Announcement: Your votes are in! The January 2019 Philosophy Book of the Month is The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World by David Eagleman and Anthony Brandt.

Are Video Games art?

Use this forum to have philosophical discussions about aesthetics and art. What is art? What is beauty? What makes art good? You can also use this forum to discuss philosophy in the arts, namely to discuss the philosophical points in any particular movie, TV show, book or story.
User avatar
Skwuim
Posts: 35
Joined: December 25th, 2012, 5:11 pm

Are Video Games art?

Post by Skwuim » December 25th, 2012, 6:40 pm

Greetings to all fellow thinkers, academic and non-academic alike! :)

Are video games art? This has been quite a topic ever since this new interactive form of media emerged on the market. Some would argue that video games are not art, usually on the basis that either 1. The video game industry is too young for being labelled one that is producing "traditional" or"fine" art. 2. It has rules and compulsions in it which is viewed as an antithesis to art itself. Something similiar of an explanation was quite recently given by Roger Ebert:

"To my knowledge, no one in or out of the field has ever been able to cite a game worthy of comparison with the great dramatists, poets, filmmakers, novelists and composers. That a game can aspire to artistic importance as a visual experience, I accept. But for most gamers, video games represent a loss of those precious hours we have available to make ourselves more cultured, civilized and empathetic."

Others on the other hand do believe that video games are an artform. There are various good arguments for this. And I myself is a member of this stance on the question. I think that video games indeed are a full-grown art because of the following: 1. Video games do not only "aspire to artistic importance", there are numerous examples of games (I think most of the remembered retrogames of the 80s and 90s plus the most well-respected titles today) include visual, musical and narrative experiences that would stand next or close to any piece of traditional literature, oratorio or painting. 2. The notion that video games can't be art because they have rules to follow is quite a disasterous argument that I was suprised to see a professional academic making; So what if they have rules? Paintings, litterature and music too have rules, there are of course limits to the range of interpretations that can be made from all litterature, painting and music etc. I would go as far as to say that ALL art have some kind of rules or borders, even the most abstract dadaist paintings do.

But what do you think? Do video games or video game-making count as an artform?

XavierAlex
Posts: 307
Joined: June 4th, 2012, 10:56 am

Re: Are Video Games art?

Post by XavierAlex » December 28th, 2012, 6:39 pm

I have played some point-and-click games with better story lines than most contemporary films. I would say that video games have the potential to be art, and what's more it's already a culture.

Fleetfootphil
Posts: 277
Joined: May 25th, 2012, 9:33 pm

Re: Are Video Games art?

Post by Fleetfootphil » December 29th, 2012, 11:54 pm

Anything can be art. The question of when is it art and why is much better than can it be art.

Gnosis
Posts: 26
Joined: January 5th, 2013, 11:15 pm

Re: Are Video Games art?

Post by Gnosis » January 6th, 2013, 7:28 pm

Yes of course games are a form of art and one of the best interactive art at that. They are a combination of visual art, music, storytelling and motion art. I'm not saying it's a good form of art, but non-the less it's an art form and a very effective one which is capable of affecting human emotions and attachment to a very high level. In fact it's too effective, it can become more addictive than drugs and enclose people in it's virtual world which is why I think some games are just dangerous and I am living proof as I was an addict myself.

Rules are antithesis for art itself? Don't believe that modernistic nonsense. In ancient philosophy art was considered something of aesthetic value and beauty, whilst modern philosophy on art seems to break all rules; well big mistake art has rules whether you like it or not. Why is it that we see some things as beautiful and some as ugly? and funnily enough most people on earth have similar aesthetic values. Why is that? well that's because there are certain rules that make things look either beautiful or ugly; it's based on psychology. All forms of art have rules? I don't think you went quite far enough. Everything has rules; the universe, all fields of study, imagination even our minds and personalities, everything is based on certain rules on physical, moral and spiritual levels.

Blazing Donkey
Posts: 329
Joined: December 25th, 2012, 3:52 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Voltaire

Re: Are Video Games art?

Post by Blazing Donkey » January 6th, 2013, 10:23 pm

Skwuim wrote:Are video games art?
Yes, and it should be obvious.
This has been quite a topic ever since this new interactive form of media emerged on the market. Some would argue that video games are not art, usually on the basis that either 1. The video game industry is too young for being labelled one that is producing "traditional" or"fine" art.
That is a completely arbitrary and absurd statement, constituting a obvious Equivocation Fallacy.

First of all, who are these people who think they can dictate to the world: A) What precisely constitutes "traditional" or "fine" art? B) Exactly what criteria there is for determining how old a form must be in order to be considered acceptable? -- I find this claim particularly hilarious. By making it, they have opened themselves up to all manner of relativity issues, ultimately making any claim to this effect null and void by virtue of the fact that they must use fallacy to assert any claim of absoluteness. What a jest! :mrgreen:

Second, there are no absolute/objective definitions when it comes to what is considered to be art and that should be completely obvious to everyone everywhere by virtue of the fact that everyone has a different interpretation. There are things that some consider art (eg. a crucifix made out of human excrement) that others do not. This is evident in the outrage that occurs periodically when some new artist presents something that mainstream society does not appreciation. Hence, if everyone had a Borg-like unified objective view on art, there would never be any outrage or calls for censorship because everyone would think the exact same thing. Clearly, this is not the case. Thus, any claims of absolute definitions to things that are inherently subjective will result in a fallacy.
2. It has rules and compulsions in it which is viewed as an antithesis to art itself.
This hilarious claim miserably fails for two reasons:

A) It is a blatant Equivocation Fallacy. As before, it is being asserted that there exists some universal standard by which they are citing to make these claims. Of course, they are not; they are abritrarily stating that something is the way they say it is. So what? That doesn't make it true.

B) The party making the claim is asserting as true that "rules and compulsions are not part of art". By making this assertion, they are creating a rule stating that rules are not part of art..! Obviously and hilariously, this contradicts itself.
Something similiar of an explanation was quite recently given by Roger Ebert:

"To my knowledge, no one in or out of the field has ever been able to cite a game worthy of comparison with the great dramatists, poets, filmmakers, novelists and composers.
There's all kinds of fallacies in this statement:

1) "To my knowledge" - Argument From Authority fallacy.

2) "no one in or out of the field" - Argument From Authority fallacy.

Further, what field is he refering to? The game industry field? The game consumers field? The traditional filmmaker / poetry / novel / composing field? The professional critic field? - Which? What claims of truth is he implying that any of these fields can absolutely state that their forms are inherently superior to other forms? -- Any claims made will be relative to the field in which it is made.

3) "no one in or out of the has ever been able to cite a game worthy of comparison with..." - Appeal to Popularity fallacy.

This argument assumes that a game must be compared to existing art forms in order to be valid. The argument assumes that its validity is true, simply because its viewpoint is widely held.
That a game can aspire to artistic importance as a visual experience, I accept.
Two things here: 1) It is condescending for him to use the word "aspire", as if the video game industry must conform to his personal standands (which, thus far, are all fallacies). 2) His rude presentation aside, if he accepts this then that seriously diminishes the validity of his previous statements. It sounds like he is say that video games could some day be considered "art", but not today. But if that is true, then why say all that other crap?

[...]

Art is whatever one chooses to call art.
Last edited by Scott on January 7th, 2013, 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: pm sent to post author
No man is an island, but if you tie a bunch of dead guys together they make a pretty good raft.

User avatar
Whitedragon
Posts: 931
Joined: November 14th, 2012, 12:12 pm

Re: Are Video Games art?

Post by Whitedragon » January 7th, 2013, 7:57 am

My definition of art is, if you need no skill, (which btw, also is a synonym for art), to make the art, the art is ….. art ….. but it will not endure. Most artists need years to become skillful at an art; also, to me … personally … real art is something that will endure. However, within my own definition of art, I will admit that some video games are artistic, for the reason of … it requires a lot of skill to create them. So, yes, I think a lot of video games can be art. On the other had, computers make it easy to design sometimes … so sometimes computers do a lot of the work. We pimp our image designs with a few nice fractals, and they become beautiful. Thus, aesthetics does not equal art; therefore I think photography, (with in this definition), does not qualify as art, because creativity, effort and skill was minimally applied or not at all. I think some video games may be more artistic than photography for this reason.
We are a frozen spirit; our thoughts a cloud of droplets; different oceans and ages brood inside – where spirit sublimates. To some our words, an acid rain, to some it is too pure, to some infectious, to some a cure.

Belinda
Contributor
Posts: 13760
Joined: July 10th, 2008, 7:02 pm
Location: UK

Re: Are Video Games art?

Post by Belinda » January 8th, 2013, 5:49 am

Blazing Donkey wrote:
Art is whatever one chooses to call art.
But if this were the case to call something art would be nothing but subjective approval of whatever.

Whitedragon does define art as synonymous with skill, which at least gives art an objective definition.

I too believe that art is objective and is not all in the mind, although I think that art has more attributes than that of skill. To define and describe art, I think that to say art is skill is necessary but not sufficient.
Socialist

User avatar
Whitedragon
Posts: 931
Joined: November 14th, 2012, 12:12 pm

Re: Are Video Games art?

Post by Whitedragon » January 8th, 2013, 7:29 am

Thank you Belinda,

If I may add. An orange is integral, and aesthetic, but it's not art. Neither is our ability to recognize something aesthetic and snap a shot, (that is taste) … the camera basically, (and I say basically), does all the work. To arrange something aesthetically is SOME sort of art, to snap a picture of it is not. To get back to the orange, it's not art, to photograph it isn't either. But to photograph it and then paint it from the photograph, that's art … to me at least. Or to write a poem about the orange in some good metaphor, or to write a song about it. That's art. But if it takes you a week to become a poet, a, week to become a musician, and if it takes you a minute to write the poem, two hours to write the song; and if your poem is read for six months, and your song is listened to for two summers … it's not art. WELLL at least not good art.
We are a frozen spirit; our thoughts a cloud of droplets; different oceans and ages brood inside – where spirit sublimates. To some our words, an acid rain, to some it is too pure, to some infectious, to some a cure.

Blazing Donkey
Posts: 329
Joined: December 25th, 2012, 3:52 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Voltaire

Re: Are Video Games art?

Post by Blazing Donkey » January 8th, 2013, 5:32 pm

Belinda wrote: BD: "Art is whatever one chooses to call art."

But if this were the case to call something art would be nothing but subjective approval of whatever.
Yes. Exactly. There is no way to objectively define art.
No man is an island, but if you tie a bunch of dead guys together they make a pretty good raft.

Belinda
Contributor
Posts: 13760
Joined: July 10th, 2008, 7:02 pm
Location: UK

Re: Are Video Games art?

Post by Belinda » January 9th, 2013, 6:25 am

Blazing Donkey, do you not recognise that it is the prime duty of adult humans to discover objective truth?
Socialist

Fleetfootphil
Posts: 277
Joined: May 25th, 2012, 9:33 pm

Re: Are Video Games art?

Post by Fleetfootphil » January 9th, 2013, 12:38 pm

Is this art, is that art, is a fart art?

User avatar
Whitedragon
Posts: 931
Joined: November 14th, 2012, 12:12 pm

Re: Are Video Games art?

Post by Whitedragon » January 9th, 2013, 12:45 pm

Fleetfootfil wrote: is a fart art?
It depends on how well you can play your grasspole. Mmmm, what rhyms with grasspole.
We are a frozen spirit; our thoughts a cloud of droplets; different oceans and ages brood inside – where spirit sublimates. To some our words, an acid rain, to some it is too pure, to some infectious, to some a cure.

Blazing Donkey
Posts: 329
Joined: December 25th, 2012, 3:52 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Voltaire

Re: Are Video Games art?

Post by Blazing Donkey » January 9th, 2013, 4:14 pm

Whitedragon wrote:My definition of art is, if you need no skill, (which btw, also is a synonym for art), to make the art, the art is ….. art ….. but it will not endure.
That's another Equivocation Fallacy. You're stating that how long art endures for defines whether or not it is art.
Most artists need years to become skillful at an art;
"Most artists" -- Hasty Generalization.

"to become skillful" - Argument From Consensus fallacy eg. you are stating that whether or not a external 3rd party finds the artwork to be "skillful" is the basis of it being art.

I respect your personal beliefs on what constitutes art but they cannot be used as a absolute/objective standard for considering what is art.

Consider this criteria: let's say we were talking about another esoteric principle: philosophy.

Would you say: "One has to have skill to practice/create philosophy. If one's philosophy does not endure, then it is invalid." ?? -- Probably not.

I submit that: as long as someone considers something to be "art", then it is art. Whether it exists for 10 seconds or 10,000 years doesn't alter the fact that - at the moment of its creation - it is art.
No man is an island, but if you tie a bunch of dead guys together they make a pretty good raft.

Fleetfootphil
Posts: 277
Joined: May 25th, 2012, 9:33 pm

Re: Are Video Games art?

Post by Fleetfootphil » January 9th, 2013, 9:17 pm

Really? It's art at the moment of creation because "someone" (the maker?) considers it so?

What is it when a viewer fails to appreciate it as art? Is art like some of those quantum physics enigmas where it exists in two realities at the same time but its existence in one state or another is determined by the viewer, like Schrodinger's cat? Some quantum hot shot said "if you think you understand quantum physics you don't." I guess that could be said about art as well. I don't even understand shoes, let alone art. I think that's a good thing, it leaves me open to discovery.

User avatar
Whitedragon
Posts: 931
Joined: November 14th, 2012, 12:12 pm

Re: Are Video Games art?

Post by Whitedragon » January 10th, 2013, 7:26 am

Fleetfootphil said: I don't even understand shoes, let alone art.

Well, if the shoes were mass produced and the plastic came loose if you walk once around the block … that is not art …. but if the shoes were designed by a man who has made it his life's work to design shoes … that makes those shoes art … especially if they are hand made, and there are only a few. That's my opinion in anyway.
We are a frozen spirit; our thoughts a cloud of droplets; different oceans and ages brood inside – where spirit sublimates. To some our words, an acid rain, to some it is too pure, to some infectious, to some a cure.

Post Reply