Games As Art -

Games As Art

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Games As Art

After viewing an interview with George R.R. Martin from a few years ago, who didn’t think games were quite there yet in terms of being a new art form, I decided I wanted to talk on the subject. Of course, he is old at this point, but it’s still something many outside of the gaming world still seem to think. Roger Ebert being, of course, the classic example of someone who felt games couldn’t be art.

So, I decided to go through some games I felt exemplified games as an art form, and why:

0:00 – Intro
4:03 – Braid
9:41 – Nier: Automata
12:30 – Shadow of the Colossus
15:02 – Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
17:06 – Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
19:11 – Journey
21:08 – Bioshock
23:30 – Doki Doki Literature Club
24:59 – Dark Souls
29:10 – Lisa: The Painful RPG
31:15 – Outro

Should I have gone with a stupid YouTube title like: “10 games YOU DIDN’T KNOW WERE ART?!” Eh. Whatever.

#GamesAsArt #StorytellingGames


  1. Perhaps GRRM will recant upon Elden Ring's release. "Games aren't art… until now! I consulted with From Software on this one, you know, instead of working on my massively-late book. This game is art. Buy your copy now!"

  2. I get the impression you spoiled all the games but LISA because the subjects it touches on can get you demonetized. Though, I wish you did because that's the only game from this list I didn't quite understand after finishing it. Apparently you have to play on a higher difficulty and play the DLC as well to get the whole picture.

  3. Other people not finding video games to be art doesn't bother me even though I disagree as IMO some professional art pieces are not art. I also have to recommend Super Bunny Hop's video, usually I don't like his content but his MGS videos are one the few exceptions, its just that good. Onto Dark Souls what I find interesting is that no matter who you choose the light or the dark both sides are lieing and manipulating you. Though the Dark side is far better at it unless you have the DLC. (which if you somehow don't have it already I seriously recommend it) As for me I choose to side with Gwyndolin as despite his manipulations his actions throughout the series leads me to see him as legitimately benevolent.

  4. I think George's View on Games must have changed drastically since working on Elden Ring with Miyazaki.

  5. Whoa, hi there, Dave! Always glad to see ya. c:

  6. The game that had the biggest effect on me was probably twilight princess, first time I cried to a game, it shaped my love for the action/adventure/RPG genre and that last fight with ganondorf is in my opinion the greatest boss fight…ever

  7. I'm.upset Hellblade Senua's Sacrifice is not on this list, but Dark Souls is.

    I love Dark Souls… At least the first game. The rest are very okay to just bad. However, if you actually go through Dark Souls with a fine tooth comb, it is art by accident. The world is pretty hollow when you actually delve into item descriptions and stay asking questions. What do the 4 great souls actually do and why do they exist? How come Nito is the first dead? Where did Gwyn get an army after getting his soul? The stone dragons are eternal… But also not… And seath exists?

    You come to realize that A LOT of the stuff in the game was placed in places on a whim. Now there are some good placements of things to imply story beats and ideas. However, the Souls community has a bad habit of looking at the randomly placed things and reading into it because "fIlL iN tHe GaPs". I believe filling in the gaps was the idea Miyazaaki was going for, but he used it as a crutch for a lot of the game's development. Turns out if you want to make ideas work, you've got to have good execution with it to mean anything. Can't throw a jumbled pile of garbage with gold nuggets scattered about in front of me and then tell me it's intended.

    I'm all for the scattered storytelling and the different style of storytelling, but you've got to actually have a story there.

  8. I think games can have artistic value, if that makes sense. The story, the artstyle, mechanics, lore and so on. Like the examples you used in the video. Even the first Super Mario can be considered art, for inventing the mechanics that're very much used in video games today. There's both good and bad art. Like rehashed games coming out every year. They're art too, but very poorly made. You could consider a professional football player someone who has "mastered" the art of football. Same as someone who's done competitive E-sport or at the top of their speed run. They've mastered their respective craft.
    Art can be many things. But one thing it can't be, is something anyone can do. Becouse if anyone can make it, it's no longer art. Art takes time, effort, skills, experience, knowledge and dedication to make. Making videogames, does require all of those things. Except for shovelware, i guess.

  9. Dave control! Always makes my day when you drop a video! Means more than you know to this guy in Australia 😀
    I would have to say games like FFX, Grandia 2 and Dark Souls inspired me, through the characters, stories and in particular the world they created. Keep up the good work and look forward to the next vid as always!

  10. Hi Dave, do you have any thoughts on Gris?

  11. It blows my mind your channel isn't huge. You've been putting out amazing content for years.

    Completely agree on Journey. My first playthrough of Journey will forever be my favorite game experience ever. Me and this other person became quick buddies, we surfed the sands together. Sailed triumphantly in the skies. Kept close to each other as we trekked up the snowy mountain, keeping each other warm. And then something happened, we got split up, I felt genuine remorse as I looked frantically for my new friend. He was gone, right as we got to the end, and as I finished the last flying level solo I felt a genuine sadness that we lost each other and just wished I could be doing this super fun flying section with my buddy. And then as I'm about to land, there he was! Waiting for me on the cliff! We both freaked out running around in circles and walked off together side by side towards the light until it faded to black.

    God what an experience.

  12. yes, art is subjective, and it's the only correct answer. If you start picking and choosing, then nothing is art. Or maybe THAT is the answer?

  13. There's only one thing I have to nitpick, one that doesn't really concern anything said within this video- G.R.R.M may had misjudged games in an interview, but I don't believe his words should be taken to the extreme. First of all, he was born and lived his youth without games, and likely the ones he played were fully made for entertainment purposes. It is likely he had never heard of these examples given in this video (although I would question that on Dark Souls), and he's an old dude.
    But as we know, he now writes (or has written) an original story for upcoming From Software game Elder Ring. I doubt he holds the same opinion as he did back when he had that particular interview, likely held plenty of years ago.

    But yeah, overall I agreed with everything you had to say in this Dave, and made me giddy to think what artform games can present for themselves. Thanks!

  14. Seeing George R.R. Martin say that about video games makes me worry that he hasn't given Elden Ring the attention he should've. Makes me wonder if he was like "Meh, it's just a video game, just write a simple story and let the devs worry about the rest". If that's the case, then I hope From Software do their best with what story he gives them. At this point, I have more faith in From Software than I do in Martin.

  15. If one were to assume video games are not art, does that mean that visual novels are not books? If visual novels are books but video games are not art, does that imply that books are not art? If you do think books are art, you could argue, visual novels are books, but they are not games since they lack any interactive elements and so visual novels are art but video games still are not. Alas, there are visual novels which have branching paths which allow the player to interact with the medium. Are they a video game at that point? You could argue that they are still books, since choose-your-adventure books exist and a visual novel with branching paths is nothing more than flipping to a different page in a book. However, a visual novel can do so much more than just flip to another page of a book, you could for instance go to a random page of the book. This too, can be emulated by a choose-your-adventure book, although it would be much more tedious to do so on a physical medium. If you've gone this far and still agree books are art, video games are not art, but visual novels are books, where is the line in which a visual novel stops being a book and becomes a video game, and how does that invalidate it as a work of art?

  16. GRRM himself is working with Miyazaki on Elden ring, how the hell can he consider it not art?

  17. How is your channel not bigger. Amazing video.

  18. Love this video! I get frustrated trying to convince non gamer friends and family that they definitely can be art, no question about it. One game that’s part of my list of games-as-art would be The Last of Us. The storytelling is amazing.

  19. Of course games are art. Someone sat down and programmed this world which was created in their mind, just like someone draws a painting of whats in their mind. Dark Souls is true art.

  20. I missed you so much as I remember your channel but I am so sorry for not having watched it after a long time about so and I am so sorry for it as the video that I got you back was that old video of Giant Dad
    Forgive me for it friend

  21. Good video, but could you make the part 3 of Kings field lore?

  22. Took me until 2020 to get time to fully watch this and it was obviously worth it as you always are!

  23. How the fuck does the dude say video games ain't there yet, when he's collaborating with fromsoft to make elden ring?

  24. Not sure if you listed it, but one work of art that immediately jumped to my mind: Hyper Light Drifter.

  25. I don't want to be that guy but… when King's Field Part(III) lore?

  26. Funny that George doesn't believe video games to be Art Forms yet he is helping come up with the story/mythos of Elden Ring…. interesting

  27. A banana taped to a wall was considered art and sold at an art auction. This whole entire argument of whether or not Video games are art is stupid.

  28. Just from 2019 Disco Elysium and Outer Wilds

  29. Video games, as much art as a newspaper is.
    A line or a dot on canvas is just a fucking line or dot.

    Games have art, yes. Pictures, models, colors and sound.
    Games could be art, but it comes down how the game is designed overall.

    There's always going to be THAT person in the world that still thinks the earth is flat, magic tricks are demon magic, and every single shape in the sky means aliens.

    To push all this garbage aside… has anyone ever had the pleasure of playing the PS2 game Hungry Ghosts? So badly want an English version of this.

  30. Pyre, transistor, bastion, outer wilds, bioshock, little nightmares, papers please, grow home, thomas was alone, the last of us, and NOT JOURNEY screw that game😂

  31. maybe this is the best video I have ever watched on a gaming channel, usually I don't hit the like button, but, you deserve more than a like, your channel is so underrated, I wish I discovered it sooner, thanks man, and keep going👍👍👍

  32. 2:25 Dancing is a movement-based application of art that is based on what the person knows what to do. They can be instructed or whatever you feel.
    Games are movement-based applications where one uses a controller to traverse a world.
    People can attempt to dance and/or play a game, but how one reacts to it and understands it is different for everybody.

    Really, what has always made calling games art for some is the reluctance for critics to call games in general (like chess) art. Video games typically have all of the elements of a great movie, but being associated with a "game" (something that has never been considered art before) has always made the classification tricky.

    I don't need to see any commonly cited examples of video games as art to say that to me, especially when the argument has been about (I think) the medium itself, not because there are video games that stand out in some "artsy" way. Besides, like other mediums, there exist commonly regarded winners (pieces considered great art) and stinkers (pieces not considered great art because they're considered bad).

  33. Why is Bioshock always mentioned when System Shock 2 did a lot of the same things first?

  34. I would add Gris and Ori games to the list too . If they are not art , then you don't know what art is and how diverse it can be 🙂

  35. Games as art: shows Nier Automata. All is right as it should be

  36. My definition of art is stricter. Art must change you. In that respect fewer games qualify, and it varies by person. Nier: Automata definitely fit the bill for me though.

  37. For me art is something that intentionally evoke feelings, and thoughts in you as a consumer. Which fulfill most of the non-competetive games.

  38. I bet George RR Martin opinion changes when Elden ring comes out

  39. I mean, the latest call of duty 36 isn't art, for sure.
    But games like this war of mine definitely are.

  40. Saying that games are not art is no different from those who think that
    2 + 2 = 5.

  41. Imo the best examples of games as art are ones where the story and gameplay are so interconnected, it would be impossible to separate them. Great work!

  42. So many video games have stories that have touched me so deeply and artwork that has left me awestruck. Of course video games can be an artform, and those that think otherwise just haven't experienced it yet.

  43. One thing they teach now a days in art classes is that art is quite literally what ever u want to be art. anything can be art.

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