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Gamasutra - The Art of Games

by Magerette, 2008-03-01 17:32:47

Gamasutra posts another entry in the 'games as art' debate with this column from E. Daniel Arey that examines the question of how art in gaming matters. (It's written in response to  Jim Preston's (EA) feature article there,  The Arty Party and Gamasutra's newsbit on it, Forget Art-Let's Game.)

It wasn’t the overall philosophy of Mr. Preston’s essay per se that upset me...In fact, his final assertion that we are moving toward a promising future is correct.

What did concern me was his overall seemingly static vision for our industry, and the almost jaded approach to the current value of what we call art. You can add to this the Gamasutra editors' choice of title for the related news story, 'Forget Art, Let's Game', which - while serving its purpose as a provocative siren’s call - seemed to once again proudly proclaim games as nothing more than they are, or ever will be, as an entertainment pastime that is limited and unable to evolve or adapt...

...However you fall on the subject, arguments about art’s impact or awareness can be left to the academics, and in my opinion these questions lead to nowhere. We’ve all heard the old phrase “I know it when I see it”, and I believe this litmus test can serve us well as the touchstone for our discussion.

I’ve heard countless calls over the years, often with good and pure intentions, that “Games are games, and we should keep them that way.”

While I fully understand and support that games are a wonderful play pastime, and that gameplay and fun are the beating heart of our business, I find these assertions to keep everything the same as a set of false boundaries that foster cynical limitations by those in power to assure the status quo is comfortable and predictable.

The real truth is, games have always pushed the boundaries and evolved on their own, right from the beginning. First they were a simply a “Novelty.” Then Time Magazine proudly labeled them a passing “Fad.” Then they were a “Quaint Pastime.” Then a “Cultural Phenomenon.” And now a “Mainstream Entertainment” medium.

In truth, video games have always grown beyond the bounds we try to impose on them. The people that make games are always pushing back to surprise us and surpass our expectations, and - yes, they will always continue to do so.

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