Sunday, 27 April 2014

GAMES ARE ART, OKAY?! - Personal Enquiry Task 2

In my opinion, as was probably gathered in the last task, games have no reason why they cannot be art. If everyone working in the games industry says what they're making is art, then who should question that? There's steps which a game artist has to take, such as picking colours with colour theory in mind, that any painter or someone deemed 'artist' would have to undertake. The steps to creating the final piece is the same between games and paintings, so why is one called art and the other not?

It's quite clear to me that not everyone is going to be willing to accept games that aren't exactly seen as artistic to be placed alongside some of the world's favourite artists. However, this is irrelevant in itself, because modern art is still seen as art when lots of people don't really agree with it and say it lacks craftsmanship. Making games is a craft though, so I don't understand why it's even more difficult to admit it is a form of art.

I was interested to see whether there is a place whereby games are officially dubbed an art form, and found an interesting article stating that games are now legally considered art in America. In 2011, the US National Endowment for the Arts included interactive media in the list of possible art forms which could try for a grant, therefore meaning that they know see games as worthwhile art to invest in. Although wonderful news, it still might be a long time before people's opinions change, Just because games are technically an art now in the eyes of higher authorities, it still doesn't mean my nan will ever see them that way.

A look into the past can tell us that games originated a heck of a long time ago, as electronic games all start from the same basic idea. All games, computer-based or not, come from the need to play. A popular game even today, chess can be traced back to around 550 AD. Since then, many games have all spun off from chess in order to try and improve the game for people. This is a game artist's job, to take something already established as fun, and use their craft to make it even better. The need to improve and succeed is something else I see as being artistic, as a painter with continuously try to improve their work with their audience in mind. Other forms of media are similar, whereby over time the introduction of new materials and developments in their genre has meant an improvement to the outcome. For example, colour TV has improved film to a huge extent, so now a director can use colours to portray moods and the like. Similarly, the introduction of tubed paint meant that painters in Van Gogh's era could produce paintings more easily as their equipment was improved. This is exactly the same with games. Game artists saw the potential of game and the art behind it, and pushed it to become what it is today, immersive and more fun than ever before. I can understand why people didn't see games as an art form in the beginning, when 'pong' was just hitting the shelves and any 'art' was done by the programmers because there wasn't much need for concept art or in depth modelling. But as things have improved, I feel like people have failed to see how stunning games can be.

Games are art. I don't even think that is me being bias to the subject either, they are genuinely must be otherwise lots of other forms of art, such as film, can't be either. The similarities are so easy to see and I think as years go on more people will accept them. Maybe it's just the new scary kid on the block that needs to get its footing in the art world first, like all other types of media probably did. Until then, I'll keep arguing with my point.

Bibliography -

Smithsonian Seriously Amazing (2012) The Art Of Video Games [Online] Smithsonian. Available from: [Accessed 01/12/13].

Kotaku (2011) This Video May Convince Your Doubtful Friends That Games Can Be Art [Online] Kotaku. Available from: [Accessed 01/12/13].

The Escapist (2011) Games Now Legally Considered an Art Form (in the USA) [Online] The Escapist. Available from: [Accessed 01/12/13]. (2008) Origins Of Chess [Online] Chess. Available from: [Accessed 01/12/13].

Technicolor Film Invention [Online] Technicolor Film. Available from: [Accessed 01/12/13].

Smithsonian (2013) Never Underestimate The Power Of A Paint Tube [Online] Smithsonian. Available from: [Accessed 01/12/13].

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