Are Games Art?

This is a discussion that has run almost as long as Camaro vs. Mustang and X-Box vs. Playstation. Are games art? It depends on your definition of art. Art, by its very nature, is virtually impossible to define, though. What art is to one is nonsense to another. So, what criteria do we use? In my opinion, art should move you either emotionally or spiritually. Can a game accomplish that? Surely some games have moved us at one point or another. Were you not moved by the nameless heroe’s plight in Shadow of the Colossus?  Sure, it took a while to understand what was going on, but once you did, how could you not be moved by it? For anyone unfortunate enough to have not played this game, rent it, buy it, play it. It is truly a masterpiece of storytelling and probably the most glowing example of a game as art. You are a nameless hero who goes to an ancient temple to beg the residing gods to resurrect your fallen love. The gods agree IF you slay the Colossi roaming the lands causing havok. Throughout the journey, you begin to realize that not only are the Colossi fairly harmless, but that killing them is destroying you. I genuinely began feeling bad about killing them. And how could you not be conflicted by the obvious effect killing the Colossi has on you? Do you continue to slay them and consequently, yourself to maybe save the women you love?  The game was also epic in scale. You crossed vast areas to find each of the creatures. This helped add to the feeling of isolation and desperation your character was experiencing. This game is only one example of many that push the point of games as art. Team Ico’s first game titled Ico was similar. But, there are other companies that make truly artistic games. That Game Company, the company responsible for Flower, is one of them. They set out to intentionally create a piece of art that just happened to be a game. Currently, under development from them, is another game in which you are a nameless wanderer, trying to navigate a desert wasteland. So much has been released about gameplay, but I’m sure it will be amazing given their past offerings. Now, for every Ico or Flower, we get 10 Dead or Alives. These are the games that are shallow, uninspired and are here purely for the titillation of immature gamers that feel it necessary to have breast physics in a game. Games like these not only cheapen our chosen form of entertainment, but also reinforce outdated stereotypes of women and showcase completely unrealistic physical representations of the opposite sex. This stupidity isn’t just relegated to women, though. Pick up most action titles these days and you will find protagonists that look as if they have spent the last 10 years of their lives in the gym and slamming steroids in their asses. Now, I’m no stranger to working out, and I’m certainly not opposed to artistic license, but come on. Can the people we control in games start to LOOK like people, please?  Not every guy wants to see a barely clothed cg woman’s gigantic breasts popping out of her ridiculously skimpy armor.  Nor do we want every male character we play to be an emotionless, brainless killing machine. If we want this medium to be taken seriously, how about treating character development with some care and respect?  Let’s ditch the played out archetypical characters and create some truly relatable ones. I think Crystal Dynamics is taking a tremendous step in the right direction with their revamp of Lara Croft. Though, she isn’t quite real yet, she is certainly more realistic than ever. Let’s see some true vulnerability in our characters. Not every decision is black and white. It won’t always be easy to choose left or right, especially if devs make you think about what may result from either of those choices. Or, maybe they can offer subtle combinations of many choices so you can closer emulate how you may actually react to a given situation. But, now I’m rambling and nit picking. All I’m trying to say is, yes I do believe games are art. Just some are Picasso and some are a first grader’s macaroni sculpture. Each has their place. Some are more refined and therefore, should be acknowledged as such.

 

Perreault out

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About Perreault

I have been an avid/hardcore gamer since the days of the intellivision. My reviews are unfiltered and unbiased and purely personal opinion. I believe people deserve at least one honest opinion of a game from a source not controlled by outside influence! Power to the people!