Jerz: New Media Projects (EL405)


11 Sep 2006

Are Games Art?

I thought this was timely, given what we talked about in this class last week.

gamepolitics: Are Video Games Art?

Beyond the shrill, politicized rhetoric heard in some state capitols, where, in 2006, we've been treated to such gems as "This video game is not even speech. It is a device" and "yes, games are speech, but worthless, disgusting speech", a quiet debate has been emerging on a related front.

Can video games be considered art?

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Speaking of timely articles... I have a few magazines with articles that address the topics we've discussed in class, so I might bring a few of them along tomorrow.

Posted by: ChrisU at September 11, 2006 3:19 PM

Why are people even debating this? I talked with one of your colleagues, Dr. Jerz, and when I asked whether or not he thought games were art, he looked at me inquisitively and said something like "I don't see why not."

Perhaps video games have not made the canon of "fine art," but then again they're relatively new.

Art implies just about any beautiful thing created or manifest by a person. Game aestheticists should be careful, though. If they back into the circumlocutious corner of nihilism, relativism, or postmodernism, their arguments will be trapped.

If authority doesn't matter in the philosophy of games, then game philosophy cannot claim any authority and will quickly be devalued.

These opposing forces must directly address their positions with increased clarity. Not everyone who plays games can also explain games philosophically (probably not even most players).

My aversion to video games is probably due to my exposure to two opposing extremes: creepy RPG gamers who I swear speak an entirely different language, and first-person shooter gamers who are high on testosterone. I have yet to meet a gamer who isn't in some way addicted to games.

The biggest obstacle on the video game's road to a fine art is the culture. After reading a book or watching a play or listening to fine music, you can't help but be introspective. With games, it seems, people become more extrospective. But I guess that comes with the territory of entertainment.

And that is how I distinguish fine art. Entertainment is the antithesis of fine art. So, Rodger Ebert's arguments should take heed that Hollywood films aren't exactly comparable to La Jaconde or Concerto in C minor for Oboe and Strings by Alessandro Marcello.

Posted by: Evan at September 11, 2006 3:38 PM
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