Videogames as Art

Tharticus

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Dec 10, 2008
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I heartfully agree Mr. Croshaw. While people are crying about Ebert's opinion about "Video Games are not art", Ebert has some good points about it.

But what happens if we do convince Mr. Ebert that Video Games are Art? It's not gonna change anything.

I quote from Jerry Holkins from Penny Arcade:
Also, do we win something if we defeat him? Does he drop a good helm? Because I can't for the life of me figure out why we give a shit what that creature says. He doesn't operate under some divine shroud that lets him determine what is or is not valid culture. He cannot rob you, retroactively, of wholly valid experiences; he cannot transform them into worthless things.
So what if a famous movie critic says that video games aren't art? That doesn't make it true.
 

yourbeliefs

Bored at Work
Jan 30, 2009
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I pretty much agree with this article. While I don't agree with Ebert's view, I'm not going to get up in arms and start spamming his email in response to it.
 

soapyshooter

That Guy
Jan 19, 2010
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I don't agree with Ebert because his main point is that a video game is something "you win" Well in a movie doesn't the protagonist conquer the antagonist and "win." Just because you interacting with the hero in video games doesn't exclude them from being art. The amount of work that goes into them is the same as any other media that is considered "art"
 

Branches

A Flawed Logical Conundrum
Oct 30, 2008
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I read his article and I found it to be somewhat humorous that his position hasn't changed and we pretty much equate him to a Scrooge. Some of the rapid responders to the scene of the supposed 'crime' were all complaining about how there is so much beauty in these games, the experiences they imbue.

I don't really find any arguments that actually make me say games are art. Moving pictures is a whole mess where every 5 of 7 movies are crap, and the two quality ones don't have as much grasp as the other 5. It's the same for games. For every 3 games someone references, I can point to a million more that are bomblasted by corporate interests, blatant copy pasting of level, weapon, or concept design, and All around rushed games.

Ebert's right, They're not art right now. They are amazing experiences that rival that of the biggest motion pictures of today and last 3 times as long. However until the preconceived notions of what a video game is are shed, and the archetypal characters are done away with, we'll never move on from "tough-guy-with-gun/sword" and "tough-chick-with-frisbee/giant tits"

And another thing? Who cares. This is the same thing with Steve Jobs, we feel the need to add fuel or respond in a way that says "OH HE MAD" or "OH HE RIGHT". Let them hate us so long as they fear our nerdly powers of pissing away our time.
 

Estocavio

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Aug 5, 2009
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I agree with the article - A film critic making a declaration about games is hardly cause for concern.
 

SimGrave

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Jan 7, 2010
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Art is any created work that provokes strong emotions in you, personally. And trying to impose your feelings on someone else is as pointless and time-consuming as trying to impregnate a dishwasher.

That makes a lot of sense... but trying to sell that to passionate gamers is not an easy battle to win. Gamers (I know it's not the case for everyone, so don't get me wrong here) are still arguing about which is best between PS3 and Xbox360. Your definition of Art is true for everything from buying a car to marry someone. It's a personal decision and you shouldn't impose it to anyone else. The opposite is true. No one should be making judgments on your personal preferences. I'm not saying you can't judge someone buying a polluting car, but you get the point. When it gets to passion, people are rarely rational about it and I guess it's a double edge sword... no passion means no excitement... so you can't blame someone for not always being fully rational about their statements.
 

CyricZ

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Sep 19, 2009
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Yahtzee, you're right.

You're not funny when you're not being mean. :p

Anyway, my feelings after Ebert's claim was less about the fact that he declared video games aren't art and more about him feeling qualified to define what art is. That's a rather arrogant attitude to take, in my opinion, but history has proven us nothing if not that the most successful people in life tend to be the biggest dicks, so shine on, Mr. Ebert.
 

qbanknight

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Apr 15, 2009
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Really good article Yahtzee, art is very subjective; some people look at Pollock's paintings and say they are just messes while others see artistic quality to them

As a great man once said, "It's all true from a certain point of view"
 

bladeofdarkness

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Aug 6, 2009
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nice
but as far as Ebert's opinion goes, i just dont agree completely
i personally hold things like Mass effect 2 or Psychonouts as works of art
and have yet to see a movie that had me as engaged as some of the cutscenes during the suicide mission

a movie critic who clearly doens't PLAY games
and who, at best, watches them, can't really give a credible review of the medium
 

mjc0961

YOU'RE a pie chart.
Nov 30, 2009
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Spot on. I never saw why I should care what one guy thinks about games. At least he isn't trying to do something stupid like banning them or censoring them like other nitwits do. Just one man sharing one opinion that doesn't change my own opinions at all. No reason for me to even care about him whatsoever.
 

Redlin5_v1legacy

Better Red than Dead
Aug 5, 2009
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Finally someone with some sense! Ebert's opinion is just that, an opinion. Everyone I was talking to was thinking "Oh, Yahtzee is probably going to word rape that stupid Ebert's entire article." I think gaming gets a black mark in the art community because of our more extreme fanboys who would rather burn the Mona Lisa than admit that Ebert can have an outsiders view of video gaming. That said, I disagree in the extreme but not to the point where I'll go burn his house down for being the wrong kind of critic.
 

mexicola

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Feb 10, 2010
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I already said in previous threads about this "incident" - why would I care about anything that man says? So everything in the article rings true to me. Why are we still even discussing this?
 

Dok Zombie

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Apr 24, 2008
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This is probably the best Extra Punctuation I've read so far.

Anyway, why should every medium strive to be validated by our culture by being awarded the badge of "art"?

I think infinitely more effort went into creating Silent Hill 2 than Jackson Pollock ever put into creating what essentially looks like the dust sheet of a particularly clumsy painter and decorator, but you wouldn't find me ranting about the symbolism of weirdly sexualised zombie nurses to an eminent art historian.
 

traineesword

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Jan 24, 2010
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i agree with the whole, everyone to their own opinion thing, i just found this one sentence odd

"Let me just say that no video gamer now living will survive long enough to experience the medium as an art form" - an extract from the quote Yahtzee took from this Ebert

couldn't i just re-word that to say
" Let me just say that no movie watcher now living will survive long enough to experience the medium as an art form"
or
"Let me just say that no painting-viewer now living will survive long enough to experience the medium as an art form"

i find that sentence somewhat stupid... but maybe i'm just the stupid one and have misinterpreted it...
I am sure, afterall, that people have spent much more time playing one singular game, then any person has ever spent looking at a painting... i may be mistaken however (i am sure the artist looked at it longer)... i cannot say, with confidence, that people spend more time on a single game than another person would spend watching a single movie... i swear my little sister has capped 30 hours+ watching a particular chick-flik
 

Lvl 64 Klutz

Crowsplosion!
Apr 8, 2008
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I like and agree with all of this, but especially am glad that someone else has pointed out that "games as art" has less to do with narrative, quality writing, or pretty landscapes and more to do with adding in the interactive element.
 

DaOysterboy

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Apr 4, 2010
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Tharticus said:
I heartfully agree Mr. Croshaw. While people are crying about Ebert's opinion about "Video Games are not art", Ebert has some good points about it.

But what happens if we do convince Mr. Ebert that Video Games are Art? It's not gonna change anything.

I quote from Jerry Holkins from Penny Arcade:
Also, do we win something if we defeat him? Does he drop a good helm? Because I can't for the life of me figure out why we give a shit what that creature says. He doesn't operate under some divine shroud that lets him determine what is or is not valid culture. He cannot rob you, retroactively, of wholly valid experiences; he cannot transform them into worthless things.
So what if a famous movie critic says that video games aren't art? That doesn't make it true.
Ah, ah, ah. Movie reviewer. Ebert isn't a critic. At the end of the day he has to sum up his feelings with a thumbs up (yes, I recommend you go see this movie) or a thumbs down (no, you should not go see this movie). You can review anything from movies to video games to toilet paper brands. A critic needn't sum up his feelings with a purchase recommendation. Critics write about their medium because they love their medium. Although, Ebert is very knowledgeable about films and cinemas and can speak about them intelligently (even though I disagree with most of his recommendations), I see Yahtzee as more of a critic than Ebert, simply because Ebert smacks of that bitter tangy "sellout" flavor. ("Pick a number Yahtzee." "Fourk you.")
 

uppitycracker

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Oct 9, 2008
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This is definitely the most intelligent response to the subject I've read so far. It comes across as much, because it's the only non-biased, fact filled angle anyone has taken. Art is absolutely subjective, which is one of the wonderful things about it. In my opinion, video games are just as much art because of that emotional investment that is so often times gained by playing the games. It's quite easy to develop that sense of emotional attachment, especially when you are an interactive part of the story. It's what separates games from film, in my eyes, what sets it that next bar higher. While the majority of games we might play really can't come close to the sense of art that others achieve, I'd have to say that there is much more room to create art in games than film, for the simple fact that you take yer own direction in the games, you make yer own experience, thus in making it yer own, it separates the experience from that that the next person might have, including the developers that created the game themselves. But as you said, it's all subjective, it's what each person perceives, thus there is no right or wrong answer for it either way.