Video Games Deserve Better - revartsgaming.com

Video Games Deserve Better

The Cinema Cartography
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TIMESTAMPS:
0:00 Introduction
6:19 A History with Games

Part 1 – Video Game Mechanics and Systems
11:20 Interaction
35:32 Video Games Need to Be Fun
53:48 The Industry and Practices

Part 2 – The Artistry of Games
58:07 Lack of Reference
1:17:18 Games as a Modern Product

1:25:40 Conclusion

Written and Narrated by Lewis Michael Bond

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308 Comments

  1. Videogames arent art I agree, and that’s perfectly fine. Videogames don’t need to be art to validate their existence. I don’t think saying games aren’t art is a hot take at all, they are their own thing more of an experience than art. Great video! I would love for games to strive to more diverse experiences however. It’s true when I got through silent hill 2 I didn’t think we’ll that was fun, but the experience stayed with me nonetheless. I hope the medium can grow and go to the same heights as art but I don’t see it anywhere close to that just yet.

    I wish Matthew matosis made more videos but I’m happy with what we got.

  2. I'm not sure how I feel about this essay, in ways I like the mediation on if video games on art but as someone else said this comes as more this isn't art you want.

    When got to the part of what do you think of when you think of art, my mind went to "The Fountain", and that throughout this essay I kept my mind more towards the Dada art scene, the Bauhaus movement, the modern art movement and Andy Warhol. My thoughts is what makes John Cage 4'33" music and how a pile of candy that patrons can take that repressents AIDS eating away at a loved ones. Is a Michael Bay movie more art than Andy Warhol's 8 hour film on The Empire State building. Is Maria Abramovic performance of letting people do what they want to her somehow more of an open sandbox than a sandbox game, and like older video games is one that can never be played again. Like there are things to meditate on with games, and I agree with the idea of just treating games as art from the beginning.

    I said on a different comment but there is an elephant in the room here in the discussion of video games being critiqued in Academia with Feminist Frequency. In that an attempt to examine and look at video games through a feminist theory language created such a backlash we are still dealing with that right wing rise in the alt-right. That a singular academic caused a far right backlash I think has put the breaks on academia delving into treating video games as worthy to be there.

  3. Disagreed with a lot of the first half of the video, very strongly agreed with most of the second half. I fucking LOVE the way in which video games as an art form can bring the individual experiencing it into the narrative itself and it's not something that can be done in the same ways with things traditionally considered as 'art forms' (I have a much wider conception of art compared to what you seemed to point at in the video which informs a lot of my disagreement, but I'm also completely uneducated in art so idk what I'm talking about). It makes me sad that artistry within games is not treated with the seriousness it could be, either by consumers or most developers. But this is the effect of capitalism on creative endeavour I guess. If there's a better future, an environment where more people can independently pursue game dev without having to work or starve, perhaps we'll end up with more art and hopefully see the flourishing of the form in that sphere.

  4. that thing in 19:01 surprised me and way too bright and blinky… 🙁

  5. Since.. when have artists cared about being ackgnowledged academically

  6. I. Wow. I wrote multiple small essays worth of comments but at the end of the day all I can say is wow. This is the most prescient essay on games I have ever experienced, including many that are themselves games. just. wow.

  7. I love the medium of videogames, and engage with plenty of discussions on its artform. So while I understand what you're saying regarding how and who is looking at videogames as art, my viewpoint is at odds with yours. Secondly, as you start to try and define videogames, I feel like we're trying to constrain them into a foreign box in order to accept and analyse them, rather than analysing them for what they are.

    There are novels you'd call art, but there are also pulp fictions written to tantalise then be thrown away. There are movies that you'd call art, but there are also straight to video disney movies. And as for pictures, paintings… there are more images on the internet one could even view in a lifetime. The question of what is art should never be defined by its medium so why define the medium…

    I also disagree that videogames change but a painting or movie does not. What's on the screen constantly changes but the underlying code remains, and those vastly different directions you can take are all enabled by the creators. And while you can't predict or design every way the player might obscure their experience, nor does the painter with every tiny detail; some details are just happy accidents…

    Meh all my commentary you basically conslude the same. I have no argument to make 😛 The fact videogames are biult on a technology that could be lost is a big problem for declaring it art. And at the least, a single original 'build' of the game should be being kept since we like art to be valuable and static, not rapidly reproduced. Well we like the reproduced art for selling as postcards…

  8. @ The cinema Cartography with much respect I have to agree with you about subjectivity as I have to disagree with you about "the Godfather" you referred to it as "a masterpiece" i watched it years ago and after 5 minutes found it to be utter gutter trash! I never could stand to watch it ever since, I consider it a waste of time of every-one who was involved in making it… now the mini-series "Shogun" Starring Richard Chamberlain and Toshiro Mifune was a very different story. other then that I have to agree with you over all.

  9. I disagree that video games are not widely accepted as an artform in academia, I am studying in art school right now and I can assure you they are taken seriously, its the whole reason I'm watching this video.

  10. A critique I have with this essay is simply that you should probably play better video games.
    Of course AAA publishers aren't going to produce high art, much like how major film studios aim to create products that sell rather than a work that actually means something.
    There's a lot, and I mean a LOT, of indie developers who are producing the exact form of experience you're talking about. Most of them just don't blow up like 'papers please'.
    It's completely unreasonable to compare mainstream and popular games with film and literature that are not, in fact, mainstream and popular.
    It would be like me making an hour long video on the artistic failings of modern cinema, primarily focusing on marvel films while largely ignoring the independent spaces still experimenting to this day.

    As for your video game archivism/shelf life point, you are just flat out wrong. Just because the average person can't be bothered to emulate older games, doesn't mean that it isn't an option. Older films can similarly be more work to view, especially if they have been remade.
    Again, just because large developers and publishers either don't support or actively work against game archivism doesn't mean that these fan groups aren't doing a pretty exhaustive job at keeping older games alive.

  11. 19:55 you've started with the assumption of film being its own entirely separate thing simply because public consensus is that it is it's own separate thing. Holding this to the same standards video games get held to shows this thought breaks down and yet you still reject it because public consensus. It's exactly the same as video games. The only reason video games can't be considered art is because the public consensus is that they aren't art. You won't be able to define your way into video games being art simply because this single tenuous thread is the only thing that makes it so.

  12. The only game series that I can call a real art would be Metroid. It's not just fun time, it's immersive experience with impactful gameplay that touches your soul.

  13. Games are like a mix of a film, an animation, a museum, a song, an amusement park, a painting, a sport, a simulation and a chessboard all rolled up into one.

  14. 'Raising your level, only encourages those around you, to raise theirs.'

    I wish that was true for videogame development, but as we saw with Baldur's Gate 3, other developers were very quick to dismiss that game and say that 'we can't make games like this, don't expect this level of quality from us', even though they work for the biggest AAA+ publishers with billions of dollars.
    I'm blaming the publishers and shareholders here, not the developers, I'm sure the developers' tone would be different if they were actually given the time and budget to make something artistic from the heart, but instead they're told to make yet another Call Of Duty or FIFA in even less time than the last… :/

  15. the love the "its just a game" format of videos found on youtube.

  16. Unless gambling and slot machines are art as well, 95% of games are decidedly not art, but exploitative and manipulative. But the potential for greatness does exist, especially when games themselves become the tools and canvas for player's self-expression. This then is art begetting art. Gaming as a cultural phenomenon however is mostly cringe and consumption.

  17. A video by someone who thinks they are very smart. Live performances, music theater or otherwise, are historically very famous for being different depending on who and when its experienced.

  18. I guess this video is good as a 101 on video games: are they art? But raelly feel like there is no enough substance to fill out 90 minutes. Alot of immature observations, as you would say.

  19. The entire last bit of the video is just criticism of Capitalism, and fuck High Art to be honest. How much art do we leave alone that just isn't considered "culturally relevant" to us because it's from a different place, a different time, a niche? How many pieces of wonderful art are destroyed or just forgotten to time, because different cultures simply don't look at them the same way or in a way such as to dignify them? So fuck high art, give me the small passion projects that will never see the light of day again. This is a very well made video, don't let my critique make it seem otherwise.

  20. Honestly, I was going to do a larger comment to review his points but ultimately it's just pretentious to believe that games aren't art. If they aren't art then no new media, including youtube videos, are.

  21. this video makes me angry on so many levels. ig theres no point in me saying this bc my opinion doesn't matter but its like bothering me. good vid tho lmao

  22. I think the biggest issue regarding video games as art is that the medium is extremely reliant on making money from its… patrons? Not just in the form of microtransactions and DLC, I mean in a more fundamental way. Video games are very difficult and expensive to make so developers create things that will sell and nobody wants to buy something that they don't enjoy. Especially because video games take much more time to play through than a movie takes to watch/a song takes to listen/etc. So as artists, developers aren't free to explore the entire medium of interactive software because they must make something marketable. Like, it's in the name: video game. These are toys. That's why there's such a huge focus on entertaining players to the exclusion of anything else.

    One of the most common complaints people have regarding games that bore/depress/confuse is to say that it's "not even a game." And sometimes I'm inclined to agree with them on that – video games are a subset of interactive media and there's so much unexplored space for interactive art that isn't a game.

  23. I've been wondering what it means for something to be art. Don't care too much about the nitty-gritty but the commonly agreed-upon opinion when this question comes up in film is that it's art because it's more than just mere entertainment, it's something that educates/enriches you. even if it doesn't really entertain you.

    If that's what it means for videogames to be art, then I am 100% okay with videogames NEVER being art. In fact, it's probably better that way. If I wanted to be educated about something, I'd probably go watch a documentary or I'd read an actual book. I don't really want videogames to become boring holier-than-thou art-slops.

    I'd learn a lot more about fascism by watching a Mussolini documentary than by watching Inglorious Basterds or Werckmeister Harmonies, that's just a fact.

  24. The 'game' is a collection of ideas and concepts that constitute the means for winning and losing. It is that framework that a work of art is thusly designed around it . Which can be anything. They are often blended so seamlessly however, that we have trouble differentiating the two.

  25. Art is not surface level visuals. It becomes more than that. You have to feel something. Not show it and be like yep, heres my pixel art.

  26. The 'game' is a collection of ideas and concepts that constitute the means for winning and losing. It is that framework that a work of art is thusly designed around it . Which can be anything. They are often blended so seamlessly however, that we have trouble differentiating the two.

  27. Video games as an industry has to be so difficult to work in. A developer may have intense passion and motivation, however they must also factor in the logistics and cost. Huge staff numbers, long development cycles, investments of large sums of money. Not unlike film making. But these days there's also support for games after launch in the form of updates. That's not something you see with movies. A film only needs your attention for a couple hours, whereas a game may want 10x that. I always imganined it was a very competitive industry, as well with gamers making up some of the most fickle communities. It really seems so toxic at times. The fact we somtimes get games that aren't soulless cash grabs, but instead we get games that touch our soul and can be considered true art, that's a blessing to me.

  28. Video games as an industry has to be so difficult to work in. A developer may have intense passion and motivation, however they must also factor in the logistics and cost. Huge staff numbers, long development cycles, investments of large sums of money. Not unlike film making. But these days there's also support for games after launch in the form of updates. That's not something you see with movies. A film only needs your attention for a couple hours, whereas a game may want 10x that. I always imganined it was a very competitive industry, as well with gamers making up some of the most fickle communities. It really seems so toxic at times. The fact we somtimes get games that aren't soulless cash grabs, but instead we get games that touch our soul and can be considered true art, that's a blessing to me.

  29. Didn"t understand 90% of the words you use I bet this is an A+

  30. Didn"t understand 90% of the words you use I bet this is an A+

  31. your attempt to define a video game at the start really perplexes me. As far as I see it, a game is defined as an activity with restrictions that define parameters for a perceived win state, a perceived lose state, and options used to avoid failure. To go from a "game" to a "Video game" we are only converting the written guidelines that describe how the player is to restrain themselves to hard-set barriers that can't be broken. This definition does not inherently require the creation of a virtual environment, it's just that there's no way to restrict people in the physical world like you can in a virtual one. The only exception to this rule that I can think of is perhaps life itself, that is, if you were to legitimately consider the act of "living" a game, but that's kind of a stretch.

    I often hear that open-ended sandbox games like minecraft would then fail to be games by this definition, but I say that you're wrong. The circumvention of failure is winning. Therefore, following a players execution of their own decision to risk yet ultimately avoid failure is inherently a win state. It is not that a game needs to say "YOU LOSE" when you lose, or "CONLATURATION" when you win, it just needs to create an avenue for accomplishing goals.

    The player is aware that attempting to accomplish any goal will create a potential for failure because attempting to do anything in life opens you up to the possibility of something stopping you. That risk paired with the creative freedom granted to players setting goals for themselves is enough to attract someone into making the decision to engage with the game in the first place, and then stick with it due to the physical investment of making the initial attempt.

    EDIT: I unpaused the video and you said all this.
    EDIT 2: The definition does not tear apart when you talk about interactive movie games. I would still consider them games bc much like a sandbox game where the win-state is defined by the player. The player will naturally want to see a certain outcome following their choices. If things go in a direction they dislike, then that would be a failure.

  32. your attempt to define a video game at the start really perplexes me. As far as I see it, a game is defined as an activity with restrictions that define parameters for a perceived win state, a perceived lose state, and options used to avoid failure. To go from a "game" to a "Video game" we are only converting the written guidelines that describe how the player is to restrain themselves to hard-set barriers that can't be broken. This definition does not inherently require the creation of a virtual environment, it's just that there's no way to restrict people in the physical world like you can in a virtual one. The only exception to this rule that I can think of is perhaps life itself, that is, if you were to legitimately consider the act of "living" a game, but that's kind of a stretch.

    I often hear that open-ended sandbox games like minecraft would then fail to be games by this definition, but I say that you're wrong. The circumvention of failure is winning. Therefore, following a players execution of their own decision to risk yet ultimately avoid failure is inherently a win state. It is not that a game needs to say "YOU LOSE" when you lose, or "CONLATURATION" when you win, it just needs to create an avenue for accomplishing goals.

    The player is aware that attempting to accomplish any goal will create a potential for failure because attempting to do anything in life opens you up to the possibility of something stopping you. That risk paired with the creative freedom granted to players setting goals for themselves is enough to attract someone into making the decision to engage with the game in the first place, and then stick with it due to the physical investment of making the initial attempt.

    EDIT: I unpaused the video and you said all this.
    EDIT 2: The definition does not tear apart when you talk about interactive movie games. I would still consider them games bc much like a sandbox game where the win-state is defined by the player. The player will naturally want to see a certain outcome following their choices. If things go in a direction they dislike, then that would be a failure.

  33. Art is not surface level visuals. It becomes more than that. You have to feel something. Not show it and be like yep, heres my pixel art.

  34. good games at very least have art style to talk about, and some games are art through and through. something like Soma uses game as best suited medium to convey the story and idea it has. so, idk why even question if games can be art.

  35. academic recognition does not give validation to a given field , it does the opposite , i can only pray to the gods in video games that they never become recognized by those corrupt institutions , video games are the only pure form of art we have left in western civilization……

    >the general consensus is games are not art

    and exhibit #1 , your mindset is in the complete wrong place
    truth does not require a "consensus" of any kind , it simply always exists whether you think it does or not

    in this case , video games are the highest artform our species has produced , and if you think the problem is there are no "spaces" that facilitate discussion in this regard , then the solution to that problem is you start discussing it in this way yourself , and if others don't agree with this framing then that's fine , you can leave them to be wrong on their own , but if your aim is to try and correct those people from being wrong then brony let me tell you that will be a lifelong effort with little chance for minimal success……

    also the reason we don't have more de-constructive video game games is the most incredibly simple 2 fold factor that im baffled how you did not include this answer along with that question

    1 games are exponentially harder to make than movies , an infinitely harder so when they become de-constructive , a movie no matter how meta will still always be a single set run time of a video and audio feed

    2 games have to have some form of fun otherwise ppl wont play them (not including being psychologically manipulated into playing games that are not fun which much of the industry is hell bent on doing) , this is why we have a precious few good games that have attempted to achieve this like the nier example you showed….

    >we can see how defining a game begins to tear apart at the seems the further we progress

    this is just the result of you being overly pretentious here , because this is something that happens with all definitions , except for the definition of truth as far as i know , even then there may still be some wiggle room for arguing hypotheticals where it does not hold true….

    i feel you are conflating the idea of player agency with something else but i can't quite figure it out yet , maybe i can come back to this point later

    a player having more freedom to utilize different mechanical interactions in a given game space is not equivalent to them having more agency

    1. That by which something is accomplished or some end achieved:
    2: the capacity, condition, or state of acting or of exerting power : operation
    3: a person or thing through which power is exerted or an end is achieved :

    these definitions insinuate there is an added meaning to the action one would be taking , but as an example 'killing an enemy with 100 different weapons' does not change the meaning of the action , the game is still programmed to only see if the enemy was killed or not…..

    being able to do more things that do not progress the game state does not make it so a player has more agency to effect the game , they only have more agency to effect themselves for their own play experience

    >modern trippleA games are films shoved into games

    close , they're actually 20 bad films shoved into 5 bad games….

    alright , after finishing the video , despite my major disagreements listed above , im still changing my dislike to a like now , the work you put into this is simply too passionate for me to deny…

  36. who is music's Dostoevsky? who is literature's Michelangelo? "Dostoevsky" isn't a level of quality, he's a unique aesthetic perspective. what would be the difference between the Dostoevsky of Games and the Joyce of Games or the Rushdie of Games? i could write an essay, if i were so inclined, comparing Persona 5 to The Brothers Karamazov (both meditations on free will that take 100 hours to complete).

  37. Games as Art. When a monkey plays with brushes on canvas. Is that art?
    When you talk about your own experiences with games you kind of bring the prove that games are not really art to begin with. The way you describe games they are sport.
    Both is part of the entertaining sector. But both is different.

    But then…there is story driven gaming. Then you have art like in a book or in a movie.

    Then games have music. Comparable to movies…or sport? Some sports are highlighted with music. But the music isn't the essential part. So the art is not the essential part of the sport.

    And at the end you have the purest form of Art. The design. The level design. The models. The style figures are made in. Things like comic/Anime style or realistic style.

    But you make a big mistake in your analysis. You say Pong is art. Pong is sport. If you explain pong as art then Football has to be showed in art museums. I think we both agree that this is stupid.
    Games can be art. But especially the game and the gaming you describe when it's about beating challenges. That's not art. That's the essence of sport.

    So with art it's like with my example with the monkey that paints on canvas. The result isn't describing Art. Art is Art when it's meant to be art. If the main goal of a game is challenges, PvP. It's mainly sport and we are away from the classic form of art. Still entertainment. But not comparable with art. Even some aspects of art are there.
    Games that are made for story, for graphics, for creating feelings. Then we get into the area of art. As that is what art is. Art is about bringing out a message. Creating feelings. Art is not when children putting colors aimlessly on paper.

    So what are games? Games are both. Art, Sport and sometimes they are nothing of these. Sometimes they are only one of these.
    And who knows. Maybe sometimes Games are something completely else.

    But I see your mistake. You don't know what Art is. You don't know what Sport is. What have both into common? They both are entertainment. But so strongly different that they are not the same.
    And Games…well…I'm sure that there are also some games that combine these two forms of entertainment. But most do not.

  38. Video games is not art for the same reason the game of chess is not art despite the creative crafting of its pieces. Art is not an intrinsic part of a game and can work without it.
    Now, that doesn't mean that the art both can convey is worthless either.

  39. Imagine having access to the grassroots medium of youtube, where you can discuss games and debate with gamers all across planet earth, but then saying this isn’t enough because you want some overpaid boomer in a scam college to be an “authority” and hand out the truth from on high. Unbelievable. Surely the legacy of Millennials will be remembered as a simpering desire for validation from authority figures.

  40. Is maded by human?
    Do you like watching it?
    If both, thats art.

  41. I don't think that things are quite as simple as you are boiling them down to, and I think there is more artistic merit inherently within video games than you seem to see. While I'd like to have an in depth discussion on the topic, it's pointless because the YouTube comment section is the worst place for meaningful discourse and you most likely will not see this comment.

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