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Are video games a mature art form?

Karonoth

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You can tell most people in this thread did not care to even read the OP. When he says mature he's not talking about movies/games with mature elements, he's talking about the process to create them.

To answer your question OP, I'd say yes, I think videogames moving forward will be made in the same way they are today. The only major changes I can see happening in the future is their monetization. Especially if Gamepass is successful.
 
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Captain Toad

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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.
You should never be allowed to hold a gaming controller again.
 

Clear

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At their best, yeah, I'd definitely say Videogames are now a mature artform. I mean certainly by every technical and artistic measure they are up there with anything, and in terms of creative ambition and ideas they have made massive strides as the tech has become capable of facilitating their expression.
 

BlackTron

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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.

Has this guy even played Mario?

I don't understand how everyone can be so focused only on the individual art forms in the game such as music and images (textures). What makes games unique is the fusion of all these elements put together in a way that blends with real time game play. A painter has the option of choosing paints (red, green, blue etc) and deciding where and how to place them on the canvas. A game director has the option of choosing where and how to place all the different forms of art at his disposal in his game. That alone would make it an art form, but it's elevated even further by the art of designing a real time game whose gameplay feels good as a combination of controls, physics, challenge, gameplay loop, engagement, tension, exploration, I could go on but will stop there.

It's not like a bunch of artists just write bunch of songs, 3D models and textures, and presto game. The act of putting all that together into an actually playable product is an art unto itself. Failing to see this is selling short the talent needed to make a good game. In that way Mario 64 was a more impressive achievement because the game felt incredible to play and they had to make the engine from scratch -unlike today with Unity or UE lol. Fusing all that coding work with the polys, textures, music, sfx, animations, hit detection, into a game that a child can pick up and begin playing and understanding almost immediately...if it was not an art to be damn good at doing that, we would all be doing it.

And that is what this thread is getting at, the maturity of the game making process, not that the game content is rated M vs. a kiddie game type mature.
 

Physiocrat

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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.

Thank you for being able to read unlike many others here.. What do you think changed with the PS2 and Xbox? Full 3D scapes to operate in?
 
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Physiocrat

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Nov 2, 2020
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You can tell most people in this thread did not care to even read the OP. When he says mature he's not talking about movies/games with mature elements, he's talking about the process to create them.

To answer your question OP, I'd say yes, I think videogames moving forward will be made in the same way they are today. The only major changes I can see happening in the future is their monetization. Especially if Gamepass is successful.

What time period would you say games entered maturity?
 
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Has this guy even played Mario?

I don't understand how everyone can be so focused only on the individual art forms in the game such as music and images (textures). What makes games unique is the fusion of all these elements put together in a way that blends with real time game play. A painter has the option of choosing paints (red, green, blue etc) and deciding where and how to place them on the canvas. A game director has the option of choosing where and how to place all the different forms of art at his disposal in his game. That alone would make it an art form, but it's elevated even further by the art of designing a real time game whose gameplay feels good as a combination of controls, physics, challenge, gameplay loop, engagement, tension, exploration, I could go on but will stop there.

It's not like a bunch of artists just write bunch of songs, 3D models and textures, and presto game. The act of putting all that together into an actually playable product is an art unto itself. Failing to see this is selling short the talent needed to make a good game. In that way Mario 64 was a more impressive achievement because the game felt incredible to play and they had to make the engine from scratch -unlike today with Unity or UE lol. Fusing all that coding work with the polys, textures, music, sfx, animations, hit detection, into a game that a child can pick up and begin playing and understanding almost immediately...if it was not an art to be damn good at doing that, we would all be doing it.

And that is what this thread is getting at, the maturity of the game making process, not that the game content is rated M vs. a ki
Has this guy even played Mario?

I don't understand how everyone can be so focused only on the individual art forms in the game such as music and images (textures). What makes games unique is the fusion of all these elements put together in a way that blends with real time game play. A painter has the option of choosing paints (red, green, blue etc) and deciding where and how to place them on the canvas. A game director has the option of choosing where and how to place all the different forms of art at his disposal in his game. That alone would make it an art form, but it's elevated even further by the art of designing a real time game whose gameplay feels good as a combination of controls, physics, challenge, gameplay loop, engagement, tension, exploration, I could go on but will stop there.

It's not like a bunch of artists just write bunch of songs, 3D models and textures, and presto game. The act of putting all that together into an actually playable product is an art unto itself. Failing to see this is selling short the talent needed to make a good game. In that way Mario 64 was a more impressive achievement because the game felt incredible to play and they had to make the engine from scratch -unlike today with Unity or UE lol. Fusing all that coding work with the polys, textures, music, sfx, animations, hit detection, into a game that a child can pick up and begin playing and understanding almost immediately...if it was not an art to be damn good at doing that, we would all be doing it.

And that is what this thread is getting at, the maturity of the game making process, not that the game content is rated M vs. a kiddie game type mature.
I did play Mario 3D Worol
Has this guy even played Mario?

I don't understand how everyone can be so focused only on the individual art forms in the game such as music and images (textures). What makes games unique is the fusion of all these elements put together in a way that blends with real time game play. A painter has the option of choosing paints (red, green, blue etc) and deciding where and how to place them on the canvas. A game director has the option of choosing where and how to place all the different forms of art at his disposal in his game. That alone would make it an art form, but it's elevated even further by the art of designing a real time game whose gameplay feels good as a combination of controls, physics, challenge, gameplay loop, engagement, tension, exploration, I could go on but will stop there.

It's not like a bunch of artists just write bunch of songs, 3D models and textures, and presto game. The act of putting all that together into an actually playable product is an art unto itself. Failing to see this is selling short the talent needed to make a good game. In that way Mario 64 was a more impressive achievement because the game felt incredible to play and they had to make the engine from scratch -unlike today with Unity or UE lol. Fusing all that coding work with the polys, textures, music, sfx, animations, hit detection, into a game that a child can pick up and begin playing and understanding almost immediately...if it was not an art to be damn good at doing that, we would all be doing it.

And that is what this thread is getting at, the maturity of the game making process, not that the game content is rated M vs. a kiddie game type mature.
I played Mario Odyssey and 3D World.

Fair comment around “maturity of the process” and technology. Let’s face it though you still have films made with simple methods or small indie games. This doesn’t prevent them from being “mature art”. I would still insist that a dumb film with special effects like “Fast and Furious” has nothing to do with mature art…
 
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BlackTron

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Thank you for being able to read. What do you think changed with the PS2 and Xbox? Full 3D scapes to operate in?

Well the gen before had 3D. Similar to how we had 2D with NES but then SNES/Genesis increased exponentially how expressive they could be in a 2D game. N64/PS1 set up the basics of moving around in a 3D space with a control stick in a controller and we're still doing it, but their successors blew away what you could do with it and erased a lot of limitations. To me this really happened in 99 with Dreamcast when I saw Soul Calibur and Sonic. Since then things haven't changed all that much, we just keep pumping resolution, effects and poly counts but back then it was already "good enough" to get across what they wanted to present.

In a similar way how I think DVD video was a threshold where it was simply good enough for most people. Of course BluRay is far superior, but most ordinary people were satisfied with DVD anyway. It's just yet another incremental upgrade. To me, that's been gaming since Dreamcast.
 
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BlackTron

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I played Mario Odyssey and 3D World.

Fair comment around “maturity of the process” and technology. Let’s face it though you still have films made with simple methods or small indie games. This doesn’t prevent them from being “mature art”. I would still insist that a dumb film with special effects like “Fast and Furious” has nothing to do with mature art…

Look, if I say writing music is an art form, I'm not insisting that every song ever made is mature fine art. If we say that games are an art form, we don't need to go out of our way to point out how some games are hardly art. No kidding! There is trash in every medium. It's obvious.

And again, you are conflating two different meanings of the word mature. Your example of the dumb content of a film like F&F has nothing to do with the meaning of mature being discussed from OP. Think of it more like aging wine. Has it yet "matured" to the point it can't improve further? Or does it yet have space to "mature"? That's the context we mean of the "maturing" of the game making process. It had definitely changed HUGELY between SNES to N64. And then another big jump, albiet smaller, from 64/PS1 to GC/PS2. Since then, I say the wine has been aging slowly :pie_thinking:
 
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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".
Exactly, just because something isn't "high art" doesn't mean it's not art.

Art is essentially a pipe for people's imagination, creativity, and expression.
Art doesn't need to be anything, because the person behind makes it something.
Any human being doing creative work can be an artist.
 

MHubert

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The direct answer to OP's quetion is:

Video games hasn't even established itself as an artform (yet?).
This becomes especially obvious when most of this discussion is about comparing games to movies, books, paintings and music - all of which are their own art forms.
Trying to prove that video games are art by pointing out how it can mimic other art forms prove the opposite

So maybe - to get this discussion moving somewhere - some one can tell what constitutes videogames as an artform, let alone a mature one?
 
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Karonoth

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What time period would you say games entered maturity?
Hard to say because I don't work in the video games industry, but if you look at this talk from Mark Cerny for example:
A lot of what he says there is still the way games are made today (vertical slice, clear definition of what pre-production is for, etc), which to me indicates this way of making games is the most effective.
 
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So maybe - to get this discussion moving somewhere - some one can tell what constitutes videogames as an artform, let alone a mature one?
The main difference between gaming and audiovisual or visual forms of art such as paintings, music, movies, and so on, is that games can trigger emotions in a completely different way:

  • the loneliness in Shadow of Colossus
  • the guilt in Silent Hill 2
  • the harmony in Harvest Moon
  • the drama in Soul Reaver
  • the sinister madness of MadWorld


Games offer you interaction. It opens up a new layer of telling narratives and a new kind of seeing/hearing/feeling and experiencing the artist's vision.

Some games are more on the "game-y" side of things (I mean... duh!?). The best games, however, find a way of combining audiovisual art with gameplay that is meaningful. Ideally, games should have a narrative, have good music, have an identity, an effect, and should look good, but on top of all, they also should have gameplay that is connecting everything together.

Does that mean that games that basically have no meaningful narrative at all and are very gameplay-centric shouldn't be considered art?
No, not at all.
A game doesn't need to be anything other than enjoyable to be good. It's the most important aspect of a game. Fun leads to happiness. An emotion. So there is nothing wrong with that.

I think there is more to games than just "fun gameplay", but the gameplay is still very important. Enjoyment comes in different forms and "gameplay" can be also used to
to tell you a narrative. There are games that use gameplay in clever ways to create a scenery: Some games are very subtle about it. Some games are more centered around visuals. Some offer you specter.

Should sports games or racing games be considered art? Yes.
Now, something like Madden or Grand Turismo obviously isn't gonna try to fool you into thinking that it's anything other than a racing sim and sports sim. There isn't some "artsy" stuff in there, some deep narrative, etc.
but, you know, Gran Turismo is used by real-life racer drivers, and art is very often based on real life. Not every piece of art is abstract.
On the other hand, I can race a boat in Forza Horizon, or drive a shark in Cruis'n Blast, something I'd definitely consider imaginative.
 

Thirty7ven

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Not at all, only now do we have a young generation being raised in a world where it has become normal for the parents to play videogames.
 
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brian0057

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Exactly, just because something isn't "high art" doesn't mean it's not art.

Art is essentially a pipe for people's imagination, creativity, and expression.
Art doesn't need to be anything, because the person behind makes it something.
Any human being doing creative work can be an artist.
See? This right here is my problem with the concept of "art". If anything and everything can be art then, what's the point of calling art in the first place?
The term has no meaning or weight if everything under the yellow sun can attain what in my opinion should be an exclusive term.

For me, when you refer to something as "art", you're describing something of such quality and value that it can't be considered anything but art.
"Art" should denote creative creations of unbridled brilliance that they can't be mistaken for anything else.

And more importantly, what you consider "art" won't necessarily be the same as someone else's definition of "art". But we can't just be throwing around the term willy nilly and devaluing its significance just because some assholes paid millions for a banana taped to a wall.

I refuse to believe that everything can or should be art. Unironically, there's an objective qualitative difference between any creative endeavor. And the poorer the quality, the less it deserves the exclusive title of "Art".
 
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When gamey crap like God of War wins most of the awards against true art like Red Dead Redemption 2, i'm not sure.
the dude your opinion GIF
 

Haggard

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If a pile of garbage or a single line on a canvas can nowadays officially be called "art", then videogames can easily be put in that category, too
 

BigBooper

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Only if you eat caviar while stomping on the mushrooms. People are so hung up on this art stuff. Is it because you're just insecure about playing games? You want to tell people that you play art instead?
 

MadPanda

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I'm honestly sick of this games are/could be art discussion. I view games as a form of entertainment and if a game isn't entertaining, I don't have any interest in it. I don't care whether boomers approve my hobby or not. I feel like this talk comes from insecurities of some people. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's how I feel. I wish people would spend more time playing games and less time fighting some internet wars.
 

BlackTron

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Only if you eat caviar while stomping on the mushrooms. People are so hung up on this art stuff. Is it because you're just insecure about playing games? You want to tell people that you play art instead?

I don't think OP's intent was to convince anyone that games are art; I think it was just taken for granted that we all agree it's an art form, and he was asking our thoughts on how mature an art form it is.

Again, not mature as in being more adult. Mature as in the game making process having matured over time. He used the example that film hasn't been that fundamentally different since the 40s -the point at which you might argue film had mostly matured as an art form. Have we reached that point in gaming yet? Would be great if more people could focus on the intended discussion than get dragged into yet another kiddy vs mature game deconstruction which has been discussed ad nauseum for millenia.
 
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See? This right here is my problem with the concept of "art". If anything and everything can be art then, what's the point of calling art in the first place?
The term has no meaning or weight if everything under the yellow sun can attain what in my opinion should be an exclusive term.

For me, when you refer to something as "art", you're describing something of such quality and value that it can't be considered anything but art.
"Art" should denote creative creations of unbridled brilliance that they can't be mistaken for anything else.

And more importantly, what you consider "art" won't necessarily be the same as someone else's definition of "art". But we can't just be throwing around the term willy nilly and devaluing its significance just because some assholes paid millions for a banana taped to a wall.

I refuse to believe that everything can or should be art. Unironically, there's an objective qualitative difference between any creative endeavor. And the poorer the quality, the less it deserves the exclusive title of "Art".
The thing is that you seem to use art as a way to define quality. Obviously, not every piece of art is thought-provoking or even "good" and I am not asking to put Da Vinci next to and kindergarten drawing and act like they're on the same level, I am just saying that at the exact moment when we put regulations on what art supposed to be and what is allowed to be considered "good art" is the moment we put barriers in front of our imagination. With a clear definition of what is "good art", art will become very streamlined and exchangeable, as everyone has the exact same blueprint of "good art".


This album is perhaps "the worst album ever" compared to what's known about music theory. At the same time, it did some interesting things and could be considered as influential for a lot of very good musicians. Also, it fills every description of "art", even though it's a bad album according to most people's standards.
 
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EruditeHobo

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So maybe - to get this discussion moving somewhere - some one can tell what constitutes videogames as an artform, let alone a mature one?

If any particular single thing would stand as a qualifier, it would be the synergy of the mechanics of gameplay and the intended message of the game, which work in service of one another to communicate and elicit a response from the audience/gamer. That interaction between gameplay & gamer is unique in storytelling/entertainment.

However, there are other limiting factors at play IMO, namely the win/loss element of video games. The first is that no "art form" has a win/loss element that is inherent within the form itself, unlike games. Games are build around gameplay, and that ensures that there will always be an extra layer of function to games/video games -- the win/loss element of gameplay, which drives the challenge and is required by almost anything calling itself a "video game".

In other art forms, there is no inherent function or functionality. There is no inherent function to a painting, or a sculpture, or a film. Lots of people can GIVE those art objects a function... capitalism seems to do a really great job of doing that, and hell if I wanted to buy a Rembrandt to use it as a dinner plate, I could do it and, functionally, it would then serve as my dinner plate... but that function is outside of what defines that painting. It's something I as an external party have done to it, rather that it being ingrained in what the painting is.

The only thing a painting exists to do is to communicate something to an audience through its unique artistic identifier. My Rembrandt dinner plate, it may be used as a dinner plate but all it is is painting on a canvas which conveys a message. And those brushstrokes which come together on that canvas, that technique used in order to express something, that is what defines that painting. Games however -- and this is true of whatever games you're talking about, be it Final Fantasy 6, or chess, or checkers, or pong, or fucking blackjack -- are defined by the rules required to play them, first and foremost. Even if their gameplay is intended to communicate a message, there is always that other win/loss element which is necessarily added on to make games what they are, and that at a bare minimum makes them distinct from unique, overall categorical "art forms" like painting.

And that to me draws a clear dividing line between games and art forms. And that's despite the fact that there is much art that goes into the crafting of games, much creativity and design that goes into defining their rules. Regardless of that, the fact remains that nowhere else in any other unique "art form" is there inherently a way to "fail" the experience of any particular art object within that art form. There's nothing else that has an inherent functionality, something like the win/loss challenge component. It doesn't mean games are "worse" than other art forms... the brilliance of chess and the incredibly deep gameplay & philosophical underpinnings of that game is going to outlive most of the movies ever made, and books ever written. So this isn't a quality judgement in putting down games, just trying to show how they seem to be clearly categorically different.

And in the end, how much does such a distinction (though it seems to clearly exist) even matter? Because the reality of "art" and creativity is that it is not bound in any way to the concept of "art forms", and is not limited from bleeding into just about every other element of our lives. So what does it matter whether games should be officially considered an "art form" when the reality is everyone who knows anything about art already agrees games have within them the capability of being incredibly artistic, creative, and evocative.
 

cireza

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Technically speaking, it has not evolved since the PS360 days. Same games, same world-designs. Only better quality visuals, better framerates, better resolutions.
 

tassletine

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No. For that to happen crew sizes need to shrink and that would need to become the norm.

Like many others, I don't think art made by comittee or large numbers of people works.
The games that qualify the most are usually more expressive visually, and have the distinct taste of one person.
 

NeoIkaruGAF

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I don’t understand the premise here. The concept of art is not tied to technical development - quite the opposite, in fact. I think some early 8-bit video games have more artistic merit to them than some 4K, raytraced vista of New York City you can see on your PS5 today, because they had a vision and managed to convey it with extremely limited means, instead of “just” copying something that exists in real life and that can still be better reproduced with photography and video. Just like a landscape from, say, Paul Cézanne is more artistic than the best photoshop work done to a picture of the same landscape. Yoshi’s Island is “art” to a degree that Uncharted can’t be, no matter how good the tech gets.
 

MHubert

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The main difference between gaming and audiovisual or visual forms of art such as paintings, music, movies, and so on, is that games can trigger emotions in a completely different way:

  • the loneliness in Shadow of Colossus
  • the guilt in Silent Hill 2
  • the harmony in Harvest Moon
  • the drama in Soul Reaver
  • the sinister madness of MadWorld


Games offer you interaction. It opens up a new layer of telling narratives and a new kind of seeing/hearing/feeling and experiencing the artist's vision.

Some games are more on the "game-y" side of things (I mean... duh!?). The best games, however, find a way of combining audiovisual art with gameplay that is meaningful. Ideally, games should have a narrative, have good music, have an identity, an effect, and should look good, but on top of all, they also should have gameplay that is connecting everything together.

Does that mean that games that basically have no meaningful narrative at all and are very gameplay-centric shouldn't be considered art?
No, not at all.
A game doesn't need to be anything other than enjoyable to be good. It's the most important aspect of a game. Fun leads to happiness. An emotion. So there is nothing wrong with that.

I think there is more to games than just "fun gameplay", but the gameplay is still very important. Enjoyment comes in different forms and "gameplay" can be also used to
to tell you a narrative. There are games that use gameplay in clever ways to create a scenery: Some games are very subtle about it. Some games are more centered around visuals. Some offer you specter.

Should sports games or racing games be considered art? Yes.
Now, something like Madden or Grand Turismo obviously isn't gonna try to fool you into thinking that it's anything other than a racing sim and sports sim. There isn't some "artsy" stuff in there, some deep narrative, etc.
but, you know, Gran Turismo is used by real-life racer drivers, and art is very often based on real life. Not every piece of art is abstract.
On the other hand, I can race a boat in Forza Horizon, or drive a shark in Cruis'n Blast, something I'd definitely consider imaginative.

If any particular single thing would stand as a qualifier, it would be the synergy of the mechanics of gameplay and the intended message of the game, which work in service of one another to communicate and elicit a response from the audience/gamer. That interaction between gameplay & gamer is unique in storytelling/entertainment.

However, there are other limiting factors at play IMO, namely the win/loss element of video games. The first is that no "art form" has a win/loss element that is inherent within the form itself, unlike games. Games are build around gameplay, and that ensures that there will always be an extra layer of function to games/video games -- the win/loss element of gameplay, which drives the challenge and is required by almost anything calling itself a "video game".

In other art forms, there is no inherent function or functionality. There is no inherent function to a painting, or a sculpture, or a film. Lots of people can GIVE those art objects a function... capitalism seems to do a really great job of doing that, and hell if I wanted to buy a Rembrandt to use it as a dinner plate, I could do it and, functionally, it would then serve as my dinner plate... but that function is outside of what defines that painting. It's something I as an external party have done to it, rather that it being ingrained in what the painting is.

The only thing a painting exists to do is to communicate something to an audience through its unique artistic identifier. My Rembrandt dinner plate, it may be used as a dinner plate but all it is is painting on a canvas which conveys a message. And those brushstrokes which come together on that canvas, that technique used in order to express something, that is what defines that painting. Games however -- and this is true of whatever games you're talking about, be it Final Fantasy 6, or chess, or checkers, or pong, or fucking blackjack -- are defined by the rules required to play them, first and foremost. Even if their gameplay is intended to communicate a message, there is always that other win/loss element which is necessarily added on to make games what they are, and that at a bare minimum makes them distinct from unique, overall categorical "art forms" like painting.

And that to me draws a clear dividing line between games and art forms. And that's despite the fact that there is much art that goes into the crafting of games, much creativity and design that goes into defining their rules. Regardless of that, the fact remains that nowhere else in any other unique "art form" is there inherently a way to "fail" the experience of any particular art object within that art form. There's nothing else that has an inherent functionality, something like the win/loss challenge component. It doesn't mean games are "worse" than other art forms... the brilliance of chess and the incredibly deep gameplay & philosophical underpinnings of that game is going to outlive most of the movies ever made, and books ever written. So this isn't a quality judgement in putting down games, just trying to show how they seem to be clearly categorically different.

And in the end, how much does such a distinction (though it seems to clearly exist) even matter? Because the reality of "art" and creativity is that it is not bound in any way to the concept of "art forms", and is not limited from bleeding into just about every other element of our lives. So what does it matter whether games should be officially considered an "art form" when the reality is everyone who knows anything about art already agrees games have within them the capability of being incredibly artistic, creative, and evocative.
Thanks for the brilliant replies!

I completely agree with most of your sentiments, and I think both of you make compelling arguements for the unique qualities and potential that video games possesses as an art form. I think we are currently only scratching the surface of this potential, since most (big) games today seem to rely on doubling down on artistic merits that are inherent to other media.

To that end, I would personally argue that games like The Witness and the souls-like games are signs of the medium maturing as an art form:

- The Witness makes the player interact with its world by creating a language between the inner world of the player and the game world, defined by meticious progression that makes the player feel being on a journey through layers of personal epiphany. The way that the game somehow manages to fuse the 'game-world' and 'player world' into a single experience, or narrative, is honestly quite mind blowing when you think about it, and no other medium is capable of doing this.

- I think most of us will agree that the -From games scratches an itch that few other games really manages to scratch. Why exactly? Action RPG's are nothing new, rogue-likes are abundant and the games didn't exactly invent the metroidvania style level design.
Because everything, from the world design to the core systems, fits and speak together, and because of this, it speaks to the player in a manner that is not possible on other media.

E EruditeHobo you make a distinction between an objects essence and its utility, which I think is a quite clever way of looking at it. I would like to add, that whether or not this essence is communicated or even appreciated, relies heavily on how the object is positioned in time and space. Would the Souls games have had the impact they had were it not for the satuated dude-bro shooter era at the end of the 7th console generation? Who knows.. But it always seems that when a medium evolves artistically, it is a synthesis of craft (skills, technology) + time & space, which essentially means, that even though the artistic qualities of video games are aided or progressed by new technology, technology alone cannot define the inherent artistic qualitites/potential of the medium.
 
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EruditeHobo

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E EruditeHobo you make a distinction between an objects essence and its utility, which I think is a quite clever way of looking at it. I would like to add, that whether or not this essence is communicated or even appreciated, relies heavily on how the object is positioned in time and space. Would the Souls games have had the impact they had were it not for the satuated dude-bro shooter era at the end of the 7th console generation? Who knows.. But it always seems that when a medium evolves artistically, it is a synthesis of craft (skills, technology) + time & space, which essentially means, that even though the artistic qualities of video games are aided or progressed by new technology, technology alone cannot define the inherent artistic qualitites/potential of the medium.

I definitely agree with you here, especially in terms of a medium which is so heavily reliant on technology -- advances in tech will almost necessarily lead to creative use of those advances, when it comes to the artistic side of things. That's what artists and artistic people do, they use the tools around them to push forward the medium however possible. And even though my overall argument is that games seem (at least to me) definitively distinct from "art forms" as an overall category, what is much more important and relevant is that there is undeniably a huge amount of creativity and artistry required to make video games, and the best/most artistic video games make a huge impact with their audience specifically because of that investment on the part of the creators.
 
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EruditeHobo

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I don’t understand the premise here. The concept of art is not tied to technical development - quite the opposite, in fact. I think some early 8-bit video games have more artistic merit to them than some 4K, raytraced vista of New York City you can see on your PS5 today, because they had a vision and managed to convey it with extremely limited means, instead of “just” copying something that exists in real life and that can still be better reproduced with photography and video. Just like a landscape from, say, Paul Cézanne is more artistic than the best photoshop work done to a picture of the same landscape. Yoshi’s Island is “art” to a degree that Uncharted can’t be, no matter how good the tech gets.

What I think is your overall point is well-taken, which seems to be that technological advancements don't necessarily increase the artistic quality (or appreciation) of an object, even one part of a medium whic his heavily reliant on technology. But your last comment is interesting, and where we land on this will depend on what you mean by saying "X is art to a degree that Y can't be".

Cezanne is "better" than a lot of people who use photoshop to create "art", yes. No doubt. However a Cezanne painting and a photoshopped/digital render of a city street or whatever... those are undoubtedly in the same category, and are both "art". They are both belonging to a specific "art form" (or perhaps the PS image is a sub-category of that art form, but still) and if one is art, they are both art. "Art" is not a quality judgement. It's the same with The Godfather & M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening, or Zeppelin's Kashmir & Rebecca Black's Friday; they are all art. Some of it sucks, some of it is incredible, but it's all art... there's nothing else for this to "be". I'm not convinced games are their own art form, but if I was then that necessarily means Yoshi's Island and Uncharted are both "art". How could they not be? If video games are an art form, all video games are part of that. That's by definition.

Now, you appreciate Yoshi's Island much more than Uncharted, and that's fine. In fact I'd probably agree with you. You could probably make a really great case why you think that way based on the two games, and that would be interesting to read. But that doesn't mean one is not as much art as the other one, depending on what you mean by that.

If you just mean "this one (Yoshi's Island) is a more impressive artistic accomplishment", then fair play to you.
 
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NeoIkaruGAF

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What I think is your overall point is well-taken, which seems to be that technological advancements don't necessarily increase the artistic quality (or appreciation) of an object, even one part of a medium whic his heavily reliant on technology. But your last comment is interesting, and where we land on this will depend on what you mean by saying "X is art to a degree that Y can't be".

Cezanne is "better" than a lot of people who use photoshop to create "art", yes. No doubt. However a Cezanne painting and a photoshopped/digital render of a city street or whatever... those are undoubtedly in the same category, and are both "art". They are both belonging to a specific "art form" (or perhaps the PS image is a sub-category of that art form, but still) and if one is art, they are both art. "Art" is not a quality judgement. It's the same with The Godfather & M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening, or Zeppelin's Kashmir & Rebecca Black's Friday; they are all art. Some of it sucks, some of it is incredible, but it's all art... there's nothing else for this to "be". I'm not convinced games are their own art form, but if I was then that necessarily means Yoshi's Island and Uncharted are both "art". How could they not be? If video games are an art form, all video games are part of that. That's by definition.

Now, you appreciate Yoshi's Island much more than Uncharted, and that's fine. In fact I'd probably agree with you. You could probably make a really great case why you think that way based on the two games, and that would be interesting to read. But that doesn't mean one is not as much art as the other one, depending on what you mean by that.

If you just mean "this one (Yoshi's Island) is a more impressive artistic accomplishment", then fair play to you.
Good point. I don’t know if I’m up to the discussion, but I’ll try to explain.

A style like Yoshi’s Island’s has a vision and an intent behind it. There’s clearly been a study behind it. The designers at Nintendo must have gone through some interesting brainstorming and experimenting phase before settling for that style. And it made such an impression, that 1) Yoshi games have always strived for a distinctive artstyle ever since, 2) people still compare the graphics in every new Yoshi game to YI’s and find them lacking somehow compared to the original game.

Now something like Uncharted, of course there’s a high level of artistic craftsmanship behind its graphics. But the premise and intent are clearly different. The premise of Uncharted is to make the graphics as realistic as possible, given the available tech. Of course there’s a lot of study behind that, but it’s clear that most of what you see in the game is based on something that exists in reality. Remember that famous gif of Drake smirking that went around when Uncharted 4 was in the works? That’s the whole intent of the game’s graphics, right there: getting as lifelike as possible. The statement here, isn’t to create something unique - it’s to show how far the tech allows us to get in the field of photorealism in video games. I guess not many people looked at Yoshi‘s Island and thought about what that game!s achievements are when you consider the hardware it runs on - those graphics don’t make you wonder about the underlying tech. But with something like Uncharted, even the layman can’t help but immediately think “wow, video games got this far?”.

Just like a photograph by itself isn’t art - otherwise, I’d be an artist! - reproducing lifelike vistas and facial animations in a video game doesn’t necessarily hold artistic merits. When I take a picture with a phone or camera, it’s because what I see has a special meaning to me; yet, more often than not, I fail to capture that meaning on the picture, and nobody else will see in the picture what I saw in real life. That’s the intent behind the art. And that’s why I don’t think that just going for the most accomplished representation of reality in a video game is, by itself, art.
 
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