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Mornin '13

For crying out loud! For the past two days, I've been having what now seems like a hopeless debate about books vs. video games. What started as a simple discussion between friends, amounted to a furious debate about what's art and what isn't. Art is always a diffucult subject because it's easy to lose the thread of the debate and just go into a pointless argument about individual taste. Being as open-minded as I possibly could, I immediately accepted the fact that books are something that stimulates the human mind in a unique way. Books vs. movies or books vs. video games? Books are almost always the better choice, right? Of course. But that does not necessarily mean that video games cannot and never will be art - yes, that's the argument I faced during the discussion: video games will never become "true art." That's where I snapped. "True art?" Great minds have been trying to ponder what art is for centuries. Sure, I'll always give books the priority over TV, movies and games. But I refuse to accept the fact that people know what they're talking about when they haven't experienced the mysterious beauty of Limbo, the intriguing caracterization in KotOR, the absurdly compeling lore of the Warcraft universe and so on. 

Games like Minecraft, Antichamber and even Mirror's Edge cannot be called art. They certainly aren't flawless as video games. But even if you dimsiss them and just refuse to even give them a shot, there's one thing you cannot deny: every one of those is a bold experiment. Develoepers are taking chances at least. And that's worth something and it may take us to a whole new journey one day. So, call it entertainment, call it art, call it fun, call it wasting time. Call it whatever the fuck you like. 

People are so judgmental and they speak so confidentally about video games with prejudice and anger. Personally, I have wasted a lot of my time with countless, stupid video games. At the same time, I wasted a lot of my time reading books I was told were good, but turned out to be shit. I've read some truly great books and played some memorable games and I'm grateful for those experiences. 

Games carry the stigma of being "for kids" or "mindless shooters" or "pointless MMO grinding" etc. These days, there's way more to it than that. People are possibly too scared to give games a try, becuase they just might have too much fun and there's more to life than having fun. I think most people are quick to dismiss games because they don't understand them. It's easier to deny something completely when you don't know how it works, as opposed to taking the time to understand how it actually works. 

Additional note: I apologize for the wall of text

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20 post(s)
Reader Comments
vireo Dec 10 2013, 02:44 am EST
The Dutch qualify all video games as "art" and therefore they are not subject to censorship of any kind from the government or anyone else. Art is a form of expression and expressions shouldn't be censored.
  Vader: Absolutely. That's one of the points I was trying to …
vireo: Yeah if only people could be more open minded about t…
TrevorOreius: Not everyone will see things your way. But, at least …
Vader: To be fair, nobody can be utterly open-minded. But at…
vireo: true, besides what is true art anyway? you might as w…
Vader: Nobody can answer that question :)
Un Om Bun: A true work of art, or better yet, a good or convinci…
Vader: Even if there are a few. That's enough. But saying th…
Un Om Bun: Where the heck did I say they'll never amount to more…
Vader: I'm not referring to what you said. I'm referring to …
Un Om Bun: Ah, ok then.
PigMaster Dec 10 2013, 03:22 am EST
You lost me at minecraft anf anti chamber are not art.
Are 2 lines drawn on a board art?

As an arts school dropout, I've had millions of discussions regarding this topic. In my opinion, it's all in the viewers points of view and interests.
Are cartoons morning shows considered art?
Why not?

Read Camera Lucida (Ronald Barthe), it'll give tou a good idea of my own view.

Sorry for not reading the whole thing.
  Vader: Never said that Mincraft and Antichamber are art.
PigMaster: You said they cannot be called art. I don't see the r…
Vodoo Dec 10 2013, 03:29 am EST
i don't give a toss because i just got my Hearthstone invite.

blizzard is still a company driven by assholes and morons but Hearthstone is the diamond in the pile of feces.

if you like CCGs, i urge everyone to play it once it goes open-beta.
  Vader: Though pointless it may seem, this is one of those mo…
GrgoljBlaster Dec 10 2013, 03:30 am EST
Books are linear, noninteractive medium. Games are nonlinear, interactive multimedia. On the other hand, reading a book stimulates imagination usually more than a videogame simply because you have to visualize everything, while in the games you're handed the visuals on a platter. Narration-wise, both can be and are on same levels, though playing a game feels more personal since it's you who call the shots, it's your story. Someone described video games as "reading the book from inside-out", this applies a lot to adventure games and oldschool text adventures.

As for the people talking down on games, they usually do so because they've never even giveng the games a shot. They know games like Pac-man, Tetris, Mario, maybe even Counter-strike. And see, those games don't look like "art" to them - they're quirky little time wasters. Now the thing is, and this might sound like something "out of the arse", everyone can be a gamer. You just need to show them games that will spark the interest. For my friend it was Limbo and Braid, now she plays Bioshock Infinite and Batman Arkham Asylum and keeps asking us to show here more games with good story and stylish design (I think she got a copy of Syberia recently).

To conclude my wall of text - neither sides in this argument should just claim other party is ignorant. Everyone can find something interesting in any hobby, you just need to show them there's more to it than it meets the eye :)
  Vader: Yes, that's the problem. As far as games go, there's …
GrgoljBlaster: That's exactly the greatest barrier with games - to r…
Vader: Maybe by that rationale, the fewer people work on it,…
Vader [STAFF] Dec 10 2013, 03:50 am EST
It's also a bit unfair to pit video games against books.

Books are a symbol of tradition, education and have been a form of artistic expression for ages. Anyone will say that books are better. Even I do.

That's not the issue here.

I am getting tired of the common misconception that games will never amount to anything beyond "pew pew" and "crit crit"
  RenegadeCZ: If books are so much better, why do you earn your liv…
Vader: Because that's what I like to do. I can try to talk a…
Un Om Bun [STAFF] Dec 10 2013, 04:05 am EST
I'm yet to meet ONE gamer who bought a painting in his entire life. The big art aficionados.
  Reikhardt: I got plenty of paintings here at home and my wife di…
Vader: That's a good point Un is making. Because those who c…
Un Om Bun: I bet they're happy to criticize starving artists tho.
im_stardust: Why the fuck, would I buy a painting?
Vader: I'd buy a painting. Not any painting.
Reikhardt Dec 10 2013, 04:17 am EST

I enjoy what I enjoy and I'm not fussed what others determine it to be.
Personally I don't get the artistic appeal of half a dead animal preserved in formaldehyde or some bed that some skank has shagged dozens of men in. At the same time people who like that probably wouldn't get anything out of Proteus.
touretul Dec 10 2013, 04:28 am EST
World of Spycraft:
RenegadeCZ Dec 10 2013, 04:47 am EST

A great morning post man.

On topic, let me just present one example. As a kid, I've read LotR and Harry Potter books at about the same age I've played Morrowind. All three are good examples of art, but which one of these pieces do I have the fondest memories of? Morrowind, of course. That's what matters to me.
TrevorOreius Dec 10 2013, 04:55 am EST
Just like to say that this is a great post, Vader.

On another note, I'll be watching The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug tomorrow.
  Vader: Probably gonna watch that one next week. No time this…
Terminator: I'm going to see this movie Sunday. Can't wait :)
shaneh39199 Dec 10 2013, 05:55 am EST
Wall of text. Shitty wall not build by mongolian!!!

Glimpsed over "where people think videos games are for kids"

Pretty much how i feel about sports. grown men throwing a ball around for double digit millions?? For my lazy sake i hope E-sports catches on fire in my time on this planet so i can possibly find my lazy way of surviving.

Fuck its cold here in MO
  Vader: It's always cold in Mordor this time of the year.
finaleve Dec 10 2013, 08:15 am EST
Videos games are art just as much as a bunch of paint splattered on a canvas is. It's called perspective. You gather what you can from a piece using your current state of mind. "How does it make you feel" is generally what art asks, usually. It doesn't matter how amazing the person might be at creating an image but a matter on how you feel the piece affects you and whether you appreciate that feeling it gives.

Music is a prime example of a mixed field. I've recently started to listen to bands that at first, I disliked. Never felt like they spoke to me at the time. Years later, I hear a song from them and I end up buying their albums and loving every minute of it.

In other news, just finished playing through The Cat Lady. Pretty decent Horror "Point and Click" adventure game that gets pretty twisted very fast.
Vodoo Dec 10 2013, 09:33 am EST
Earth, 7 billion people, 7 billion opinions, some may be identical, most are not.

i'll bet you money, you snap a photo of a woman shitting on a man's chest, put a filter over it...some people will call it art.

if you abolish the word "art" and simplify it's meaning, you would end up with this: something i enjoy/like/appreciate or catches my interest.

or simply replace it with a sound that encompasses the entire process.
  Un Om Bun: I half expected the Inception sound.
Doomsday. Dec 10 2013, 10:05 am EST

Aaaaah Mirror's Edge! Now that game really made me think!!
im_stardust Dec 10 2013, 10:31 am EST
What exactly made you think?
  Doomsday.: How to make my way through the obstacles and building…
Myst Dec 10 2013, 11:23 am EST
Happy 20th anniversary, DOOM!
Doomsday. Dec 10 2013, 11:33 am EST
Who me?!? O.o
Whisky Dec 10 2013, 12:48 pm EST
@ Doomsday

No unless you are a very pixellated FPS shooter
Whisky Dec 10 2013, 12:52 pm EST
Play DOOM in your browser!
  Vodoo: cute, thank you. it's nice though a bit unresponsi…
antonphd Dec 11 2013, 05:41 pm EST
the argument against games as art is one of intent. that games are intended as entertainment. i say, so fucking what. Iif the paintings on the ceiling in the sistine chapel are art then so are video games. the intent of those paintings was religious and political propaganda. the painter was forced by a threat of death to paint them. what person would argue that they are not art. that they are mere propaganda? or mere craft?

i have spent the last decade creating games and it is insulting as hell to pour your heart and soul and imagination into an artistic creation only to be told that it's not art. fuck the assholes making that claim. show me which of them actually create art. it's usually the talentless leaches (critics) who are saying that games are not art. or it's artists who are envious of the money made by games. fucking assholes the whole lot of them.


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