Are Video Games all artsy?

Hello internet!

This post is brought to you by the Well-Red Mage’s 2nd community question. I must thank my mage friend for the post inspiration. Lately, all I’ve wanted to ramble about is Dragon Age Origins so it’s nice to take a stab at something different. I must stress I have NO IDEA what I’m talking about. I also have no education background in anything important, but here is my brain’s rough answer to the question at hand anyway:

Are video games art?

For me, “art” is much more than gawking at pretty pictures, reading superb stories, and listening to badass ballads. Art is something that frees me from my own mind – a scary place I frequently find myself trapped in. Art is expression, art is a release, and art is something that inspires me. Movies, TV shows, books, music, paintings, plays, etc. – those are all definitely forms of art. Those will forever take a backseat to the form of art that can take me away from my own life, away from this miserable planet, and put me in the virtual shoes of someone else on a different world… one I might actually be able to save.

Ultimately, art is the result of raw emotions unleashed.

Video games combine graphics, music, stories, and characters into one beautiful artistic package that’s more powerful than anything I’ve ever known. It’s an escape experience that can do wonders for my soul, giving me a safe place where my bottled up emotions can run free. Banjo-Kazooie and Diddy Kong Racing cheered up a bullied outcast. Grand Theft Auto San Andreas and Resident Evil 4 provided an outlet for teenage rage. And then the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy narrative saved me from myself by showing me who I am, making me a better person, and putting fate’s grim place into perspective for me.

Nothing is more artsy than any Final Fantasy game.

All that deep emotional stuff is what art is all about for me. Just like any painter, author, actor, or poet, video game developers put their heart and soul into their work – the game worlds they create. The graphic designers paint the world and characters. The composers fill the world with sound and inspiring melodies. The writers weave the storyline together and give birth to the lives we connect with. To top it all off, I’m given a controller and the ability to find my own way through their world. Video games are a powerful combination of mediums that resonate with me more than a standalone painting, song, or novel ever could.

Realistic graphics are not necessary either. I would have had the same feelings if FFXIII looked like this.

As the player, I also put my heart and soul into accomplishing the game’s task. It doesn’t matter if that task is lining up Tetris blocks, bringing down a corrupt god, or racing my way to first place. I am still invested in the world on an emotional level. I feel frustration when I screw up with the Tetris blocks. I feel despair as I try to save the dying world. I feel accomplishment when I see the first place trophy appear next to my name. The final score, witnessing the game world’s final moments, and the trophy are all the result of raw emotion unleashed, which to me is exactly what “art” is.

Wannabe Writer’s Notes:
-My answer to the Mage’s first question is here:Β Have I Really Learned Anything From Blogging?

⚑Thanks for reading!⚑

35 thoughts on “Are Video Games all artsy?

  1. In my mind, art makes you either think something or feel something in a way you haven’t before, so you provide a compelling argument for games being art!

    At the end of the day, folks will connect with what they connect with, so I wonder if, to the everyday gamer, this matters, but the fact that we have these conversations now – even if 20 years ago devs were having these conversations in-house – is important and a sign of gaming’s continuing maturation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!! I have no idea what I’m talking about but it was fun writing this, haha. I still love how you referred to art as a concept. Your post was so awesome!

      Very true! To me, if someone doesn’t consider games art, it’s their loss. I’m also proud to support your video game relevancy crusade, by the way. πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I had a colossally crap run at High School and it’s that what went and twisted Mr. Wapojif into the peculiar, psychologically twisted oddball he is. BUT! Back 20 years back, the N64 sure did see me through it all. Plus, multiple PC games. It’s a shame Steam didn’t exist back then.

    Still, though, a lot of folks are ignorant about games. My sister sure is. She thinks they’re childish. I think she’s a poopy pants.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post! I agree 100% being able to get lost in the world of video games definitely makes it art. You can connect to stories and characters as well as immerse yourself in a new world!

    -Luna 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  4. How many arts does the average video game have? All the arts!

    This question would be moot if there wasnt such a backlash against it. It seems as though people believe if games are art, then prior art is irrelevant, which makes no sense. That would be like me declaring all books trash because I hate Twilight. Like most things, the relevance isn’t negated by recognizing others can belong.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I would say yes. However, “Are they *High* art?” is what I think is the crux of what people are getting at when this question comes up.
    What do I mean? Well when we look at film (Something the industry seems to love to emulate at times)
    There are movies that get held up as intellectual works. Citizen Kane is often regarded as one of the best of all time.
    It had some terrific direction, experimental (for the time) angles in shots. A story so good people overlook the one major plot hole that
    would crush most other movies before they got off of the ground.
    Then there are movies that get panned for being too simple, or too stupid, or riddled with so many problems they’re unintentionally funny.
    Dumb, and Dumber is a very entertaining movie. But not too many people would put that movie in the same league as Citizen Kane. They may
    even love both films, and enjoy them for what they are. They would say both films are works of art. But Dumb, and Dumber wouldn’t be *High* art.
    Where in their minds Citizen Kane, would. Due to the simplistic story, the crass humor, and the general tone.

    In gaming, many story driven games, are trying to experiment with different themes, or ideas. Other games are more about competition. Other games are more about the entertainment value rather than anything else. All of them have visual styles, music, and other things most would call art. Games are composed of art. So I don’t think the question is so much centered around if they’re art or not. Rather it’s centered around the idea if they’re the kind of thing we should have in museums, or if hifalutin intellectuals will debate one another over allegorical elements of System Shock 2 the way they do about classic Mark Twain novels.

    And some of that debate can come off as snobby, or pretentious to some. It certainly has for some when discussing films, books, paintings, you name it.

    Ultimately though with games, they have to be fun first, and foremost. The most thought provoking narrative in years doesn’t mean anything if the game is a snorefest filled with boring fetch quests. Or if the game is so buggy, and glitch ridden you don’t want to touch it with a ten foot pole.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Astute observation. The “high” art snobbery and elitism is just that, and we’ve seen those two vices in many other forms. Even in gaming, elitism that treats some as “real gamers” for doing time consuming or tedious accomplishments in games aren’t worth a sniff, in my opinion, and neither is the delineation as “high” art, as if somehow that makes it “real art”. Art is art and without art Earth is just eh. πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well they’re two different things. Yes some people may automatically discredit anything they deem as simple or infantile, but that doesn’t mean one can’t appreciate something thought provoking, and deep. One can acknowledge the intricate skill Eric Johnson possesses when they hear Cliffs Of Dover, and enjoy the simple but energetic Borstal Breakout by Sham 69 at the same time. They just do different things. One could argue the former’s understanding of the guitar absolutely demolishes the latter. But you know what? Borstal Breakout is great because it’s so concise, giving us an intense three chord song about a prison break. There are some people who would eschew, anything not in the “high” art list. But that is just as much a mistake as not listening to Cliffs Of Dover just because guitar snobs like it. This also doesn’t make High art unassailable. Like I said, Citizen Kane has one of the biggest plot holes of all time.

        This dynamic is what made the show Frasier so great. You had characters who were so enveloped in high society, but they had a father who was very grounded. He could appreciate their intellect, and knowledge. Yet they still learned from him because through him, they saw how life really works. How at the end of the day how you treat one another is more important than how much you know, or how much you have. And to appreciate what you have already.

        But I digress. There will always be some stuff that deserves praise for doing something new, intellectual, or deep. And that’s great. And there can be debate as to just how good it really is. But that doesn’t mean Demon Attack suddenly isn’t fun because Chrono Trigger decided to do a lot for RPGs. You can appreciate Chrono Trigger without being an elitist.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. So much right in this comment. I’ve begun to think along the lines of purpose and targeted demographic. Not everything can be high art even if high art automatically made a product more valuable… There are plenty of things which exist to entertain and educate children, for example. Games made for kids don’t have to be sophisticated for the intellectual because that’s not their purpose. Fun factor is another valid element. I loved Broforce but not in the same way that I loved Journey. But I still enjoyed them both. Further, because there’s value to a wide range of human experiences, sometimes that cold high art misses the reality of the average life.

          As for elitism, there’s so much of it everywhere. “You’re not a real X unless you XYZ”. But we cannot build a community of respect with elitism eating away the foundation.

          Liked by 2 people

  6. Man, what a great post. It wasn’t until I read this that I realized a lot of the deeply ingrained nostalgia I have for the N64 is how just the visuals and sounds alone immediately call to mind comfort during tough middle school/high school years… I feel like you just unlocked why certain games from that era still feel like a warm blanket to me all this years later. Breakthrough!

    Great stuff here, per usual.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Not all video games are art (just skim through the rubbish that appears on Steam for proof of that) but titles certainly are. Stuff like Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and Last Day of June made more of an impression on me than any painting.

    Your screenshot makes me want to play a 16-bit version of Final Fantasy 13. I don’t seem to be a fan of photo-realisitc graphics. Final Fantasy 15 still sits on my table unplayed. I am however keen to try out the cartoony looking FF15 mobile game.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Everyone’s perspective of art is different as our opinions. What has always fascinated is how that view reveals itself into a wide spectrum of ways to view a subject.

    I really liked where you coming from. After all art at its core is all about the experience and how we remember it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great Post! I thoroughly enjoy playing a great video game story. That experience goes with you for years down the road. I’m not sure what you call that experience, but a solid piece of Art sounds good to me!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Great post! We personally think that video games are definitely a form of art. Especially with the rise of VR and AR making its way into the video game industry. How cool would it be to one day be immersed in the gorgeous art of games like Final Fantasy? πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Awesome, awesome, awesome post! I love how you describe how different bits of gaming mean different things to you, I wish I was that eloquent about my gaming experiences. I totally agree that video games are a form of art (or many forms of art rolled into one giant piece).

    Also, Dragon Age Origins is amazing and one of my two favourite games and I would definitely read any rambling you have to write on it.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s