Jimquisition: The Definition of Art Games - revartsgaming.com

Jimquisition: The Definition of Art Games

The Escapist
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There’s nothing like a debate about art games to ensure that everybody has a fun, enlightening, and not-at-all-aggravating time! Let’s discuss the assertion that “art game” as a descriptor doesn’t work, that it’s a broken term and people ought to call “art games” something else. Let’s fight that assertion in order to continue a petty little argument Jim might have had on a podcast.

That’s a debate we’re all going to enjoy, right? Well … we will when The Jimquisition tackles it, because The Jimquisition is like an infection of insight, festering in the wound of your own cluelessness and readying to give you Knowledge Gangrene.

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A show in which a fat British man who wears sunglasses indoors rants angrily about the injustices of mankind, interspersed with MS Paint doodles of videogame characters doing terrible things.


  1. How boring 🙁 I was having fun. Good day to you sir.

  2. Give the man a break, he was 40 back when video games were still mostly children's toys, I'm pretty sure that if he is aware of the current market all he's seen is what's popular, and what's popular is definitely not art.

  3. yah you are hard headed even after watching this thats sad …. art games are games that are trying to speak threw gaming and structure duh that's what he is saying that's what art is… a way of communicating doing something different to catch an eye then explaining a story or character or places…or it gives you emotion .. gears of war is (in my head)and many people a meaningless game because little emotion toward any thing in that its like shoot die die shoot..pretty fun but not art game.

  4. Pacman is a survival horror, that's way too funny. next thing you'll tell me is that GTA San andreas is an RPG

  5. im sorry but Braid is just an over rated plat former

  6. this video is actually really deep. im not joking. it discusses how we understand words and labels and how that means you understand the the definition.

  7. so, why was this episode even necessary?

  8. "…And by doing so he caused an uproar."
    Congratulations, you may now remove your eyes and move to the island of Delphos to get your prophet/prophetess certification.

  9. That's not true. When I started playing the AC series I was blown away by some of the artwork that I saw. AC2 was so visually stunning in it's depictions of Firenze and Venezia that I nearly (see: actually) cried a little.

    I think art in video games, as in every other medium, is subjective. I don't think art has to be perfect, surreal, ethereal and without frustrating habits of TAKING MY CONTROLS AWAY FROM ME AND CHANGING CAMERA ANGLE . . .*cough*

    A lotus grows amongst the mud and all that.

  10. By 'popular', I mostly meant all of those boring, brown military shooters that get farted out 4 times a year, don't worry, if you're thinking of a game has genuine merit then chances are I wasn't talking about it.

  11. I like not paying $1000.00 for a PC. I mean… even a low end gaming rig will run you $500.00, so essentially, consoles are for people like me who (even though it's cheaper in the long run) can't afford that much at an upfront cost.

  12. Yeah, but he didnt make that statement back in the 80's but a few years ago. And he didnt say
    "Videogames arent art" he said
    "Video games will NEVER be art"
    Age is no excuse for ignorance, and frankly, it sickens me that someone who calls himself a critic and lover of a medium that wasnt considered an art form not too long ago itself, just dismisses a whole new medium just because he doesnt understand it, but claims he can give a statement like that. And he deserved every flak he got for it.

  13. I'm not saying what he said wasn't ignorant.
    And no, he didn't make that statement in the 80's, but I fail to see what difference that makes considering most people didn't even consider games art until the 2000's.
    And considering Ebert spent that decade in a battle with cancer that resulted in a severe disability, all the while attempting to continue a full-time career, I think we can forgive him of being ignorant of something he didn't really care about.

  14. [CONT]
    Also why does everybody have to act so offended by it?
    Does it really 'sicken' you? He was an old man who made an bold and ignorant statement, so what?
    Of course he's wrong, but honestly what does it affect?

  15. Because he wasnt just "any old man"

    he was a highly respected critic ( maybe the highest ) and there were maybe millions that looked up to him and whos opinions where heavily influenced by his work and ideas.

  16. Play The Cat Lady, you… lovely Jim Sterling!

  17. Video games are not art. They contain art. Well, some of them do. I've been in the industry for over a decade now as a "2D/3D artist", and will say it flat out. Regardless of how good looking a game like Dear Esther is, it is not art. Not even its graphics are art. They are cut, copied and pasted photographs used as textures. To qualify as art, they need to be more than just a clone stamped picture.

  18. I've never had any problems with the term "Art game", even though I've never heard any specific definition of it. I believe my first encounter with it was Yahtzee in his review of Braid saying that it's proudly wearing the "arty" game title, and I immediately understood what he meant with it, no needing to look it up on google, or become all philosophical or cross about it. I can't say I had any frame of reference for it either, but it still made sense.

  19. Uh. The definition of "art game" as shown in this video is effectively, "A game that is made to be aesthetically pleasing." Kind of the point of a video game, in general, would you not agree? I'll stick with my argument: Genre is pointless except to market to those who search by genre.

  20. Theeen… wouldn't it be a little bit more precise to call such a game an "Artistic Game"? The term "Art Game" doesn't mean that if a game is not an Art Game, is not art, okay i get it, but it still doesn't really sound "nice"… to put a wacky example: if i call a person a Snot-Wrench it doesn't really mean anything, nothing about that person represent Snot (except perhaps that there some in his nose, maybe) or Wrench (he can hold such tool, maybe perhaps)… but it doesn't exactly "nice"now does it…

  21. Here's my stance on the whole "art game" thing. It doesn't really matter what you call it. All video games are art in the same way that opera is art. It's a multimedia presentation, just like opera. The big difference, besides being born about 500 years apart, is that video games employ interactivity which, until the 20th century, art did not utilize a whole lot.
    Video games never got to enjoy the avant-garde era, so I sort of view these "art games" as the progression of games in that fashion. You can also take any game and interpret it from any -ism, just like any song, book, movie or theater production. Hell, Jimquisition does it all the time, viewing games from the perspective of feminism in order to try and justify equality in the representation of all individuals in games. You could view Call of Duty from post-colonialism in order to derive new meaning from it. All games are open to interpretation on a level of abstraction. Unless the game is playing itself, you're actively involved in the interpretation in real time by interacting with the environments you play in.
    In truth, you can take a LOT games and stretch the interaction in ways that the developers may not have anticipated.
    That's a beautiful thing, but the imagination and willingness of the player, not just the developer, is required for there to be a game. The devs say, "Let me take you on a journey," and you join them.

  22. I genuinely consider Spec Ops The Line to be as much of an art game if not more as Limbo and Braid 

  23. 'From Dust' – Loves that Game, she's a beaut'.

  24. GeorgeCostanzaTheMovie2 : TheGeorgeCostanza-ing says:

    What was that colourful Pacman game?

  25. I think of FInal Fantasy 7 when art game comes up.

  26. I suppose this term of art game goes over my head a little but it feels like it's my fault for not getting into the sub-genre. Would limbo be a good way to try to get into it or is there a more simple or comprehensive game to give it a try? What would be a good first experience for understanding what an art game might be so I could find them in the future? 

  27. It might sound weird but I consider the game God Hand art.  True, it's not that pretty, but its humor and over-the-top fighting system makes me laugh.  I consider it art just as much as I consider the movie Airplane art.

  28. The first game I remember getting called "art" or an "art game" was Myst for the PC when it was originally released. The people who I associated with who were gamers were such a mixed bag. My cousin was into sports and strategy games. I was into role playing and horror games. My mother was into card and text games. I have to say that when Myst came out it pulled us all in. The "you are there" exploration feeling of the interface. The fact that there was a very methodical approach and pace although none of us though of it as boring. The interaction was more sparse than we were accustomed to but when we did something it felt very relevant and of great importance. That all made it feel like an "artistic" experience to us.

    It also was an enormous hit on the PC. Not sure if it is still the best selling PC game ever but for a time it was. The people who purchased it, according to stores I used to frequent, said it was everyone BUT the normal game buying males that gave it the art tag. Women would come in and purchase it after seeing news stories and demos of it. Kids would ask their parents for it not because of guns blazing but because their schools encouraged playing it. Older couples who bought their first PC just to play Myst raved about it. The one term that kept coming up was that it was "art". Not a game, but an art form. This was a fascinating period as a PC gamer for me and this video sparked those memories. I don't feel cultured enough to say what is and is not an "art" game. I can tell you, however, that I kind of see art in everything from the natural and the created. It's never occurred to me to debate it though.

  29. I think a better name would be "Raw Games" or "Emotional Games".

  30. I always compared the difference between regular and art games, and regular and arthouse films, to the difference between a novel and a piece of literature. Hopefully you understand what I mean…

  31. How would you categorize a game like Ori and the Blind Forest?
    It's a platformer metroidvania, but has a unique artistic style that most games don't use unfortunately

  32. What, Shadow of the Colossus doesn't get a mention here?
    Well, it was a pretty good assessment of what "Art Games" are, but I feel like we've barely grazed the surface here.
    I agree that Flower, Limbo and even the Stanley Parable count as art games (not sure about Dear Esther or Braid since I haven't played them yet), but what is it that separates them from Super Mario, Gears of War and the latest race car simulation?
    In my opinion, an Art Game is primarily an interactive experience more than a game with a high score or ranking system. It's designed to be immersive through it's art style and/or game play for very different reasons than beating a level, defeating a boss or getting first place. Such games usually have a hidden meaning to them as well, though it's not an essential element to the game.
    Ironically, the clearest examples of "Art Games" are probably interactive experiences that incite arguments between gamers over whether it counts as a game or not! I love games like that because they invoke community discussions beyond "how cool was that 360-no-scope?!"

  33. 0:49: Jim walks in on his grandparents doing the nasty. . . In fursuits.

    Honestly Jim, you could have just paused the video there for ten seconds and it would have been just as funny.

  34. Would've called it "artsy game". But nowadays, they're just called walking simulators.

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