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Thread: Can computer games be art?

  1. #16
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    I don't believe art has to be expressing something. The only example i can think off the top of my head now is Toshimaru Nakamura saying that he doesn't want to express anything. Would you thereby classify his music and indeed all of Jap improv as 'not art'?. I agree there are differences between art and entertainment, of course there are differences between the latest action blockbuster and an arthouse film, obviously the latter is expressive, richer and sensitive (ie 'artier') than the former. If one is made for financial gain is it constituted as 'not art'? An indeed, if one brings that into question, isn't most art nowadays made for consumption to at least some degree?

    I guess what i'm saying is is that nowadays Art with a big A has come to mean a certain type of art with a small A, a type like Matt suggested. Because we can make this differentiation, isn't questioning whether or not something is Art seem a bit silly because it there is (surprise surprise) basically no dichotomy between the supposed difference between Art and non-Art art. There will always be argument between people about this topic usually over petty things like whether or not something actually LIKES the work. For instance, Person A says GTA is Art because he likes the game and generally calling something art gives it credit, but person B says its not Art because they don't like computer games. Its never-ending, and i think its rather silly, but nevertheless feel the need everytime it is raised to explain that if you question whether or not something is art, it generally always will be.

  2. #17
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    Sorry for that rather ridiculous rant. Will make sure next time not to collapse into such a stupid, boring and passe argument. Hah

  3. #18
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    Been meaning to get back to this thread for quite a while now. Certainly agree computer games can be art, but the more I think about it, I don't know how it happens. As Woebot says, computer games with an arty twist tend to be atrocious, and I'd venture to add that it's some of the most blood thirsty, mindless ones (GTA, Quake, Resident Evil) that actually have the most cultural resonance.

    But noone, let alone the computer games manufactures seem to be able to figure out how it happens.

    Agree that "expressing" isn't what computer games do. Let's take another tack- perhaps computer games, like films, synthesize various cultural viewpoints together, they subconsciously provide solutions, dream up utopias to perceived problems with real society. Thus just as saving a bunch of children in movies often suggest fantasies of a better tommorow, the many rescue missions in computer games suggest a similar viewpoint. Except how does this explain that these days, all arcades are full of House Of The Dead and racing games (whatever happened to good arcade games?).

    Dunno where I'm going with this. Cultural studies probably.

  4. Default

    Back when i was at college i was paid to debug playstation games for two consecutive summers. This was for SQUARE, and the games were stuff like FINAL FANTASY. i have real difficulty appreciating 95% of computer games. But the other 5% provide the kind of immersive experiences that cannot be found in non-interactive media, and i think these experiences stay with you on some level. certainly as profound as any stagnant gallery experience, or so called 'visual art' encounter. i would strongly recommend the recent release UPLINK, where the gamer takes the character of a hacker. You need to hack the game itself in order to progress. ace idea.

    presenting an open system to someone seems far more exciting than presenting the resolution of a single artist's particular discursive contrivances.

  5. #20
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    Games are becoming more and more like showcases for art/music. Two types of games: The epic adventures like Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy always come with a great score, perfectly suited to the situation. Then there's the adrenaline rush games like GTA and Need for Speed: Underground, with modern, "trendy" music like hip-hop or house as a soundtrack.

    Music is becoming more and more of an integral part in the gaming industry; and the industry knows about. When I'm interested in purchasing a game (moreso with role playing games), I try to get as much info about the soundtrack as I can (even before I read the specifications ). I've got pure game soundtracks on my mp3 player and listen to 'em whenever cuz it's damn good.

    Gaming is possibly one of the -if not The most- most popular forms of art for the youth of today (youth being pre-16).
    -Dan

  6. #21
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    Thumbs up openness

    Quote Originally Posted by joanofarctan
    presenting an open system to someone seems far more exciting than presenting the resolution of a single artist's particular discursive contrivances.
    I quite agree, joanofarctan. Might go even further and say the openness you describe is a pretty workable distinction between art and not-art (and not just between good and bad art or exciting and unexciting): A work's "willingness" to be interpreted, its receptivity. We say that works in any medium, arty or otherwise, are pedantic or trite or not-art when they fail to kick off the kind of personalized interpretation or assimilation that art does/can, when they don't put you in the driver's seat, or when they seem to have already reached their conclusions before you showed up. You might say "closed" games are guilty of a similar kind of artlessness.

    I'm not much of a gamer, but this discussion also makes me think of "arty" self-conscious adult movies like Caligula, which in my view were rendering unto Caesar what was not Caesar's--and ruining two basic forms at once!

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by craner View Post
    Of course, Out Run was High Art. Particualrly in the arcades, on the machines that swerved like a real car.
    1181242142228-e1422635711476.jpg

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