Author Topic: Video Games as Art  (Read 1865 times)

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Gold Trumpet

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Video Games as Art
« on: August 06, 2006, 10:33:16 PM »
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I'm continuing this from the Michael Mann thread. It's growing into something beyond the topic.
http://xixax.com/index.php?topic=1945.new#new

it's cheesy but whenever i see a cool and useful gadget i think  that kubrick would be proud of it.

Alright, I'll give you that. Kubrick forged ahead with electronica music in A Clockwork Orange and was on the cusp of the newest special effects when developing A.I. I think he could have found interest in video games, but I don't think he would have ever created one or allowed for any of his films to have developed into one.

Note: Does anyone else notice that a lot more people these days are trying to legitimize video games? It goes back to earlier conversations in this thread and others, but with the fanaticism of video games, serious filmmaking may take another step back in youth appreciation. It did so at the end of the 60s with the popularization of rock n roll and every new fad seems to dismantle more excitement for great films.

cron

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Re: Video Games as Art
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2006, 11:39:19 PM »
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it's funny cos the other day i was reading the 'art' entry at wikipedia and it said this:

It is common in the history of art for people to dispute about whether a particular form or work, or particular piece of work counts as art or not. Philosophers of Art call these disputes “classificatory disputes about art.” For example, Ancient Greek philosophers debated about whether or not ethics should be considered the “art of living well.” Classificatory disputes in the 20th century included: cubist and impressionist paintings, Duchamp’s urinal, the movies, superlative imitations of banknotes, propaganda, and even a crucifix immersed in urine. Conceptual art often intentionally pushes the boundaries of what counts as art and a number of recent conceptual artists, such as Damien Hirst and Tracy Emin have produced works about which there are active disputes. Video games and role-playing games are both fields where some recent critics have asserted that they do count as art, and some have asserted that they do not.

personally, i think they're on their way. consider the history of film, which started as something that belonged to circuses and was used (even back then) for pornographic purposes,  and then became all social and important .
i remember when i started studying architecture, a teacher told me that he didn't buy the idea of people crying while visiting the sistine chapel.  then he said that it was obvious that architecture isn't an art form, and that sentence contradicted everything i know about art. in the end  it all depends on your thoughts about the difference between art and entertainment and utility, i guess.
context, context, context.

polkablues

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Re: Video Games as Art
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2006, 12:04:28 AM »
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Video games are just following the same path that comic books followed about twenty years ago, where the people making them are taking them seriously enough that the people experiencing them can start seeing them as more than the crass entertainment that they used to be.  That's not to say there aren't still junk video games, but in no greater proportion than there are junk movies, or even junk novels.  Art transcends media.  There is nothing inherent in the medium of interactive electronic gaming that disallows it from offering a transcendent, meaningful experience as deep as any film or work of literature can.  In fact, the very nature of interactive entertainment allows the potential for an experience that is completely unique to that medium.  But just like Eisenstein and Bazin and their contemporaries had to examine the nature of cinema to figure out its potential, and people like Alan Moore and Frank Miller reexamined what comic books were capable of back in the eighties, video games need some real minds, some theorists, to really figure out the language of the video game, how to make it reach its potential.  The key for video games, though, is that the technology is ever-expanding.  Film is still essentially film, even with digital video and new 3D methods and all that, and comic books are still ink on paper, but video games have the ability to constantly change and grow with each passing wave of technology.  The limits of the medium shrink constantly.  And all it's going to take is a handful of really talented, creative designers to take on the challenge of meeting the potential of what video games are capable of for the world to accept their legitimacy.
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Gold Trumpet

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Re: Video Games as Art
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2006, 01:22:40 AM »
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See, I do think the place for Video Games to transition into an art form is there. I've read and followed too much 60s theories of art and semiotics from Umberto Eco not to be a believer. He argued that in the end the greatest book to own will be the phone book. No book would be able to sustain endless readings on a desert island the way a phone book would. In any novel you have rules and structures to follow for character and story. In the phonebook you have names on top of names in which to create relationships and meanings that can interchange and grow into new meanings. The value of the phonebook would be in your hands and your imagination.

I think the largest opportunity for video games exist in this realm. Many video games already act as stories yet to be written but none of them have a great context (as far as I can tell). Will a video game come along that will seriously challenge thought and structure and interact with our brains as much as our sensibilities? I don't know. I think as video games develop the challenge of asking for this becomes a steeper hill to look up. Every few years a major video game maker is introducing a new system that involves more participation with production from large companies. I remember the sensation when George Lucas' company helped produce Playstation 2. This leads me to believe that more money is being required for video games to be made. The race to stay competitve in the video game industry is intense.

In the development of film, the technical range of the camera developed but so did the availability of the camera as well. The price of the film camera began to drop. More people were able to pick up camera and make films. I think the trend in video games is that a few major companies are now racing to control the entire market of video games. Technology and development is becoming so sophisticated that question is, "Will a personally made video game ever exist?" and "Will it ever look authentic enough to register with our sensibilities in an era where the latest and greatest in video games is tied to money?"

Crono made the allusion of how film developed from a nickelodean entertainment to an artistic endeavour. I think the challenge of video games is much greater than that. Its asking for a personal art film to be made out of the large 150 million dollar blockbusters productions in Hollywood today. With so much money involved, can there ever be a trend to the reverse for actual artistic growth?

I doubt it.

(See, I know almost nothing about video games. I hope someone comes along and corrects my likely misquotes.)

pete

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Re: Video Games as Art
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2006, 11:37:29 AM »
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my flawed definition of art is rather simple--anything that you can take to beyond its primitive purpose is art.  for example, if you're cooking to stave off starvation, then it's' just cooking, but if you're cooking to express your understanding of certain ingredients and offer a fresh perspective on how food should be eaten, then it's culinary art. 
there are two ways that the video game can become a work of art.  the first way is through the creator and the second through the gamer.  if the creator can take the game beyond its current status as sophisticated toy, then it should be considered art.  in the same way, if the gamer can find a way to express himself past the need to beat a certain level, then gaming should be considered art.
right now the biggest hurdles seems to be the limitation of the technology and the rules for gaming.  it's like trying to turn tetherballs into an art, when so much of what you can do is limited to the ball on a leash.  if they can figure out a way in which the relationship between the gamer, the game, and the player becomes more complex and interactive, then sure, it's got all the potential of being an art.
“Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot.”
- Buster Keaton

Chest Rockwell

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Re: Video Games as Art
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2006, 05:42:26 PM »
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There already are artistic video games. For simple examples, one can look at Fallout, Planescape, Grim Fandango, etc., that chose to use the medium as a vehicle for inventive storytelling methods or to simply create a great story within the context (or rather, the illusion) of interactivity.

There was one game that came out a few years ago that I believe is walking the fine line. This little Japanese game no one ever heard of called Rez that was more or less a shooter but in which as the avatar you were shoting at abstract images in an abstract Kandisky-influenced world (the excuse was hacking into cyberspace) and shooting at the object literally created the music playing during the game. So in this way the makers united what you were seeing on screen (sight) with what you were hearing (sound) with what you were doing with the controller. Even more interesting is the "trance vibrator" that came with some of the Japanese versions: a thrumming vibrator that is apparently url=http://www.gamegirladvance.com/archives/2002/10/26/sex_in_games_rezvibrator.html]quite effective[/url] that I assume is also controlled by your shooting, thus juxtaposing in touch with the other senses already stimulated by the game. The makers were aiming for synaethesia. But what's cool about it is that no other medium could ever hope to accomplish what Rez did.

 

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