Games Aren’t Art

Chief Propagators: Self-aggrandizing, out-of-touch old men like Roger Ebert

Why It’s Dumb: Art is indefinable by nature and substance is dictated by the viewer

This argument is hard to justify to anyone who’s actually played games. The old heralds of the artistic community have always been resistant to change, but their overzealous attack on video games is by far one of the most foolish decrees they’ve ever made.

The crux of their position is that because video games are interactive and therefore allow the player to contribute to the experience, games can never be complete representations of an artistic vision. Of course this makes no sense because all art requires interpretation by the viewer, which in itself is a contribution to the experience. All games do differently is extrapolate the interpretive experience by allowing the player to investigate their understanding in a direct way.

There’s been plenty of criticism about games as an artistic medium because of its frequently pandering content, but it isn’t like this exists in other mediums too. To cast out games as art because titles like Bayonetta and Bulletstorm are directed at simpler forms of enjoyment is the same as dismissing books because Twilight exists, or films because of The Fast and the Furious.

Sure, not everything within the incredibly wide spectrum of content is as introspective and impactful as Deus Ex or BioShock, but art is what you make of it and no one medium can be disqualified.