Friday, March 16, 2007

Gamasutra Does the Art Thing Also

As an odd coincidence Gamasutra today posted an article titled Are Games Art? (Here We Go Again...) By Bryan Ochalla which surprised me because I only Posted on the Subject Yesterday and this article comes at the question from the other side of the discussion suggesting that games are indeed all art.

I have a few problems with the article and his first mistake:
That, however, is a question to be tackled at another time and in another article. Instead, the question of the day is “are games an art form?”

Unsurprisingly, the answer among game developers is a resounding “yes.”
Hideo Kojima was the first developer I ever heard to give his outright opinion on the subject and his stance is that, although games contain art, they are designed as mass entertainment and are not art. I am not sure I agree with his stance from the Official PlayStation Magazine on art, but this was what got me first thinking about the subject. A few other developers this year at GDC also from Japan shared a similar stance (I am sorry I didn't write down their names now). So to say all developers agree that games are art is plain wrong.

Then on the second page of the article Ochalla shows a screenshot from Okami next to a picture of Fountain by Marcel Duchamp and asks below as a caption "Which of the above is art?"

Okami is renowned for having a very unique painted art style and even has a brush that the player must use in the game to cast spells with. Okami is possibly the closest thing any game product has ever come to being considered art. However Fountain on the other-hand was submitted to an exhibition to challenge people's perception of what can be considered art. Even today thirty nine years after the artist's death Fountain is still debated, but widely accepted as art. This is because even though the piece wasn't crafted by the artist's own hands, by him placing the item in a gallery to be appreciated as art makes it art. So maybe the question shouldn't be "Which of the above is art?" but rather "Which of the above emulates art?".

If all games are considered art, then all films should be considered art. And if that is true that makes all the Harry Potter films art which are simply poor adaptations of the books in-order to make money. So if all crap films are art then our definition of art is so broad that I should be able to go to the toilet, shit into the toilet and then call my stool art because it is the result of artistic expression.