Video Games As Art?

6 Dec

In my last “Week-in-Review” post I mentioned the current discussion about the question if video games are art (sparked by Roger Ebert here). The opinions are wide and varied, as it is to be expected with such a question, and there are some interesting points made.

My own thoughts are pretty rambling (what’s new?) but I think two important questions are:

How do you define art?
My point here is, to get somewhere with such a discussion you need a common base from where to start, in this case a definition of art all participants agree with more or less.

How are video games as a medium able to realize this definition of art?
My point here is, that you can’t just apply what makes the medium book or the medium movie art to the medium video game (and then find the medium video game lacking because it can’t realize art the same way and it therefore can’t be art.) The medium video game has its own unique combination of elements, that define it as a medium. Some of these elements are also relevant for books or movies, but there are also some elements which make video games a medium in its own right because they are not shared with other media. The way these elements are combined in a specific video game makes or breaks this video game’s art.

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