Q&A: Joseph Olin on the art of games

The D.I.C.E.-thrower and AIAS president is hoping his Into the Pixel exhibit will help settle the debate about games being artistic expression.


Joseph Olin
Joseph Olin

This week, Persuasive Games designer Ian Bogost appeared on The Colbert Report to defend video games as art. It was the latest public salvo in the ongoing battle by game designers, publishers, and enthusiasts to convince unbelievers that games are as artistic an expression as television, film, or painting.

One of the leaders in the games-as-art crusade has been Joseph Olin. Since he became head of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences in 2003, he has led a Jack Valenti-esque effort to organize game developers into a body akin to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The result has been the D.I.C.E. Summit, an exclusive annual confab of game development's leading lights and backdrop for the Interactive Achievement Awards, gaming's answer to the Oscars and Emmys.

Olin is also attempting to promote games as fine art. He helps organize and promote Into the Pixel, an exhibition that presents some of the most dynamic game concept art in a gallery setting. The exhibit's selections are made by a jury of mostly artists, and it was one of the less frantic highlights of the 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expo show floor.

"Piñata Cascade" Ryan Stevenson - Viva Piñata

Most recently, Into the Pixel was on display at the drastically overhauled 2007 E3 Media & Business Summit. There, the exhibit, which featured art from Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Guild Wars, Blacksite: Area 51, and Fable 2, enjoyed prime real estate next to the third-party publisher press conferences at the Fairmont Miramar. Now, with the games-as-art debate again in the forefront, GameSpot caught up with Olin to get his two cents and learn about Into the Pixel.

GS: So now you have selected this year's Into the Pixel exhibition, correct?

JO: We have our 16 new collection pieces for 2007.

GS: That's good through next June, right?

JO: Exactly. We are in process now of trying to create a list of venues after E3 to show gamers and consumers some of the talent from today's game makers.

GS: So do you view this exhibit as one would any other traveling art exhibition?

"Defeated Dragon"- Daniel Dociu - Guild Wars - Guild Wars

JO: Well, we didn't initially think of it that way. It was always a hope. The traditional E3 had been large compared to the new E3, since the Into the Pixel Gallery was positioned in a very public place within the [Los Angeles] Convention Center. We were averaging close to 150,000 people to look at the art over the last three years.

GS: The bar at the exhibit helped too.

JO: That and the fact that you had all this fantastic art around you. It made for a nice oasis within the stressful life of attending E3 and helped get the word out. But everyone who saw Into the Pixel was always so enamored with the art and said, "Well why don't you show it to more people in more places?" So we started to do that. And it's been at the Santa Fe Tech Museum and it was over at GameCity in the UK and another museum over there. And we are right now staging it for sure to be a key part of E for All. I give it an affectionate nickname of "Free for All" because whenever you invite a lot of gamers to play games for four days that's what it can become. But regardless of what you call it, it will be a good venue to show a game's underpinnings in this fabulous concept art.

GS: Now you mentioned it's all about getting the concept of games as art across. Obviously, the people who made these works are incredibly gifted. So why do you think so many people in the art establishment--and society as a whole--don't accept games as art?

"City 17" - Jeremy Bennett - Half-Life 2 Episode 2

JO: I don't think that there's a wall that we have to climb. We have more and more talented game makers who, as they have matured in the craft of making games, are able to imbue their games with more of the emotional elements that critics have often said is absent from interactive entertainment.

[BioWare copresidents] Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk have spoken out about how they believe that their games are artistic. I believe there are other examples--certainly Okami comes to mind--and a lot of the Final Fantasy series games have dramatic and emotional elements that rival any other artistic endeavor. Some critics have always said that for there to be art, there has to be a one-to-one relationship between the artist and the viewer or the participant, and I think we have that within games even though they are shared and played by many. If you play Metal Gear Solid, that's pretty much you as a player wrestling with the things that Kojima wants you encounter.

GS: I can't see how it can be more personal than being interactive.

JO: I think all of us owe it to each other to promote the fact that the craft of making games has as much artistry and any other medium. Each year, I think we have more and more examples to showcase this fact and showcase our games as art along with anything else.

GS: Do you think that it's going to be able to make the argument for games are art as games grow more visually complex with next-generation consoles and high-end PC graphics?

"Rabbids" - Florent Sacre - Rayman Raving Rabbids

JO: We're a visually driven species, and certainly our culture always drives us with what can be put on a screen or in front of us. I believe that the latest iteration of game technology allows much more complicated images and deeply involving environments to be constructed; I think that will help.

But I think that some of the things that game makers are as excited about are the underlying engineering feats that allow more captivating characters to be realized in real time. That means more dialogue, with more of the conventions that we like to use when we communicate with each other and have emotional connections as humans. I think that's a level that's really exciting. I mean, there's no doubt that you have an emotional point of acceleration when you are in battle, whether it's in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion or Quake Wars. That's really exciting. But I think there's more to unleashing the depth of our emotional pallet than just a battle sequence. And I think that's the area that games will continue to be able to showcase more.

GS: I agree. Now, I studied film in college. And when film first came on the screen, in the early 20th century, people thought it was like some vaudeville offshoot and no one took it seriously at first. Then, when TV came along in the 1950s, it was considered a lesser medium until the mid-1970s. Now, both have been accepted as art, not only by the mainstream but by more refined artistic circles. Do you think that same evolution in perception will happen with games?

JO: Absolutely. And I think it is exactly that. It is an evolutionary process. It always seems to be the natural conflict that comes between generations of artistic groups. And I think that when you compare some of the young associate game directors, level designers, who are learning the craft now and you put them in conflict or context with senior game directors, you're just dealing with different backgrounds and upbringings.

"Speed Architecture" - Rita Linsley - Wipeout Pulse

For those of us who are still those baby boomers, television defined who we were. That defines our culture in so many ways. And for today's young adults and adolescents who will become game makers over the course of the next 10 years, I don't think you can say that television was the dominant medium of their time or defines them. It's either the Internet or it's just connected technology in general. That gives you a whole different background to think about how you would like to entertain people and what messages you'd like to use the medium to convey.

GS: So do you think it's just a generational thing? Like you said, you are a baby boomer, but a lot of these people who are pillorying the game industry in the press are also of your generation.

JO: Well, no, I think that there's a lot of my generation who have been recognized as some of the most brilliant minds in interactive entertainment over the course of their careers. So I don't think that it is specifically generational. But I do believe that people who have used games as a primary form of their personal entertainment and experience see it as the binding currency to create social groups as they grow up. That changes how you view the power of the medium. You take it for granted on the one hand, but you also see it as being able to lever it out much more.

So I don't think it's just age as an absolute, but it certainly doesn't hurt. I mean, there are republicans and democrats in their 30s and 40s who have played video games as part of their experience--some more, some less. I wish it was strictly just an age thing that way, you know, in another 20 years, we'd have gamers in the White House and up in Sacramento for sure. That said, Arnold has been in a few games. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines comes to mind.

GS: So, now tell me about...

JO: That was not art, by the way.

GS: Yeah, I'm not sure if Rise of the Machines would qualify. But how was the reception of Into the Pixel at this new E3? I know you had prime real estate, right next door to all the third-party press conferences.

JO: We certainly were able to talk about Into the Pixel with a lot of your colleagues from the press, and certainly, some of the companies whose artists had supported the program had never seen the actual final prints that are created from the digital files. So that was great. At the same time, I wouldn't have minded it being at Barker Hangar. We had sufficient space within there to set up the gallery and unfortunately we couldn't.

"In the Rain" - Cheol Joo Lee -Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War

Again, I think that it's one thing to be able to access Into the Pixel artwork via our Web site. Your readers and viewers can certainly go to intothepixel.com and grab a medium-resolution version of the art from the last two years and use it for a screensaver. But the art takes on a whole different dimension when you see it as a three-foot-by-four-foot print. The things that we're looking to overcome are some of the barriers of moving 64 pieces of art around the country to get it in front of as many people as possible.

But again, I don't think that's insurmountable; it's just back to logistics and planning. The success and the amount of the coverage that Into the Pixel has generated this year has had the positive impact of attracting some potential sponsors who would be interested in associating their companies with Into the Pixel and the game industry. So that's all very positive.

GS: So how is D.I.C.E '08 coming together?

JO: It's coming together. When D.I.C.E concluded last year, our dates were set for February 6, 7, and 8. We have a new venue. We are moving to the Red Rock Resort in Summerlin [a district of Las Vegas]. It is a very nice upgrade in terms of facilities. It allows us to do more things for our attendees that we weren't able to do before because of some physical limitations. Its technological base is much higher in terms of bandwidth and things that allow us to communicate more readily and show more things on screens.

And as far as our programming, I think that the positive feedback that was given by our attendees this year in our annual survey is going to direct us to try and add more sessions than what we did last year. I think we had 18 speakers last year. This year, I think it will probably be about 20 over the two-and-a-half days. We'll start making our announcements of speakers at the end of the summer.

GS: As far as the awards go, are you going to bring Jay Mohr back?

JO: Yes! I am pleased to say that Jay Mohr in the middle of the awards ceremony last year said, "You know, I want to keep doing this," and that's fine with us. He is very popular among our attendees. He had like a 95 percent approval rating.

GS: So he's basically your Billy Crystal, right?

JO: Yeah, I mean, he really gets it. He gets gamers. I think he walked that fine line between being humorous and trying to be entertaining without being disrespectful to the people in the room. And I think that's because he loves games. And the fact that he's actually funny, since we want the awards to be entertaining.

GS: Oh, absolutely. I don't know if you saw Jamie Kennedy emcee the Activision conference at E3, but that's a prime example of what happens when you have a comedian who doesn't get games host a game event.

JO: Yeah, I think it's tough. I'm not sure whether it was serendipity or just luck in terms of Jay getting it and wanting to do it. Certainly, the end result thing is that most of the people in the room are laughing for a of couple hours while they're watching their colleagues get their props.

GS: Pretty much. And as far as I know there was a little bit of controversy last year surrounding the awards. Are you planning any changes to the rules this year?

JO: We're planning to look for rules changes that make things more controversial.

Jay Mohr at the 2006 AIAS Awards.
Jay Mohr at the 2006 AIAS Awards.

GS: Ha!

JO: [Laughing] No, absolutely not. In fact, I would like to think that some of the issues that were raised last year may go away. I'm hoping that some of the publishers that weren't with us last year will be with us this year. Ultimately, the games that get requested by our peer judges, our panels of experts, is where it starts. So they're the ones who decide what they want to play, what they want to review, and how they want to review it. Their input is a critical part of how we look at the awards and our procedures each year.

We are looking to make some changes in terms of our awards process, in terms of membership and requiring membership. Also, more in terms of making sure that the definitions we give to all of our peer panels for their specific crafts are accurate and that we're recognizing the right things. I get a lot of ideas from our peer panelists on a matter of a daily basis sometimes, and I think that's great. It means that people are really behind making sure that we recognize great work and that we recognize the right things. And it's my job to respect that. We have decreased the number of awards the Academy has given out from 45 when I started in the middle of 2004. We're down to 30 now, and we're always looking to make sure that what we recognize is the right thing. We'll probably make some tweaks and make those announcements again in the fall when we start promoting the Interactive Achievement Award cycle.

But again, the Academy this year is really looking to try and create better paths of dialogue between it, as an organization representing game makers, and people who love games. And I think that most of our members really believe that their points of view--of what makes games great--is unique. It takes a lot of talent to make a game today, and they believe that until you've done that, you can't necessarily judge how great the work is and that their opinions really matter.

There's no doubt that if you look over the last 10 years of games that have been singled out by the Academy's members that the majority of them have had some level of commercial success. But there are also some that were never huge hits. I think it's important that people who love games check out some of the games that were finalists in categories and not necessarily the winner. I mean, if you look at our finalists for Game of the Year, there wasn't anything that you shouldn't have in your library there--if you're a fan of games.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Join the conversation
There are 149 comments about this story
149 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for Viral-venom13

Games are indeed an expression of Art. As an artist, i can account for this as anything no matter what it is, so long as it was crafted from the mind as an idea that was then designed and put forth to become reality is Art. It surrounds us by the billions in todays' world as you can see it in the designs of simple things such as buildings, magazines, music, cars,CDs, ipods, phones, furniture and practically everything else materially made by man that was crafted based on an idea created in the mind. The designs are usually made to convey emotion over something and Videogames do that to possibly every single person who has ever seen or played one as they provide story to immerse the player into the world, the sound effects to further add to that immersion not to mention the graphics which is really where the artistic side lies visually and then there's the programming that allows programmers to really get creative with the way they handle their mathematical concepts implemented into the games to have them function to the way of how they want it to based on the idea that was planned and decided upon in the mind!!.....GAMES ARE AN EXPRESSION OF ART PERIOD!!!

Avatar image for Gater29

I always thought that the entire purpose of "art" was to appeal to the emotions of the people who view it. I'm pretty damn sure that I've played games that have appealed to my emotions.

Avatar image for jazz_kenny

yeah its true that more & more ppl are getting into games as the game industry keeps developing...& yeah video games are art,i personally like games more than movies or any other medium of entertainment bcuz through these games,ppl are able to express almost everything like wonderful stories,beautiful visuals,actual living characters with feelings that we'll feel attached to...& most importantly what movies n stuff cant do...u can be those characters,u can take control of them. n like Olin said,when i think of game as an art,the 1st game that comes to my mind is ofcourse Okami...its 1 of my personal fav...a truly stunning game in every aspect like...graphics,story,characters,sound tack,dialogues...n everything else'bout the game...awesome presentation.

Avatar image for MasterAsh42

I'm sure "real" artists abound in the industry more than you think, magusat999. . . Concept art and storyboards don't just fall out of the sky. Imaginative worlds don't appear out of thin air. Narrative's don't weave themselves. Looking at stunning titles like God of War 2, Metroid Prime 3, and Bioshock, anyone can see "real" artists are indeed in the industry. They're the ones guiding the "cross-eyed monkey who can't even spell 'straight line.' " You sound bitter, as if you feel either you or some people you know didn't get a fair shake, and have thus assumed the entirety of the industry to work based upon your or their experience. This reminds me of my mother. She was a gifted drafter, but when CAD became the norm, she stopped doing it. But here's the difference: She didn't become bitter about it. She decided she didn't want to spend time and money "relearning" something, mainly because doing so while raising three children would've been quite trying. And you know what else? If the opportunity had presented itself to get the education she needed with little risk to the well-fare of her children, she'd have gone straight on in, more than willing to play by the "new rules" just to keep doing what she enjoyed. So if I am indeed on the money here, that you or people you know are simply angry that you can't scribble a masterpiece on a napkin, walk into an office with it, and get a job on the spot, then here's some advice: If you really want to do something, then do it. Find out what you need to do it, then do it. If you feel you're having to do more than you should to do it, then either suck it up and do it or don't and move on.

Avatar image for magusat999

Is art art when it's random generated by some program? I support the notion that if it is a visual medium that is created and translated from the mind of an individual in a communicative way that it can be considered "art" - but I can't get with the fact that "natural" (you know, like your cousin who's been able to draw and paint since he / she was 5 - and everyone just "knew" that he / she was going to be an artist) artists are being weeded and cut out of the system. In order to be a "video game artist", you don't need talent - all you need is a degree. You can be a cross-eyed monkey who can't even spell "straight line", but if your a programmer or a person with a degree - suddenly your an "artist". Art schools have turned into accreditation whores - where they USED TO teach art as a concentrated curriculum - now they don't wan't to lose all that government subsidy, so they aren't concerned with the art education any more as "regular" universities are. And the industry is buying it - hiring all of these non-artistically inclined, paper-waving victims - and legitimizing them as "real artists". Not that it matters - but until I can see people like those who I grew up with who could draw and paint on a piece of cardboard better than anything I've ever seen in a gallery - who's imagination and ideas would make George Lucas look like an autistic child; people who are exploding with talent and creativity, getting hired in meaningful positions and respected not for their PAPER but for the fact that they are exceptionally GIFTED with something a university cannot bless a person with - I cannot get behind the idea to "legitimize game art as art". Hire real artists - even if you have to find them on the curb (where a lot of them are)... and then people like myself might consider it.. but for now - I'll pass on that.

Avatar image for McGregor

art is art, someone drew it, it's art. if i draw a line on a piece of paper, hang it on a wall and call it, art it's art. so if a game has a picture of a mountain, it doesn't matter if i drew it with a paintbrush, or in a paint program, it's art.

Avatar image for Farsided

Early on in the creation of a game, it must go through a phase of concept art. Therefore all games are the product *of* art. All art is separated into different genres, just as every game is, though they are further differentiated by their style of play. Art must be fresh to do well, just as games must be innovative to succeed. Why else would I be taking years and years of art classes to some day produce games, when I believe that games are the ultimate immersion of an individual into art? Just a thought.

Avatar image for BonzaiiC

What the hell does this have to do with MGS4?

Avatar image for playstation_wii

This man says that game is art and he's just backing it up by making vdeogame artwork. How does that help? :?

Avatar image for jacob-goodlich

does this have something to do with mgs4?

Avatar image for flackstone

good god that looks hard to do

Avatar image for Demon9Tom

Very interesting read

Avatar image for mafdys


Avatar image for ronnet

What is art? Some paintings that look like they've been made by babies aren't art to me and some music isn't art to me either. Art is personal and this is why games won't be art till more people participate in this 'movement'. I think games are art, and I know people have rarely play games think it's art. Most people that think it isn't art will be death in 30 to 40 years. Gaming will eventually succeed as everybody from my generation has played games and I'm certain the future generations will do the same. Like we all look at paintings as art, gaming will be considerd art aswell. We don't have to like it but it's commonly known that it is.

Avatar image for mr17x

point number one: I like this art movement that's going on in video games. point number two: D.I.C.E should also incorporate "I am 8-bit" which is new art based on retro games. point number three: They seriously need to choose better, they have to find the stuff that could really be art and get rid of the stuff that is just cool looking concept art.

Avatar image for somejobro

@JimmeyBurrows I wasn't referring to graphics when I posted.I get yourt point:Rainbow Six would be silly with Cel-da graphics.I was talking about putting games into a category.Do graphics matter?To an extent, yes they do.Does it matter if those graphics,regardless of style, are considered art?Nope.Opinion of the quality of the graphics doesn't matter unless it matters to you personally.And "art" comes in degrees.While my stick figure drawing and a velvet Elvis may technically be "art", referring to them as such is sure to get a few snickers.A Degas painting?Not so many snickers there.Now where does Shadow Of The Colossus fall?

Avatar image for JimmeyBurrows

lol, thats true it doesn't effect you game players all that much, so no you don't need to care if you don't want to, but the fact you say that the art of the game makes no difference how good it is, is not true, if a game has the complete wrong style of graphics to go with the rest of the game would ruin it! and it's about time that the artists behind the games get a little but of support for their efforts, you always say that graphics don't matter but without it there is no game... all I can say is that great graphical style sets the atmosphere of the game so frankly graphics are great and art is all about expression and games express multiple forms of art, in the designing, in the style and in the emotions created by the story if it's got one... it doesn't matter 'how loosely you use the term art!' art is a definition so there is no loosely using it, it either is or isn't art and there are many kinds of art, games use all of these, music, visual art, emotional portraying and many more.

Avatar image for somejobro

Whether or not video games are art depends on how loose your definition of "art" is.Technically, if I draw a picture of 2 stick figures having a snowball fight,it's art.It might not be good art, but it's art.I also don't see why this has gamers so riled up.It's not like we get anything out of it.The games aren't going to get any better because of it.All that really matters is that they're fun to play.Roger Ebert's artistic appraisal of Final Fantasy Tactics had no bearing on how much fun I had playing it.

Avatar image for No-Go-Zone

At the moment it would count it as the inspiration for art, as most of the time you do see something you could imagine as a painting in a game but it dosent make you think if you took a frame of pixels from a game and left it exactly as it was people would think oh a screenshot... not a photo.

Avatar image for jimbomambo

Art shouldn't be judged by how it's been made. If you have put hard work and your heart on it it's art.

Avatar image for jimbomambo

Games have always been artform PERIOD. Game desingers are artist as any artist could be. Art techniques, tools and styles may change, but not enthusiasm and creativity of artist. Games are just new style of art. Art isn't only just a painting or statue. Expand your horizones and STOP LIVING IN STONE AGE !!! (This is especially for those who doubt that games are not art)

Avatar image for Samurai_Budgie

I think that all games are artistic but few can really be considered art.

Avatar image for yian

Is video game an art form? It might be a debate with no concrete answer for the longest time to come. But as long as gamers and game developers take pride in this industry, and throw in as much dedication and care to its quality and prosperity as it is art, then no one's opinion should matter. People who don't think it is art can walk away and enjoy what they think is art, and people who do think it is art will always treat it seriously. However, I think in the end the majority will start to appreciate the power of video gaming; story telling, visual presentation, interactivity... all combined in one package, and to make them all work well together is nothing short of creating a masterpiece comparable to any genres.

Avatar image for mrparabolic

The word art is derived from the same base as artificial. Art is anything that seeks to imitate or duplicate something real whether it be a physical object or an emotion. Because of this something real, like a flower, cannot be art. Video games, on the other hand, are some of the realistic interpretations of what they seek to recreate because of their interactivity and the constraints within which they must exist to be perceived as believable. The critics simply don't like video games and therefore say they aren't art. However, merely from a definition standpoint video games must be art.

Avatar image for monkeyass07

Video games are more art then using an enema to paint.

Avatar image for dondon_icon

Jay Mohr? Oh noes.

Avatar image for mach-stem

The same people who try to convince others that games are not an art form, but decide that television shows and movies ARE art, have so much contradiction within their own statement that I wouldn't even get involved in the subject. People who create TV shows and movie series (nintendokid) also provide their product for a wide ranged audience, they rarely ever focus their intentions on a select few who would watch it. As for the concept car article/interview, he went out and grabbed far for that comparison, but any idiot can and will use comparison to bring up his statement and trying to validate it. Simply because you provide the community with yet another article or interview does not make your statement or opinion true, nor does it make mine. However, being that I have seen game development AND TV and movie production, I believe all forms of entertainment IS art, and not only because it makes you "think" when you look at the art. If I watch a movie like Apocalypse Now and I'm sad or depressed, the game will elevate my mood when there are action scenes. If I watch it when I'm happy or excited, it increases my adrenaline. The same goes for videogames. TV shows. Art. Anyone who doesn't think about videogames, or more-so the work behind it, as art, needs to get out of the 1950s and learn a few things about human advancement, both artistically and socially. PEACE

Avatar image for tresdizzle

Games have come a long way since ATARI from an artistic stand point and without question games are definitely high tech, evolutionary art. I don't see how anyone can say that anything creatively expressed is not of artistic value. Just pick up a copy of Okami. Give these over worked creative developers the props they deserve for bringing us interactive entertainment at it's best. Art is a (product of) human activity, made with the intention of stimulating the human senses as well as the human mind; thus art is an action, an object, or a collection of actions and objects created with the intention of transmitting emotions and/or ideas. Beyond this description, there is no general agreed-upon definition of art, since defining the boundaries of "art" is subjective, but the impetus for art is often called human creativity. Doesn't video games contain all if not more of these qualities?

Avatar image for Stabby

I don't mind the idea of calling them art, as it will hopefully shut up those who want to ban games. However, that doesn't mean we should forget about gameplay and it DOESN'T mean that if one is not considered 'art' then you're stupid or other games are better... Although he reconmends people buy the GotY nominees... Zelda? Oblivion? Gears of War? How many did they sell lol?

Avatar image for Sammojo

As an art student I agree with what they are saying. Not only should concept art be recognised as real art, i think games as a whole should be as well. Each game had its own particular look and style. The environments in some games can be mind blowing, and creating a scene in 3d requires just as much, if not more, skill than a painting. Some games can be provocative just like art, and some can just look really good. I don't see why this hasn't been recognised more widely in the past.

Avatar image for NinjaMunkey01

II think that games can now be considered as art. as technology improves it gives game designers more flexibility to really show detail in their games. just like paintings creating a game scene takes time, paitence and skill. it takes people years to get good at creating game settings. games are emerging that do make people gasp and amazes people in their complexity and beuty. It stilol requires creativity to make a game really special and when someone creates a really good game it becomes a 3d piece of art that can not only be viewed from one perspective, but many down low and up high and I salute those who work hard to create really creative, innotive and origional game settings that obviously has taken years to become a realisation. this is modern art and if people cannot appriciate this new emerging form of art then they do not fully understand what art is.

Avatar image for Foolz3h

Games are art. What's new? And wow, nintendokid needs to take a chill pill.

Avatar image for tclvis

Art evolves. Art is also in the eye of the beholder. Picasso pushed the boundaries of what was considered art; now, new artists work in new media to do the same. And a truck going by at just the right moment could be art. Decide for yourself whether a piece is art. That is the point.

Avatar image for OnlyTbone

I'm not so sure if I would consider games art. The fine arts are music, paintings,drawing ect. They give you an emotion whenever you look at it, listen to it, or play it. but saying that video games do that does not make it an art. Because if saying that video games are an art would be like saying a loud truck going by is art. It made a loud noise that caught you off guard and gave you a little bit of fear, and you saw the big thing zoom by. I do agree though that it must be hard to make those visuals and music in games. and I like it very much, but I don't think it should be called an art.

Avatar image for 705H1R0

nintendokid- Obviously a painting or drawing isn't going to rearrange itself based on your emotions, but it can certainly influence them, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who might see an image differently depending on their mood. You bring up the idea that games are not art because they reach a larger audience, but that's EXACTLY what Andy Warhol was doing when his art became popular. Museums are not some institution you submit something to and have it rejected or accepted as art. There are more artists in the world who don't have their work in museums than ones who do. You also seem to think art is a very narrow subject, I doubt you have ever heard of artists like Stelarc or Ascott. If you knew anything at all about interactive art you'd know that video games are just one step further.

Avatar image for Mediocre_man90

First off, gamers aren't trying to get games classified as art to gain political power, they're doing it because they realize that games are just as artistic as "real art" and are tired of pretentious art-house snobs looking down on them. Anyways, I haven't seen a single argument that comes anywhere close to proving that games are not art. On the contrary, I've seen plenty to reinforce the idea that games are art. I do feel that there is too much focus on the visuals. games aren't art because they're graphically impressive, there are several factors that play into it. Books have no visual component whatsoever, but they are considered art. same with music. Books are all about expresing plot, characterization, etc., and music is all about feeling, the interplay of melody, harmony, rhythym, etc. Alot of games have impressive, engrossing storylines that rival books, and video game music is still an underrapreciated art form. The graphical aspect is just another way to look at it, but people should stop focusing on it unless a game uses a distinct visual style, like Okami. AcidBurn0 summed up what I feel art is: something created with the intention of stimulating the human senses or transmitting emotions and/or ideas, and there are plenty of games that I've experienced that do just that better than most books, movies, pieces of music, or paintings that I've seen. The fact of the matter is that the interactivity of gaming allows feelings, emotions, and ideas to be expressed more easily and efficiently than any other art form. by putting you in the shoes of the character, games bring you closer to being able to feel just how the character feels, to see what the character sees. open ended games, especially those with moral choices take this even further by forcing the player to make choices as the character. Deus Ex is a perfect example. Early in the game the character's brother constantly counsels against using deadly force, pleading that the character stun and subdue his enemies rather than killing. Without giving too much away (but spoiler warning anyway), as allegiances shift, the player must deal with his earlier decisions as he finds himself on the opposite side of the conflict. If that isn't art, then I don't know what is.

Avatar image for Diernes

This whole debate is just retarded. Of course Video games are art. To make a video game, you have to hire, artists, writers and even musicians. It's art in one of its most prevalents forms in the modern era. **** morons.

Avatar image for jeffcenate

@nintendokid first off your article , if you actualy read it does NOT support your theory that games arent art. he clearly says (just like almost everyone here) that certian aspects of games ARE art. his using a museum as an example says it all "For better or worse, what I do, Hideo Kojima, myself, is run the museum and also create the art that's displayed in the museum." you can 'let nature takes its course' all you want, but id be willing to wager that there are far more games screen shots used as wall papers than actual ,more 'classic', works of art. your right that video game art wont be shown side by side, in truth it will eventual supplant 'classic' art. maybe not JUST games, but all 'virtual' art forms. all you need to do is take a look at something like the 'game' second life. the only REAL draw to that game is the various ways a person can use art to create a virtual self and their enviroment. id further be willing to be that had all those 'classic' artists had access to computers they would have become games makers instead of painters or sculpters. and finaly , id have to say if an elephant can splatter finger paints around and have THAT shown as actual 'art' then i guess i can accept the fact that something that many people spend thousands of hours on for the sake of how it will visualy impact their work can also fall under the umbrella of art. to say otherwise is to not understand the basic issue in question

Avatar image for GIJesse77

That guy on the interview with Stephen Colbert should not represent the gaming world. His views that there are games made for crowds (ie. nerdy and mainstream crowds) is terribly wrong and people outside of the gaming world should not be lead to this impression. He was talking about how games are an art by expressing ideas about the real world I think is bad. I don't want to do real word stuff, its a video game, I want to do stuff outside the real world like fight off an army of aliens or something. What he should have talked about instead was real art in video games like the amazing and beautiful architecture in Gears of war or the vast fantasy universe in Halo and Zelda. That is real art.

Avatar image for AcidBurnZer0

Art is a (product of) human activity, made with the intention of stimulating the human senses as well as the human mind; thus art is an action, an object, or a collection of actions and objects created with the intention of transmitting emotions and/or ideas. Beyond this description, there is no general agreed-upon definition of art, since defining the boundaries of "art" is subjective, but the impetus for art is often called human creativity.

Avatar image for ShinraDrone

Way to ask the tough questions Tor. This sounded more like a scripted press release.

Avatar image for Alexander22Redn

Games are an experimental and evolving fusion of music, video, art, theatre, story, emotion, and exotic passion. How can you say games can`t be art without saying the same of all of the above.

Avatar image for nintendokid

I'll just shut my mouth and let nature take its course. Never will you see a video game displayed on screen sitting next to Picasso and the likes.

Avatar image for poe-catcher

gamers riiiights! its about time somebody recognized it. most of these "true artists" are either gay guys who think video games are art or old women who are afraid of this new form of media

Avatar image for buckybuckster

I have always felt that video games can be and SHOULD be qualified as work of art. With that being said I truly feel it comes down to an individual's (the end user) perceptions and concepts on what can be qualified as being art that's the true determining factor, even trumping the original intent of its creator. For example, we would all consider someone who risked his life rescuing kids form a burning building a hero. However that person would have a totally different opinion of themselves. They would most likely say something to the effect of "I'm no hero...I only did what needed to be done to help." In much the same way, game developers may not be setting out to make some grand artistic statement when creating games, but after personally experiencing the multiple bouts of joy, excitement, beauty and wonder their end products have given me, I and many other of my fellow gamers agree, feel that video games are more than worthy of being proclaimed art.

Avatar image for kai_311


Avatar image for Gmacias


Avatar image for DeanCorleone

All these comments about games being art is pretty much a retarded subject. Art doesn't have to be a simple painting ment to draw in ONE person alone - it is something that is created from the mind and instowed into the real phyical world (being a painting, a T.V. screen, a concept car....) Every little bit in a games world has been thought up and drawn by someone, that is art. Just as the movie maker uses special effects to draw you in more - that is art. Along with the not so visual art is the coding presented by games, coding in a form is art. Forcing the topic to be "picture" art is rather pointless and dumb.... but then again using art to declare video games a form of entertainment is also dumb. Video games are art - they are not only created by large companies, they are not only created to make money. Some people simply enjoy making games for the sake of saying this is what they can do, which in turn, is what most artist do. none the less, this whole topic is pointless, and I don't know why I posted here, or why your reading this. :)

Avatar image for The_Weekend

whoa ... niceeeeee work of art!