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Ueda: Games Are Products, Not High Art

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.

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