Culture House Daily

What makes art art? And why gaming may not make the grade

19 May 2014

Every now and then, you’ll come across an article which puts a case for something or other being taken seriously as an ‘art form’.  Designing computer games, cake-making, upholstery, you name it, sooner or later it’ll be up there with painting the Sistine Chapel. And the more elaborate or intricate the process of production, the more earnest the appeals of the writer seeking artistic validation. And sometimes the article will even come right out and say it: ‘This [insert the thing being promoted as a Serious Artistic Endeavour] is art. It’s as much art as Turner’s late paintings, which were once dismissed as “soap suds and whitewash” by the sneering cock-eyed art critics of the day.’ And if you’re the sorry art critic who protests, then you may as well be sent to the art critic’s knacker’s yard, since your day has surely passed.

The writers who write these appeals usually think that simply by repeating their claims about how lovingly crafted their particular thing is, or how highly skilled its production, that they have made a compelling case – all without so much as a pause to ponder the bigger question about the nature of art, or the way the art world operates, or even bothering to see what much contemporary art actually looks like.

Ah, we’ll all say after reading their pleas, we don’t want to be like those sneering, cock-eyed art critics, all destined to be proven wrong by history. Why, if Michelangelo were alive today he wouldn’t be painting the Sistine Chapel, he’d be decorating fancy cakes, upholstering designer furniture, designing games for the more discerning middle-class gamer (not those smashy-and-grabby affairs, but something stark and minimal and artistic) –  or, as was often said in the 1980s, making video art. And he’d be way ahead of those know-nothing critics who once sneered at Turner.

Much to my non-surprise, there was such a piece in the Guardian last week, written by the paper’s gaming critic, and it did, predictably, kick off with a tale illustrating how new art is often disparaged before being hailed as ground-breaking by a new generation of enlightened critics.

This time it was Turner’s misunderstood genius that was bought to the fore, stating that history had once again proven the critics wrong. (Actually, for the record, Turner was hardly that misunderstood. At 26 he became the youngest ever full member of the Royal Academy, he outshone his nearest rival Constable for plaudits and acclaim, and he never had the slightest trouble selling his paintings, since he was incredibly market-savvy as well as dazzlingly talented and hard-working). But that’s by the by. This was a piece written to tell us that games designers are artists and that games are art and whoever sneers at that is destined for the bin marked ‘Irrelevant ramblings of an art hack’ or the bin marked ‘Brian Sewell’.

The piece landed on the back of a hurried three-minute debate on Radio 4’s Today programme, which had invited art critic Sarah Kent and game developer Alex Evans to debate the merits of computer games. Wisely, James Naughtie didn’t pose the ‘but is it art?’ question – because he, you and I know that anything taking material form, and in some cases non-material form (Yves Klein’s Void, Duchamp’s breath-in-a-perfume-bottle, Martin Creed’s Lights Going On and Off) can acquire cultural significance as art – and it can do this by an almost alchemical process of art world validation in which timing and fashion play their crucial parts. Naughtie simply asked whether games had ‘power and integrity’. Were they any good?

Kent, who’s hardly an expert on gaming but who’s been a champion of difficult contemporary art for most of her life, weighed in by saying that of the games she had encountered most were a bit rubbish: all whizz-bang and noise, designed to get you addicted like an illicit drug and with no attempt at anything reflective. Art was all about editing, she said, and these games were all about chucking it all in in order to offer cheap thrills. Art, she said, does more than that.


Well, let fury rain down. This made the gaming critic of the Guardian very angry indeed and he fulminated against ‘irrelevant critics’. But here I’d blame the brief format of the debate and the honesty with which Kent attempted to answer the question from her limited personal experience in the 50-odd seconds allocated. Such is the nature of a quick-fire radio ding-dong.

Beyond this I wondered if the Guardian writer actually knew that digital art had been around seemingly forever, and that computer animation had been informing the work of contemporary artists for years, and that gaming was actually already part of the visual vocabulary of many ‘cross-over’ artists who showed work in galleries.

Because what he failed to grasp is a fundamental thing about what we call art: that it’s not the medium of expression that makes something art, but the process of artistic production. A urinal isn’t art, but Duchamp’s Fountain is. And that’s because of the complex way that that work directly engaged and challenged the art world of which Duchamp was already a part and asked an audacious and profound question about the nature of art that has managed to reverberate down the decades. As such, Fountain, in its playful and provocative way, is as much a work of philosophy as it as a work of visual art (ding – it becomes all about the idea).

Furthermore, because we can be talking about two different things when we talk about art – the first an institutional definition, whose boundaries indeed shift, and the other, which has a wider brief, about what possesses cultural significance – we can often find ourselves in a muddle. If we feel something lacks the cultural cachet it deserves – such as games – some immediately seek to validate it in terms of art, not just as something that possesses cultural value but that which should be accepted by the art world. And they seek to do so by listing criteria which no longer hold weight in the art world, such as how intricately made something is, how skilful its production, or how beautiful. Such are the confusions and convolutions we have arrived at after a hundred years of modernism and its off-shoots.

Such questions, of course, wouldn’t have bothered anyone in the days when artists, before the Renaissance, were considered mere tradesmen. Nor anyone before the cult of innovation began to hold sway, and the Western world began to seek the thrill of the new, with each generation enacting a mini-revolution in the plastic arts.

I suspect that, had television been invented in the 15th century instead of oil paint, just at the point when the notion of artistic genius was first being formed, then television, niftily deployed as a tool of church propaganda, would have been imbued with all the hokey religiosity that painting and sculpture have been invested with through the years.

Our feelings about Western art are a hangover of what painting and sculpture were once for during the Renaissance: to depict moments in the life of Christ and the whole panoply of saints in order to stir religious feeling and obedience to God. The Renaissance was also, coincidentally, when artists discovered the power of classical Greek art, which laid the foundations for a new humanistic vision in which man imitated God by creating great art.

The gallery eventually replaced the church, but our notions of art have largely remained in obeisance to art’s dual Renaissance function: work that worships God – or latterly some numinous quality – but also invokes the artist as God-like. And even when, in the 60s, artists escaped the confines of the gallery, they largely took that notion with them. Like a bad cold it lingered for a seeming eternity, persisting in the person of (male) artists such as Joseph Beuys or land artist Robert Smithson, both of whom, in different ways, are still mythologised. This is why it feels like apostasy to dismiss some artists in the 20th century canon. Art never stopped being synonymous with religion, nor the artist with God.

Aspiring to be taken seriously as an artist in the art-making business when you’re working in the consumer market is a muddled objective, because it isn’t the skill or the beauty or the amazing cleverness of what you produce that, alone, will propel it into that world. In themselves, these qualities don’t hold that much currency, which makes many people who value these things in art very sad. But to also still repeat that art is really only about the idea also seems a little tired, a little dead on its feet these days. And clever ideas are hardly in short supply in truly brilliant television dramas such as Breaking Bad. I somehow doubt its creator Vince Gilligan has an inferiority complex. What would he gain by doing a James Franco and showing risible rip-offs of Cindy Sherman in a swanky blue-chip New York gallery?  Nothing.

So why seek the validation of being called art? The work of Chris Marker, the French avant-garde filmmaker who in later life created an online presence in the virtual world of Second Life and conducted interviews through his cat avatar, can currently be seen at Whitechapel Gallery. But his films are best seen as films and not as artworks, which, when seen on a loop as you wander in and out of galleries, lose all sense of narrative power and purpose. In short, the work gains little by being seen as art and loses quite a lot.

So I suggest that people who want to see this, that and the other as art, should really just chill out.

Fisun Güner is the visual arts editor of The Arts Desk

Note: the headline has been changed to more accurately reflect the tenor of the piece.

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  • تور چین

    I missed the just war question, the bond question, and chose debt instead of SS. I feel dumb for missing the last two, as I have an econ degree!
    نمای ساختماننمای کامپوزیت

  • gari

    I’d blame the distraction of the meeting for my mistake on the Monroe Doctrine.
    کرکره برقیراهبند اتوماتیک

  • puoya

    I am sure Charlotte will be pleased she came out on top.
    طب سنتیطب سوزنی

  • Rodrigo Gondim

    Games are art, if I throw a bucket of paint on the wall and this is considered art, why not games

  • André Lima

    This “article” is nothing but generalization and a showing off of ignorance. Therefore, your writing is not art.

  • Alex V

    I agree with so much of what you say here, yet I just don’t feel it offers any expanation for Sarah Kent’s absurd thoughts about games, or the Guardian response that you criticise. I think Keith Stuart’s Guardian piece was a largely measured and considerate response to what she said.

    He quotes Sarah Kent as saying about games being considered as significant “Most people are against the idea because it feels wrong – they’re not serious enough, they haven’t got the right intentions. It’s just a marketing tool for kids… They don’t count as art because they don’t have any kind of self-reflection. They don’t think about what they’re doing. Their function is to get you involved, unthinkingly and obsessively, like a drug.”

    Honestly what she says there is so obviously such small-minded nonsense, and so pathetically lacking in generosity or understanding in this case, that I think she deserves every bit of criticism for that. You wisely ignore that bit of her argument.

  • E. Byron Nelson

    Although the blunt style of the headline and early paragraphs may have a attracted a number of readers who were unable to appreciate the distinctions you were making, as evidenced by some of the funny comments here, the actual content was very well argued and convincing. I think your suggestions apply equally well to video game haters like Roger Ebert, who made film his point of comparison, for him a “true art form,” but who in so doing didn’t really understand what he was saying.

    Having played many, many indie games, including those currently touted as “art,” as well as having designed some games, I would emphasize that the medium obviously becomes richly and deeply a part of the process of any genuine artistic process, so that a work made in an interactive medium will necessarily be fundamentally different from a non-interactive work, just as a literary work will differ from a work in a plastic medium. But you are right: the determining factor is not the medium itself but rather the process and the point of the expression.

    There is, however, an irony to some of your points about God and the artist in the western tradition, which is that while your main argument, i.e. that many of the participants in this discussion about video games have vague and outdated notions about the designation “art,” is well placed, you yourself seem to be making some rather vague and incoherent assumptions about the nature of “God,” “numinous” qualities, and the role of the maker. I find your pat summary of the western tradition from the middle ages to the present pretty irksome in its over-simplicity and unreflectiveness, which is exactly what you are saying about the Guardian writer and others’ positions, right?

  • KarasuZero

    Child of Light, Journey, Thomas Was Alone, Bastion and so.

    Do some research before making such affirmation. Thank you.

    • Daniel Carrapa

      Additionally: Portal, Shadow of the Colossus, Gone Home, The Stanley Parable, Proteus, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Flower, Papers Please…

      On a conceptual level: Half Life 2 (City 17), BioShock (Rapture), Grand Theft Auto IV (Liberty City), Assassin’s Creed II and Brotherhood (Renaissance Italy), Mafia II (Empire Bay), LA Noire (Los Angeles), Skyrim (The Imperial Province of Skyrim), Mass Effect (Citadel Space Station), Mirror’s Edge (The City), The Last of Us (Post-apocalyptic America), BioShock Infinite (Columbia), Dishonored (Dunwall), Red Dead Redemption (American Old West), Remember Me (Neo-Paris), Grand Theft Auto V (San Andreas)…

      The list goes on…

    • Joycetick

      Read the article before posting an utterly irrelevant comment. Thank you.

  • First L

    Is Meet the Fockers on the same level as Lawrence of Arabia? Why do journalists always assume that all games are Meet the Fockers aka Call of Duty?

  • julop

    “it’s not the medium of expression that makes something art, but the process of artistic production”
    Then by your definition “The three musketeers”, one of the most important adventure novels of all the times is not art. Dumas was a very commercial author and his “process of artistic production” was a kind of work for hire. Shakespeare was not an artist either. He was a businessman.

  • Daniel Carrapa

    First, it should be noted that how a certain writer addresses other writers or art-critics is irrelevant to the debate this piece is supposedly trying to address. And I’ll confess, I have no grasp on “the way the art world operates”. What is “the art world” anyway?

    Concerning the actual subject, perhaps the problem with this kind of discussion begins with the notion of “something” as an art form. For example: cinema (or painting, or sculpture) is an art form. Of course we know what this means in a normative sense. But the fact remains that these are abstract notions, since we all comprehend that only a fraction of the films produced in the world are worthy to be defined as objects of art. In that regard, we should consider that what these are (movies, paintings, etc) are vehicles for human expression that carry the potential to transcend their medium and become very powerful transforming experiences.

    Michelangelo’s frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel are not art because they are paintings on the ceiling of a church but because they transcend into the world of ideas, they express the frailties of human nature and our relation with the divine. La Gioconda isn’t art because it’s a painting but because it reveals the complexities of human expression and female beauty. We hardly know how to explain it, but we recognize it, because once we see it we will never forget it. True art transforms who we are, our personal references, the foundations upon which we build the future of our experience as human beings. And in becoming these experiences, they become art.

    Can video games be art, then? Again, we need to take a closer look at what we define as video games. Tetris is a game. The Last of Us is a game. But are they even the same thing? The diversity of what falls under the category of “video games” comprises a much wider assortment of creations than that which we would define as films. Tarkovski’s Stalker and Michael Bay’s Transformers are both films, constructions built on image and sound, structure and sequence. And yet, concerning their nature as aesthetic objects or their potential value as art, we could hardly consider them products of the same discipline.

    Interactive entertainment has witnessed an outstanding evolution in recent years regarding internal complexity, narrative quality and artistic design. Now, maybe The Godfather of video games has not yet been made, but the potential and scope of this new medium is already easily perceptible.

    The geek in me could bring forth many examples. I’ll state just one. Somewhere in Assassin’s Creed 2 you are transported to the streets of late 1400’s Venice during the carnival, as the night sets in, and you are free to wander through performing artists, vendors, people walking and talking. And there you are, not even rushing for the next “mission”, whatever that is, just strolling the narrow alleyways, appreciating the sights and sounds of it all, surrounded by outstanding architecture, wondering about that time in history and how it might have been something similar to this, realizing, if just for a moment, that a video game can truly transcend into a fabulous experience.

    So yes, maybe games are still a bit sketchy, too digitally clean and trimmed around the edges, too mechanical in structure, but already there is so much amazement to be found in them. Anyone who gazed at the endless landscapes of Skyrim or Red Dead Redemption, ventured into the bowels of Rapture in Bioshock, drove freely through the streets of 1947’s Los Angeles in LA Noire or stood on top of the roman Colosseum to watch the night fall over 16th century Rome in Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood knows what I’m talking about.

    And why should gamers care, anyway? Why should we require validation on the possibility of video games becoming an accepted art form? Why can’t gamers just “chill out”, as the author says, and remain in their little nerd zone, leaving “serious arts” alone for the enjoyment of the highbrow. Maybe because we would like to say we’ve been appreciating art into the wee small hours of the morning instead of confessing we’ve been playing GTA all night long. Or maybe it’s because we know better and have our eyes wide open to this new, entertaining, educational, emotional medium that delivers such extraordinary atmospheres, landscapes, storylines and possibilities.

    • Teodoro Hochfarber Salinas

      I completely agree with you, as I think your argumentation is better constructed and has a better foundation than even this article!

  • MrJellybean

    I am somewhat tired of this whole argument. Are video games art? I don’t know. I don’t care. Video games are fun, I know that. Some impact me emotionally. Some are beautiful. Some make me think. Are films art? Is Transformers: Dark of the moon art? I’ve never been playing a game and thought, is this art? I absolutely cannot enjoy it if it isn’t.

    • Ewan

      That’s not entirely the point though. There’s cultural space in the media dedicated to covering art, there’s funding (private and public) available to art, there’s time in degree courses for people to be taught about art, and how to create art. It matters whether or not gaming counts as art, because it dictates whether gaming is accepted in those environments. Dear Esther started in a University, backed by the AHRC, but it’s very much a rarity, and it shouldn’t be.

      There’s always the argument whenever any question of terminology arises that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but there are practical impacts, and the way gaming is treated in mainstream culture doesn’t smell as sweet – it stinks.

      • MrJellybean

        I just said I don’t care! 😉

  • hokamoka

    If these “spoiled anvils” are considered as art: I think then games like Journey or Fez also should be art.

  • pindarninja

    This article is an atrocious piece of argument and reasoning. If “it’s not the medium of expression that makes something art, but the process of artistic production” how exactly does that preclude video games? Do you honestly believe video game artists don’t engage with the larger art world? Please.

    In addition, for someone who is arguing that video games aren’t art, it’s obvious that you haven’t done the required research. Games for years have no longer been required to be “beautiful,” “intricately-made,” or “skillful its production.” Indie games have long abandoned such notions. “I Get This Call Every Day” is purposefully ugly and amateur-looking; many of the best and most-praised games are simple in concept and execution, like Super Hexagon; and with the rise of game-making software that doesn’t require knowledge of coding, “skillful in its production” is no longer a criteria either. Some of the best games being released are basically pieces of writing, like the Twine games of Porpentine.

    This is the article that happens when a armchair critic wants to pontificate about whether certain things are “art” without taking the effort to understand what could possibly make them “art.” Pure rubbish.

  • Ewan

    “some immediately seek to validate it in terms of art, not just as something that possesses cultural value but that which should be accepted by the art world”

    The problem here is that you’re misappropriating the term ‘art’ to mean anything that a self-selecting clique of people who call themselves the ‘art world’ already like. It’s not only a circular definition, it’s also plainly self-serving nonsense.

  • SBY818

    It seems like the author has answered the question of what ‘art’ can be with this:

    “…it’s not the medium of expression that makes something art, but the process of artistic production.”

    According to her, something can only be called ‘art’ if you set out with the
    specific intention of creating ‘art’, nothing else. If it has any other
    function (for entertainment, for instance), it can’t be classified as such.

    I disagree with this view. To use an obvious example, if somebody painted a stunning landscape, or created a sculpture that ended up in a museum, no doubt it would be classed as ‘art’. But what if that same vista was then utilised as part of the landscape in an open-world game? Or the sculpture used as a character model? Would it then cease to be ‘art’? No.

    What if this model was created for the game specifically? Does that necessarily change the artistic intent of the person who created it? No. The medium of expression has about as much bearing on art as the intentions of the creator – zero. Overall, I think I agree with Joe Griffin below; if something makes you think, or cry, or just stop and stare in wonder whilst the world carries on around you, then I’d class that as a great piece of art. And more than ever, games are falling into that category.

  • Joe Griffin

    Whether or not something is considered art is more than just related to vanity and insecurity; it decides whether something gets coverage in cultural outlets, what grants they get and whether it gets analysed (or even seen) by certain audiences.

    I think the definition of art should lie with what it can achieve, not how much work or craft went into it. My personal criteria for art is whether the best of it can make me a- see things differently or b- cry, and I have played games that have easily achieved that.

  • Blindsideflanker

    As piles of bricks, stuffed animals, unmade beds, dark rooms etc are deemed to be art , why not Gaming?

    Or can ‘art’ only be decided by some culture vultures living in metropolitan land, who have ambitions to get on the Tuner prize committee?

  • GeeBee36_6

    Art schmart – what the heck is art? Is art principally a craft? Must
    it at least incorporate an element of craftsmanship? Once
    representational salon painters found themselves démodé, largely in the
    wake of the Impressionists, the die was cast. First late Turner, then
    Van Gogh – and we end up with Mondrian, and a host of other stuff a
    child of six could emulate by throwing paint at a canvas. Finally, Tracy
    Emetic and her sublunary tedium. But of course craftsmanship alone can
    be laughably trite. Those absurd paintings by William Bennet, of ye olde
    England (seen in many a restaurant or English pub), always make me want
    to slash them with a knife. Bogus, sentimental, kitsch garbage.

    Turner and the Impressionists were fascinating, and spoke to the
    beholder afresh. Alas, there is only one way humanity knows when it sees
    THAT kind of trick successfully played: tear the fundament out of it,
    and to blazes with standards. Thus both craftsmanship and poetry, effect,
    truth – call it what you will – are discarded, and novelty itself
    becomes a virtue. It is at this point (the same can be said of classical
    music) that the discerning devotee knows when to draw the line. WIth
    few exceptions, no proper art or music was produced after around the
    second world war. Both, in effect, had run their course.

    Art then…Where was I?

  • GeeBee36_6

    Art schmart – what the heck is art? Is art principally a craft? Must it at least incorporate an element of craftsmanship? Once representational salon painters found themselves démodé, largely in the wake of the Impressionists, the die was cast. First late Turner, then Van Gogh – and we end up with Mondrian, and a host of other stuff a child of six could emulate by throwing paint at a canvas. Finally, Tracy Emetic and her sublunary tedium.

    But craftsmanship alone can be laughably trite. Those absurd paintings by William Bennet of ye olde England, seen in many a restaurant or English pub, always make me want to slash them with a knife. Bogus, sentimental, kitsch garbage.

    Art then…Where was I?

  • Simon Munk

    “To also still repeat that art is really only about the idea also seems a little tired, a little dead on its feet these days. And clever ideas are hardly in short supply in truly brilliant television dramas such as Breaking Bad.”

    At its core, this is the central question – what is art? If we define art, perhaps, as something which poses a question to which there are no easy answers; an idea that is bigger than just what you had for breakfast; something that engages our emotions, our empathy, our humanity; and perhaps, most crucially, something that defines itself as art, then by those measures there are TV programmes, films and yes, videogames that are art.

    Just like film, TV, music (and the visual art world), there are plenty of examples of games that are clearly not art – the blockbusters, the Call Of Dutys. But that doesn’t mean the entire genre can be judged on those – just as the TV industry can’t be judged solely on Coronation Street.

    There are also examples in all those media of things that could and should, in my opinion, be classified as art – Breaking Bad may well be one, The Wire on TV is certainly one (again in my opinion – but it is, after all, in the words of its creator about “the end of American empire”). And games such as Braid, One Chance, Thomas Was Alone, Shadow Of The Colossus etc. are serious, conscious attempts to ask serious and complex questions, to “play” with interactivity, to be “art”.

    I’d also add that immersive theatre and interactive installations (see the forthcoming Dev Art show at The Barbican) use “play” and “interaction” as the basis for what is clearly labelled and accepted as art – are they so different from videogames?

    To summarise – if you can call any TV programme or any film or any piece of music or theatre or ballet art, then there are videogames that are art. Not many perhaps, but some. If, on the other hand, you think that one shouldn’t call anything other than something hung in a gallery art, then that’s another matter – but I think most people would consider that a very narrow and rather rare reading of the word.

    And back to Sarah Kent at the end. “Kent, who’s hardly an expert on gaming but who’s been a champion of difficult contemporary art for most of her life, weighed in by saying that of the games she had encountered most were a bit rubbish: all whizz-bang and noise.” And that is the issue Keith Stuart’s piece in The Guardian tried to nail – Kent doesn’t appear to have played any of the games most videogames critics would champion as art. Because if she had, she wouldn’t describe them as “whizz-bang and noise”. She seems to be describing the blockbusters.

    Kent wrote off an entire medium as not artistic – her comments on the programme went far beyond simply saying “the games I’ve played weren’t art” – on the basis of a brief peer at solely the most mainstream manifestations of the medium. It’d be like dismissing modern conceptual art after a five minute peer round the National Gallery, or underground hiphop on the basis of the Top 20 or theatre on the basis of The Mouse Trap. Given her apparent total lack of experience with games that might realistically be viewed as art, her view holds little to no weight in my opinion.

  • Simon Delancey

    Obviously if it’s popular with the plebs then it can’t possibly be art.

  • Max Thrust

    I guess you’ve never played Oddworld…

  • Keith D

    FIFA 14 . Pure contemporary relevant art.

    Space Invaders.. Antique, but still art.

    Art is “The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination,”
    Easy old game really.

  • TRAV1S

    Horace Goes Skiing is a work of art.

  • Lucy Sky Diamonds

    Sorry but donkey kong country 2 WAS a work of art.

  • Kaine

    Again, the description of ‘video games’ as if this were a single entity as opposed to a vast medium. Call of Duty probably isn’t art, and I don’t think anyone would argue for it to be. It’s entertainment, in the same way as a trashy blockbuster or a Dan brown book. However something like a Bioware RPG is art in the same way any great piece of story telling is art.

    The rather animated reaction of many gamers comes from the fact that the cultural guardians still place gaming in the ‘for children and man-children’ category that animation only broke out of in the nineties thanks to the tremendous work of Matt Groening and the men and women at Pixar.

    • Cim Thayne

      I’m not sure I would call the endless rehashes of the Hero’s Journey along with archetype companions and the ‘gather allies to stop the big bad’ themes that Bioware calls a plot art, but I agree with your sentiment.

  • Paul

    Argument weak, waffle here.

    You spend precisely no words defending the notion that games are not art.

    Yes, we know idiots write for the Guardian. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to argue your case.

    • Fisun Guner

      What’s ‘my case’? You do realise that writers don’t write
      the headlines, don’t you? And no, I don’t defend the notion that games are ‘not
      art’. Precisely

      • Paul

        Yes – I actually agree in principle with what you’re saying – that being art or not isn’t a big deal. So I was probably over the top. Music is my art form and I’m happy to bow to your knowledge of fine art etc.

        But, whoever wrote the headline, your name’s next to it and it’s your responsibility to take it up with the editor(s). The claim that games aren’t art was the clickbait. And I saw nothing defending that.

  • Tudor Dimitriu

    Let’s just say that both art and science are concerned with formulating and transmitting knowledge. While science focuses on the rational, art focuses on the emotional. Neither reason, nor emotion can exist entirely without the other as context. That’s why discerning between art and science is sometimes difficult. So the real questions are not what medium is appropriate to be called art, or what skill is required to be called an artist. The questions are whether or not the subject of investigation is a successful and deliberate transmission of emotional knowledge/message. That’s what constitutes art. Whether a certain art product is good enough to fit in the high culture definition of art is an entirely different question. Art can be bad taste, dishonest, primitive or outright bad, just like there is bad science, corrupted research, and outright bad research.

  • misomiso

    Play the Portal Games and Half Life 2 and then come back and write a proper article.

  • JEK68

    If Films are considered art forms, which I think they are, then a video game like ‘The Last Of Us’ is certainly a work of art.

    • Sean Holland

      Read the last paragraph the author clearly doesn’t think films are art either.

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