43 Comments
Posted by BeachThunder

Odd choices...

Posted by Gold_Skulltulla

Having worked at the Smithsonian (Hirshhorn Museum), I can safely say that it's an institution that's slow to move, though each individual museum mostly operates on their own accord (American Art and Portrait Gallery more in tandem bc they share a building). Curious if they'll focus on specifically American games. I know the traveling Art of Video Games show did not, but it might be strange to acquire Japanese games into a collection of American art, no?

PS - A technicality, but MoMA's game acquisitions are part of their architecture and design collection, not their art collection.

Edited by taig

The term "media art" is so clunky. I guess it is a good catch all, but yuck.

Posted by Jamsque

@beachthunder: You have to think about the context. Games as art is taken as read for most people here. It is not for most people who go to the Smithsonian. They have chosen two games which is it easy to point at and say "look, here is the artistic merit of this piece".

Flower is a game that, whatever you may think of it personally, is approachable and accessible to people who know nothing about games, and has a clear emphasis on a very specific aesthetic sensibility in its visual art and music and even mechanics.

Halo 2600 seems a VERY strange choice on the face of it, but in many ways it's a fantastic selection because it is something that was created as a labour of love for its own sake, rather than as a commercial product. Here is a person re-interpreting an existing work in the same medium but in a very different style, and in doing so posing interesting questions about the relationship between modern games and games of previous generations.

Posted by mrfluke

flower i understand, but halo 2600? really?

Posted by hfm

No 2600 E.T.? I am dissapoint.

Posted by mithhunter55

Interested to see where they go from here.

Posted by cabrit_sans_cor

I hate this debate.

Everybody is quick to claim that games are "art", until people begin to treat them like art (i.e. critiques). Then they're frothing at the mouths at how it's "just a game". Not to mention that calling something "artsy" in gaming is usually used as a pejorative (see: the scads of indies that people claim 'aren't really games').

I love games, don't get me wrong. But are they art? I don't think so.

Posted by hfm

I hate this debate.

Everybody is quick to claim that games are "art", until people begin to treat them like art (i.e. critiques). Then they're frothing at the mouths at how it's "just a game". Not to mention that calling something "artsy" in gaming is usually used as a pejorative (see: the scads of indies that people claim 'aren't really games').

I love games, don't get me wrong. But are they art? I don't think so.

I treat them like art, I think that's enough for me. I couldn't care less if someone else agrees with me.

Edited by AMyggen

@cabrit_sans_cor: The debate about what is art and what isn't art is dumb, I agree. But why isn't video games art? Why isn't a game like Journey art when films can be art, when music can be art? That a bunch of loud idiots scream every time a critic tries to take the medium seriously doesn't have an impact on what is and isn't art.

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Posted by seveword

Thanks for getting this! Super interesting.

Posted by cabrit_sans_cor

@amyggen:

It's just my opinion, but as a whole I don't feel like video games are art. I mean, imagine that 80% of movies or music are about how great killing shit is (whether it be brown people, aliens, what have you) and how cool war is. It feels like there's a huge lack of substance.

But then again, what is and isn't art is a stupidly complex question. I love the movie Die Hard, for instance. I don't think of it as a work of art, but I do think of it as incredible entertainment. A film like Citizen Kane, on the other hand, I do think of as art. Not only did it help move the medium forward, there's a lot more going on than "man is stuck in high-rise, must kill terrorists" - it's about something bigger: the true value (and cost) of wealth and power. How the most important things in life can't be acquired through money, etc.

But I don't know, that's just how I feel about it. I guess it's an ultimately subjective question.

Edited by Zalrus9

@cabrit_sans_cor:

I feel what you are saying, but what you describe is all art.

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=art

Perhaps it's not the best art in the world, but that's what Sturgeon's law is for. Video games, however, can go to a lot of great places because of it's interactive nature.

But, as you said, that's mainly semantics, and people can argue until they're blue in the face about it, but it is subjective. That said, I will rejoice when video games become treated like other forms of art, and accept the responsibilities of criticism.

Posted by Winternet

@amyggen:

I mean, imagine that 80% of movies or music are about how great killing shit is (whether it be brown people, aliens, what have you) and how cool war is. It feels like there's a huge lack of substance.

I would say that at least 90% of movies are about how great killing shit is or other subjects that also show a huge lack of substance.

Posted by guynamedbilly

Where'd the dump truck go?

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Edited by benspyda

I don't think games can be considered art until they contain more realistic graphic nudity like all the other forms of art.

Edited by thainatos

I live five blocks from that building!

Posted by Missacre

I hate how video games are associated with art now. Games like Gone Home, Bioshock Infinite and The Last of Us are considered "art," but there's nothing to actually take from them that qualifies as art. Flower, I might understand, but it's hardly a game itself. I feel like this whole "video games as art" thing is made up by pretentious people that want to "elevate" video games to art, even though most of them probably don't play, or recently started playing, and suddenly they're experts on the subject.

We're gonna start losing actual gameplay in games and getting this "art" shit, just because everyone's gonna have a hardon for the museum and wanting to get on the list. I love the Smithsonian, but this is a bad move.

Posted by jarowdowsky

Art is really just a term to describe something that has an affect on the viewer. Creates an emotional response. In that sense it's been used incredibly broadly since language struggled and vomited from our animal hides.

This is 'a moving depiction of a spoon' as opposed to 'this is a spoon'.

What tends to get lost in a lot of these debates is quality. The discussion that matters more than 'is this art?' is 'is this good art?'

Posted by kozmo7

This was really cool. Love all your interviews Patrick, keep up the great work man!

Posted by THEBIGZED

This was really interesting, had no idea something like this had happened.

Edited by avantegardener

A 'video game' is just a medium. What you create in that space can be judged as art. The same for films, books, etc, are 'Citizen Kane' and 'Jingle All the Way' to both be deemed art because they're both on celluloid? It's really that simple.

Edited by development

Art, in my eyes, is anything someone highly skilled in a certain craft works tirelessly and meticulously to create, with the product ending up a one-of-a-kind work. Along my definition, I'd say Just Cause 2's multiplayer mod is much more a work of art than either of those candidates. But I guess this is just the start of the whole thing, so we'll see where they go from here.

Posted by The_Anemeros

@cabrit_sans_cor: Weather or not something is 'art' is up to the individual. It's about how it makes each person feel. For example: There are some paintings that, to me, are just a bunch of random colors and/or shapes that have no value; So I don't see them as art. But would anyone say that painting is not an art form?

So with videogames, weather or not it is art is pointless, because as long as it has the potential to be viewed as art by someone, then it is art. End of debate. I believe that games are art, because some games have effected me emotionally, stimulated my senses, inspired me creatively, etc. In fact, because the experience is interactive instead of passive, I have found that I have been more effected by videogames than I have any other medium.

Edited by ProfessorEss
@mrfluke said:

flower i understand, but halo 2600? really?

I actually think Halo 2600 is more applicable than Flower.

Despite it's ambiance Flower was still a game made for a current platform and released in a store with profit being it's primary goal.

Halo 2600 was an Atari 2600 game made in 2010! If I've ever seen a convincing argument for "games are art" it's "We made a game for the Atari 2600 in 2010".

Edited by taig

@missacre said:

I hate how video games are associated with art now. Games like Gone Home, Bioshock Infinite and The Last of Us are considered "art," but there's nothing to actually take from them that qualifies as art. Flower, I might understand, but it's hardly a game itself. I feel like this whole "video games as art" thing is made up by pretentious people that want to "elevate" video games to art, even though most of them probably don't play, or recently started playing, and suddenly they're experts on the subject.

We're gonna start losing actual gameplay in games and getting this "art" shit, just because everyone's gonna have a hardon for the museum and wanting to get on the list. I love the Smithsonian, but this is a bad move.

Yea its just like movies I mean sure they are an accepted art form and now all we do is watch art films all every day. Stop engaging me aesthetically movies! I mean really It is so hard to escape the art films shoved into my face every day. From Resnais to Ratner exactly the same artsy nonsense these days right?

Give me a break dude. Heaven forbid games actually try to be interesting in a way that you don't approve of.

Posted by mrfluke

@mrfluke said:

flower i understand, but halo 2600? really?

I actually think Halo 2600 is more applicable than Flower.

Despite it's ambiance Flower was still a game made for a current platform and released in a store with profit being it's primary goal.

Halo 2600 was an Atari 2600 game made in 2010! If I've ever seen a convincing argument for "games are art" it's "We made a game for the Atari 2600 in 2010".

if you look at it that way, sure, that's a good argument for it!

Posted by Bicycle_Repairman

To many people here seem to think negative about the term art. It fils my hearth with holes and my head with darkness..now if only i could bloody paint...

Edited by Vuud

Video games? Fuck 'em.

Edited by Majkiboy

"The art of making something" Also, art doesn't need to have any meaning at all. Or it could have all the meaning in the world, it matters not. Poo covered in gold, a girl pretending to comit suicide, these are examples of art I've heard of. Just sayin'

Interesting listen though!

Edited by BaconGames

It fills me with sadness that people continue to confuse art with art form and that any cultural production, in whatever medium qualifies as art not by virtue of its quality, which we class can call "art" as a positive label, but by its symbolic production and transmission.

As for the Smithsonian, I think these are still odd choices given that Halo 2600 is a novelty piece that doesn't tie back into the culture much and Flower is rather obvious. I think Journey is better as a more representative example of blending design, interactivity, visuals, and player felt story.

Edited by Nettacki

@taig said:

Yea its just like movies I mean sure they are an accepted art form and now all we do is watch art films all every day. Stop engaging me aesthetically movies! I mean really It is so hard to escape the art films shoved into my face every day. From Resnais to Ratner exactly the same artsy nonsense these days right?

Give me a break dude. Heaven forbid games actually try to be interesting in a way that you don't approve of.

You know it's possible for games to be interesting without sacrificing gameplay for story, right? Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a strong example of how the integration of both can create a much better experience than the sum of its parts. And that, to me, comes off as far less pretentious than so-called "games" like Dear Esther and Gone Home, both of which are glorified walking simulators with the latter providing marginally more interactivity by allowing you to look at stuff.