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back to article Exhibition to applaud videogames as art

There is an art to computer games which stretches beyond the act of skilful button bashers being gods at Ghosts & Goblins. A major exhibition will next year explore the evolution of videogames as an artistic medium. The exhibition, titled The Art of Video Games will focus on the industry's 40-year history of presenting stunning …

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Grenade

"Yes, but it is art?"

No.

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Stop

I disagree

Take a look at the sequence in Half Life 2 where you are taken on a conveyor through the 'spire'. Just because the medium is electronic doesn't make it not art; or are you going to now tell us that most music made in the last decade isn't music because it is partially or wholly electronically generated, rather than being played on physical instruments?

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Gold badge

Yes, but it is art?

If a dead, upside-down sheep in a perspex tank of formaldehyde is art, then video games can be art.

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Not art?

Depends on what one's taste in art is.

Some would say that there is art in engineering - are bridges only allowed to be functional?

Some say that branches of maths are more of an art form.

Occasionally in a game something might take your breath away with the combination of game-play, graphics and audio coming together - if it isn't art then what is it?.

Music is just a load of vibrations.

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Happy

Games art is very much art.

@"Just because the medium is electronic doesn't make it not art; or are you going to now tell us that most music made in the last decade isn't music"

@Loyal Commenter, I was totally with you, up until you brought up the artistic merit of most of the music in the past decade! ;)

Anyway joking aside, like you say, games are most definitely art. Lets see non-artists create a game that matches the level of artistic work that goes into present day top video games. Its years worth of artistic work in most video games these days.

For example, a typical video game could easily have 20 artists working for 2 years on it. Some way more than that, but even 20 for 2 years is 40 man-years of work. Most "art" that's in exhibitions are not even close to that level of workmanship. The only other area of artistic work so intensive is films and no one would dare imply films can't be art.

Games are definitely very artistic. There is huge amounts of subtlety and complexity in games when you look closely at games art.

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Stop

There is beauty in everything

There is beauty in everything - including badly rendered 8 bit graphics.

This isn't a sarcastic comment either.

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Coat

sarcasm?

I remember when there was badly rendered pics on floppy discks - it was 'art' long before 'pron'.

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FAIL

Internet vote?

Oh dear. Oh goodness me, no, no, no. Let the faboi wars commence....

*peeps between fingers*

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Hmmm.....

"be sure to vote for games that you think are visually spectacular or boast innovative design!"

Is this meant to say that only the eye candy shall play a role in the selection?

What about innovative gameplay or use of music...

Or innovative use of Intellectual Property Fascism, for that matter.

The image for "Zak McCracken and the Alien Mindbenders" just says "Rights Pending"

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OK.

So I guess Dame Mary Barbara Cartland's novels, soap operas, post-Peel Radio 1, and other mindless drivel designed to lull the masses, are also "art"?

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Troll

Oddly enough,

Even if you don't like it, it can still be considered art. Indeed, I've been to more than one modern art 'installation' that I considered to be a steaming turd but if it's art to someone, then it is art. It doesn't have to be any good...

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Anonymous Coward

@Oddly enough

I had this same argument with an artist friend of mine a while back.

"Oddly enough" it was me holding to your point and him disagreeing and saying art had to be "fine" i.e. of a technically high standard.

He got quite angry when I made the point that it can still be considered art even if it's awful and took absolutely no talent to produce.

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Unhappy

Oh Dear...

Whoever shortlisted the 240 games to choose from really did miss some important ones out - (I'll people to decide which for themselves, but there are a lot that I would swap out).

However, the worst thing is that you are forced to choose one of three options in each set of games, meaning for example that you *cannot* choose both Half-Life 2 and Portal, as they are in the same set of three games... hopeless.

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MJI
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WTF?

Same here

As an Orange box fan (via Steam) I wanted to vote for both, same problem I had with PS3 games. (But that was easy to choose)

How do you choose?

I went for HL2 but now I think I should have gone for Portal.

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Stop

MYST????

Bah, Myst wasn't a game, it was a slideshow.

Meanwhile, good to see some of the usual ignorant snobbery being exhibited straight away on here.

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Troll

As the Crypt Keeper used to say...

Irony. It's good for your blood.

Heh heh heh!!!

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One perspective is that

that art is self contained. ie, it had no use other than that of itself. ie, a beautiful car cannot be art as it's used for another function. Art is there as and of itself, so merely looking, reading or listening to it is its only function.

One could argue, however, that art is there to reflect and challenge society and our perceptions of worth and to create dialogue. While certainly games certainly generate discussion, I don't really think they reflect society or indeed challenge it in more than the "why should this be banned, u r nazis" way.

There's no denying, however, that they are very, very pretty.

But OTOH, what do I know? I'm commenting on a forum online instead of doing something worthwhile.

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"so merely looking, reading or listening to it is its only function"

I'm confused.

Are you then saying you agree that computer games _can_ be art, or can't?

Because the only function of a computer game is to, well, let you experience the computer game.

I was always told that you have art, craft, and skill; but even this oversimplifies a subject of grays.

In this sense, since computer game skills (playing) are non-transferable (for the most part) and not a craft, they probably fall under art.

I've definitely played games I think are deserving of the term (and HL2 is definitely one of them), but I wouldn't try to tell people to accept them as art.

Cheerio

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FAIL

Amiga?

Most other platforms and consoles are covered but we seem to be missing the Amiga. Obviously anything produced on an Amiga can't be art. This possibly must include "You Are The One" by Andy Warhol and Babylon 5 but I only wanted to vote for Alien Breed 3D with its (at the time) stunning use of graphics!

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re: Amiga?

... and Shadow of the Beast, that beautiful parallax scrolling got me hooked

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MJI
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Painfull voting

I wanted to vote for Uncharted 2 and Little Big Planet, sorry Sackboy, UC2 is the most art like of the lot

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By the "modern art" standard, someone saying so is enough to make it so

At least, that seems to be the basis on which the likes of Hirst, Emin & co get so much acclaim.

Personally I favour art that is about a combination of craft and ideas - ie prompts the audience to consider ideas, with nuances of those ideas examined or alluded to through the craft that has gone into creating the games themselves.

Now, given that an awful lot of games are made to be fun to play, this means they don't hold up very well to this kind of analysis. Then again, neither does a Michael Bay film. There are enough games like Silent Hill 2 or Dear Esther (a fabulous HL2 mod) that are about atmosphere and character development as much as they are pointy-clicky action that the medium should be recognized for its potential.

If a series of information-laded visual signals (either delivered statically or dynamically in chronological sequence) or a series of auditory signals can be considered art, why not an interactive system of audiovisual signals as art?

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Go

Arthur Schopenhauers slow and dimwitted horse...

Ok, before we get into this too deep - can someone please define art?

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Pirate

Sure no problem.

Just as soon as you let me know the bare minimum defining characteristics of life, the identity of the One True God and the whereabouts of Lord Lucan.

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Boffin

What no,....

...WOLFENSTEIN 3D?

Ground breaking in both graphics, type of game and the way it was marketed (Shareware).

Without it there would be no Doom and no Quake.

I particularly loved the artists rendition of old Adolf in his BattleSuit!

And yes,.... I am old! <LOL>

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Go

Try this angle...

- The McLaren F1 car. The only purpose of its existence was to put together everything any man could possibly want in a car to make it go fast, but not losing any in luxury. The engine exhaust cover is made of GOLD, not because they wanted to make it expensive, but because gold was the only thing that would work.

It could turn out to be a god-damned ugly car like a freaking isetta, but no, it turned quite beautiful. More than one connoisseur would say that is a work of art on wheels, while not trying to be.

The digital rendering of that car in Gran Turismo 5, would it make a work of art too? I bet it would.

As someone said, most bridges have something about them.

My father is a civil engineer. He helped to design several hydroelectric power plants, and while at it, they had to reinforce or outright build from scratch several bridges and/or facilities to make possible the transport of the all the heavy equipment to the site. All of these structures are collectively called by the civil engineers as "works of art". Some people say art is all about bringing people close together. As far as it is concerned, bridges DO qualify as art, since they do it quite literally.

The way I see it, video games do apply.

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Art.

^ This.

As an aside. Check out American McGee's Alice - one of the few games I've seen with art so out of this world... (The gameplay was average, but the art.. wow).

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Meh, most of the stuff on that list isn't art

It's fanboys voting for their favourite game because it has good gameplay. Not to say that these don't but if you want *REAL* art in games, take a look at:

* Ico

* Braid

* Shadow of the Colossus

* Minecraft

* The Void

* Limbo

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MJI
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That is why I chose SotC

I went by art rather than gameplay.

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FAIL

Pathetically US-centric selection of games...

What a f*cking waste of time.

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MINECRAFT

MINECRAFT!!!!!!

Up vote FTW!

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@Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

A reasonably popular definition is anything that is intended by the artist to communicate an idea or state of mind. Which is handy, bcos you can then judge whether it's good or bad art based on the originality of the idea and whether the artist has successfully communicated that idea, without technical ability playing a part.

Although cars do have to be functional, they are absolutely designed for looks. Pininfarina is a company full of artists not engineers.

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Anonymous Coward

Electronic?

"most music made in the last decade isn't music because it is partially or wholly electronically generated, rather than being played on physical instruments?"

What fucking planet are you living on? You do realise that music extends beyond the bile they play on Radio 1 yeah? Moron.

Aside from that, of course they (games) are, or rather can be. World of bloody Warcraft however, is not one of them.

My candidates: Pretty much anything that Valve make, inc. Half Life etc, Portal, Team Fortress 2. Stuff like Final Fantasy, Lost Oddysey and probably other RPG stuff. Ico/Shadow of the Colossus. Little Big Planet (more like an artists studio). Warhammer Online (fuck warcraft, they stole all they created from GW anyway, so how can that be art? :o)

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Crappy vote anyway

Just been and had a look at it.

For starters, this is exclusively games for home systems. If you think you can discuss art in games whilst omitting arcade coin-op games, you're sadly mistaken guys. Outrun? Space Harrier? Double Dragon, the original "freeform fighting" game with artwork straight out of The Warriors by way of manga cartoons? Golden Axe? Operation Wolf? Arkanoid? All conspicuous by their absence. One of the few coin-op games in there is Afterburner, and that's an emasculated conversion onto a low-power home platform.

For another thing, they've been pretty ignorant about where to find the games too. No Spectrum? No Amiga? No Atari ST? Any discussion of home computer games that misses out those three humungous gaming platforms is so ignorant as to be worthless.

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