The lights are on
[Note: This article originally ran in issue 207 of Game Informer]
Are games art? This question has been asked hundreds of times, and no one agrees on an answer. Legendary film critic Roger Ebert recently reignited the debate with a blog post he wrote in response to a speech on the subject given at USC by game developer Kellee Santiago. Entitled “Video games can never be art,” the blog post refutes several of Santiago’s points while stating his arguments for why games have failed to achieve the status of art.
“The three games she chooses as examples [Flower, Braid, and Waco Resurrection] do not raise my hopes for a video game that will deserve my attention long enough to play it,” Ebert wrote. “They are, I regret to say, pathetic. I repeat: ‘No one in or out of the field has ever been able to cite a game worthy of comparison with the great poets, filmmakers, novelists, and poets.’”
Predictably, the Internet went crazy, with Ebert’s post garnering scores of angry responses from gamers. While debate is certainly healthy, the incendiary talk hasn’t gotten us any closer to the answers.
Not everyone agrees on the definition of art – or even the definition of a game. Still, thinking about the ideas behind the games we play and what they mean is important. For this feature, Game Informer chose eight games that we feel represent games as an art form. Our writers picked these games personally, and their arguments are very personal as well. While we don’t presume to settle a debate about the meaning of art – that’s something that’s been discussed for centuries – we hope to do our part to move the debate forward.
Email the author Matt Helgeson, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
Games in my opinion are indeed art.
Yes and no, for me at least. Also this is one of my favorite articles I've ever read on Gameinformer, nicely done Matt.
(SARCASM) Nope There Crap! Nothing To Them. The People And Landscape Are Just Scribbles, That Surprisingly Look Good.
good analysis from all the writers. I enjoyed Ben reeves' analysis of Bioshock for his use of verbal imagery to convey visual emotion.
No buts about it. Only art can cause as much controversy as games are making.
I want to thank Kyle Hilliard again for his assistance on an article I wrote about this very subject.
the overall definition of art that nobody can disagree with is that its a form of expressing oneself. Groups of people with ideas get together and create a world for others to explore. It moves people. A good story is art. And the breathtaking visuals are art. The emotions it expresses are art. It is art.