and those kids that are world champs are friggen amazing.

Did I get away with that as an argument??? :?
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Postby TonyWilson on Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:10 am

magicmonkey wrote:
TonyWilson wrote:
magicmonkey wrote:Chess and Backgammon is an art, especially when played well.


But is it the act of playing it well that's an art or the game itself? Is a videogame only great art if the person playing is very skilled?


Heh, you filthy editor!

Its the playa. A game on its own, without a player is not art. The same as an unread book, or an unwatched film. Here we go...


Sorry, didn't mean to confuse things.
Ok so what if someone is playing Tetris or Shadow of the Colossus and they are really awful at it. Can't get past the first level. Is the game still art then?
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Postby TonyWilson on Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:11 am

MonkeyM666 wrote:
TonyWilson wrote:
MonkeyM666 wrote:
TonyWilson wrote:Really interesting thread. Just a quick question. Do those who consider videogames art think Chess is art or Backgammon? What about Risk?


Ummm.... no. They're games but I see where you’re going with this. I think that it's the overall package of music, graphics and the ever important gameplay are what pushes VG's into the art circle. Board games are strategic and luck based but not really art.

That's IMO mind you.


Ok, but what about a game with a beautifully painted or drawn board and gameplay that requires logic and skill?


Messing with our minds now arn't you Tony!

That's all fair, and a good comparison with VG's. I can't think of rebuttal at the moment... umm..... no, nothing :?

No wait! It's the level of detail... the attention to the narrative as well as logic and skill. The story and resulting universe that is created within a game makes that closer to art than a board game. This is one reason why I argue that Tetris isn't art it's design. Same with Chess...

I do love a game of chess (all be it I'm not very good)... and those kids that are world champs are friggen amazing.

Did I get away with that as an argument??? :?


So in your opinion, for a game to be art does it have to have a narrative?
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Postby MonkeyM666 on Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:16 am

TonyWilson wrote:So in your opinion, for a game to be art does it have to have a narrative?


No, it's the use of skill and imagination in the creation of environments, or experiences that can be shared with others. Chess isn't at a level of involvement and immersion, IMO, that could have it considered as art.

A narrative is a part of the whole, and in Vgames often an integral part. Actually maybe narative isn't really the correct word for it. World, universe (?) might be a better way of putting it.

I think they're on the same lines, but not at the same levels.
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Postby magicmonkey on Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:18 am

TonyWilson wrote:
magicmonkey wrote:
TonyWilson wrote:
magicmonkey wrote:Chess and Backgammon is an art, especially when played well.


But is it the act of playing it well that's an art or the game itself? Is a videogame only great art if the person playing is very skilled?


Heh, you filthy editor!

Its the playa. A game on its own, without a player is not art. The same as an unread book, or an unwatched film. Here we go...


Sorry, didn't mean to confuse things.
Ok so what if someone is playing Tetris or Shadow of the Colossus and they are really awful at it. Can't get past the first level. Is the game still art then?


It is, its the art of befuddlement, the gentle art of learning. It engages with the player or the player engages with it and it is in this that the art lies. That is game art true to itself, offering a complexity of interaction no other medium offers. However, games can also replecate film, the novel and the painting. The trancendent thing is the level of interaction they also offer. Many games are used and based on in modern art galleries. There is, for example, an installation based on counter strike(?) with modded graphics to simulate the Wacko Texas incident, with the playa running around as David Koresh.
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Postby TonyWilson on Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:18 am

But isn't Chess one of the most brilliantly devised games ever? You can't say it doesn't offer total immersion in the enviroment of the game. Yes it's simplistically rendered in a aesthetic sense but in every other way it's a beautifully complex whole.
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Postby TonyWilson on Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:21 am

magicmonkey wrote:
TonyWilson wrote:
magicmonkey wrote:
TonyWilson wrote:
magicmonkey wrote:Chess and Backgammon is an art, especially when played well.


But is it the act of playing it well that's an art or the game itself? Is a videogame only great art if the person playing is very skilled?


Heh, you filthy editor!

Its the playa. A game on its own, without a player is not art. The same as an unread book, or an unwatched film. Here we go...


Sorry, didn't mean to confuse things.
Ok so what if someone is playing Tetris or Shadow of the Colossus and they are really awful at it. Can't get past the first level. Is the game still art then?


It is, its the art of befuddlement, the gentle art of learning. It engages with the player or the player engages with it and it is in this that the art lies. That is game art true to itself, offering a complexity of interaction no other medium offers. However, games can also replecate film, the novel and the painting. The trancendent thing is the level of interaction they also offer. Many games are used and based on in modern art galleries. There is, for example, an installation based on counter strike(?) with modded graphics to simulate the Wacko Texas incident, with the playa running around as David Koresh.



Yes yes, I'm with you there I think. It's like, a silent black and white movie from 1896 can still be art even though a technicolor epic looks more artistic in a visual/use of color sense.
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Postby MonkeyM666 on Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:23 am

TonyWilson wrote:But isn't Chess one of the most brilliantly devised games ever? You can't say it doesn't offer total immersion in the enviroment of the game. Yes it's simplistically rendered in a aesthetic sense but in every other way it's a beautifully complex whole.


It is, and it stands the test of time with its design. I just don't think its art... I think that this is all part of the same argument. Where is the line? When is art called art. You’ve got me really thinking about this one Tony :)

I don't confess to be some aficionado about art, but there has to be a point where is goes from a design or whatever to art.
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Postby magicmonkey on Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:24 am

TonyWilson wrote:
magicmonkey wrote:
TonyWilson wrote:
magicmonkey wrote:
TonyWilson wrote:
magicmonkey wrote:Chess and Backgammon is an art, especially when played well.


But is it the act of playing it well that's an art or the game itself? Is a videogame only great art if the person playing is very skilled?


Heh, you filthy editor!

Its the playa. A game on its own, without a player is not art. The same as an unread book, or an unwatched film. Here we go...


Sorry, didn't mean to confuse things.
Ok so what if someone is playing Tetris or Shadow of the Colossus and they are really awful at it. Can't get past the first level. Is the game still art then?


It is, its the art of befuddlement, the gentle art of learning. It engages with the player or the player engages with it and it is in this that the art lies. That is game art true to itself, offering a complexity of interaction no other medium offers. However, games can also replecate film, the novel and the painting. The trancendent thing is the level of interaction they also offer. Many games are used and based on in modern art galleries. There is, for example, an installation based on counter strike(?) with modded graphics to simulate the Wacko Texas incident, with the playa running around as David Koresh.



Yes yes, I'm with you there I think. It's like, a silent black and white movie from 1896 can still be art even though a technicolor epic looks more artistic in a visual/use of color sense.


I shouldn't even engage in this argument, as, for me, anything is art.
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Postby TonyWilson on Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:26 am

magicmonkey wrote:
TonyWilson wrote:
magicmonkey wrote:
TonyWilson wrote:
magicmonkey wrote:
TonyWilson wrote:
magicmonkey wrote:Chess and Backgammon is an art, especially when played well.


But is it the act of playing it well that's an art or the game itself? Is a videogame only great art if the person playing is very skilled?


Heh, you filthy editor!

Its the playa. A game on its own, without a player is not art. The same as an unread book, or an unwatched film. Here we go...


Sorry, didn't mean to confuse things.
Ok so what if someone is playing Tetris or Shadow of the Colossus and they are really awful at it. Can't get past the first level. Is the game still art then?


It is, its the art of befuddlement, the gentle art of learning. It engages with the player or the player engages with it and it is in this that the art lies. That is game art true to itself, offering a complexity of interaction no other medium offers. However, games can also replecate film, the novel and the painting. The trancendent thing is the level of interaction they also offer. Many games are used and based on in modern art galleries. There is, for example, an installation based on counter strike(?) with modded graphics to simulate the Wacko Texas incident, with the playa running around as David Koresh.



Yes yes, I'm with you there I think. It's like, a silent black and white movie from 1896 can still be art even though a technicolor epic looks more artistic in a visual/use of color sense.


I shouldn't even engage in this argument, as, for me, anything is art.


IPAMPILASH. Sort of a redundant thread for you then?
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Postby MonkeyM666 on Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:36 am

magicmonkey wrote: I shouldn't even engage in this argument, as, for me, anything is art.


Sounds like the easy out I'm looking for.... :wink:

Ok, back into it....

Isn't art formed by an artists skill being used to express the their own creativity and point of view. Games are made with a purpose and a point. Chess is strategic in its nature... a crafted board is made to make the game look better doesn’t changeanything other then that. Graphics in a game help make the whole (you can’t chase a bad guy if you can’t see them), they’re not always just to please aesthetically. Chess can be played in the dirt if the need arose.

Also chess is an established game, as you said. The games that we’re discussing are pushing boundaries and opening up new ideas in gameplay/graphics etc. Chess is chess.... and always will be.

This is really proving Gingers ‘gameplay is king’ point… :)
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Postby magicmonkey on Wed Feb 07, 2007 11:37 am

TonyWilson wrote:
magicmonkey wrote:
TonyWilson wrote:
magicmonkey wrote:
TonyWilson wrote:
magicmonkey wrote:
TonyWilson wrote:
magicmonkey wrote:Chess and Backgammon is an art, especially when played well.


But is it the act of playing it well that's an art or the game itself? Is a videogame only great art if the person playing is very skilled?


Heh, you filthy editor!

Its the playa. A game on its own, without a player is not art. The same as an unread book, or an unwatched film. Here we go...


Sorry, didn't mean to confuse things.
Ok so what if someone is playing Tetris or Shadow of the Colossus and they are really awful at it. Can't get past the first level. Is the game still art then?


It is, its the art of befuddlement, the gentle art of learning. It engages with the player or the player engages with it and it is in this that the art lies. That is game art true to itself, offering a complexity of interaction no other medium offers. However, games can also replecate film, the novel and the painting. The trancendent thing is the level of interaction they also offer. Many games are used and based on in modern art galleries. There is, for example, an installation based on counter strike(?) with modded graphics to simulate the Wacko Texas incident, with the playa running around as David Koresh.



Yes yes, I'm with you there I think. It's like, a silent black and white movie from 1896 can still be art even though a technicolor epic looks more artistic in a visual/use of color sense.


I shouldn't even engage in this argument, as, for me, anything is art.


IPAMPILASH. Sort of a redundant thread for you then?


Heh, kinda. I find the art of putting spaces in the quotations fun. :D

I do think though that the kind of art people are seeking in games is there tho too. Metal Gear Solid 3 has for example a huge denouement where it looks at and comments on the vast torrent of digital information spewing forth from and into the web. Final Fantasy 7 looked at the politics of terrorism long before 9/11 even occured, it even placed the playa in the role of blowing up a skyscraper. It dealt with various philosophers and philosophy including Hegel. Note, these are all Playstation games BTW... ;) eh, titgirl.
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Postby ThisIsTheGirl on Wed Feb 07, 2007 12:10 pm

OK, I printed off this entire thread sometime last week, and have been reading it on my tube journeys, all-too-aware that I probably shouldn't get into the debate when I'm at work. Great thread guys, the level of debate here is superb.

I kind of lean towards Ginger's view of the situation: VGs are not yet classed as art, but probably will be one day, and then people will look back on some of these games we are mentioning and say that they were early examples of videogames as art. A couple I'd like to mention for consideration:

Rez - Dreamcast game, one of the most bizarre I've ever played, but it looked beautiful and provided a uniquely different approach to gaming.

Shenmue 1 & 2 - this one was certainly guilty of taking elements from movies, but it did it so well that things haven't been quite the same since - plenty of games owe this one a debt. Part of its appeal for me was that I instantly became invested in the characters. It's been nearly 5 years since I finished it, and I still want to know what happens next.

WarioWare - If Tetris is art, then this is postmodern art, since it plays on the fact that many of the people playing it have grown up with videogames - it's the most self-referential game ever. It also provided a totally new way of looking at our relationship with games. I love every iteration of Wario Ware - it is a great franchise.

I'd agree that Ico deserves some consideration.

Vib-Ribbon - PS1 game where the level design was based on music CDs which you played through the playstation itself. I only got to play this a couple of times, but all I can say is.....it felt like art

Somebody mentioned that Flash games are not art. I suspect that person has never played Line Rider.....:grin:



Magic wrote:Note, these are all Playstation games BTW... eh, titgirl.


LOL - I knew my ears were burning for a reason! Yup playstation is a good console, no doubt - that's why I own one. Never understood why anyone would pledge their allegiance to just one - what about you? :wink:
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Postby MonkeyM666 on Wed Feb 07, 2007 12:13 pm

ThisIsTheGirl wrote:Somebody mentioned that Flash games are not art. I suspect that person has never played Line Rider.....:grin:


That would be me...





I'm happy to be proved wrong... :D
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Postby godzillasushi on Wed Feb 07, 2007 12:58 pm

ThisIsTheGirl wrote:Shenmue 1 & 2 - this one was certainly guilty of taking elements from movies, but it did it so well that things haven't been quite the same since - plenty of games owe this one a debt. Part of its appeal for me was that I instantly became invested in the characters. It's been nearly 5 years since I finished it, and I still want to know what happens next.


They were both before their time. The games had so much potential that it probably hurt it in the end. They were bigger then the gameplay would allow for and I think that might be why people gave them average reviews. I felt they were amazing. Especially the second one. It was a true living city, not just a GTA city with random folks running around. And the city was full of things to see and do. I still remember looking at all the artwork and statues on that street in the second one and enjoying the music. I think they would have been fantastic on the 360 with an expanded city and more things to see. Even with its size, there was much more it could have been. Oblivion is the closest thing i've seen to Shenmue. But because of its time period, it made it more interesting.
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Postby The Ginger Man on Wed Feb 07, 2007 1:16 pm

MonkeyM666 wrote:Isn't art formed by an artists skill being used to express the their own creativity and point of view. Games are made with a purpose and a point. Chess is strategic in its nature... a crafted board is made to make the game look better doesn’t changeanything other then that. Graphics in a game help make the whole (you can’t chase a bad guy if you can’t see them), they’re not always just to please aesthetically. Chess can be played in the dirt if the need arose.


This makes me consider Chess to be purely artistic. It was designed, works within strict boundries yet allows massive freedom, and is deeply immersive. But most importantly, as you mentioned, it completely transcends strict visual boundries. Chess is equally immersive if you play on a marble board with pieces carved from diamond...or if you play in the mud with twigs.

THAT'S art.
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Postby MonkeyM666 on Wed Feb 07, 2007 1:21 pm

Damn! That's not how it was supost to go! <smacks head> :)

Is it art or good design though? Really... I want to know... I'm getting quite muddled now :oops: Does anyone 'official' think that chess is art? It's had the time to be appricated and studied. It could help us classify vgames in that case.

Tony has really got me thinking...
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Postby The Ginger Man on Wed Feb 07, 2007 1:40 pm

MonkeyM666 wrote:Is it art or good design though?


What's the difference?

Especially in regards to video games.
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Postby magicmonkey on Wed Feb 07, 2007 1:44 pm

ThisIsTheGirl wrote:
Magic wrote:Note, these are all Playstation games BTW... eh, titgirl.


LOL - I knew my ears were burning for a reason! Yup playstation is a good console, no doubt - that's why I own one. Never understood why anyone would pledge their allegiance to just one - what about you? :wink:


Damn you and your spidey senses! Heh. I just wish I had the money *sob* :lol:
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Postby TheAllSeeingEye on Wed Feb 07, 2007 5:23 pm

Ha Ha, this thread is still going :D

Great. It seemed to slow down for afew days so i quit checking. Guess i'll be seeing where we go from here.

To quickly bring up the chess point. Yes, I consider chess to be an art, but in a different way. Let's see if I can explain this without sounding crazy.

Videogames are an art in themselves but the art of chess doesn't lie in the game but rather in the playing.

Yes, it's still gameplay but at the same time it isn't. It's tough to explain it. My head hurts :?
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Postby MonkeyM666 on Thu Feb 08, 2007 5:13 am

Yeah... chess has made it a whole lot harder to make a clear point about VG's. DAMN YOU TONY! :wink:

I'm standing by my idea that chess is intelligent design, not art.

I fell it in me waters...
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Postby ThisIsTheGirl on Thu Feb 08, 2007 6:00 am

I'm reckon most Grand Masters would consider chess an art - and they still manage to beat computers.

Sadly, pretty soon a computer will be built that can calculate so many moves in advance that it will be impossible for a human to beat - and I'd say that's the moment that chess will cease to be an art.
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Postby MonkeyM666 on Thu Feb 08, 2007 6:08 am

And art by it's craft. That I can agree with.

Are you a chess player TITG?
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Postby ThisIsTheGirl on Thu Feb 08, 2007 6:24 am

Nope - well, I can play it, but I can calculate precisely zero moves in advance, so I get my ass kicked whenever I play someone even slightly good - how about you buddy?



magicmonkey wrote: Damn you and your spidey senses! Heh. I just wish I had the money *sob* :lol:


I hear you man. Same reason I will probably have to wait a year to get my own PS3 :sad:

Mind you, you're in China, right? Can't you like, get a young child to build you one or something, and pay them a handful of berries?
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Postby magicmonkey on Thu Feb 08, 2007 6:42 am

ThisIsTheGirl wrote:

magicmonkey wrote: Damn you and your spidey senses! Heh. I just wish I had the money *sob* :lol:


I hear you man. Same reason I will probably have to wait a year to get my own PS3 :sad:

Mind you, you're in China, right? Can't you like, get a young child to build you one or something, and pay them a handful of berries?


Alas, they're not that well developed yet. Cheapest option for me would be to go to Hong Kong to get one. The craze here is the PSP (followed by about 5-1 owning the DS), you buy the hardware and then download the rest. Other than that I've seen loads of tv plug game thangs.

Just did a google to keep this relevant to the thread and found;

http://www.gamesareart.com/
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Postby MonkeyM666 on Thu Feb 08, 2007 7:01 am

ThisIsTheGirl wrote:Nope - well, I can play it, but I can calculate precisely zero moves in advance, so I get my ass kicked whenever I play someone even slightly good - how about you buddy?


I can play a bit... but I'm a defensive player and always start well but then get my ass handed to me in the last few moves of the game. In our squat we have Chess comps (yes... we're usually drunk and partake in some other goodies that always make me hungry) the last lot we played I came around about third or forth (it gets hard to remember by the end of it). The reigning champ is another Aussie guy who kicks everyone ass. He has a very devious mind... and it shows.


Anyway....
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Postby ThisIsTheGirl on Thu Feb 08, 2007 7:04 am

NICE link, Monkey! Bookmarked that mutha straight away!


I sometimes visit this site too, it's more about digital media as a whole, but they sometimes run some good pieces about videogames. It's all very artsy, although ironically they've callled the site "we make money, not art" :smile:
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Postby magicmonkey on Thu Feb 08, 2007 7:35 am

Looks good, cheers for the link titg. Will have to dig more on this and see what I can unearth.
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Postby magicmonkey on Tue Feb 13, 2007 2:46 am

Ok, I found this on youtube. Its a lengthy making of documentary for Silent Hill 3. Now as a game I prefer Silent Hill 2, but this doc really demonstrates the work and research put into character creation, plot, themes and stylistics for the project. To me, it is just as much work as goes into a film, and inarguably with more detail.

As meditations on guilt and fear the Silent Hill games go far beyond what I have seen on the screen, they have drawn from cinema and created an amalgamation of horrors, all of which the player is experiencing interactively. This level of interaction, I feel goes back to my earlier points on the first page of this thread which highlights how computer games offer, and indeed do, provide a platform for information, art and education far beyond what is available in the classroom. In fact I have seen more and more links and research to support this theory. Through inclusion and immersion the mind becomes focused, something I feel is essential to both learning and ultimately to art.
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Postby MonkeyM666 on Mon Mar 12, 2007 12:13 pm

Just when I thought I was out... this pulled me back in again.

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Re: Video Games as Art: Yes? No? Maybe?

Postby Ribbons on Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:22 am

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Re: Video Games as Art: Yes? No? Maybe?

Postby papalazeru on Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:27 pm



That list was written by some 20 year old Struggling Background Artist!

He's looking at 'art' in computer games rather than the art of computer gaming itself.

Elite should be in there for a start.
Grim Fandango? It was Zak McKraken that started it all off, just cos Grim looks nice doesn't mean it's art (BTW it was fun to play though)
Heart of Darkness is just 'Another World' with prettier graphics.

The only one definitely needs to remain is Portal because of it's innovative use of portal technology within the game itself (even though Prey did similar to a lesser extent and was only 'ok' but it wasn't inetgral to the game as much as Portal).

I'm sorry, there's nothing really that ground breaking or genre defying in there. I would agree that Psychonauts deserves to be in a list but I can think of far better platformers that define or break a genre.
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Re: Video Games as Art: Yes? No? Maybe?

Postby MonkeyM666 on Mon Feb 23, 2009 5:26 pm

I kinda agree Papa, that list is pretty naff if you ask me. How can I take this article and this guys opinions seriously when he includes a game for, and I quote...

Did I mention you can fart? Like, at any time. Seriously, you just press a button and out it comes. Glorious.


I mean I liked oddworld but as part of a top ten list? Give me a break. Give me a decent argument... like 'even though this game is a fairly typical platformer for the time, and even though it leans very heavily on previous Shiny titles like Earthworm Jim, the design of the world and characters as well as a creative and innovative way of using pre-existing coding to make something totally new and memorable.' (Aside from all of that the first one was the only good one and the rest were just re-hashes so stating that the entire series is art. )

Now I wonder why he didn't say that? Oh wait.... is that because it had all been done before and better? Psychonauts is an example of using existing infrastructure and limitations and pushing it way beyond boundaries with artful execution, and an impressive idea. Portal is an great example of this too. I think that it's hard to separate good design, or premise from what could be defined as art.

Let's throw Rare in the mix if that's how he's classifying his 'art' games with a little game called Battletoads....it's good game series but not art. EDIT: or Banjo-Kazooie; or Donkey Kong Country.... now Rare is a company that could be a contender, or at least could have been before Microsoft.

Katamari, Fallout 3, Grim Fandango I all agree with (well... I haven't played Grim Fan but I hear that it's worthy).
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Re: Video Games as Art: Yes? No? Maybe?

Postby papalazeru on Mon Feb 23, 2009 7:52 pm

MonkeyM666 wrote:I kinda agree Papa, that list is pretty naff if you ask me. How can I take this article and this guys opinions seriously when he includes a game for, and I quote...
Did I mention you can fart? Like, at any time. Seriously, you just press a button and out it comes. Glorious.


Psychonauts is an example of using existing infrastructure and limitations and pushing it way beyond boundaries with artful execution, and an impressive idea. Portal is an great example of this too. I think that it's hard to separate good design, or premise from what could be defined as art.

Let's throw Rare in the mix if that's how he's classifying his 'art' games with a little game called Battletoads....it's good game series but not art. EDIT: or Banjo-Kazooie; or Donkey Kong Country.... now Rare is a company that could be a contender, or at least could have been before Microsoft.

Katamari, Fallout 3, Grim Fandango I all agree with (well... I haven't played Grim Fan but I hear that it's worthy).


The trouble is, with Grim Fandango and Fallout 3 is they take the format to the Nth degree for it's time but it's neither genre destroying or so avante garde that it creates it's own genre. Grim Fandango is excellent but it's no Monkey Island, which in itself created more impact than it's originator, Zak McKraken. If you are talking about Point N Click taken to it's height, then it would be Monkey Island for it's timing, it's creative writing and it's playability. It all depends on the era and it's impact on gaming.

Both Console games and Computer games should be considered on a level playing field though and no distinction should be drawn in the same category.

Now if you mentioned the new Banjo Kazoie: Nuts and Bolts, I would have a tendency to agree that it could be art, but as yet I haven't played it enough. The original Banjo Kazooie was brilliance though but it was based too much on Mario 64, which again could quite possibly be considered art.

Now, Fallout 3, while being Uber brilliant, doesn't create the same impact as say Morrowind (which is still a joy to play) or say Doom or Quake (which could by far lay claim to artisan properties than most modern similar games).

There are quite a few level of depths in art when it comes to computer games, Goldeneye being possibly the most finite point of playablility, pushing a machine and a nice early example of multiplayer levels done to perfection.

The list, as far as I'm concern is all to do with the pretty and none to do with conception. While I agree on a couple of them, the rest are just...well...games...no better, no worse but they don't create history.
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Re: Video Games as Art: Yes? No? Maybe?

Postby Seppuku on Mon Feb 23, 2009 8:28 pm

I thought it was a great list, although I've only played 4 of them (Ico, Abe's Odyssey, Grim Fandango & most of the Shiny games). I don't think any of the games either of you have brought up could potentially cross over into the art community in the same way most of the ones this guy listed would. From a gamer's perspective, the games you both listed are great, Banjo, Battletoads and Goldeneye are all highly playable, but not exactly what I would call "Modern Art."

papalazeru wrote:The list, as far as I'm concern is all to do with the pretty and none to do with conception


That's the rub. I guess a few of these games sacrificed some of the things that make games games by becoming more like an interactive painting, where you're more of a witness to the things going down and the design of the world than an active participant. That's alright though, there's room for different types of gaming experiences. Also IMO art's normally got to, in some way or another, address the world around it, not just exist for its own sake. And that's why most people answer no to the title of this thread.



For the record, I'd add the two games The Residents put out (Bad Day on the Midway and Freak Show). The music in them was so good it was released on its own. But the games themselves were like being dropped in the middle of the geek pit at a turn of the century carnival. Super fucked up. And yes, art.
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Re: Video Games as Art: Yes? No? Maybe?

Postby Nachokoolaid on Mon Feb 23, 2009 8:31 pm

Due to the temporary nature of games, it's hard to classify them as art. With a painting, it's there. It's more permanant. With music, poetry, and others, the artist creates the experience. With games, the observer has a large role in the experience. He may choose to go down a certain path, and never see certain parts of the game. Since the observer is not the artist, it's hard to always classify it as art.

That being said, I think one could make a case for Mass Effect being art.
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Re: Video Games as Art: Yes? No? Maybe?

Postby papalazeru on Mon Feb 23, 2009 8:48 pm

Nachokoolaid wrote:Due to the temporary nature of games, it's hard to classify them as art. With a painting, it's there. It's more permanant. With music, poetry, and others, the artist creates the experience. With games, the observer has a large role in the experience. He may choose to go down a certain path, and never see certain parts of the game. Since the observer is not the artist, it's hard to always classify it as art.

That being said, I think one could make a case for Mass Effect being art.



Ha! Show your age and experience with computer games.

How dare you bring up Mass effect when classics like Elite are missing from that list.
Also, I don't know how you can say 'due to the temporary nature....' a lot of game formats creates 25 years back still stand today.

@ Seppuku...You're talking are here. This isn't the so called, 'fine arts', or a literary work, althought it can emcompass both, but when you're talking about a new meduim like that I don't agree that you should look upon it using the previous standards created.

A lot of what is missing is the innovative, the games that changed history, not just in the people who play them (Psychonauts is case in point) but also the effect it's had on the culture around it.

The list is not good.
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Re: Video Games as Art: Yes? No? Maybe?

Postby Seppuku on Mon Feb 23, 2009 9:04 pm

papalazeru wrote:@ Seppuku...You're talking are here. This isn't the so called, 'fine arts', or a literary work, althought it can emcompass both, but when you're talking about a new meduim like that I don't agree that you should look upon it using the previous standards created.


Isn't that kind of the whole point of this thread- to say whether Games hold up in comparison with other mediums?
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Re: Video Games as Art: Yes? No? Maybe?

Postby papalazeru on Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:35 am

Seppuku wrote:
papalazeru wrote:@ Seppuku...You're talking are here. This isn't the so called, 'fine arts', or a literary work, althought it can emcompass both, but when you're talking about a new meduim like that I don't agree that you should look upon it using the previous standards created.


Isn't that kind of the whole point of this thread- to say whether Games hold up in comparison with other mediums?


Games have a level of interactivity that other arts don't.
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Re: Video Games as Art: Yes? No? Maybe?

Postby CeeBeeUK on Tue Feb 24, 2009 10:03 am

Ignoring, for now, the list of recent games that could be considered Art. This thread is titled, "Video Games as Art: Yes? No? Maybe?". Wikipedia, that paragon of definitions(!), says that art is
Wikipedia wrote:the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions. It encompasses a diverse range of human activities, creations, and modes of expression, including music and literature. The meaning of art is explored in a branch of philosophy known as Aesthetics.


So, yes, Computer games are art. A process of deliberately placing elements has taken place in an attempt to appeal. Those pixels/polygons sure do look purty when arranged like that ;)

As to those games listed? As with any 'Art', it will be subjective. While Papa might want to see Elite on there, I would rather see examples from the 80's demo scene.

This guys could create animation and music using ridiculously memory constraints that would make your average modern mobile laugh in derision.

Granted, (before papa shouts at me!) Elite was cramming entire galaxies into even smaller memory arrays, plus trading, races etc. But it was done as a commercial enterprise.

Demos were coded for love and the sense of achievement, and in hope of gainful employment!

Take GTA4, it contains a breathtaking city and moments that rival film for their story telling ability, but it takes the computing power of 57,000,000* Apollo 13 control rooms to run it. More if you are trying to run it on PC!

* This figure is estimated and exagerated for comic effect!
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Re: Video Games as Art: Yes? No? Maybe?

Postby Pacino86845 on Tue Feb 24, 2009 11:37 am

@papa, although your gusto and knowledge are both really impressive, I'm not sure you can use the "historical" angle too much in naming games that qualify as art... just because a game broke ground doesn't mean that a similar game released years later wouldn't have MORE artistic merit... analogously to the world of painting, that'd be akin to saying that all painting is a rip off of cave paintings... or why not just say that all video games came from Pong and Space Invaders? Even during the Renaissance artists frequently copied each other's styles and techniques, the masters emerged 'cause they had the maddest skillz and the best hook-ups (contract to paint the Sistine Chapel? That's like having the chance to direct the Lord of the Rings trilogy, yo!).

EDIT:

papalazeru wrote:Games have a level of interactivity that other arts don't.


To me this is where the finishing blow is dealt, in favor of accepting video games as art... I've seen several modern art installations that emphasize sensory involvement from the viewer as well as interactivity with electronic media.
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Re: Video Games as Art: Yes? No? Maybe?

Postby Al Shut on Tue Feb 24, 2009 2:34 pm

I don't quite understand how one can disagree with that list while at the same time talking abot some completely different. It's hard to judge a list when your looking at the games from a different angle than the author.

I would file a lot of the stuff papa is talking about, playability, gameplay, innovation, under craft rather than art, Goldeneye beeing a prime example.


And from my limited understanding of what the guy with the list is actually talking about Psychonauts is a game that belongs there.
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