Have you ever been in a museum and stared at a painting before? If the answer is yes than it wasn't a painting. You were staring at the wall next to it or something.
Video games are the evolution of the museum. Any great painter would have told you that the painting they made is a story told visually. They would say that the path your eyes take are all by design, and that every brush stroke had a purpose. What they wouldn't tell you is that they are liars. Every artist tries to overcome the feeling that what they are doing is a sham, and that the end result of their work is fraudulent and false prophecy. The painting is an idea manifest, but a life that died before it's time, a messenger killed before it could deliver the message. Video games and paintings are similar in that they are both not art.
To define what art is is difficult. The Mona Lisa was painted and repainted year after year until Da Vinci died, and he spent all that time trying to revive something that was destined to die. Jean Michel Basquiat was described as casting rituals and incantations through his paintings to give life to a lifeless canvas. Even in video games, the enemy of mankind is "Undead", something recreated unnaturally that no longer lives but toils for eternity without meaning or purpose. The Undead are paintings in museums. The Undead ARE video games.
The finished painting is nothing more than a game after an artist has ceased working on it. The viewer takes the journey set out before them, searching for an end, one that is ultimately decided by the viewer. In a video game, the player takes the same journey, taking the paths the designer has made, fighting the enemies in his way, and reaching the conclusion, the final moment where they go from playing to searching for whats next.
The player is no more an artist than the developer who stopped making the game. The
painter is no more an artist than the viewer in the museum. What makes the artist, and the art, is the indescribable. The art is not what's created, it is the creation. What's left after that is just something for the next player to fight along the way.