Video Games are Art

Roger Ebert, what were you thinking?

Many moons ago, he made the foolish comment that video games could never be art.

Very foolish indeed.  See, computers and their pixels allow digital artists to combine various bits of colored light to make graphics and images for visual consumption, either for interface reasons (icons, etc) or for business reasons (recreating logos).  Sometimes, they even mix it up a bit and design cool visual effects for business hand outs and advertisements.

File:Adobe Photoshop logo.svg

Compliments of Wikimedia Commons

And just so we’re clear, these tasks require computer programs like Photoshop, and these tasks are not always easy.  It takes time to put together a pretty design for a client and modify it upon request.

Video games are a clear example where characters are built from the ground up, designing a beautiful or frightening image for players to interact with.  The games have long periods between released versions…perhaps because the designers have to create the game from the bottom up?

No, the artists are not playing with the traditional brushes and canvas.  Some of them might use a sketch pad to visualize the character before they start the actual process, but that is just to organize their thoughts better.  You can’t build something unless you have a plan.

File:Paintbrushes.jpg

Compliments of Wikimedia Commons

Ebert also dislikes the interactivity of the video games and claims this goes against what it means to be art.  Does Ebert shun Performance Art, too?  Granted, Performance Art is queer at best sometimes (like artist Chris Burden locking himself in a locker for five days with the bare necessities), but it is accepted as art.

The kicker is when Ebert talks about “the real question is, do we as their consumers become more or less complex, thoughtful, insightful, witty, empathetic, intelligent […] by experiencing them?”

The question is, Ebert, are you saying all books and classic forms of art have more to offer than video games?  I don’t think romance novels, meaningless books, asinine movies like Superbad (sorry to everyone who liked it, I thought it was a horrible and offensive movie), or grating music should be placed before video games on the Scale ‘O Worthiness because they aren’t video games.  All people had back in the day was cuneiform and paints made of berries, and maybe some canvas.  If those artists had access to an Apple or Photoshop, they would have had so much fun!  Don’t you think if Michaelangelo could have played with graphic programs to plan out his murals, he would have?

Now, I don’t play with video games, and I haven’t for years and years.  But I do respect people who design them.  They work hard on their crafts and deserve the same status that other artists get.

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About sunlightsnow

I am working 40 hours and going to school full-time, which means what little life I can lead will be consumed with work, schoolwork, and sleeping.
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One Response to Video Games are Art

  1. John Jones says:

    Great post.

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