Video Games and Art Essay
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“No video gamer now living will survive long enough to experience the medium as an artform…” “No one in or out of the field has ever been able to cite a game worthy of comparison with the great poets, filmmakers, novelists and poets, composers, painters and so on…” “They will not evolve..” These are the arguments emphasized in Rogert Ebert’s article about video games which for me, are striking and disturbing. Appreciation of the video games as art depends on one’s own definition of what is art.
Ebert said that the most articulate definition of art he has found is stated in Wikepedia. It goes, “ Art is the process of deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions. Plato, on the other hand, spoke that “art should be defined as the imitation of nature. Roger Ebert, however, defined art as creation of one artist. This only implies that one interprets a certain medium or form depending on his/her own criteria and framework.
Ebert is able to consider video games as not art because his own definition of art does not match with how video games are created, executed and manipulated. In Ebert’s article, he cited Wikepedia saying that “games are distinct from work.” Games are more concerned with the expression of ideas and its key components are goals, rules, challenge, and interaction. He even mentioned and singled out the difference between art and games. Adding more to the description of games, he further cited that games have to be won. Games have rules, objectives and an outcome. Meanwhile, he uttered that art in the forms of story, novel, play, dance and film cannot involve the aspect of winning. You cannot win. Rather, you can only experience them. That’s the point. Ebert tried to see both aspects in their physicality or form, not in the way they are able to affect their audience, not really in a way how audiences experience them.
Video Games are indeed art
I can’t help but be amazed on how Michael Mirasol argued that video games can be or indeed art. His points were rich of supporting facts, details and insights that can really convince its readers. To him, a video game is not a meaningless form of mindless entertainment. He made it clear. Video games should be considered art.
He pointed out how video games evolved through time. Video games started as monotone blocks or blips on Cathode Ray Tubes until it evolved into more advanced and complicated features. Before, video games were only created to facilitate competition but today, they are creatively made to give entertainment, pleasure and ofcourse, profit. Thanks to the leap to advanced technology that made way to its innovations and developments.
I would love to exemplify Super Mario, as the first ever video game to incorporate a fairy tale story. This is what Michael Mirasol is saying. There is incorporation of the narrative, setting and characterization. Hence, audiences or games engage themselves to the game in a more intimate and exciting manner. There is emotional investment. This is the reason why video gamers get hooked to this kind of game.
I would just like to quote what British author, journalist and critic, Steven Poole wrote, “ …A beautifully designed videogame invokes wonder as the fine arts do, only in a uniquely kinetic way. Because the videogame must move, it cannot offer the lapidary balance of composition that we value in painting; on the other hand, because it can move, it is a way to experience architecture, and more than that to create it, in a way which photographs or drawings can never compete. If architecture is frozen music, then a videogame is liquid architecture…”
Videogame is not merely a game. It is a medium, just like art. It conveys specific message and it forms an interaction with the gamer. The video game’s goals and the video gamer’s response complement each other.
Michael Mirasol said that games are evaluated according to their components instead of the experience the video gamer is able to get from playing. Exactly.
Video Game is a kind of modern art
I would just like to get the idea, Mirasol cited from wikepedia. “Games are more concerned with the expression of ideas and its key components are goals, rules, challenge, and interaction.” An art is no doubt, an expression of one’s thoughts, dreams or emotions. To me, an art is the freedom to express oneself through different forms and processes. An art indeed has goal. It is to convey message and meaning. It is to manifest talent and skill. It is to entertain, to inform, to liberate, to propagate, to persuade. Meanwhile, an art may create its own rule, depending on the creator. In terms of challenge, it is left in the hands of the reader whether he or she acccepts the challenge of going deeper into the meaning the art form conveys. Lastly, the interaction always takes place between the artform and the reader once the art is read and seen. The production of meaning is automatic. However, we cannot only leave the comparison by only comparing the similarity or differences of the two aspects in their components and aesthetic. Just like what I said, leave it to the experience or the overall impact the two bring.
I am not really a video gamer but because of my brothers who are fond of playing video games, I also engaged myself not miss the fun and excitement. I used to play playsations with them in my elementary days. We have collections of video DVDs that contain a variety of games. There were sports, combats and alike. I remember playing Pacman, Street Fighter, Tennis, Car race, Lilo and Stitch, Resident Evil and many more. During those days, playstations were really hit. Our neighbors, playmates and cousins come over to our house everyday and play with us whole day. I only enjoyed playing video games whenever I played with them. There, I found satisfaction. When I win the game, I almost jump in joy. When I lose, it was an ordinary thing because my brothers were the masters of the video games. Then the computer came in. I was hooked with playing simcity where I build my own city, own houses and businesses and manage them.
That was fantastic. I get to become the mayor of a city, virtually. And there are more decoration games, cooking games, fashion games that developed, really, my artistic and creative side. It was always a fulfillment to be able to make my own design or what I would consider, my artwork. I was even hooked to playing dress up games and cityville in computer. I really love those games. It does not matter to me whether someone says that video games cannot be art. That someone is only a small portion of the population which believes that video games are highly art. Even I,do not really eye on the label. What important to me is the feeling and the reward I get from valuing video games as significant part of my life and as significant component of a rich culture.
Nowadays, video games are no longer merely games. They mean some more else. I agree to the study about video gamers that Ma’am Eloi once mentioned. Video gamers are indeed people who can be considered wise because they know and develop strategies as the game progresses. They are able to design tactics and win battles. They are able to master their skills and sharpens their minds. They are able to squeez their creative and critical juices and come up with outputs in the end.
They also get to socialize while playing the games. Thanks to the technology for the breakthrough in video games and for the convenient and more pleasurable way of playing them. More and more brilliant ideas are coming up and I will not wonder if someday, a different kind of video game is existing. Consequently, perspectives on video games will eventually change. I am certain that the evolution of video games is continuing. Someday, the mass audience will consider it an art or yet, something different and something more meaningful than labeling it as art.