Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

The Future: It's 2010, and games still aren't art

7:20 PM on 01.26.2010 // sandorasbox

[Editor's Note: We're not just a (rad) news site -- we also publish opinions/editorials from our community & employees like this one, though be aware it may not jive with the opinions of Destructoid as a whole, or how our moms raised us. Want to post your own article in response? Publish it now on our community blogs.]

Have you ever played a game so beautiful, so thought provoking, that you knew it was art? Too fucking bad. It's the future, and games still aren't art.

"But author of this blog entry" you say "I've played Shadow of the Colossus. That game was art."

Nope, not art. Games can't and won't be considered art until we start making games for the sake of making art. We also need to press a cultural revolution where, instead of games being expensive toys, games are respected on the level of literature, music, movies and classical art.

Let me explain. 

Games, right now, are caught in an awful in between. You have a generation of people, let us call them the "nay sayers", that is made up of our parents and their parents. Chances are, if you are reading this, you understand the potential that games have to be art. Chances are, if you understand this potential, you understand that your parents and their parents don't. That's okay. There is an even better chance that your parents and their parents have owned/seen/interacted with a Wii and think that they too can have in on videogames. Don't tell them I said this, but it will take most of them dying out before we see any change in the industry.

You see, these "nay sayers" will never know videogames like we know videogames, because they've grown up without them. Sure, they can appreciate them, but a good portion of our generation (and when I say "our" I mean anyone who touched a home system before college) was actually raised with videogames. Videogames have been implanted in our psyche, the same way our parents grew up with television, or their parents grew up with books. I wouldn't be surprised if one of the leading reasons today's kids are still literate is because of a) the Internet and b) videogames. We are a different breed, just like every breed before us we are a product of a newer world.

When I was in elementary school, I played through Final Fantasy VII. I learned that, by hitting buttons on a controller, I could move an avatar through a story more interesting than I could think up on my own and do things cooler than I could ever do on my own. I could save a world. I don't know what my dad did in elementary school, but I'm sure he used his imagination, or something equally as futile (maybe he drew something) and got nothing out of it. He's successful now, and I'm not. But when you put a game, an art game, like Shadow of the Colossus, in front of the two of us, he wouldn't be able to figure it out enough to actually "experience" it. I could.

Games require that you have some kind of motor skills and enough comprehension of a controller to complete a game. My dad won't touch any game on a console because he can't stand holding a controller in his hands. How do we expect the world to acknowledge games if they can't even play them? No wonder Roger Ebert doesn't believe games can be art, when he wouldn't be able to play through Silent Hill 2 even if he tried. It would take him so long, counting on skills and a controller he never learned, to get through that he'd more than likely give up.

That's problem one: there are people out there who just, no matter how hard we try, will NEVER be able to truly play videogames. These people will always exist, but a lot of them will die out and that problem will have solved itself (for the most part).

Problem two is that the industry is run like Hollywood. Someone comes up with an idea, they try to get funding, and, if the people with money cut them a deal, a game is born. The problem is that people with money don't like to spend money without getting money back, so naturally they will do everything in their power to make sure a game will turn a profit. They will influence the original vision in some way, and, at that point, the vision has been compromised.

Sometimes people are given the opportunity to do more of what they want, and the less compromised the vision generally the better the game. Shadow of the Colossus, Braid, Ico, Flower, Metal Gear, Katamari Damacy, etc are all examples of this principle in action. But the problem is that all of these games had to turn a profit of some kind. If the developers were allowed to do whatever they wanted, without ever worrying about money, imagine the kinds of games we could be playing!

Sadly, we are only just seeing the influx of a healthy indie dev community in this generation; they still need to turn a profit, but they are still more artistically in tune with their work than, say, Infinity Ward. But, to my point, so long as money is an issue, games can never be truly genuine.

"But...but..." you say impatiently "games can still TOTALLY be art. Don't be such a downer!"

You would be right, but the third problem is that games are ALSO meant to entertain people. If a game is not fun we would wonder why someone even bothered to make it at all. But why? Imagine a game that made you feel awful playing it. A game that just tried to upset you. We would probably not want to play such a game, but if video games are to ever move past being just fancy toys we have to be prepared to be challenged by them. We have to embrace games as experiences, and not expect them to entertain us in some way.

The point I'm trying to make is, an artist works in the studio and comes out with something; a writer writes, a painter paints, a singer sings. A game developer needs a team, and resources, to do much of anything. When someone can sit down, or enter a studio, and come out with a product without worrying about anything else, games will be able to be art. There will come a time, but that time is not yet here.



sandorasbox,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.





 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Sarah Jane farron avatarSarah Jane farron
and bleh, it seems like there's no way to edit quick posts and for whatever reason, it's cutting off the last two characters of my last post? Tried it 3 times and left it because of it. Well if you saw my previous one: "m!"*
Sarah Jane farron avatarSarah Jane farron
Hope everyone had a good day today regardless of whether you're celebrating valentine's day with someone or like me, sitting by yourself at your PC in a warm dressing gown with a cup of tea :) Mine was okay. Unexciting but I do very much like being warm!
ooktar avatarooktar
So I bought Xenoblade Chronicles X like 2 months ago. I think maybe today I'll finally take it out of the wrapper.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Splatoon and Undertale fans, please do not walk the path of Sonic fans and Bronies. You are both very young, yet you are dangerously close to that path. Naught but ruin lies down that road.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
Played SMESH with RadicalYoseph - had some hilarious matches like this one.
SmileyBarry avatarSmileyBarry
Redesigned Dtoid is super-fancy, but scaling is still fucked and Heavy Reading has odd-colored backgrounds... Still, it's fancy & a shitload more lightweight and that's enough to make me happy.
Nick R P Green avatarNick R P Green
Here it is as promised, my valentine's day gift to you all. My 2015 Reflection Series comes to a close with my Top 3 Movies of 2015 (I know, it's not games, I decided to try something different). As always, I'll have a blog version uploaded later!
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
The Sonic Twitter's done it again.
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
I CHALLENGE YOU, HUMAN, TO... A DUEL! NYEH HEH HEH!
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
In honour of Valentine's Day, let's share our names/synopsis for porn versions of popular video games. I'll start us off with Firecrotch, the tale of a red-headed firefighter struggling to save a nudist colony from a forest fire.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
Leave it to Cracked...
Luckrequired avatarLuckrequired
Clicked on Google's Valentine's Day animation and this pops up. Good show, fellas. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-35570606
absolutfreak avatarabsolutfreak
Maybe this has been addressed, but what the hell is going on with Disqus here?
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
Also, I think my Wii U gamepad is on its last legs... the NFC reader is still kaput, the screen is rather smudgy and the L button is started to stick like a motherfucker. Sooner or later it's just going to stop working altogether methinks. :'(
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
Younger me would be so disappointed in the gamer I am today. When did I stop finishing games? Seriously!
SayWord avatarSayWord
Hosting a Murder Mystery dinner tonight. What are the chances that I actually get to play myself? =P
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
We were discussing Ben Carson, pyramids, corpses, SoFlo, and Nekro's fetishes in the Discord chat if anyone wants to know what it's like down there.
lewness avatarlewness
Nintendo just sent me an email to say "Congrats on your new Wii U!". It wasn't new it got fucking FRIED and now all my stuff's gone after repairs - I was in Chapter 9! Chapter 9! 70+ hours on XCX! And that's just one game! I was- *walks off ranting*
JPF720 avatarJPF720
Bravo Undertale, bravo.
SpielerDad avatarSpielerDad
The most depressing Valentine's Day song ever, courtesy of Ole Blue Eyes.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -