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how to do things with videogames, Uncategorized

Videogames as Art?

Videogames as Art (Chapter #1)

Ian Bogost begins his book by introducing videogames as media that fits into numerous facets of the modern societal context. Art is the first aspect of this medium that is analyzed. In his first chapter, Bogost draws the comparison between art and its history and games/videogames. Whether or not videogames qualify as art has been a long debated topic. According to Bogost both art and videogames reject traditionalism. Over the centuries art has acted within the social context, challenging societal constraints and spearheading revolutions. Art is inherently a tool and agent of representation and change. Much like art, “…it serves pretty much the same purpose…: to issue a specific challenge to a medium from within it. And that if nothing else is most certainly a feature of art” (17).

This comparison of art and videogames led me to draw a connection between Bogost and McGonigal. In Reality is Broken, McGonigal makes the assertion that gamers find real beauty in the incredibly detailed and epic environments created in games such as World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy. This representation of beauty and dedication should be considered a form of art. Although seemingly unconventional, the amount of animation, creation, and imagination that is exhibited in these videogames is truly beautiful and most definitely an art form.

Although frequently challenged, videogames as art is not necessarily subjective. While some may not fully understand the purpose or message behind a particular art piece, it does not mean that it loses any significance for the artist or other onlookers. For example:

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This piece may seem pointless or even silly to some but to others it is a powerful declaration that provokes uneasy feelings of through unlike associations. Just because you do not fully understand the meaning or purpose behind the piece, does not mean that it is not art.

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Discussion

One thought on “Videogames as Art?

  1. Anybody that’s actually played games knows that the medium is more than worthy of being considered “art.” Probably my favorite critic, the late, great, Roger Ebert, infamously declared that gaming would never reach the classification of art and that the structure of the medium itself would prevent it from ever attaining such status. For as many uniquely shared opinions I’ve had with him over the years, he disappointed me here. Not only was he so, so wrong–one trip through Macalania Woods in FFX or listen through composer Yasunori Matsuda’s Xenogears soundtrack will tell you that–but he’s somehow missed the fact that videogames are not just art but in fact can be beautiful amalgamations of many different types of art, often in ways entirely unique to the medium. Games can combine the arts of visual design, storytelling, sport, and music in truly inspiring fashion and the subject is certainly worthy of further research. Critics of Ebert’s statement (Ebert, to his credit, later admitted his comments might have been unfair considered he’d never even played a videogame) often cite Shadow of the Colossus as a counter, and while that classic is a perfect example I’d also point to lesser-known titles like Rez and Journey to support this argument.

    Posted by bretth2 | June 25, 2013, 12:45 am

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