Spielberg and Lucas agree that games are not art

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George, George, George of the Jungle

While the quality of output from Steven Spielberg (recently) and George Lucas (always) has been hotly debated what cannot be ignored is the size of their bank accounts – and the power they have over the industry and the mainstream movie goer.

So when they team up to deride gaming together we need to sit up and take notice, and that is what has just happened recently at the Independent Film Festival. Most of the panel was understandably taken up by talk around films but at some point the pair were asked whether or not they believed gaming could be considered an art.

Spielberg’s answer in particular hits home for me when he said that gaming as a medium are not able to create empathy with the characters on screen like you can in a movie. In particular

“The second you get the controller something turns off in the heart, and it becomes a sport”

I’d agree with him for most games but I can’t say I’ve been more empathetic to any movie character as I was for the main character in Braid. Some of you will say The Last of Us or Bioshock or maybe even Chell from Portal. What matters here is that a lot of gamers have felt real empathy towards a video character and while I seriously doubt anyone has felt empathy for Gerrard in FIFA 13 or Ghost in Call of Duty it doesn’t take away from what the medium can offer.

I think what it does show is that these two titans of entertainment are far removed from the video game industry and in all honesty that isn’t such a bad thing. No one expects them to be leaders in every field of entertainment; they also believe painting, sculpture and music are second rate art mediums. So yeah I think they are biased.

Looking forward however they are not as closed minded – with George Lucas expecting us to be able to opt for brain implants in the next 10-15 years that will allow us to control our dreams and pre-load experiences before hand. He doesn’t believe it will take away the need for story tellers but then again I think he’s ignoring the fact that 99% of people will simply stick their lust crush in the dream with little clothing and see what happens.

What do you think though, is gaming a valid art form and would you be interested in controllable dreams?

Last Updated: July 22, 2013

Gavin Mannion

I for one welcome our future robotic overlords

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