Video Games: Are They Art?

Books, paintings, photography, film, fashion and music…all of these are considered art. How come a medium that combines most and sometimes all of these elements is not considered art? I will tell you what, read this musing below and we will get back to that question:
8 Things Gamers Want - Image 1

Are videogames art? No, videogames are more than art – they are the culmination of art. Videogames combine incredible music that has been played by the world’s greatest symphonies, visuals that are comparable to the work of Monet, narratives as complex and rewarding as film, and immersive, emotional experiences that no other piece of art could possibly offer. For far too long, videogames have been misconstrued as simple “toys” by much of the mainstream media. Nothing but pointless distractions for immature children. But look at games like Journey, Limbo, Fez, and Braid – all incredible experiences, all driven by the imaginations of brilliant creators, all able to take the player on an emotional journey. If “art” is the act of creating something that had previously only existed in one’s imagination, then there is no reason why the world should not recognize videogames as art.

-Andrew Birdgman,

Seriously, this guy makes a wonderful point. And I could not agree more. I play video games for their wonderful stories, whether it be a treasure hunt that takes you to Shembala, or revenge on the ancient Gods…from recreating the Battle of Hoth to killing Diablo (over and over and over again)…from exploring a tropical island to exploring a mythical land inhabited by dragons…from fighting in a battle at the Seine Crossing to playing a game of baseball or football, Video games offer so much. And right now, they are getting even better.

Updates in graphics and storage have allowed developers to dive even deeper into the gaming experience. Ask anyone that has ever played Mass Effect if that game didn’t effect them the same way a super sad (or hopeful?) movie might. Anyone that played the Age of Empires games probably learned some history along the way. And you cannot tell me that at the end of every Uncharted game, you didn’t feel a little bit sad that you were leaving those characters once again.

I guess I just believe that video games should be considered art by now. They are no longer just little side scrolling games that “waste time”. They are every bit as engaging as a good book, TV series or movie. Hell, some movies and TV series are video games without the heart (yea, I am looking at you Once Upon a Time and Life of Pi).

Video games have ‘actors’ just as much as any movie that is computer animated (Wreck-it Ralph) and they have amazing stories to tell, just like any good book. The stigma of video games being “nothing but time wasters” needs to finally fade away. They are here to stay and should start being taken as a serious medium for entertainment as well as art. They even preform as money makers. The video game sales topped $13 BILLION last year. You want to know how that stacks up to movie tickets over the same amount of time? Last year Americans bought just over $10 Billion in movie tickets, which is A RECORD for that industry…yet, we have about 15 different awards shows to congratulate these people on their amazing art.

I think it is time for a change, and that change is to recognize video games as real art. What are your thoughts? Leave them down in the comments below!

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1 Comment

  1. Nice point. I mentioned the same thing today at my although briefly. Games are art indeed and even more than most of the art we see around these days.


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