|Posted by SquareKiteGaming on August 15, 2011 at 3:55 PM|
Recent past has dictated a trend of people going on about how videogames should be considered art. They will defend this stance like a mother in front of her bear cubs. They will waste no time sending their regards about Fox News' latest bashing of a game. They will send these regards in the form of passionate hatred fueled by the internet. "VID30GARMES MU5T B3 T4K3N SRSLY AS AN AWT F0RM!!!!!1" But should they?
Our buddy New Oxford Dictionary descirbes this:
"Game: a form of play or sport, esp. a competitive one played according to rules and decided by skill, strength, or luck."
"Art: the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power."
While it might not be taking everything into consideration, how often do you see soccer or Hungry Hungry Hippos expressing beauty or deeming themsleves worthy of an emotional response? Sure, plenty of riots get started because of soccer, but that's not soccer itself.
Now how often do you see "Heavy Rain" played competitively? Is "Metal Gear Solid 4" infamous for the amount of playing you do in the game, or is it the amount of watching you do in the game? "Deadly Premonition" is awful as far as gameplay is concerned, and while it's amazing for all the same reasons a classic movie is, it wouldn't work without that interactivity.
Watch a review in a laid out format (IGN comes to mind) and look at how much most reviews describe the gameplay. It's not very much when half of the word "videogame" is "game." The term was awfully applicable when story was nothing more than an excuse for gameplay in the days of early Mario, but with many games today, it's comes to the point where gameplay is often an excuse for story. Much of the substance in Roger Ebert's argument behind, "videogames can never be art" is that videogames call themselves games, something which art isn't. Well I'm starting to think videogames aren't art.
But videogames also aren't videogames. Well at least the "Heavy Rain(s)" aren't videogames, even though they're called videogames. But what about the "video" in videogames. Take a look at many of Japan's text-based stories, or the disk operating system games of the 1970's (those who don't know what those are, think "Zork" from "Black Ops"). They don't seem to have very much video, nor do they have very much game. Yet they're considered videogames.
The names of many art forms have changed. The term "motion picture" isn't passed around too often these days, nor does it really even apply to movies. It doesn't take Sir Winston Pretetnious, or a cosplay fetish, hair-dying Otaku to call a comic book a graphic novel/manga. Yet videogame, when the word is taken at base value, describes very few of those released today. "Narrative" is a word rising in popularity with those who think about games, but "interactive narrative" doesn't expediently roll off the tounge. And doesn't it sound a bit elegant for a term that's going to apply to "Pong?" Well even though that term might not work, perhaps the alternative is to string together a bunch of Latin roots to create a word that applies to everything from "Donkey Kong" to "Call of Duty" to "Deadly Premonition," hope the word catches on, and take it with us in a march up to Meriam Webster's front door!
Colton Kohler, Part Time Editor
Categories: Staff Opinions