Author Topic: Games are art: Smithsonian dares to say the obvious.  (Read 714 times)

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Offline Luis Dias

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Games are art: Smithsonian dares to say the obvious.
Quote
While society at large questions whether video games can be art, to the world's largest museum, the question has already been answered. The Smithsonian American Art Museum announced yesterday that it has added two video games to its permanent collection: thatgamecompany's hypnotic Flower, and Halo 2600, a side-scrolling de-make of Xbox shooter Halo.


http://www.theverge.com/2013/12/18/5222932/smithsonian-adds-flower-halo-2600-to-permanent-collection

 
Re: Games are art: Smithsonian dares to say the obvious.
Halo 2600? Why. Why not you know, add a game from the actual Atari era? Something actually part of history?

 

Offline Dragon

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Re: Games are art: Smithsonian dares to say the obvious.
So I guess it's official now. :) Anyway, it's a good thing. I know of a few titles that would be by all means worthy of that honor. Spec Ops: The Line is an example, up there with Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now. Really, it goes quite well with them. Book, movie and game, set and made in different eras, yet talking about the same thing. The Longest Journey is also quite an impressive work of art, the sequel slightly less so, but still (we'll see how Chronicles will turn out...).

 

Offline An4ximandros

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Re: Games are art: Smithsonian dares to say the obvious.
Vidja geams aren't art. LALALALALALALALALALA

In all seriousness, I don't think games are "art" (High Culture). The work put in to them by the designers, coders, artists? Sure. The product? No.

I have yet to see one game that makes me feel I should question the world around me, or philosophize in the slightest degree.
Until that happens, I can't support the idea that video games are "high art" (the type that transcends barriers.) No one will remember or care about Freespace or Blue Planet/Inferno in some three or so decades.

That does not mean I might not change my mind if something that shifts my world view comes around. 'Till then though...

On the actual topic...


I am glad to see an initiative to preserve bits of "history". Since the day I went to the The lost history of video games conference. I have been hoping to see initiatives to preserve the documents and sketches that gave birth to games.

 

Offline Dragon

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Re: Games are art: Smithsonian dares to say the obvious.
Try SpecOps: The Line. Really. If this won't make you question the world around you, I don't know what will. It does certainly transcend barriers, though the result is quite horrifying in it's case.  Still replayed it once, though, and I'm gonna do it again. Because it's just that good of a horrible experience. :)
There's also Xenosaga, though it's more like an interactive movie, you can pretty much watch it on YouTube leaving out gameplay entirely (indeed, a custcene compliation movie shipped with the 3rd one, to make sure newcomers get all the story). It's a beautiful story, shame it's a PS2-only game. It can also get quite philosophical at times, though it's incredibly complex and thus quite niche, especially with it being a Japanese console game. Some important side materials were never translated, and the game is little known.
Then there's an obscure game called EYE: Divine Cybermancy. It's definitely art, but of this incomprehensible sort you see in modern art galleries. It's a truly mind-boggling experience. Fittingly enough, the authors are French. :)

 

Offline Flipside

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Re: Games are art: Smithsonian dares to say the obvious.
The argument I often heard was 'Games aren't art, they merely contain art, they are just a set of numbers', to which my response was usually 'Films aren't art, they merely contain art, they are just a long roll of chemically treated celluloid' (this argument having taken place before the take off of digital-based cinemas, which actually brings the two even closer together).

 

Offline Luis Dias

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Re: Games are art: Smithsonian dares to say the obvious.
You know, I still don't get how painting is considered art. I have yet to see a wall painted decoration that makes me go all philosophical n' ****!

 

Offline An4ximandros

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Re: Games are art: Smithsonian dares to say the obvious.
Ya know, I am aware it was likely not the idea you had with that post, Luis... but that is actually my sentiment. :P

I should have been clearer and stated that I see "art" in it's original sense (The skill to do something.) Rather than as some abstract concept.
And that to me, the so called High Art is when the application of "arts" manages to create something that transcends its medium (Something that truly captures the state of the world and may even be able to change it given time.) It's hard to put this into words, but I hope it makes my take on things easier to understand. And as always, you can feel free to disagree with my opinion, it's a free world. :d