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Are Video Games Art?

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Majora's Cat

How about that
Sep 3, 2010
Are games art? The more brilliant and artistic games that are released, the more this question pops up into gamers' brains. Is it art? As our world leans towards a more technology-driven existence, it seems more likely that video games can be consider art. Who's to say that a game like God of War can't be compared to Picasso's finest works? First off, let me give you all the definition of art so that you can decide for yourselves whether games are art.

Art - noun

1. the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.
2. the class of objects subject to aesthetic criteria; works of art collectively, as paintings, sculptures, or drawings: a museum of art; an art collection.
3. a field, genre, or category of art: Dance is an art.
4. the fine arts collectively, often excluding architecture: art and architecture.
5. any field using the skills or techniques of art: advertising art; industrial art.
6. (in printed matter) illustrative or decorative material: Is there any art with the copy for this story?
7. the principles or methods governing any craft or branch of learning: the art of baking; the art of selling.
8. the craft or trade using these principles or methods.
9. skill in conducting any human activity: a master at the art of conversation.
10. a branch of learning or university study, esp. one of the fine arts or the humanities, as music, philosophy, or literature.
11. arts, a. ( used with a singular verb
) the humanities: a college of arts and sciences. b. ( used with a plural verb
12. skilled workmanship, execution, or agency, as distinguished from nature.
13. trickery; cunning: glib and devious art.
14. studied action; artificiality in behavior.
15. an artifice or artful device: the innumerable arts and wiles of politics.
16. Archaic . science, learning, or scholarship.

I'd like everyone to take a look at the list. I find that some definitions of art are actually in video games. Take this for example:

the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.

This definition of art may not seem totally connected to video games, but it will make sense if looked at more closely. Art can be the production of what is beautiful or appealing. Video games are indeed beautiful - in our modern age, games have incredible art and are even more detailed than the most realistic of paintings.

I like to look at video games as a bounty of art - each and every cutscene, each and every location in the game has been designed beautifully. The game itself is art. A video game's cutscenes are like a beautiful work of art brought to life and filled to the brim with emotion. Consider this as well: a piece of artwork such as a painting is just one picture. It can be considered close to being "brought to life"... but it's still just one picture. Video games immerse you right into the world, every inch of the world is filled with art. Gaming is art that you can interact with.

That being said, art doesn't necessarily have to be a painting or a drawing. As shown in the Dictionary.com definitions of art, art can be many other things such as dance, learning, heck... art can even be baking. So keep this in your minds: if baking can be art, why can't video games be?

Here, my friends, are a few examples of games I believe that are true embodiments of art:



Okami really is the best game to respresent video games as art. Its beautiful watercolor graphics make it seem as if it were a painting brought to life. The hero of the story is a majestic wolf who wields a paint brush as her weapon. Everything about Okami emphasizes the beauty of watercolor painting. But Okami doesn't just look good - it plays even better. It's an amazing game and looks like art at the same time - a win-win situation.



Believe it or not, Flower is a game. No lie. You control the wind to blow a single flower through the air. Flower is poetry itself. There are no words. No fights. Just a single flower. It is not only one of the most beautiful games to date, but it also got amazing critical reception.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess


I know a lot of you out there won't understand why I picked Twilight Princess to represent video games as art. But we must admit that the art direction was fabulous. Nintendo had limited resources in making the game because it was a GameCube port. But with the limited graphics engine, Nintendo pulled off a miracle and made TP look magnificent. The cutscenes and emotions that flowed throughout the game make it a true work of art.

World of Goo

World of Goo.jpg

To me, World of Goo was an utter delight. Something about the strange-looking backgrounds and the serenity of the game intrigued me. Using little globs of goo to building structures was really clever, yet something about the music and the overall feel of the game made it feel different. That is why it is art.​



Something about Limbo made it feel like a haunted wasteland. You are thrown into the game as a little boy in a black-and-white world. There's practically no music. There are deathtraps everywhere and you can easily be killed. Something about how horribly the child is killed makes the game so intriguing. That plus the strange art style of Limbo make it one of the strangest and most unique games ever created.



Ico itself is more of a work of art than it is a game. The bloom lighting added to the beauty and helped illuminate the beautiful world. Although released in 2001, Ico had fantastic graphics far beyond its time.

Shadow of the Colossus

Shadow of the Colossus.jpg

Shadow of the Colossus has been deemed the spiritual sequel to Ico. The game is based around 16 organic colossi scattered around the world. To take them down is your only goal. You are wiping out what seems like an endangered species. The colossi are beautiful beings, and eventually you feel guilty about destroying them. These feelings of emotion and the moody atmosphere of the game make Shadow of the Colossus one of the defining games of the decade.

Those are just a few games that I think deserve to be called art. So, tell me what your position on this subject is. Are games art? Or are they simply mind-rotting filth?
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