Beyond the shrill, politicized rhetoric heard in some state capitols, where, in 2006, we've been treated to such gems as "This video game is not even speech. It is a device" and "yes, games are speech, but worthless, disgusting speech", a quiet debate has been emerging on a related front.
Can video games be considered art?
Art is in the eye of beholder much like any beauty.
To me it is any form of expressing one's self. Its your ability to tell a story, be it in this world's timeline or a created other's. Art also has the potential and ability to change the way we look at the world.
On Wikipedia, art is defined as such:
"Art is the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions. It encompasses a diverse range of human activities, creations, and modes of expression, including music and literature. The meaning of art is explored in a branch of philosophy known as Aesthetics."
I praise many video games for deep and engaging stories and the interactive gameplay that makes you feel like a major part in this world that developers have created. My favorites ones being those that are perticularly philosophically charged like the 2007 game Bioshock. I say video games are capable of rivaling the best of film, paintings, and literature.
Alexa Moses and Elicia Murray of the Sydney Morning Herald examined the issue recently. The journalists found those who hold that games are not art include influential movie critic Roger Ebert.
The "not art" argument typically centers around the interactive nature of games. Following criticism for dismissing games as an art form, for example, Ebert explained why he considers the game medium inferior to film and literature:
"There is a structural reason for that: video games by their nature require player choices, which is the opposite of the strategy of serious film and literature, which requires authorial control.".
Some game designers, such as Brisbane studio Krome's co-founder Steve Stamatiadis, agree with Ebert. Although Stamatiadis believes games have the potential to become recognized as an art form in the future, they're not there yet.
On the flip side, Australia's John De Margheriti numbers among those who argue that games do represent a new type of art. De Margheriti is the foudner of Aussie development studio Micro Forte and considered a leader of the video game industry Down Under.
While De Margheriti acknowledges the interactivity argument, he insists that the video game experience is indeed controlled by the creative process.
"The author of the game has written some grand plot line, has created the races, the pretext of the stories... He's constrained you in a series of quests you must do, missions you must complete, objects you have to collect. There is a structure, but it's a structure that's interactive."