Why Video Games Aren't Art

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.

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Posted by Sin4profit

Art: personal expression

Design: external communication.

..wasn't that hard.

Posted by mikey87144

I don't like art students.

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Posted by Demoskinos

Lol

Posted by DonutFever

I never want to read another forum post again.

Posted by GERALTITUDE

Is this a poetry blog?

Posted by Flacracker

This was dumb

Posted by niko555

Saying video games arent art on a video game website.

Have fun!

Posted by fartGOD666

@serker said:

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.

Thanks.

Posted by Itwongo

But, yo, FUCK abstract art, right?!

Edited by CaLe

I found philosophy of art to be the most boring subject I ever took willingly. No idea how I got a B in that exam; I left out 1 of 3 questions, made up a bunch of nonsense and, oh...

Edited by believer258

What's onomatopoeia for farts? That's largely the best response I have to this - a big, loud, intense flapping of the bumcheeks.

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Posted by niko555

What's onomatopoeia for farts? That's largely the best response I have to this - a big, loud, intense flapping of the bumcheeks.

Now thats some real art right there!

Posted by Animasta

yeah well will you also answer why you aren't art?

(seriously though why do you care)

Posted by DarkShaper

So the twist is that we were the art all along?

Edited by RazielCuts

@believer258 said:

What's onomatopoeia for farts? That's largely the best response I have to this - a big, loud, intense flapping of the bumcheeks.

Jeff's got you covered -

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Posted by Azurath

@serker: You are objectively wrong.

This isn't mystical hipster land where you can pretend that words have undefined meanings to try and make a "look how deep I am" point (This also isn't art school).

Human beings created the term art to describe personal expression through a medium. Anything that falls under that category is art, regardless about how you, or anyone else, feels about it.

Also, stating something as dumb as that about video games, on a forum about video games?! C'mon duder....

Posted by Shortbreadtom

In a way, aren't we ALL art?

Posted by Rick_Fingers

Man, you quite eloquently make an arguement that makes no sense whatsoever.

Edited by TheManWithNoPlan

Today I learned that art students are the worst people to tell you about what's art or not.

To any actual art students here, I'm only trying to match hyperbole with more hyperbole. No offense.

Posted by jakob187

Don't. This argument becomes a slippery slope, and frankly, those who believe games are art won't believe you even if you DO present a reasonable debate to them.

Posted by MalkavTheClown
Edited by Brodehouse

To define what art is is difficult.

Oh?

: something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings

Don't like definition, how about an encyclopedia?

Art has been characterized in terms of mimesis, expression, communication of emotion, or other values. During the Romantic period, art came to be seen as "a special faculty of the human mind to be classified with religion and science".[2] Though the definition of what constitutes art is disputed[3][4][5] and has changed over time, general descriptions mention an idea of human agency[6] and creation through imaginative or technical skill.[7]

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Posted by jimmyfenix

I am offended good sir/madame !

Posted by PenguinDust

Man, you quite eloquently make an arguement that makes no sense whatsoever.

Perhaps this is a performance art piece, of sorts. Internet performance art...they have that, right?

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Posted by Oldirtybearon

What's onomatopoeia for farts? That's largely the best response I have to this - a big, loud, intense flapping of the bumcheeks.

I'm a fan of phbbbbbbbbbbbttt, personally.

Edited by TheThirdRLM

As a former art student myself, I'm mildly offended at the art student hate... but its JUSTIFIED HATRED because I'm WAAAY more offended by the INCREDIBLY PRETENTIOUS ORIGINAL POST.

Art's difficult to define so you make a post "defining" it, or more specifically, what it CAN'T be!?

This.Is.MAAADNESS.

I wanted to ignore this post buuuuut goddamn. GODDAMN.

@razielcuts @believer258

I beleive *pbbblt* is an acceptable option, too.

Posted by Video_Game_King
Edited by Popogeejo

This is pretentious wank and I suspect you know it and it's based on a few blatant falsehoods.

Your first lie is the proposition that all games are comparable to, and only to, paintings, which you also imply are the only form of art, and you ignore narrative arts which are what most games are more suitable to be compared to or installation and performance art which several others are more easily comparable to. Static 2d art is actually probably one of the least comparable art forms for games, even the classic 2d ones. Really there isn't any that are all that suitable but at least lean towards something with either motion or a higher level of interaction.

Your second and more baffling oddity is that the finished work is not art and only the act of creation is. Now, very technically you're right but in many others you're wrong. It's to do with being pedantic. Creating is art; paintings, games, books/movies/plays/narrative mediums (both fictional and non), abstract works and so much more are WORKS OF ART. They are the product of art.

The idea that creators of art are no more artists than viewers of art is also really weird and it lies with the implication that viewers/players/watchers/readers themselves are not, to a degree, artists. By your own argument it's the act of creation that is art and so it must follow that by absorbing a work of art and creating responses to it, whether they be emotional, logical or analytical, the viewer is now also part of a creative process and thus an artist. Their opinions are the new works of art. Now that's pretty pretentious in itself but isn't that all conversations about "what is art"?

Your other major problem is lines like "Paintings are a life that died before it's time" which sounds really profound for half a second until you think about it and realise it doesn't make any sense without further explanation. I won't even go into the idea that The Mona Lisa is a failed attempt at keeping an idea alive. None of what you said in those sections actually conveyed anything other than vague confusion.

Here's the long and short of it;

Are games art? No, though the act of making and playing them is. Are games works of art? Yes.

Posted by cmblasko

Why art isn't video games

Posted by zombiepenguin9

@believer258 said:

What's onomatopoeia for farts? That's largely the best response I have to this - a big, loud, intense flapping of the bumcheeks.

I'm a fan of phbbbbbbbbbbbttt, personally.

In Calvin and Hobbes, it's rendered thhhhbbbbbbbtttttt, but there you go.

Posted by BeachThunder

I would be genuinely interested to see how many of the people that don't think games are art have ever made a game.

Edited by Guesty_01

Man this is some hot, and I mean HOT, steamy bullshit right here folks.

Posted by A_Talking_Donkey

I would be genuinely interested to see how many of the people that don't think games are art have ever made a game.

Everyone at Ubisoft and EA.

Posted by Little_Socrates

I am generally sad that so few of you are familiar with the "art as action" philosophy of art. This isn't original at all, but rather a prevalent theory that he manages to explain pretty well.

That said, his language is simultaneously verbose and weak, which is why it comes across as "pretentious."

Posted by SoldierG654342

Posted by adam1808

Yeah you're wrong on this one. But you're entitled to your opinion.

Posted by Colourful_Hippie
Posted by Manhattan_Project

Guys, I think this post just murdered me.

*checks pulse, notices repeated stab wounds*

Yep.

Edited by BaconGames

@little_socrates said:

I am generally sad that so few of you are familiar with the "art as action" philosophy of art. This isn't original at all, but rather a prevalent theory that he manages to explain pretty well.

That said, his language is simultaneously verbose and weak, which is why it comes across as "pretentious."

Still I think there is an inherent antagonism and cultural damage incurred by spending time and effort to say something isn't art inherently which I think is absolutely valid to rebuke. With that said, I think this was destined to fail by being so authoritative with its title; Why Video Games Aren't Art is not only tired but something that is increasingly hard to justify. If the OP finds it useful to think of games this way, I think that's great but framing it as games =/= art is not the way to do it if you want to convey something on the internet. If not and it was just a throw against the wind with no regard to the likely backlash and reactions, then whatever I suppose.

Posted by Gruebacca

Your post does not allow me to understand your point of view. The crux of your argument is sadly hidden behind a stream of phrases that too vaguely relate to a concept that to most people is foreign.

Your argument, if I have called it correctly, basically is, "Video games are not art because art is only considered art when it is in the process of being created." For one thing, I could replace video games with movies, television, music, or totem pole carvings, and it would functionally be the same argument. You try to make your point of view on the incredibly broad subject on whether or not video games are art, but in the process you make the subject of your argument too specific, and in the end you end up confusing everybody. In addition, the body of your argument does not settle on a concrete idea, and each sentence is open to too much interpretation. You are supposed to be doing the interpretation for us. We should not have to interpret your argument.

It's like when your kid asks why you can hear your echo, and you tell him it's because atoms vibrate, without telling him the specifics of what atoms are and how vibration relates to sound, and you also present this information in the most verbose and esoteric fashion that anyone unfamiliar with these concepts could not possible understand what you are saying.

Edited by spraynardtatum

I've had feelings, learned things, and gathered meaning based off game mechanics, themes, and design while playing certain video games.

Are you calling me a liar?

Edited by believer258

@little_socrates said:

I am generally sad that so few of you are familiar with the "art as action" philosophy of art. This isn't original at all, but rather a prevalent theory that he manages to explain pretty well.

That said, his language is simultaneously verbose and weak, which is why it comes across as "pretentious."

His message comes across as pretentious because:

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.

Is this really what the "Art as Action philosophy" says? That paintings and video games are a sham and fraudulent because they're "just" objects? How does this philosophy define art, then, and what examples of art does it use?

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Posted by davidwitten22

"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."

What? How does this make any sense whatsoever? I think you meant to say "art", but even that wouldn't make sense with the last sentence. If I was baked I probably would have been totally into this post.

Edited by CynicalBuzzard

I find video games to be a form of art.

Posted by Popogeejo

@little_socrates: He explains tiny bits well. he gets the very basic idea that making is the art, not the product but then everything else he says doesn't explain anything. He says paintings are dead ideas but doesn't explain why they are dead.

It's pretentious because it's reciting an idea after only understanding the vague surface while not being able to follow up with anything else and padding it out with faux-insightful comments. It's like trying to talk about Quantum Physics by mentioning Schrodiners Cat and then saying all other science is dead because it's dead and Physics is "Undead."

Posted by Immortal_Guy

I'm not much of a linguist, but isn't art pretty much what we say it is? I'm pretty sure that's how words work.

If you stop someone in the street and ask them, I'm sure 99% of people will say that paintings are art. By definition, they're right.

Posted by coaxmetal

this reminds me about how portrait of the artist as a young man sucked. It was all about aesthetic theory and it sucked

Posted by JazGalaxy

I don't like art students.

It seems like many people in the "games as art" discussion don't want to hear from people who actually study art.

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