The lights are on
Last month I had the opportunity to interview Fumito Ueda, the brilliant game designer behind Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, and the upcoming The Last Guardian. Although I'm personally a bit tired of the constant "are games art" debate, I couldn't help but get Ueda's take on the issue, and his answer may surprise you.
During our discussion, I noted to Ueda that many gamers point to Ico and Shadow of the Colossus as prime evidence that games are, in fact, art. I asked Ueda if he feels any added pressure in the development process because of this high standard for quality that people are expecting. This was his reply:
"I don’t feel much pressure, because I don’t see my video games as an art. I think that video games are products, and they should be accepted by a wide audience. But I reflect a lot of my preferences in my games and make them special…. Maybe too special!"
Interestingly, Ueda gave a slightly different answer to a similar question in his interview with Kotaku. There, he distinguished between "high art" -- the more traditional kind of art that you would find hanging in a gallery and which is generally less accessible -- and "low art," such as movies and manga. Ueda said that video games do fit under his definition of low art, which makes them more open for that wide audience he mentioned to me.
Do Ueda's thoughts on the topic of games as art affect your opinion of his products at all? Or do you wish people would finally just quit talking about this exhausting subject?
If you want to know more about Ueda's latest product, The Last Guardian, check out my preview from earlier in the week.
it all depends on your definition of art. Whether or not it is going to be labeled as such will have little to no effect on the industry, so I don't care. I play games, I enjoy them, and I feel the same connection to them as I do literature or film, so I guess I would consider them to be art, but that's just because of the way a well-told game story can impact ME.
pretty excited for this its like shadows of the colossus
Everybody needs to stop trying to figure out whether games are art and just play the crap out of 'em. Does it really matter if they're considered art? Think about it. Will the answer EVER affect how you play the game? No. So shut up.
This needs talking about because art is constitutionally protected, if one medium can be declared "not art" and therefore unprotected blah blah censorship blah blah Orwell blah blah pure evil blah plus being in the protagonist's shoes instead of an observer just makes them better.
It really depends on what you define as art.
I would qualify video games as low art.
I'm sorry, but stating that art is divided into a hierarchy based upon the accessibility is a flawed and very vague claim. So what is this "accessibility" he is talking about? Money? Intelligence? Is he saying a Van Gogh painting is higher art because people are too stupid to understand it? Shouldn't great art be accessible to all intelligent life to understand the artist's perspective?
What the hell IS he saying, exactly?
Art evokes emotion. Paintings, music, and stories can make you feel all kinds of emotions from sadness, to joy, to awe. They can also change the way you think.
I consider the game Flower to be art because playing it gave me a sense of calmness, anticipation, and awe that swept me along with the petals. These are the same emotions I feel when looking at a painting or reading a good book. And it's not just Flower. Lots of game evoke emotion, sometimes by their stories, other times by graphics or level design.