Home Gaming The Games as Art Debate – Is it Over?

The Games as Art Debate – Is it Over?

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There’s been a much debate, between erudite intellectual types as to the merits of video games as a form of art. Roger Ebert, famously, sits as the most vociferous opponent to the medium being considered high art. It’s something that could be debated endlessly and tirelessly from both sides.

Tate Britain, the National Gallery of British Art, may have put an end to the debate – as they’ll be hosting an event to showcase the finer side of gaming this Friday, March 5.

They’ll be showcasing videogame, low-tech parlour games as well as other interactive experiences. some of the games they’ll be displaying are Chime, Rez HD, Samurai Shodown Sen (Wha…? Why?), Flower, Heavy Rain and…um..DJ Hero

It may surprise you to know that I side with Ebert on this. Art is created by the artist – to stir up emotion or provoke thought, trying lead you to an inevitable conclusion, as envisioned by the artist. Introduce interactivity, malleability in the narrative that’s no longer really possible. Art is created by an artist. If you change it, you become the artist – and the art lies in the playing. The game is no longer the art.

Of course I don’t mean to detract from videogames or the people that make them – Gaming is arguably my favourite entertainment medium and while videogames involve lots of art, employing artists and designers, the games themselves are not representative of high art.

I know what I like, but is it art?

Last Updated: March 2, 2010


  1. SenatorTod_ZA

    March 2, 2010 at 16:39

    “Art is created by the artist – to stir up emotion or provoke thought, trying lead you to an inevitable conclusion”

    I think there are definitely games out there that stir up emotions and provoke thoughts. Games always give you a close frame within you can act and sometimes the interaction contributes to your emotions (and sometimes scares the sh*t out of you). Within other areas of arts the artist might have a specific emotion or message he wants to transfer – but different people will still feel different about it.

    So yeah… I think specific games are art.


  2. Tose

    March 2, 2010 at 16:47

    I’m going with the dictionary definition of art: The production of something extraordinary or beautiful. Video games definitely fit the description. Since when does art require an inevitable conclusion? The best art is open end, with multiple interpritations.


  3. ...Squirrel

    March 2, 2010 at 21:57

    i know what i like, half life episode three, and yes my friends, episode three will be , art 😉


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