The game community was abuzz a couple months ago after Roger Ebert’s famous “Games Are Not Art, and Never Will Be” blog post. It’s all a matter of opinion, of course, but here’s mine.
Collaboration = Not Ert?
Video games, like many other games, are not considered “art” by some because they are involve collaboration from across mediums. Video games, though, are directed by the lead designer. Someone creates the vision for the game. Not every member of a film crew is performing an artistic function, yet they collaboratively work to make a film. How is that any more or less art than a video game?
Entertainment = Not Ert?
If the main argument is that games are not art because they are purely entertainment, I would argue, then, that certain films are not art. If they are created with the sole purpose of entertaining and not to create some change or deliver some message or idea or emotion, aren’t they just the same as some video games? I mean, is anyone really going to argue that Transformers 2 was art? Because I will take that bet.
Art = Intent.
Even if it is bad art, if the creator intended it as art, then it is art. Since we do not always know the intent of the creators of individual games, it is hard to say they are or are not art. Perhaps some games are art and some games are not.
Level design takes skill and creativity, so do game mechanics and, of course, graphics. Is programming an art? I know programmers who would definitely say it is– and I agree with them.
Personally, when I set about to design a game, I intend it to be a form of art. I intend to create something that is engaging and emotionally stirring to the players. I hope to tell a story. Not unlike other art forms we may know. Like, you know, all of them.
As an artist, it’s my prerogative to say when I’ve created art. It’s other people’s prerogative to say whether or not what I created sucks, but the creation is mine.