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Are video games a mature art form?

Physiocrat

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If you watch films from before from 1940 they are rather technically limited however by the 1940s they are very similar in form to today's films, Citizen Kane is an excellent example.

Obviously there have been developments particularly in action sequences since then but the fundamentals of film making are the same.

The question is have video games reached this stage yet, or could they ever?

What originally make me think about this topic was playing Zelda Ocarina of Time after playing Twlight Princess. The latter is averagely rated whereas the former is a classic, yet in comparison Ocarina of Time is technically limited relative to Twlight Princess especially in regards variety of gameplay.

Now Ocarina deserves a place in history for being path breaking but doesn't stand up to modern games like Citizen Kane does to say Mulholland Drive.

The relative lack if technical accomplishment was also evident in my reply of the Witcher trilogy. The original is clunky. That said the second stands up very well especially with HD texture mods.

So are there any technical breakthroughs that might come in the future or are games from the recent past going to be the template going forward?
 
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I don’t think it is related to the timeline of any of those two mediums.

Films have been made for more than 100 of years and you still have a nonsensical stuff like “Fast and Furious”. Same with games where you have a complex mature content next to infantile joy like Mario
 

Captain Toad

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I don’t think it is related to the timeline of any of those two mediums.

Films have been made for more than 100 of years and you still have a nonsensical stuff like “Fast and Furious”. Same with games where you have a complex mature content next to infantile joy like Mario
Mario is as much art as anything. Miyamoto is Picasso.
 

AndrewRyan

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I feel like the ultimate gaming experience will be when your brain is wired in directly so you'll feel with all your senses, so we're a long ways away. :) Currently we see evolution happening all the time. The grab system in Half Life Alex. The new trigger system in Returnal. The presentation and story branching in games like Become Human. The good ideas live on to play another day.
 

Physiocrat

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Mature meaning stagnant? We're getting close to the plateau or we just reached it now.

I mean in that the language of games, basic grammar as to how they are created, is essentially the same. In the same way films from the 40s onwards are all (with obvious exceptions of avant garde experimentation) are formally very similar. This doesn't mean quality has stayed the same or can't be improved in certain ways but the essentially elements that make the video game the video game remains broadly the same.

Another example of a mature form, would be board games. There are lots of new good games out but they all pretty much of a basic, standard style and games made 20 years ago can be equally as good as games made today which is not true of video games
 
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Con-Z-epT

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I feel like the ultimate gaming experience will be when your brain is wired in directly so you'll feel with all your senses, so we're a long ways away.
Maybe i'm a bit optimistic here but i'm sure we will have that in 50 years from now on. Sounds weird i know but i believe that. It is not a short timespan so maybe you were right all along.
 
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Physiocrat

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Films "matured" because technology got better?

Yes, but the major changes had happened by the 1940s. They are essentially the same into the essentials since unless you want a massive action set piece. My question is, have video games reached that point yet?

I would also say though it wasn't just technology but a way of differentiating film as a medium relative to theatre. Metropolis from 1927 (IIRC) is very theatrical in the acting style
 

wewlad

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There are some games telling better stories than most popular cinema these days. I think I've only cared for a character and their story among the formats of video games and TV recently.

It's bitterly ironic for me to say that many AAA games are more believable than films these days.
 

Javthusiast

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Some games are, some films are, some books are. Yes.
Reaction GIF by MOODMAN
 

EverydayBeast

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Call of Duty on art paper would be weird, just guys blowing each other up and would be shut down today. Somebody has to find mature art examples that aren’t video games.
 

BlackTron

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I think from reading the OP that it's clear that he meant "mature" in that gaming advances had "matured" to the point that the essential elements that make up a game are no longer progressing (or, very slowly/marginally).

He didn't mean "mature" as in having complex stories or adult content. But these two meanings are being conflated and treated like the same thing. C'mon guys we're confusing each other now!

To answer the question though, I think we have been there since GC/PS2/Xbox days. Fundamentally games are really similar as they were back then. I think progress since then has been slow, and will continue to be slow. Due to the interactivity of games, it was a prime target for the loot box type stuff. That unfortunately has been the natural evolution of games. The medium will take a different path from say movies or books for such reasons. From a tech standpoint, the canvas from which the games are made has not changed too much since back then, it's really all about what game they decide to make with it.
 
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Elysion

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If you watch films from before from 1940 they are rather technically limited however by the 1940s they are very similar in form to today's films, Citizen Kane is an excellent example.

Film as a medium existed since the 1890s (the first commercial movie screening took place in 1895), so by the 40s films had already been around for roughly 50 years. Interestingly, that is also more or less the amount of time that videogames have been around by now. If the comparison stays true, then that would mean that games are only now entering maturity. This makes sense, especially considering that we‘re finally starting to get proper VR, which has always been the holy grail of gaming (the film equivalent would probably be color film, which also first appeared around the 50 year mark in the 30s and 40s.
 
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HAL-01

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Art and film being mature doesn’t mean that they’re completely unrestrained from their medium. Videogames matured the moment they stopped being mindless fun and became a solid medium to communicate ideas and feelings. Their technological advancement simply expanded the range and complexity of art that could be made with it
 
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01011001

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games aren't an art form to begin with.

if Fifa is art, then me taking a shit in the forest is art as well.

so a blanket statement like "video games are art" is something I would completely disagree with

HOWEVER, some games can have elements in them that could be considered to be a form of art.
the music for example of course, the story or the (aptly titled) art design.

the Video Game itself acts like a vessel for the art it has within itself.
like an art Museum... the rooms themselves aren't art but what's in the rooms so to speak.

and last but not least, there are actually video games that I would say are art themselves, not just the parts but the whole. Tetris Effect for example, at least the singleplayer mode, I would consider to be art. same with REZ and Child of Eden.
even Katamari Damacy could be considered art.

but that's about it. imo, games that are art in and of themselves are games where the actual gameplay is an artistic experience... games with elaborate cutscene but bog standard shooty shoot gameplay ala The Last of Us, I wouldn't count whatsoever.

I would even say games like that are by far the worst when it comes to that, because they clearly don't embrace the possibilities of the medium and more so steal what movies do and just sprinkle gameplay in-between the movie bits.

games that want to be taken seriously as an art form should not ever try to copy what movies are doing and should try to actually use the gameplay and interactivity to express that... and I'm not talking about dramatic slow walking sequences either, that's not gameplay, that's holding down a broken play button on an old VCR
 
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TheInfamousKira

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I guess a lot of that is determined by what you're classifying "maturity," as. Technologically, we're getting to the point of diminishing returns in the short term. Most advancements in the industry this gen are going to be ones of performance, making the car run better rather than being sleeker. We've reached the point where higher end studios can achieve visuals dipping into Uncanny Valley.

If you mean from a storytelling perspective, it's a mixed bag. I'd say we're just getting out of the stone age as far as narratives that are more nuanced than set dressing to link levels together. Spec Ops: The Line, The Last of Us, a choice few RPG's -these tell stories that are worth hearing. But I think to fully spread it's wings as a medium, the storytelling needs to be baked into the gameplay better. That's really what makes it unique compared to a movie, book or audio drama. The interactivity.
 
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games aren't an art form to begin with.

if Fifa is art, then me taking a shit in the forest is art as well.

so a blanket statement like "video games are art" is something I would completely disagree with

HOWEVER, some games can have elements in them that could be considered to be a form of art.
the music for example of course, the story or the (aptly titled) art design.

the Video Game itself acts like a vessel for the art it has within itself.
like an art Museum... the rooms themselves aren't art but what's in the rooms so to speak.

and last but not least, there are actually video games that I would say are art themselves, not just the parts but the whole. Tetris Effect for example, at least the singleplayer mode, I would consider to be art. same with REZ and Child of Eden.
even Katamari Damacy could be considered art.

but that's about it. imo, games that are art in and of themselves are games where the actual gameplay is an artistic experience... games with elaborate cutscene but bog standard shooty shoot gameplay ala The Last of Us, I wouldn't count whatsoever.

I would even say games like that are by far the worst when it comes to that, because they clearly don't embrace the possibilities of the medium and more so steal what movies do and just sprinkle gameplay in-between the movie bits.

games that want to be taken seriously as an art form should not ever try to copy what movies are doing and should try to actually use the gameplay and interactivity to express that... and I'm not talking about dramatic slow walking sequences either, that's not gameplay, that's holding down a broken play button on an old VCR


the force awakens GIF by Star Wars
 

killatopak

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Not all of them.

Some can and some can’t simply because of technology.

A painter for example, can simply paint whatever he wants on a canvas. The only limit is his imagination.

The same can’t be said for games. There are limitations that are still present. You can’t just do whatever you think of.

Film on the other hand also came with limitations back then but has now found a way though CGI to push through that limit.
 

bender

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David Cage elevated the medium to an art form. It's too bad no one else can manage to reach the heights of his masterworks.
 
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With the introduction of Vtubers and hot bath streamers it has surpassed the worthless conception of the word "art"

but seriously, I think it is. Lots of games out there that inspire people or make them feel better, that's enough for me.
 

Nico_D

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If you think it is, I guess it is. What else matters? That some gatekeepers declare it as such?

Personally I don't think art has much to do with how something is technically - though certainly it has a lot to do with whether drama works or not - but what it is saying and how it is saying it.
 

Danjin44

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To me they are, same other media are like movies, not all games meant to be “mature” same way not all movies meant for “mature” audience.

But in most people eyes who are not in gaming will never see as “mature” because to them entire act of playing video games is “childish”.
 
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GeekyDad

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They're "games," remember?

Nothing wrong with mature art. Nothing wrong with games. But they're different things, I think. Maybe what you should be asking is whether or not some of these products are being sold in the wrong retail sections of a store.
 

LordBlodgett

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Of course they are. You have games that run far longer than movies or even entire seasons of TV shows, and many tell great stories. I have been moved by some games to tears (The first TLOU, RDR 2), I have laughed my ass off (Yakuza side quests for the win), I have felt mysel feeling upset over choices I made that led to poor consequences. The world of gaming can be dumb, or mind numbing, hell it can even be a grind that feels like work, but the great thing is that it can evoke strong feelings and tell us a story as well as any other art form
 
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Zeroing

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To answer your question, I, who is in art, can tell you that games are the most complete medium - image, motion, sound and input.

I think games are certainly maturing as there’s more diversity.

The question is are the gamers mature enough to cope with everything a game can portrait/emulate/represent ?
Joking 🙃
 

Shai-Tan

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yes, BUT like cinema it's a popular art form. even games that try their hand at more in depth narrative are going to almost always be structured around "verbs" like punching, shooting, crafting, etc.
 
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Mario is as much art as anything. Miyamoto is Picasso.
It is art but for kids. I would not compare it to Picasso, more to something like Peppa Pig.

The OP is asking if games are “Mature form of art”. Mario obviously isn’t. It’s juvenile, cute, light and positive but not mature.
 

Majukun

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no, right now they are stuck being the lil bro of movies that is too preoccupied trying to be its big bro than to be it's own thing, despite the potential of being so much more
 
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EruditeHobo

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Games are probably at best a subgenre or subcategory of an artform... and that probably only applies to certain kinds of games. There are multiple things holding them back from being their own unique art form. To me it's obvious that categorically, they are a combination of art, puzzle, and competition (of sorts), but they have elements that are inextricable, and not only are those things never inherent in any other art form, they are in some ways the antithesis of what it means to be a unique art form...

However, whether or not they qualify as one of the "fine arts" or a unique "art form", and certainly whether or not there are "mature" examples of games... they are without question artistic, creative, ingenious pieces of craftsmanship and design. They are able to elicit a wide range of reaction/emotions from their audience -- joy, terror, wonder, melancholy, triumph -- and I think in the final analysis that's the only thing that matters.

Mario is as much art as anything. Miyamoto is Picasso.

Art is not a quality judgement; Fast and Furious 9 is every bit as much a piece of "art" as The Godfather. Doesn't mean it's good art, but "good" has nothing to do with whether or not something is categorically "art".
 
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no but you'll find some stuck up "directors" or "auteurs" who like to think they are creating art or something special that has a meaningful impact on the world. these hacks will also have their rabid loyal fans who will praise anything they do. you're making a video game for immature people who go on the internet and fight with each other.
 
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