Italian Organization Promotes and Defends Games As Art

John Funk

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Dec 20, 2005
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Italian Organization Promotes and Defends Games As Art

Roger Ebert may not think games are art, but the Rome-based Association of Interactive Multimedia Works (AIOMI) disagrees - as seen in a commercial crossing Duck Hunt with the Mona Lisa.


Even as gaming becomes more and more mainstream, it still faces opposition from many who don't game - like famous film critic Roger Ebert, who emphazised his opinion that games could never be art [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/100062-Ebert-Re-Emphasizes-That-Games-Will-Never-Be-Art]. While some gamers might do our hobby a disservice by responding to these critics with threats and anger - way to prove their point, guys - others seek to engage these critics with a more polite, reasoned approach: "No, you're wrong."

One such organization is the Associazione Italiana Opere Multimediali Interattive (AIOMI) [http://www.aiomi.it/web/] - or Association of Interactive Multimedia Works - an Italian group founded in 2008 and based in Rome. At the core of AIOMI is the term "conscious gamer," created by the group's president Marco Accordi Rickards and defined as "one who makes use passionate, intelligent and informed of the videogame medium.... knows that the game is not only a form of entertainment, but also a means of artistic expression of thought, able to convey messages, ideas and emotions."

The "conscious gamer" isn't a casual gamer or hardcore gamer, but someone who understands the history and culture surrounding games, and is interested in their development as an art form.

AIOMI also makes really snazzy advertisements, like the one seen here. I mean, they are Italian. Those guys practically invented art! Are you really gonna argue with them, Ebert?

(Via Gamepolitics [http://gamepolitics.com/2010/04/20/italian-org-promotes-and-defends-games])

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John Funk

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Dec 20, 2005
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While I applaud the effort by AIOMI, I have a feeling it's a wasted one. The common slob is not going to listen to them, because they probably don't know they exist or couldn't care less if they did. But they will listen to Roger Ebert, because "ZOMG! He's Famous!"

Ebert is welcome to think whatever he likes. I, personally, think he's a very knowledgeable man when it comes to his to field of expertise. But when he tries to cross over his opinions into gaming, he comes off as a pretentious snob. Which probably only makes him more credible to the masses, since we live in a society that not only embraces snobbish celebrity arrogance, it practically obsesses over it.

My thoughts? There are probably not many games that currently qualify as artistic. But I believes the potential for artistic games are there and that could be reached with some dedicated effort. On a similar note, I don't see how much of cinema or television qualifies as art either unless you are using an amazingly loose definition of the term. If you think something like "Tim and Eric Awful Show" or "Mars Attacks!" qualifies as art, then you probably need to rethink your standards.
 

capacollo

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Nov 17, 2009
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I don't mind comments and critiques either that support or contradict gaming as an art. I find it promising that it promotes discussion so in some way I'm glad Ebert made the comments.
 

adderseal

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I don't really care one way or another about Ebert's game opinions, but I do think the advert is really well done. It's clever and funny but manages to remain minimalist.
The problem of 'art' is that it's so damn subjective that nobody will ever agree on whether something is art or not. It's impossible to define, so why bother?
 

kickyourass

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I mean, they are Italian. Those guys practically invented art!

Aww damn you stole the remark I was gonna make. But still I'm glad at least the Italians are on our side.
 

jmoore4ska

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Oct 15, 2009
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Sir John The Net Knight said:
If you think something like "Tim and Eric Awful Show" or "Mars Attacks!" qualifies as art, then you probably need to rethink your standards.
Nobody specified that it has to be *good* art.
 

John Funk

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Dec 20, 2005
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jmoore4ska said:
Sir John The Net Knight said:
If you think something like "Tim and Eric Awful Show" or "Mars Attacks!" qualifies as art, then you probably need to rethink your standards.
Nobody specified that it has to be *good* art.
Hastily thrown together stupidity does not count as art. I would no more quantify such works as art than I would a page full of formless scribbles made by a toddler.
 

Jared

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Jul 14, 2009
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Trust the Italians to do something like this, but, I mean that in the most positive terms.

Goes to show there are supporters and haters all around, and some coming from the most unexpected places.

I totally agree though, they are art, and, anyone who disagrees needs to get there head examined
 

John Funk

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Dec 20, 2005
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I say good job to the Italian dudes.

There is so much potential(and fun) with gaming as an art.
 

The Undoer

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Zomg :) Duck hunt, that's the game with the plastic infa red gun plug into your telly and play yes? I used to love the Clay Pidgeon Game on it ;) Though I found the snickering dog really annoying.
 

John Funk

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I can see the results of this now:

"Wah! He's pointing a gun at Mona Lisa's head! Video game violence is already a serious issue, and now this ad is promoting violence toward real art! Wah!"
 

Burningsok

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Sir John The Net Knight said:
jmoore4ska said:
Sir John The Net Knight said:
If you think something like "Tim and Eric Awful Show" or "Mars Attacks!" qualifies as art, then you probably need to rethink your standards.
Nobody specified that it has to be *good* art.
Hastily thrown together stupidity does not count as art. I would no more quantify such works as art than I would a page full of formless scribbles made by a toddler.
art is everything. You know... there is such a thing as bad art. It's still "art" nonetheless just not good enough to be worth anyone's time or money or whatever.
 

John Funk

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The Undoer said:
Zomg :) Duck hunt, that's the game with the plastic infa red gun plug into your telly and play yes? I used to love the Clay Pidgeon Game on it ;) Though I found the snickering dog really annoying.
They should have made Mona Lisa snicker. She's always smiling anyway.
 

Therumancer

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Nov 28, 2007
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I think games are a medium. Potentially it could produce art, but I don't think we're likely to ever know for a long time.

Truthfully the gaming medium has to create something that is enduring, and really that means we probably won't be able to judge in our lifetimes. If something created now is still preserved and appreciated in like a hundred years... well I'll agree it succeeded, but until we see it creating anything lasting as opposed to totally transient, I am increasingly leaning towards agreeing with Roger Ebert's statement, if not his reasons or justifications.

Unlike Robert Ebert I think it's an absolute certainy that we'll see games that become art, BUT I do agree with his general statement that we'll never see it confirmed in our lifetime.


I believe it's lasting appeal and relevency that defines art to be honest, and this is also one of the reasons why I have so little respect for most "performance art" in general and most "modern art" because I honestly don't think something can truely become an enduring part of culture so soon after it's created.

When it comes to performance art, I'm not talking about plays generally. As Shakespeare has proven plays can become art and be performed again and again through history and accross generations. However some guy coming out and acting like a dweeb on a stage and say urinating on an American Flag is not creating art, he's just being gross and offensive. You aren't going to see hundreds of imitators, and people centuries later urinating on American Flags because it carries some kind of timeless meaning that can be appreciated. The world is totalyl differant than when Shakespeare wrote, but his stories were timeless. Urinating on an American flag would have no meaning if say there was no America anymore.
 

squid5580

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Feb 20, 2008
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Great commercial, silly debate. Ebert doesn't know or understand much about gaming. He obviously doesn't care to learn. Let him dwell in his ignorance. Anything else is just a waste of breath.
 

razormint21

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Mar 29, 2010
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I salute these Italian artists for their open mindedness, but i hope their intentions are pure.

But to make a stand, i thank thee. When the day gaming and game making can finally be considered as mainstream art arrives, we invite you to the great feast!! There would be merrymaking...

Sorry kind got high on that last one, but i salute these guys...
 

matrix3509

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Sep 24, 2008
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That phrase really needs so come into common parlance. "Conscious gamer" is such a better term than "hardcore" or "casual" gamer.