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Game. Art?

June 23, 2010

I’m not sure it’s the right question: Are games art?, forcing games to be the latest addition to the long list of expressions having to justify their existence by criteria established by a culture focused on *the work*, and to shy away from the moral pitfalls that television and video has stumbled upon in their turn.

Not that the games industry help matters, by stubbornly insisting that stories don’t matter. A fair point, but not entirely true.

Which is why I get excited when reading this interview with  Tom Bissell and why I promptly ordered his book, Extra Lives, why video games matter.

Again, one is tempted to underline that games matter if nothing else because they are the fastest growing form of popular culture, but Bissells argues that great gameplay and great stories can co-exist. And he elegantly undermines the roar of the dinasaur, Roger Ebert:

The question is not, “Are video games art?” The question is, “Can artists express themselves through the video-game medium?” […] there is little formal agreement about the best approach to assembling a video game. With movies, we pretty much know. You have like a set of editing, cinematographic and performing options. I think those options are just exponentially more numbered for video games right now.

Exactly. The tool box of people with great ideas just got bigger. Wouldn’t it be nice to teach film makers how to play around with them, in stead of playing turf wars?

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