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On Video Games and Art


So I was sitting one day all by myself and thinking what are my favorite game genres and why? What do Video Games give me, as their player? or to put it more simply, what is it about Video games which excite and enthrall me so much?

I really can't come up with a clear answer.

But I can definitely say that on a basic level it feeds my need for accomplishment in small packages that become harder to achieve as I progress through the video game's "levels". Therefore by ascending each level, my psyche is even more hungry to achieve an even higher dose of accomplishment.

Are you still with me here? good.

Then I also see the fact that I want a game to entertain me as much as it challenges me. There is nothing more pleasant to the mind of the intelligent (or even semi-intelligent) life forms on planet Earth than the sociological behavior and effect called "Entertainment". Art is made for entertainment.

From Wikipedia: "Art is the product or process of deliberately arranging items (often with symbolic significance) in a way that influences and affects one or more of the senses, emotions, and intellect. It encompasses a diverse range of human activities, creations, and modes of expression, including music, literature, film, photography, sculpture, and paintings."

I know you're going to say "There goes another one of those crazy mofos who think video games are a form of art which can hold their own place next to giants like Music or Literature! LOL!"

But I think we have all had experiences which have changed everything about how we feel about video games. For some it was playing Super Mario Bros on the NES. For some it was PITFALL! on the Atari 2600. For some it was a Mortal Kombat machine in the arcade or Space Invaders. Or the hundreds of more games which turned us around and made us choose Video Games to consume hours upon hours of our life. And we're glad about every hour spent.

Why? because
-They affect three of our senses: Seeing, Hearing, Even Feeling (rumble).
-Extensive motor skills for moving our fingers and hands in almost perfect sync and coordination are demonstrated which are pretty much like "virtual sport" for the motor cortex.
-We are amazed by their mechanics and want to explore their limits and capabilities.
- They challenge our intellect by presenting several different scenarios which face us with a new hurdle to jump over and a higher goal to reach. A bigger challenge to overcome. Ascension.

So... Some Video Games do have the ingredients to be called Art... But are they "mixed" well enough to truly justify them belonging up there with what represents the world of Art?

[edit]...I don't know, yet. But should I care?

There are definite stand-outs which could be candidates. But I think it would take at least two more game generations for us to truly realize the artistic potentials of Video Games. We are living in a whole different century. It's not hard to imagine new mediums being introduced as works of art.

But maybe we don't even need to pull Video Games up there next to giants like Music or Literature. Maybe it's defined enough as it is. Many activities are called "artistic" but aren't recognized as art.

And let's not forget a more recent medium like "Cinema" actually Earned its way into becoming a defined art form thanks to devoted film makers who proved it can be called art. Also, cinema was on a much more easy road towards being called Art since it's simply an evolution of the classic Theater. It's going to be much harder for video games to prove themselves.

But do they truly need to? I don't think so. They have been a big part of many of our lives without us much caring about the "Art" factor. We have stayed interested, devoted, excited and entertained by them.

Truly what more is there to desire from Video Games? A form of entertainment, which thanks to some of the titles out there, gets really close to resembling Art and more importantly, it simply enchants millions of people with different cultures, ages, sexes and tastes around the world every single day.
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About kviznosone of us since 10:49 AM on 09.22.2010

Single player love all the way. Lovin' video games circa Atari 2600 and still going strong.