Are Video Games An Art Form?

Mehdi Maleki
Articles March 3, 2024, 8:50 am
video games as an art

Art is a concept as old as human civilization. But video games seem like they were born just yesterday. Can the game, as a new phenomenon, fit into an old concept called art? Today, in this article, we will tell you whether video games are considered a form of art or not.

What is Art?

While many gamers consider games to be the most evolved form of art, even critics and activists in this field still do not agree with the fact that games are art. Philosophers have been involved in the matter for a long time to give a definitive answer to this basic question.

First of all, let’s see what art is. In a simple definition, art is the expression of ideas, feelings and states of mind in a meaningful way to convey a concept. In this regard, by putting together the definitions that have been presented since the time of the Greek philosophers until this last century, we can call art the creation of an environment, experience and beautiful works that have the ability to be shared.

Visual arts such as painting, performing arts such as theater and artificial arts such as music are fields of art that are generally recognized, so you don’t usually hear anyone making an unusual argument about them. However, the basis of art is still a matter of discussion; Can creativity, beauty or something be considered the basis and foundation of art? If we want to talk about this issue, we will not get anywhere, but it was important to get acquainted with the general concept and definition of art and then get to the main topic of this. Let’s go to the article.

video games as an art?

You might say to yourself that many works of art are in the heart of video games, which is true. This combination and a series of other arguments have caused many gamers to consider the eighth art as a suitable title for games. Games are good at creating an environment, creating a sense and conveying a concept, so why is there still a debate in this field? In fact, aesthetically, games can probably outdo most of their current peers in various art forms.

The main problem that caused the debate about whether games are art or not, mostly goes back to the element of interaction and its consequences within them. So, perhaps the main achievement of the game form and the reason for its distinction from other media is also its Achilles heel for its critics. It is interesting to know that currently the main question among many enthusiasts in this field is not “whether video games are art or not”. In fact, now the main question for those who like games is what kind of art are video games and in which class are they classified?

Let us first see why the opponents of the idea that games are art have such an opinion, and immediately we will examine the opinions in favor.

The Reasons Given for Denying Games As Art

The differences between the game and other fields of art are the beginning of many differences. Most of the games have rules, goals, missions and results and finally you can win them, in fact the rules inside the games make them look like a competition, while in the traditional definition of art, such elements have no place. This issue creates another excuse. Another part of critics considers video games to be an evolved form of sports. From the point of view of some, the word Play is not the same as feeling, and it gives existence to this criticism, willy-nilly. Here, the matter becomes even more complicated, because there is a debate about whether sports is considered a form of art or not, but of course we have nothing to do with it.

For many years, due to the existence of competition in sports, there have been many oppositions to call it art. You must have heard the term electronic sports. So like it or not, part of this industry is completely known as sports. But only games are not competitive. Competition is seen in most art products. Countless stories deal with the competition between people and groups, cinema is full of bloody competitions, and even thousand-year-old sculptures or paintings talk about competition. Of course, this kind of competition of art products is formed in their content. The games are very good at separating competitive content and competitive categories.

Some critics also believe that games only satisfy the physical need of humans to do something. In art, nothing is made to satisfy human needs, but works of art are made to achieve higher goals and meaning. But… does the artist work to satisfy his needs? Does the artist’s physical engagement with his art not satisfy him? Many people consider video games to be the continuation of a trend that started with traditional games like chess, so if we consider video games as art, then chess and traditional non-video games should also be a form of art.

video games as an art?

If we put this argument on the table, how can you really differentiate between dance, which is a branch of art, and some sports, which are debatable as art? Is one the evolution of the other? How can you tell if traditional games are more evolved or video games? Is chess more evolved as a real game or video games as virtual products? Art ownership and artistic vision are also raised in criticizing the art of video games. Many critics of the art of games consider the team approach of video game development to lack the single vision of an artist.

But is there a difference between team work on game development and group work on a piece of music or a movie? On the other side, some people consider the video game as a playground, a land that no one owns, but everyone owns it, so it is impossible to identify the artist who created that art product or to know its owner. This issue has already been discussed in interactive arts.

For example, is it possible to consider the audience as a participant in the creation of a work of art as much as the artist? According to the researchers and artists of interactive arts, the audience and the artist are one at the point, in this field. In this case, who is the artist and who is the viewer? If we consider games as a branch of interactive arts, such a thing is possible. But even if we ignore this argument, games often contain elements that were recognized as art years ago without controversy.

Distinguish Between Artistic content and Artistic Essence

Music, fiction and graphic arts are a form of art in today’s world. According to the critics of games being an art, the combination of different arts cannot necessarily mean the creation of a new branch of art, and even in this case, other existing elements such as interaction and competition have their own role in the final conclusion. Interaction is an intersection that has created a difference of opinion between different groups of supporters and opponents of this issue and can even create a commotion within other fields of art.

The audience’s mental interaction with the shapes of one of the forms of art is undeniable, but what we mean by interaction in games is the interaction that the audience can physically change the artist’s product. Will the main artist be different? This is the opinion of art critics, while the opposite is the case. If the artist takes help from one person in his vision, two artists are influential in creating the work. If thousands of people have a common vision in making a work, that work still has the vision of its artists.

This is while the main game development team knows in advance what they are presenting and their original vision can never change in a game released by others. Even if they make something like Dreams, where the user can create a completely different video game inside, it still does not contradict the original vision of the creators of creating a work with the ability to create new works. We must consider that the concept of interaction does not exist in all accepted forms of art in this sense.

video games as an art?

Again for example , the audience may destroy half of the statue, rewrite part of the story, or display another person’s painting from a certain angle. These are not considered interactions, but interferences or distortions, just like if a gamer creates something that has nothing to do with the original game by reaching into the game’s codes. With this memory, the interaction has messed up all the equations of art; Because art has never contained interaction, and what is known as interactive arts, is based on the traditional definitions of art.

Art, Half Art or Non-Art?

Maybe it can be argued that games are more artistic than other examples, just like what happened in all works of art. Some game connoisseurs do not consider all games as art, but consider some games as art. The difference between games being art and art games ultimately means that games can also be a form of art, but not always. But maybe this argument will take us to a stage where we just leave the differences behind, not to solve them, and not solving the problems cannot cause them to be forgotten; What factors qualify art games to be categorized in art branches? see? This argument does not completely answer the critics.

The two-way communication between industry and art is not limited to games. The established forms of the products of different branches of art also face this problem. It is not difficult at all to talk about the industry or entertainment component of the media, then the artistic components, and finally the consequences that each has for the other side. So far, it is very good to understand that there are criticisms that games are not art, and there are also those who agree to call them art.

In response to the criticisms that some philosophers and even the activists of the game industry brought to workd of game community, the answer is that games are still in the beginning and like other forms of art that took some time to accept, this debate is also long-winded. It is not going to end soon. So, in the end, are video games a form of art?

We once in past defined a series of things as art, but when we can’t define something, we don’t need to talk about art. Video game probably needs a new word, even though it is younger than any other form of art. So, who knows, maybe one day we will say that art is a form of video games!

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