Folding Ideas - Video Games as Art -

Folding Ideas – Video Games as Art

Folding Ideas
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S2E18 – Video Games as Art

Originally uploaded May 30, 2012


  1. I think that to have an honest discussion about games as art, we first need to get rid of the BS notion that art is some kind of status symbol that separates the common from the special (or good from bad)

  2. Solid video, save for the fact that you completely missed the point when discussing pacing with literature. When we talk about the pacing of a book, we're talking about something intrinsic to the writing, not something extrinsic. We're talking about the flow of the narrative and the prose. It absolutely does not refer to the amount of time it takes a person to read the text–which is utterly absurd.

    The pacing of games is different because a great deal of the pacing is determined by the player. Whether or not you set aside a novel for a week before finishing it, or pause a movie to go make a salad, the actual content is unchanged. Scenes, dialog, plotting, etc. all occur in exactly the same manner with exactly the same arrangement, aligned exactly with the intent of the author.

    This is not the case for games, because the player is an active participant, helping to author the experience his or her self within the confines of the programmed and scripted worlds.

  3. Ouch at that Spanish pronunciation (even Medieval)….

  4. Indeed, books can fail to communicate because of their difficulty to read. If that's the case, then Ulysses is the Dark Souls of literature.

    And I genuinely feel confident about that statement, and didn't just say it as hyperbole. Ulysses is hard to read.

  5. Nier and Drakengard are my favorite "art videogames"

  6. What about risk? In videogames we don't risk anything. In art we risk everything.

  7. Very true, probably the best analysis of the question Ive heard. The good thing is that game designers are getting better at communicating and teaching the language of games and more and more people are learning it, which makes it possible for more interesting creations and uses of the language to exist.

  8. A few foreign films are generic enough to be watched satisfyingly without dubbing nor subtitles comes to mind. Ong Bak comes to mind – it's a Thai film about a villager who is tasked by his village elders to retrieve a stolen Macguffin.

  9. Roger Ebert said that before games improved in their art form. He’s extremely narrow minded in this case, lacking the imagination to see beyond the then current forms. Games then could show still images, it can play videos.. not hard to see the potential for art, unless he thinks a movie is no longer high art if you throw in interaction at the very start. If that was the case, I guess DVD’s and Blu-Ray’s aren’t high art; pressing play is interaction. Of course, he’s never played Myst so calling it a scavenger hunt is just… like he hasn’t even read a detailed review of it.

  10. Concerning player/control- what about those old 'Choose Your Own Adventure' books? Are not able to be art like other books? Of course they can be art. Therefore visual novel games can be art. Visual novel games are video games so at the very least some games must be art, if not all.

  11. Insanity wolf?- check date of video…ooohhhhhhhh

  12. Roger Ebert had this belief and it still grinds me. I don't know why I care so much but it's like changing his mind would change so many others, even though there's few others that are still behind.

  13. If anyone out there has spent as long thinking about the mona lisa as I have spent playing skyrim then I will believe that video games aren't art but you must have a sad life if you've spent 800 hours thinking about a single painting.

  14. When talking about games as art I'm always reminded of this quote from Michael Eisner, CEO of Disney during their 'renaissance'; "We have no obligation to make art. We have no obligation to make history. We have no obligation to make a statement. But to make money, it is often important to make history, to make art, or to make some significant statement. In order to make money, we must always make entertaining movies, and if we make entertaining movies, at times we will inevitably make history, art, a statement, or all three."

    I think the discussion of games as art has always been dominated in the mainstream by the presence of big budget studios who only pump out products under this mantra. Movies have been around long enough and proven themselves artistically enough that movies without surface-evident broad appeal to the masses can still receive funding and be produced with a fairly substantial budget, while in the realm of videogames the big budget titles and even the medium budget titles all come from people who share Eisner's philosophy. They're making entertainment for mass consumption which may at times incidentally become significant. Games that are actively trying to be art always come out of smaller, independent studios, and very rarely see much mainstream discussion. I think the tides are very gradually starting to shift on this, though, as more titles like Undertale become such substantial cult hits that they bleed into the mainstream in a big way and force big studios to start seriously considering less tried and true game formulae if for no other reason than these much cheaper projects often see a vastly more substantial return on investment when they do become popular than any big budget title could hope for.

    Of course one can adopt the philosophy that it doesn't matter what you're trying to do or how society views any particular work's artistic merits, any sort of expression can and is art; but I don't believe that's something the vast majority of people hold true. For most, there is a clear distinction between art and entertainment, and while art can be entertaining, it doesn't have to be, and very often isn't; nor does entertainment have to be artistic. Even those who believe all expression is art generally categorize things by degrees of artistic merit and importance; so even if one would insist that, for example, Duke Nukem Forever is a work of art, I don't think many would defend it as an important work. Videogames are art, sure – all of them, without exception, right down to the most basic cookie clicker knockoff littering the Steam storefront, but the vast majority of the games that get any public attention or scrutiny are not trying to be in any sense and so the masses rightly decide that based on the information they have, videogames are devoid of artistic merit and largely unimportant.

  15. You equivocated narrative pacing with pacing of experience. How fast you read a book has nothing to do with how fast things happen in the book.

  16. damn, the end of this video was the hardest mic drop I've seen in months. your back catalog holds up, bruv.

  17. One of the most common issues i see with games becoming an art, is the way how people perceive games after this transition. Let's say there is 3 definitions of games:
    1. A form of enterteinment (original meaning).
    2. A competition (variating from chess to football).
    3. An interactive piece of art (the definition that comes with games becoming an art).
    The misconception i often see is that one group of people thinks that if games will become an art, than defenitions 1 and 2 will go away, while the second one tries to apply the latter to all games. The thing to note for those people is that literature is an art, but not all text is an art.

  18. My niqqa coming through with the ancient insanity wolf macros, keep it up

  19. Perhaps it would be sensible to make an even stronger claim: All art is an interactive discourse with the reader, the difference lies in the magnitude of this interaction as well as its specific shape.
    The interaction-equals-no-art argument relies on the reader to be a passive recipient of whatever they encounter, but this is far from true (and also a touch behavioristic), after all, take books: Simply staring at them does next to nothing, instead the reader has to actively read them, effectively participating in building the world and the narrative. In this prosses, the core content might always stay the same, as it is written down, but what the reader actually makes out of it, what kind of story they build from it, what kind of place it takes place in, who the characters even are, what they look like. Language can only convey so much, the specifics are always something the reader needs to bring in themselves. The same holds true for film and other media, although the language is as different as the ways in which to read it.

  20. The whole video, I was distracted by how much I hate the term "video game". To me they have always been computer games, which makes perfect sense, because they're games you play on a computer. In New Zealand English, video almost always meant video cassette right up until YouTube came along, so calling them video games rather than computer games sounded nonsensical, even perhaps idiotic. What this says about the effectiveness of communication via the medium of language, I'm not sure, but it seems like it might be at least possibly relevant. You say what you mean, with the expectation others will understand what you mean, but in reality they are forming their own meanings from your words, and assuming that your intended meaning actually matches their perceived meaning. In this sense, even holding a simple conversation becomes an art form in itself, as one must consider all the possible miscommunications that might result, anticipate how it could be perceived, and move beyond saying what you mean to saying what will cause the other to hear what you mean.

  21. Oh gawg the massive butchering of my language ( 3:10 ) . Great video though.

  22. I say art is a creation, be it man-made or natural, that speaks to you/has a message, and I don't mean that in a strictly narrative sense. A painting can be appreciated as art for the image/scene itself as well as what the artist wishes to convey. Games can convey thoughts of the developer just like how brush strokes convey the painter's. Really I only think that games are not considered art by the general (or perceived general) populus because there is a lack of understanding and games are only looked at at face value and their deeper meanings are not divulged.

  23. I can't figure out where the hell I am in first person games it's a mess. Also its not considered art BC they didn't exist when old ppl were children

  24. I can't see that video games are not art. I think people are just being extra because they're a relatively new type. Pressing a button on a control pad is turning a page or looking at a moving portrait of *someone's idea… Video games are art…

  25. Two of my favorite games are the Ace Attorney series and Mother 3. They’ve each had a huge influence on my relationship with media in general, and I’d say they’re both stellar examples of video games as “art”.

    The Ace Attorney series delivers a strong message about law, both within the actions and dialogue of the characters, and as meta-commentary. It’s an unflattering caricature of the Japanese legal system, and it’s a blatant condemnation of “trial by public opinion”. Of course there’s a lot of other themes and messages and gimmicks, but the heart and soul lies in the pursuit of justice and questioning what our meaning of justice is.

    Mother 3 is a game about grief and growth. The losses that occur early on are felt throughout the entire narrative, and the changes in the environment directly parallel the growth of the main character. It’s a somber, heartfelt, and visceral account of a boy becoming a man and coming to terms with the loss of a loved one.

    I’ve seen a lot of good movies and read dozens of books, but it was only when I experienced these games that I realized just how impactful art and storytelling can be on shaping my worldview.

  26. Personally I think it's more of an experiencial type thing. In the sams way that ballet or synchronized swimming are both sports and arts, videogames too live within that limbo. League and CSGO have more in common with competitive team sports than with traditional art. Dark Souls has more in common with Poe and Lovecraft than it does with chess. I think perhaps we should ask "to what degree is this meant to be consumed as art" rather than just "is this art". What is this product intended to be? Am I suppose to view and experience it as art? What can I gain from viewing this as an artwork rather than as just a set of rules and mechanics?

    I'm astonished YouTube JUST showed this one to me, after i've already seen like 30 of your videos.
    Like so many others, your Suicide Squad video got me hooked, the hunt for your prose about video games keeps me subscribed.

  28. Awesome video bro! I am trying to learn how to make cool videos like this. Woudl luv any suggestions you have 👍👍👍

  29. I think that the way you butchered the pronunciation of "Ingenioso hidalgo" is a great little gimmick to drive home the point you're making 3:10 👍😉

  30. But anyway games do have an ending that's the same for everyone, or a few possible endings that are the same for everyone, endings on games are not open, just like in books and films.

  31. who else is here cause they had to write a paper about this lol

  32. Anything can be, but "art" is pretentious.
    "Mastery" however is the peak of your craft.

  33. i would even argue that video game re often made with the idea that you won't 100% finish them, even the main storyline. sure it is problematic to understand the piece for something realy narative focused, such as life is strange. but if you only managed to bite like 3/4 of the level of doom, you can still say that you enjoyed the game.

  34. 1:39 Massive Slam on "Under The Silver Lake" from at least 3 years prior to its release. Dan confirmed as precog.

  35. I wonder where these were uploaded originally

  36. I disagree philosophically, and i’m not an art nerd.

    I don’t view video games as art for the same reason I don’t view a season of NFL football as art. It is a game. It is just a different thing. And while you can find profound meaning and beauty in games, they just aren’t the same categorical thing as art, in my opinion.

    Programming is not art. It is a language. Games are programming logic gamified. Not art.

  37. It's remarkable that even now, after almost 40 years of video games being a thing, there is still a stigma around video games from so much of society. Perhaps society needs to realise that if video games don't meet the definition of art, its the definition of art that needs to change

  38. So this is silly late, even more late with the original upload date, but all the same I kind of want to offer a thought for anybody still poking around these comment sections.

    I think Elitism and Ignorance are absolutely a huge factor but.. More and more I think there's a bit of an internal tension around games from people who like to play them. I think everyone wants games to be taken seriously, but at the same time, some people aren't willing to take their own games that seriously. You can't want games to be art, and 'keep politics out of games.' Personally, I see the value in, say, Call of Duty. Despite being an intensely political game, and one which has implications I don't really like, I've had fun playing a few games in the series. That said, there is a violent pushback from some people who enjoy games in response to that kind of analysis.

    I absolutely think games are a form of art, and that opens the door for all that includes. I think much like film, there are pieces in the medium that aren't challenging or complicated, almost like candy, and there are pieces which are incredibly well put together and artistic. Both are open to criticism. However, I think some outside observers can see that internal tension and compound it with the idea of games as a childish thing, they can look at.. I don't know, the way games so often frame women (That dead or alive volleyball game comes to mind, or are there a lot of them? There are probably a lot of them) and dismiss them easily that way. Even Ico, which I have heard awesome things about, has a bit of a yikes relationship with women. I'm rambling a bit and I wouldn't be surprised if nobody ever read to this point, but the point is… Without more push to internally not just claim games as art, but critically treat them as art to be appreciated, deconstructed, and critiqued, we'll find it is a slow journey to make the fact that they are art known. Granted, it has been a positive journey, and games are a lot more mainstream now than they were 10 years ago. But I, for one, can't wait to see the art games we make 10 years from now, especially if we keep pushing for that artistic analysis.

  39. I mean, is a game of baseball art?

    It has a lot of of art in it. Be it the logos of the teams, or the music playing during the game.

    But is the game itself, 9 innings and a score at the end with stats. Is that art? My opinion is no. I think it is a game. It is just categorically different than art. In the same way the activity of doing a puzzle, or doing a Rubriks Cube are not art. They both can be art but doing the thing is my art, I think video games exist in a realm much closer to these things, as an action a person takes that involves experiencing a lot of art, but the activity itself is not art.

  40. Jack Nicholson getting lost for half an hour would be genius .

  41. One could argue that architecture is also interactive art, especially on a large scale, as one could wander through say a church, in many different ways

  42. ChangingYoutubeUsernameIsNeedlesslyComplex says:

    I can't believe you supported Gamergate and denied the sexual assault allegations against Roman Polanski.

  43. I think a lot of films would be improved by a surrealist section where a character gets lost for 30 mins.

  44. Even Roger Ebert once said that video games couldnt be art because they lack a singular artistic vision due to the colaborative process in which they are made.. and then continued reviewing movies xD

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