Art Games

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  • Have you ever played one of these? How would you describe an art game? I think that art games are 90% Art, 10% game. They either grab your imagination, mess with your emotions, or are alot of pretty colors. I'm making a short side project called "Cessation" (meaning to end) The game is about beginnings and endings. You start as an infant, then a child, then a teen, young adult, middle aged person, and fianly senior citizen. I'm going to use realy primitive graphics. At any of the 6 age groups you can die in a number of ways, and what you do early on, have an effect later in your life. There is some more info on my Gamejolt account I just got like 2 days ago.

  • Personally I think all video games are a type of art. It's art with a function (to entertain), rather than fine art. Much in the way that film is. Well, most film. But since we're talking about the unfortunately named sub-genre of "art games" then I guess I'll throw my opinion into the mix:

    Some are better than others but in general I'm not a fan. I tend to think of games as "fun" and "challenging." Fun technically isn't a necessary component for games, but it's widely accepted that interaction, challenge, and goals are. Many art games are lacking in one or more, and so don't really meet my own personal criteria for what makes a game a game.

    But that doesn't mean they're bad. I just personally don't like the actual playing of them because they tend to be boring as hell, as far as interactivity goes. I agree with your assessment that art games are more art than game. Most art games that I've played have no real gameplay to speak of. They may have rich emotional messages (or not) but in my opinion there are better mediums in which to express your ideas that don't involve attempting to tack on a bare minimum of interactivity that ultimately has no bearing on the message or experience.

    I have yet to see any art game that I thought wouldn't be better suited as a short film, or a piece of music, or a written poem or story. But then again it's not for me to say what medium the artist should be using to create his work, now is it?

    I would say that when you're making a game, it's already art. It's born of your creative process. And if you're making an "art game," then be sure to include the game part of that. Just my own personal manifesto, I guess... keep the game in your game.

    And before this thread runs headlong into another argument about art games I'd like to remind people to remain civil, that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and no I don't expect everyone to subscribe to mine

  • It's an interesting topic, and one that bears discussing.

    I'm of a similar opinion of deadeye on art games. I'm generally disinterested in "art" per se, as the way I see it "art" has mostly always been more about social commentary than the craftmanship of illustration, composing etc.

    When talking about art games you'll invariable run into "games as art" territory. Though, it's a separate issue. Art games are art where the artist uses games as a medium, wheras games as art is more about getting games accepted as an artform. Like movies and comics (to an extent) have been.

    Following that train of thought. We had a lecturer from Berkley have a seminar about close reading games like they do in literature. It was an interesting lecture and I can see the validity of it from an academic stand-point. But when I, as someone within the industry, look at it matter of factly, what you're doing is literally shoehorning a work into meaning something it probably wasn't supposed to mean at all. Thus, for me, the idea has little use outside of academia.

    I have played a few art games, and most of them seem to share a few points. They are often not particularly engaging, which makes me want to 'not' call them games. What gameplay elements there are are often subdued and in the most severe cases "hold this button and the game plays itself" (coughPassagecough).

    I'm going to adress some of what you said Granhunter. I don't really get your "90% art, 10% game" thing. What exactly constitutes as art and what constitutes as game? If a game was made with the intention of being an art game, then it's 100% art that just happens to be a game.

    "They either grab your imagination, mess with your emotions, or are alot of pretty colors."

    I can name pretty much any game and it will correlate to at least two of those. Does that mean that all games are art or that no game can be qualified as an "art game"? Yes and no, simultaneously. There is no good answer I think. It's highly, maybe even completely, subjective.

  • The reason I said "90% art, 10% game" is because I think that in most art games, you may do something interactive, but usualy that'ts not the point of the game, or what you do is very little. I to think of all games as being art, but most people don't think that. What would we call these art games if EVERY game was considered a piece of art by everyone?

    I recently played a "art game" called "Is It Time?" It was very unquie and is inspiring another creation of mine.

  • I to think of all games as being art, but most people don't think that.

    Keep in mind that the US government officially declared that games are art just recently: ... for-games/

  • Yea, I heard about that, but if you walk to a random person on the street and ask them are videogames are art, they'll probalbly say no.

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  • [quote:5r7j1mlw]Yea, I heard about that, but if you walk to a random person on the street and ask them are videogames are art, they'll probalbly say no.

    Or run away, when they see the hat and the eye patch ^^

    I would say that games are very close to movies. Most of them are commercial creations made to bring back more money that they cost to make and will follow a similar path to movie making in terms of production or marketing approach. If some movies out there are pure work of art, they will not address the same crowd as your latest blockbuster, and will be generally seen as boring, masturbatory and over intellectualized by 90% of the human population... 'art games' usually bring the same kind of reactions to most 'conventional' gamers.

    Actually, I don't really remember seeing a "commercial" art game... is there any?

  • Closest I can think of right now would be Limbo.

  • Why the hell do we need to make a separate category for what only amounts to mediocre platformers and puzzle games, when the games that are REALLY art, like, say,

    Tetris, Super Mario World, Super Metroid, Battle Garrega, Deus Ex, Link's Awakening, G-Darius, RayForce, Street Fighter 2, Super Mario Kart, King's Quest, Space Quest, Shinobi III, R-Type, Jet Set Radio, Goldeneye...

    In short, I've always wondered a little bit why, if we're going to call games art, just not list the best fucking games we've ever made, instead of these really short and often not-very-fun platformers and screensavers.

  • In short, I've always wondered a little bit why, if we're going to call games art, just not list the best fucking games we've ever made, instead of these really short and often not-very-fun platformers and screensavers.

    Because if it's not pretentious and/or boring enough, it's not "art". =P

    But seriously, I hear you and I'm with you. The whole problem with art games as I see it is that people are kinda going about it the wrong way (though when you talk about "art" there is no wrong and anyone telling you different is completely right). Instead of judging games on their own merits, people need to compare games with other artforms. You don't judge a painting the same way you judge a piece of violin music right?

    To add to the list:

    Shadow of the Colossus, Silent Hill 2, Secret of Mana, Terranigma, Megaman 1-ZX

  • A game isn't art just because It's good. It's art when the creator intended it to be art (this is not a waterproof rule, but in most cases this is true). If the intention is purely to entertain, then it's entertainment. If the intention is to invoke feelings or thoughts in the player, then it's more towards art. The focus of art is not to entertain, but to spread and invoke thoughts and ideas.

    Games as an artistic medium is so young compared to other artforms. there's LOTS of new ground to break. Unlike many artistic areas, everything hasn't been done yet, Far from it! Even after decades of gaming tradition and a huge amount of technical improvements opening up doors, most games still follow the exact same concepts as the first generation of games. Some day, when games are picked up by artists, not geeks, games are going to take a whole new direction. This will probably happen around the time when art schools start to accept game devs, educate them, and push them to do artistic research.

    Art as a concept is an extremely hard word to understand or define. People with artistic background constantly debate it with each other, people without artistic background usually have no idea what it means.

    Since I'm pretty sure that Tetris or Mario Cart was made purely to be entertaining (really REALLY entertaining), I don't see them as art. They are really good games, but chess is a damn good game as well, but it's not designed to express anything or make you think. Deus Ex on the other hand has some political and philosophical thoughts on a whole different level, and is to me just as much art as mona lisa.

    I've been studying dance and contemporary circus for five years now, and circus, just as games, is also traditionally seen as entertainment, but has broken into the artworld and is now a widly accepted artform. There's a clear line between contemporary and traditional circus, and while

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    is great entertainment, It's not made to be art, like for example

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    is. So far, most games being made fall in the same category as the chinese acrobats. Great entertainment. Little thought.

  • IMHO, very few games can be qualified as art. In most case, videogames are a pale copy of an technically innovative games. What you see, what you hear, it's nothing but 0s and 1s and the real game artists are the ones who allows other artist to showcase their own art with the fewest limitations.

    The only ones capable of making videogames an art, are the ones who make them. Until programmers publicly showcase their code and that can easily be admired and appreciated by non-programmers, videogames will remain a medium to showcase other people's art.

  • Can't agree with that. With the right ideas and intentions you can make an art of most things. If you're a programmer working for a director, then yes, you're not really an artist. But in many indie cases the programmer has a lot of freedom and is basically building a universe from scratch. It's not just code, but level design, dialogue, story etc. Also, indie-games often have an artist, musician and programmer working as a team, where everyone contributes with thoughts and ideas. It's the combination of everything that forms the final product.

    Saying games is a medium to showcase other people's art is like saying movies are a way to showcase the soundtrack. Knytt has an amazing soundtrack, and it can be seen as art in itself. But together with a game it forms a much stronger atmosphere and can project a feeling in a totaly different way. Some music nifflas made himself, and the rest is made by his friends who where very involved in the process of making the game. The actual code in this case has nothing to do with the artwork. You don't have to see what tools someone used in photoshop to create a picture, it's the final product that counts.

  • Well, I guess you're right. Afterall, boxing is an art too. Where's the limit between mastering a discipline and becoming an artist. Cleaning a room and making it a nice, warmth and relaxing place is also a form of art. Whatever pass through any of our senses to modify how we feel can be consider art. It will move some, and leave others cold as ice. A lawyer is an artist who gently and subtly pulls strings of literature and morality.

    But personally, I still believe that art is how you do it and not what you do.

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