Video Games as Works of Art

  • @michemagius I wouldn't call an art museum itself a piece of art, just because it houses pieces of art. That would be my main argument against your claim. Yes, each asset (e.g textures) can be considered a piece of art, I just don't buy the argument that combining artistic pieces is enough to claim that a video game is art.

    But I do think video games are art because they are creatively designed to give the viewer an experience. That's my personal view, which I have not thought much about, so it's probably flawed in a lot of ways.

  • I would focus on the unique aspects of interactivity and what they add to a work that cannot be matched in any other medium. Think the QTEs in Asura's Wrath where your struggle with the controller mirror's Asura's own exertion. Or think of the ending of The Last of Us where

    the player is forced to enact Joel's decision save Ellie whether or not the player agrees with him and the tension and distance that creates in contrast to the traditional player/avatar relationship.

  • The games that immediately come to mind are the Zero Escape series (can't wait to play ZTD), The Swapper, Braid, Undertale, Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath, and anything by Aminita Design ^ ^

  • Journey and Shadow of the Colossus are great examples, as they both manage to tell gripping and evocative stories with little to no dialogue, letting gameplay speak for itself. Dark Souls probably fits into this category too.

    On the other end of the spectrum you have Metal Gear Solid games, which do a lot of telling, but the story itself and the themes are well thought out and deep enough to make them stand out as stark examinations of nuclear war and what shapes us into the people we are.

    And then you have games like Spec Ops: The Line where your actions play into the story and enhances it, in a way that a film or a book couldn't possibly hope to accomplish.
    The Stanley Parable would fit into this category, and is enormously enjoyable because of it.

  • I'll vote for Journey and The Witness.

    Independent of what art means for video games, those two were the first to come to mind for their design and story telling.

    Valiant Hearts is also up there for me, though not as much as the other two.

  • The Last of Us. Brought characters to life in a way that no other game had ever done.


  • I've always thought that REmake is one of the best ways to demonstrate this because it has characteristics that somebody familiar with film can appreciate. The static camera means that every shot is framed similarly to a movie. Everything from the rendering of the environment, to the framing of the shots, to the audio cues are specifically designed to convey a sense of atmosphere and elicit an emotional response.
    Also, the interactive nature adds stakes, which increases the sense of fear/apprehension. Dying means that you actually lose something (time).....So something like a dog jumping through a window to hunt you down makes you feel something.

    I think that several of the other games mentioned are art, but it would be difficult for non gamers to understand why