Art Games

  • When we talk about art and games the focus is almost always on the aestethics, audio story and intent of the games. While those are all fine and valid points of discussion I think the scope of discussion has become stunted. A large part of what makes games games is the mechanics and I think that the discussion needs to encompass that as well, because that is what makes games unique.

    Take previously mentioned Tetris for example. Why can't that be considered art? Sure it doesn't have an intended meaning, but it doesn't have to. You can easily derive meaning from the mechanics alone if you wanted.

    For me I think it all boils down to one thing. Can games be art? Yes, but they don't have to be.

  • No such thing as an art game , It would look ridiculous if i had to paint on my screen lmao that's one answer i got when i asked someone about art games. Games can categorized as creative art.

  • 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.

    I see your point, but I have to disagree. Again, I'm not saying that games are high art, the way a painting is. But they are a kind of art. Art with a purpose is still art, though it is a sub-category of art called "craft." For instance, pottery, acting, and furniture design are all crafts... they all require applied artistic skill, but they each have a purpose other than to exist merely as art.

    Games are born of the creative process. And while a game may or may not have a message to send, it is still comprised of artistic elements. Those elements however serve a purpose (as we both agree, that purpose is to entertain), and so games fall under applied arts, or craft. Even if your game is made of colored boxes, you still have to call upon your creative process in order to realize it.

    Of course there are varying degrees. A simple match-3 game obviously doesn't have the same artistic value as, say, Limbo. Much as a child's stick figure drawing doesn't have the same artistic value as the Last Supper.

    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 schools are already doing this. Perhaps not fine art schools, but applied art or design schools are. For instance, the Art Institute (where I went to school) has a game design program. (By the way I was there for animation, not game design... go figure ) And while it might be a chain school, it is still accredited and all students are required to take not only core academic classes, but core art classes as well, so even if your major is game programming you still have to learn color theory and art history and life drawing, etc.

    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.

    I understand what you're trying to say here, but I'd like to point out that chess is designed to make you think like crazy .

    At any rate, chess as a concept is not art. You are correct. Is is purely a game. But, a specific chess set with hand-carved pieces is a different story. The skill and creative talent that it takes to make such a set would elevate that particular set more towards art than if you were, say, playing the game in your head. Video games are like that, only they are intrinsically linked to their pieces, so to speak. Mario Kart isn't a game concept in the way that chess is a game concept... you can't walk into a store and purchase a different "brand" of Mario Kart that was made by a company other than Nintendo. Yes, there are lots of kart racing games out there and they are all somewhat similar, but you can't just up and decide "I am going to make my own Mario Kart" specifically. Well, you could, but that would be like saying "I am going to paint my own Mona Lisa." There is only one, it's not really yours to paint.

    Tetris on the other hand has become more like chess in that regard. It's ubiquitous nature has allowed it to transcend the original game and become more of a concept that just about anyone can put their own spin on, even if you can't legally call your creation Tetris.

    When we talk about art and games the focus is almost always on the aestethics, audio story and intent of the games. While those are all fine and valid points of discussion I think the scope of discussion has become stunted. A large part of what makes games games is the mechanics and I think that the discussion needs to encompass that as well, because that is what makes games unique.

    Take previously mentioned Tetris for example. Why can't that be considered art? Sure it doesn't have an intended meaning, but it doesn't have to. You can easily derive meaning from the mechanics alone if you wanted.

    To continue the Tetris discussion...

    As I said before Tetris has pretty much been reduced to a set of rules rather than a specific work. Pick any one Tetris game or clone and you can say whether or not that specific work is art, and to what degree. Much in the same way that you can point at any one particular chess set and judge it on it's artistic merits. But the mechanics themselves are purely game. They are a set of rules. It's no more art than the concept of chess, or poker, or hopscotch. But that is Tetris specifically.

    As for the rest, I'm just thinking out loud here... I have yet to fully form this idea so bear with me:

    As far as game mechanics go, they are the medium in which the work is displayed. They are the canvas on which you paint, as well as the raw paint and the brush. They are also the genre in which your work fits. They are the game... what makes your game a game rather than a painting or a movie or whatever. It's a little trickier to see as it's a really complex canvas.

    They are also the major factor in what makes your game entertainment (applied art) rather than high art.

    The design of game mechanics and their skillful implementation are integral to the experience, in so far as they are necessary to experience the game. It takes equal measures of creativity, critical thinking, and skill to construct a good mechanic. Just as you may appreciate the skilled brushwork of an artist (especially in something like pointillism where brushwork is the key component to the meaning of the image) you can likewise appreciate the clever craftsmanship of a game designer's mechanics.

    Good mechanics make the experience more enjoyable, or easier to digest, but they are still just the means by which the work is presented. I have yet to play any game in which the mechanics were themselves something more than a set of rules and controls by which you interact with the rest of the work.

  • I think a good definition of art would be any form of expression beyond function or need.

    Therefore one could say just about all games are artistic to some degree, whether it be from the coding or the graphics with in it, or even the fact that its a game, and may serve no purpose other than to entertain.

    Another big question is why do we make art?

    The answer to that is debatable, but in cave man terms, the simplest answer is mortality.

    We all want to live forever, failing that we all wish to leave some mark on the world.

    Given that the usual method is procreation, is it any wonder why so many of us developers are geeks?

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  • [quote:kmbqlh5w]Or run away, when they see the hat and the eye patch .

    That's not me, it's Big Boss from Metal Gear Solid 3.

  • I'd be running if I saw Big Boss coming after me.

  • (or if he was asking about art and games in the street ^^)

    I was looking for pictures to illustrate my thinking and I got carried on...

    <img src="http://pixdaus.com/pics/cIH5xYJdWYPjLtxh5y.jpg">

    <img src="http://zedomax.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/human_tetris.jpg">

    <img src="http://technabob.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/tb-gtejsa1.jpg">

    <img src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_1CNIPqLjSyg/SLK4cpYUjPI/AAAAAAAABuY/zYW7FABIqe8/s400/bnf-tetris-medium.jpg">

    <img src="http://paintitbeige.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/18941w_polish_12.jpg?w=512&h=364">

    Classic games are used by artists as a culture pivot or a theme to make a point (space invaders, tetris, mario NES, ...) and these games are often use as proof of concept to test new expression media... or just to give a retro feeling, but I'm not sure at which point the line is crossed between a game and an art piece... and I still wonder if there is a line to be crossed.

    <img src="http://www.iart.ch/iart_new/wp-content/uploads/diagonal.jpg">

    <img src="http://www.treehugger.com/rAndom-International-OLED.jpg">

    Once there is a goal set and a constraint to challenge, isn't everything a game, including art?

  • I think a good definition of art would be any form of expression beyond function or need...

    I like this, but I'm going to take it a step further.

    "I think a good definition of art would be any form of expression."

    You can't define "art" in absolute terms because everyone has a different perception of what they consider artistic. We try to turn our relativistic view of what-is-art into absolute terms by congregating: by using debate to try to conform others to our standard or seeking out like-minded individuals to form social groups. This self-affirmation gives you confidence and the act of engaging in "what-is-art" promotes social interaction. Who doesn't want that? Heck we might even be power-hungry enough to try to turn everyone on to our definition so it becomes the de facto definition of art!

    Anyway, using my definition above, a brick laying on the ground is art because the brick is expressing itself as brick. I don't find the brick necessarily attractive so I'm not going to appreciate it like a finely crafted combustion engine or a room full of millions of origami cranes. Nonetheless, someone else might find it's isolation, it's brickiness, it's redness quite alluring and I most certainly can't deny that it is art - art to them.

  • Real art is a feeling that is passed by the creator on to the observer trough his creation.

  • Art is about illusion and immersion. Therefore the greatest art is videogames. Don't listen to the nonsense about "messages" and that art = bland crap.

  • "I think a good definition of art would be any form of expression."

    Yelling at someone who cuts you off in traffic isn't art, and that is a form of expression.

    I personally don't adhere to the idea that anything can be art, or that anything can be art as long as the artist says it's art. That's Dadaism, and in my opinion Marcel Duchamp and his ilk did more harm than good with their movement because it went largely misunderstood by the public and fellow artists alike. The dadaist movement was meant to be a criticism of modern art, which dadaists found to me empty and meaningless. It was anti-art, and it allowed you to do things like pick up any object, sign your name on it, hang it on a wall, and charge $5000. Or to stand on one leg in a park while gargling pudding, and tell everyone it means something deep and significant.

    It's exactly that sort of thing that makes the masses see art in general as a big pile of bullshit. It devalues real art. Saying anything can be art is the same sort of "everyone is a winner" mentality that kindergarten teachers have when they hand out a trophy to every kid in the class for the field day sack race even though it was little Billy that actually won. In my opinion it's a meaningless, empty gesture and it makes little Billy's victory less special and significant.

    If anything can be art, then art has no meaning or purpose.

    So no, I don't think a regular brick lying on the sidewalk can be art. I do think that a brick could possibly inspire some personal reflection in an individual, but so can someone yelling at you in traffic. So can a tree, or the moon, or a rainy day. But those aren't art either, they're nature.

    A brick is a tool, and tools are not art. In fact, you could define a tool as the opposite of art... a tool has low aesthetic value but a high degree of practical use. Art (at least fine art) has a high aesthetic value and a low degree of practical use.

    Similarly, high aesthetics and high practicality would be craft. Low aesthetics and low practicality would be trash. These are the four basic types of human creations. Art, Craft, Tools, and Trash. Anything you make will fall into one of those categories to one degree or another, but their placement is rather subjective to the person doing the placing.

    Anyway I guess my point is that just because something has meaning or can inspire you doesn't mean it's art, and likewise just because you're expressing an idea or an emotion doesn't mean you're making art.

    It's generally accepted that fine art has no function other than to express an idea. If it serves some other function (such as to entertain) it then becomes practical, and would hence fall under the category of craft, or design, or applied art, which ever name you want to call it. It ceases to be fine art.

    So I would actually agree more with newt's assessment.

    tl;dr: blah blah blah

  • Doesn't a balett entertain in the same way as a movie does? Still it's counted as fine art.

    The dadaism worked at that time. Since no one had picked up trash and said it was art before it made people think. People could do the same now, it would still be art, but BAD art since the timing is bad. The other kids, even thought they didn't win, still raced just as much as Billy.

    Here's a new definition then. For something to be art, the creator must have the intention of making art. The creator must also have an understanding of what art is. A childs painting isn't art. A moron who saw some dadaist calling a toilet art, and decides to do the same thing, doesn't nescessarily make art.

  • [quote:kahghaz8]Here's a new definition then. For something to be art, the creator must have the intention of making art. The creator must also have an understanding of what art is. A childs painting isn't art. A moron who saw some dadaist calling a toilet art, and decides to do the same thing, doesn't nescessarily make art.

    I see the point, but I would iterate that to a parent, that child's painting could be the most beautiful thing in the world. Then I would say that knowledge of art has less to do with it then the want, or need to create. After all the cavemen knew nothing about dadaism, or abstract, or realism, or even what a collage was.

    Also:

    [quote:kahghaz8]Yelling at someone who cuts you off in traffic isn't art, and that is a form of expression.

    I've know several people who have tried to elevate that to an art form.

    It was stunning to say the least.

  • Games are work's of art ,Look at the background's , Sprites etc... They don't just pop up magically through coding or event's.Most of the time it has to be drawn on paper before it goes onto the screen aka Concept Art,And for that part you really need to be good with drawings etc...

    Art is an expression of one's inner thought's and ideas, And i believe that creating games are an extension of those thought's and ideas.

  • I think of games as the greatest pieces of art, some of them combine most aspects of art such as drawing, storytelling, music, and other things. But like some people have said, games are mostly for entertainment. Alot of people (like jocks, rednecks, and 99.9% of the girls at my school, thank the geek [yes I meant GEEK] gods that my girlfriend, is, in my opionion hot, and geeky) won't say games as art, most of them say games are: stupid, for kids, lonely people, people who don't have girlfriends, don't have much to do. Like I said, most people just think of them as entertainment and some people feel the need to label there game as an "art game" because they want people to know that there game isn't just a regular game. It's a game thats supposed to envoke people's feelings.

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