Amph Are Video Games an Art Form?

Discussion in 'Community' started by Likewater, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. Likewater Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 2009
    star 4
    Is it?

    I wanted to bring up gaming but without the games taking over, without the platform battles or the genre rivalries. Are videogames a new media or are they simply product?

    What has gaming come to mean in the public eye?

    The web magazine "the Escapist" has figures like Movie Bob from "Escape to the Movies", "The Big Picture", and Screw Attacks "The gameoverthinker". Who makes observations and critiques about gamer culture.

    His Contemperary Ben "Yahzee" Croshaw of Zeropunctuation, is known to rake certain subgenres of videogames and their player's over the coals calling "modern military shooters" spunk gargle wee wee. for being and I am loosely paraphrasing here (rightwing gun wank)

    Intrestingy enough Moviebob on a screw attack video about Iran Contra (gameoverthinker episode 70 "fall of duty"), stated his view that videogames as a media was still maturing, and is not unlike Hollywood during the 1930s-1960s with its uber patriotic war movies.

    Which I find intresting because During X-plays run around 2004-2006 Adam Sessler often complained about the prevelancy of WWII shooters. And once derided a Vietnam shooter because it depicted the viatnamiese opponet npcs so poorly( I forget whether it was the story or bad AI or both)

    And then there is and its look into sexism and Gaming...which I found reactions too disheartening.

    here are some links These are links to sites not specific articles

    http://www.feministfrequency.com/

    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation

    http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/the-big-picture

    http://www.screwattack.com/shows/partners/game-overthinker


    Most reviewers seem to feel that videogames are a new media worthy of being treated with the same respect and critcizim as film or books.

    I personaly tend to change my view, especially during the gamer communities more petulant and entitled moments.


    Ramza Edit: Thread title changed at OP's request.
    Last edited by Ramza, Dec 5, 2012
  2. Violent Violet Menace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2004
    star 4
    Isn't any means of mass communication considered media?
  3. tom Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 14, 2004
    star 6
    what gaming really needs to qualify as media is more product placement and rampant commercialism.
    Ender_Sai likes this.
  4. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Well I guess that would depend on what kind of game you're talking about.
  5. MarcusP2 Games and Community Reaper

    Manager
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    Jul 10, 2004
    star 6
    Most games are the equivalent of Michael Bay movies. However there are some that transcend that, like Heavy Rain. However as gaming has to be chiefly concerned with gameplay and not story in order to find success, I'm not sure we're ever going to see as varied and developed a scene as there is in movies, particularly in large commercial games.

    However I don't see what the 'petulant moments' of the gaming community have to do with the validity of games as an art form.
  6. Darth Guy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2002
    star 10
    Erm, the question is usually "Are video games art?"
    No, it doesn't, just as it doesn't depend on what film or book you're talking about. A thinly-veiled Twilight porn fanfic tops bestseller lists and people don't try to pretend it's not the same medium as 50 Shades of the Old Man and the Sea. Horrible schlock, sure, but that's different.
    Last edited by Darth Guy, Dec 5, 2012
  7. Life Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 2
    As far as storytelling goes, as I've written here before, games are a bit of a broken medium to begin with, because, as Marcus already pointed out, being that it's a game, fun and compelling gameplay has to be the top priority. The story will always be adjusted to accommodate the gameplay, not the other way around. And in those rare cases where it is the other way around, more often than not, the result is a bad game. Games are not the optimal medium for storytelling, because storytelling is not its main goal. At best, it's the second goal; at worst, it's an afterthought.
    Last edited by Life, Dec 5, 2012
  8. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    How about we play games and enjoy them.
  9. Likewater Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 2009
    star 4
    Past is prologue right? the Community reflects the media, (if gaming is media.)

    And the community, or should i say a small fraction has garnerd the image of representation of a gamer community, and that fraction has been loud, mysoginistic, and elitist(?) or exclusionary.
  10. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
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    Jul 13, 2008
    star 6
  11. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    I think it's like film in the 30s-50s, yes. That's an apt comparison. Because most game makers are only really trying to distract you and make fun things, but at the same time there are whole games on occasion and more frequently at least moments or aspects of games that are much more meaningful and artful. But when you have the world's most renowned "shoot everyone!!!1!" game series Halo coming out with a 4th installment by new developers that's been praised for its narrative depth, you do start to feel like we're edging towards the equivalent of the 60s in cinema: a lot of schlock still, to be sure, but also a lot of people breaking molds and pushing the limits. And this is coming in part (as in the 60s) from the burgeoning independent gaming market.

    I think it's a major fallacy to deride a medium as not artful if it aims to entertain. Don't fool yourselves, the main point of literature, music, theatre, and films is to entertain as well. I think the problem is that people often falsely equate "entertain" with "amuse" or "distract". The true definition is much deeper, meaning to captivate. To keep one's attention. Even to transport one to somewhere else. It doesn't actually imply that the content of the entertainment is frivolous, nor that it must be serious. As with any other artistic medium, video games can and do span a range of emotions, themes, purposes, and genres.

    But are video games worth taking seriously as an artistic medium? Absolutely. In the last 5 years or so especially, we've seen video games mature in many ways. I think part of this has to do with the fact that games can now look so good that players aren't just constantly clamoring for better graphics to help immerse them. Once you've reached damned good visual and audio immersion, on par really with that of cinema in many ways, you stop obsessing about it so much. You can focus on other goals.

    But consider.... has there been a better, more fully realized sci-fi world in the last 30 years than in Mass Effect? Did you ever think you'd see a shooter with heart like Halo 4? Who dreamed they'd some day play a platformer dealing with regret and relationships like Braid? And don't you feel as exhilarated and in love with the characters while playing Uncharted as you do watching Indiana Jones? (Plus, let's not forget the sobering, brilliant Spielbergian father-son exploration in Uncharted 3). How fantastic were the totally gray protagonist and his long-time foe in L.A. Noire? (Not to mention, how great was the acting? And just how many people from Mad Men were in that game all told? :p)

    Marcus mentioned Heavy Rain, which is always the first game that comes to mind for me when discussing the future of video gaming. Even though there are heart-pounding action sequences, the story is always focused on the internal and interpersonal struggles of the characters. And ultimately, it's not a game about trophies and headshots; it's a game that really is about an idea - "How Far Would You Go to Save Someone You Love?" At Comic Con, I went to the panel for Beyond: Two Souls, being made by the same company (Quantic Dream). Ellen Page was there talking about her role and how the story convinced her, an Oscar nominated actress who doesn't play games, to take the role. And there you had David Cage telling people to play his games one time, make the choices you would actually make, then never play them again. He just wants you to experience the stories in a real, connected way, not come back to replay and unlock some cheats. But what was most incredible about this panel were the questions from fans. In 30 minutes of Q&A, not one person asked a single question about gameplay. No one. People asked instead about the characters, the story, the theme, the deeper meanings. To me it was a watershed moment in my experiences as a gamer.

    Steven Spielberg notably said that he didn't think he'd take video games seriously until they could make him cry. Well, I have to admit, when I played Assassin's Creed: Revelations, I actually cried near the end of the game. I mean, these are games about running around and killing people in awesome ways, and yet Revelations managed to step above the mould and really turn the real focus inward, to have lovable, jovial Ezio now in his old age, considering his life and looking back on Altair's as well. And it's my favorite game in the series, even though it has the fewest assassination missions.

    So yes, I think it's fair to say that video games are in a really important era of growth. Not only are they making more money than films, they're being played by more and older people. The average gamer isn't a kid, but an adult in their 30s. People in generations x and y don't see gaming as a niche thing for children. We played games as kids, yes, but we never stopped. We grew up and they grew up with us. And now for us, they're no different than films, books, theatre, music, etc. Like all those mediums, there are good and bad examples of the art. But it's art nonetheless.
    Last edited by solojones, Dec 5, 2012
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  12. DarthLowBudget Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 17, 2004
    star 5
    Of course they are media. The real question is whether or not they are art.

    EDIT: And I should clarify that I do not think they are art, nor should they strive to be.
    Last edited by DarthLowBudget, Dec 5, 2012
  13. Strilo Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2001
    star 8
    Isn't the singular form of "media" actually "medium"?
    Ender_Sai and GrandAdmiralJello like this.
  14. solojones Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2000
    star 9
    Yes. And yes, the title of this thread is quite silly and should probably be changed, because a discussion about video games as an artform is one that's ongoing and interesting... but there's no discussion to have about whether they're a medium. That's just plainly self-evident, and I'm not sure it's what the OP really wanted to say.
  15. Likewater Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 2009
    star 4
    Okay Okay, Mods can go ahead and Change it to "Are Videogames an Art Form"
  16. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 7
    Rachel, that was a great post, but I think you underestimate the films of the 30s-50s. Not the place for that discussion, but seriously. :p
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  17. GrandAdmiralJello Community and Lit moderator person

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    What does storytelling have to do with art? Does a painting tell a story? What about an ecphrastic poem? Note that it's not the same question as "can a painting tell a story?"
    Last edited by GrandAdmiralJello, Dec 5, 2012
  18. jp-30 Manager Emeritus

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    Dec 14, 2000
    star 9
  19. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 7
    There's another one that would make a great sig for you.
  20. GrandAdmiralJello Community and Lit moderator person

    Manager
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    Nov 28, 2000
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    mmm?
  21. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
    The first two Mass Effect games, especially the second one, have some of the best character development I have ever seen in a video game. The games take a great, painstaking amount of time developing each of the characters, and it manages to find this great balance between shoot-em-up and kewl explozionz along with a rich storyline and fully realized characters. I was fully emotionally invested into most, if not all, of the characters by the end of 2. Mass Effect 3 had this irritating problem of trying to be mainstream to people who had not played the series before which makes absolutely no sense. Why not do some of that in 2?

    Skyrim is a great example of how to world-build in an RPG. Each city, each forest, and each cave has its own personality, its own story. It honestly is the best current-gen open-world RPG this side of GTA which is not an RPG. Man I need to go play that now.
  22. Sith-Lord-Gunray Ex-Mod

    Member Since:
    Aug 20, 2003
    star 6
    Hey so um, as a cg artist in the games area, I'm kind of questioning if you people arguing this know much about production for games or how the art department works. The games industry isn't the same as it was 20 years ago. Not even 10 years ago. Or even 5. The artists working on games, even your fancy FPS games veiled as black and white shoot badass things for big explosions and pointless fun, have intense art departments and if we're arguing games as art - I'm going to honestly go so far as to say that the artists working on these are far more skilled than a lot of the artists that are currently producing museum work and real paintings. I've gone through the whole fine arts college thing, I see where my "real" artist friends ended up, and they're successful and producing art that shows little to no skill development with the focus on art for art's sake. But if you took a look at the portfolios of nameless game artists or even the individual game art (not just 2d pre-production art, the full deal), the painting, sculpting, + photography skills that are shown are just incredible. You know those background characters you see in games, or that nameless soldier that ran by for 2 seconds in a war cinematic? That guy probably has a backstory to him. Whoever made him probably invented why he has every scar, every big scuff on his armor. But you're not going to notice that are you, because you're playing it for the game, right? So regardless of your individual intent for the product, you seriously cannot deny that the whole thing is definitely art. Maybe it's not something you're used to like a sloppily painted abstract crapfest that makes you feel something awesome, but it's still art all the same.
    MrZAP, Billy_Dee_Binks, Life and 2 others like this.
  23. Likewater Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 2009
    star 4
    I never played it but i heard the original Deus Ex actualy had philisophical arguments and postions on subjects, that it was a very deep game with a complex story, and that the franchise has never been able to recapture that. Even Deus Ex: Human Revolution couldn't get that deep because most of its diskspace was for high end graphics instead of story.
  24. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
    I would also say that even though it came out in 1998, Grim Fandango is one of the most beautifully developed games in existence. The voice acting is superb along with the character designs. It also has one of the best video game soundtracks ever recorded.

    That's another thing. Soundtracks can sometimes elevate from their source material when it comes to video games.
    MarcusP2 likes this.
  25. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2002
    star 6
    shadow of the colossus
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