Remember when the late Roger Ebert said "video games can never be art"?

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jaydan

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#1  Edited By jaydan
Member since 2015 • 2675 Posts

Back in the day before Ebert passed away, he shook up the gaming industry and outraged plenty when he said that famous line "video games can never be art."

It rattled both members in the gaming industry and the consumers alike.

We challenged the views of Ebert at the time, saying video games CAN be art, and we brought forth the fresh release of Journey at the time as a prime answer: "YES, video games can be art."

Well fast-forward to today, and I feel like our attitudes have changed and the game Death Stranding in particular is a frustrating quarrel of "well, is this art worth it if it's not fun?"

I just want to bring up what Ebert said and I would like an update on how all our views have changed since then. Was Ebert right all along? Can video games truly be art? Is the question not whether or not they can be art, but if it's even worth our time?

How did you guys all react back then that remember Roger Ebert's language and how do you all stand on this topic today? Has your perspective changed or has it stayed the same?

If Roger Ebert was alive today to see a game like Death Stranding, how do you feel he would react?

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Juub1990

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#2 Juub1990
Member since 2013 • 8836 Posts

Don’t know how he’d react I know I wouldn’t give a ****.

There is art in gaming. Anybody saying otherwise is an idiot. However gaming isn’t strictly art and can never be just that. They incorporate elements of art but are still games which in no way diminishes their artistic merits.

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hiphops_savior

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#3 hiphops_savior
Member since 2007 • 8479 Posts

For those want to read the original article for more context.

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Archangel3371

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#4 Archangel3371  Online
Member since 2004 • 28850 Posts

I remember that. I definitely didn’t agree with his opinion but it never bothered me that he thought that. I would like to think that his opinion would change especially after seeing something like Death Stranding.

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I_P_Daily

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#5 I_P_Daily
Member since 2015 • 13255 Posts

@Juub1990: I believe there are artists in gaming but not art.

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Juub1990

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#6 Juub1990
Member since 2013 • 8836 Posts
@i_p_daily said:

@Juub1990: I believe there are artists in gaming but not art.

So what would you call creating a character model? Writing a story? Voice acting?

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uninspiredcup

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#7  Edited By uninspiredcup  Online
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@Juub1990 said:

Don’t know how he’d react I know I wouldn’t give a ****.

Correct. This man gave Once Upon A Time In West a negative review.

Man was a hack, what a horrible legacy.

The only opinion that matter.
The only opinion that matter.

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I_P_Daily

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#8 I_P_Daily
Member since 2015 • 13255 Posts

@Juub1990 said:
@i_p_daily said:

@Juub1990: I believe there are artists in gaming but not art.

So what would you call creating a character model? Writing a story? Voice acting?

Elements of making a video game, not art.

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#9 Juub1990
Member since 2013 • 8836 Posts
@i_p_daily said:

Elements of making a video game, not art.

These aren't mutually exclusive. Why aren't they art?

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jaydan

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#10 jaydan
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@uninspiredcup said:
@Juub1990 said:

Don’t know how he’d react I know I wouldn’t give a ****.

Correct. This man gave Once Upon A Time In West a negative review.

Man was a hack, what a horrible legacy.

The only opinion that matter.
The only opinion that matter.

Armond White is one of the worst critics lol

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#11  Edited By jaydan
Member since 2015 • 2675 Posts
@Juub1990 said:

Don’t know how he’d react I know I wouldn’t give a ****.

There is art in gaming. Anybody saying otherwise is an idiot. However gaming isn’t strictly art and can never be just that. They incorporate elements of art but are still games which in no way diminishes their artistic merits.

Video games, much like movies - is a conglomerate of different art forms that different talents come united to create a whole.

Video games can indeed be deemed as art - but where do we draw the line between it being acceptable for the medium of video games to it not being acceptable for gamer's?

Do you think attitudes have changed since then?

Why can movies get away with tedium and dread if it meant having an artistic statement and still be appreciated whereas video games - it clearly irks many?

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#12 I_P_Daily
Member since 2015 • 13255 Posts

@Juub1990 said:
@i_p_daily said:

Elements of making a video game, not art.

These aren't mutually exclusive. Why aren't they art?

Because they are different elements put together to create a video game where one plays the game, not pays a cash amount to just sit and stare at the cover.

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Juub1990

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#13 Juub1990
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@i_p_daily said:

Because they are different elements put together to create a video game where one plays the game, not pays a cash amount to just sit and stare at the cover.

That's a rather gross oversimplification of art but OK.

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Juub1990

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#14 Juub1990
Member since 2013 • 8836 Posts
@jaydan said:

Video games, much like movies - is a conglomerate of different art forms that different talents come united to create a whole.

Video games can indeed be deemed as art - but where do we draw the line between it being acceptable for the medium of video games to it not being acceptable for gamer's?

Do you think attitudes have changed since then?

Why can movies get away with tedium and dread if it meant having an artistic statement and still be appreciated whereas video games - it clearly irks many?

Attitudes haven't changed much. Difference is the more time goes by, the less arrogant pundits like Roger Ebert who grew up before video games were a thing there are. So instead of having people who consider gaming beneath their field of expertise and too boorish and uncultured to be art, we have critics who don't feel so much threatened by games as a form of entertainment. Attitudes didn't change per say. Critics like Roger Ebert are just slowly dying out.

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#15 Jendeh
Member since 2004 • 167 Posts

I wasn't offended by what Ebert said because I simply didn't respect his opinion on the matter. No single person's opinion can define what art is or is not.

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jaydan

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#16 jaydan
Member since 2015 • 2675 Posts

@Juub1990 said:
@jaydan said:

Video games, much like movies - is a conglomerate of different art forms that different talents come united to create a whole.

Video games can indeed be deemed as art - but where do we draw the line between it being acceptable for the medium of video games to it not being acceptable for gamer's?

Do you think attitudes have changed since then?

Why can movies get away with tedium and dread if it meant having an artistic statement and still be appreciated whereas video games - it clearly irks many?

Attitudes haven't changed much. Difference is the more time goes by, the less arrogant pundits like Roger Ebert who grew up before video games were a thing there are. So instead of having people who consider gaming beneath their field of expertise and too boorish and uncultured to be art, we have critics who don't feel so much threatened by games as a form of entertainment. Attitudes didn't change per say. Critics like Roger Ebert are just slowly dying out.

Roger Ebert was not an arrogant person. You could call him an egotist or a pretentious asswipe, but an arrogant person he was not.

So Roger Ebert comes from a generation before video games - that is true. Do you think it's an age thing between the mediums? Movies have clearly existed over a half-century longer than games have. They have had the chance to flourish and evolve. We can accept a movie with dread when it has an outlook and a statement. We can embrace cinema that create artistry.

Are video games still too young and have not gotten to the level of cinema yet? Could a release of a game like Death Stranding be the start of a certain evolution that can guide the video game medium into the direction of cinema?

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#17 I_P_Daily
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@Juub1990 said:
@i_p_daily said:

Because they are different elements put together to create a video game where one plays the game, not pays a cash amount to just sit and stare at the cover.

That's a rather gross oversimplification of art but OK.

Well do you want to go into some deep meaningful conversation about art? if so then go ahead, I will read it and have a chuckle, but calling a video game art is a stretch for me, is it made up from artists sure, but serves a totally different purpose to art.

Where do we draw the line with art? people who design cars are artists therefore cars are art, tv's have slick new designs created by an artist, boom tv's are art, honestly where does it stop???

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#18 I_P_Daily
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@Archangel3371 said:

I remember that. I definitely didn’t agree with his opinion but it never bothered me that he thought that. I would like to think that his opinion would change especially after seeing something like Death Stranding.

If that's the case then Kojima should take out all gameplay and sell it at a museum then for people to look at.

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#19  Edited By Juub1990
Member since 2013 • 8836 Posts
@i_p_daily said:

Well do you want to go into some deep meaningful conversation about art? if so then go ahead, I will read it and have a chuckle, but calling a video game art is a stretch for me, is it made up from artists sure, but serves a totally different purpose to art.

Where do we draw the line with art? people who design cars are artists therefore cars are art, tv's have slick new designs created by an artist, boom tv's are art, honestly where does it stop???

I didn't say video games are art. I said there is art in video games but did stress that the game as a whole is not an art form. For instance the musical score of a game is definitely art. There is virtually no difference between the soundtrack of a game and the soundtrack of a movie. Things like writing, voice acting, music. These are all forms of art present in video games however looking at a video game as a whole is like you said with the car, it's not art even if there is art in the fabrication process.

The game is there for a specific purpose. It has an objective and means of interactions for the customer to reach said objective. That is very much at the antipode of what art is.

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#20  Edited By jaydan
Member since 2015 • 2675 Posts

@i_p_daily said:
@Juub1990 said:
@i_p_daily said:

Because they are different elements put together to create a video game where one plays the game, not pays a cash amount to just sit and stare at the cover.

That's a rather gross oversimplification of art but OK.

Well do you want to go into some deep meaningful conversation about art? if so then go ahead, I will read it and have a chuckle, but calling a video game art is a stretch for me, is it made up from artists sure, but serves a totally different purpose to art.

Where do we draw the line with art? people who design cars are artists therefore cars are art, tv's have slick new designs created by an artist, boom tv's are art, honestly where does it stop???

In your own defense: I can tell you an artist gives structure to the entire world. An architect - which you can say is an artist with a strong background in the arts - designed your house/apartment - but would you really call your house/apartment a work of art or simply your living space?

An artist designed the look of your Xbox One/PS4/Switch, but are these works of art?

That's a real zinger question for everyone to consider. YES, artists shape the world. They designed your community, they formatted the menu at the restaurant you last ate at - but could we just call everything a work of art at this point just because an artist was part responsible for these things?

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#21 npiet1
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@i_p_daily said:
@Juub1990 said:
@i_p_daily said:

Because they are different elements put together to create a video game where one plays the game, not pays a cash amount to just sit and stare at the cover.

That's a rather gross oversimplification of art but OK.

Well do you want to go into some deep meaningful conversation about art? if so then go ahead, I will read it and have a chuckle, but calling a video game art is a stretch for me, is it made up from artists sure, but serves a totally different purpose to art.

Where do we draw the line with art? people who design cars are artists therefore cars are art, tv's have slick new designs created by an artist, boom tv's are art, honestly where does it stop???

Art is in eye of the beholder. Anything could be considered art to the right person. I consider games entertainment, entertainment at it's heart is art just like music or movies. Therefore games are art.

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#22 Archangel3371  Online
Member since 2004 • 28850 Posts

@i_p_daily: Nah. I have no problem considering something that one can interact with to be art myself.

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#23  Edited By Jag85
Member since 2005 • 13803 Posts

Like other genres that have come and gone, the "art game" genre is slowly dying. The art game genre peaked around 2001-2012, starting with Ico and MGS2 in 2001 and then having its last hurrah with Journey and The Walking Dead in 2012. Ever since then, the art game genre has been declining, with art game developers like Team Ico, thatgamecompany and Telltale struggling to stay relevant (and with Team Ico and Telltale no longer around).

If Death Stranding had released during that 2001-2012 era, then it would've almost certainly gotten rave reviews. Game critics and fans would've cited it as evidence that "video games are art" and used it to "shut down" those "snobbish" art critics and film critics like Roger Ebert.

But from around 2013 onwards, something changed. From around 2013 onwards, video games have become widely accepted as part of mainstream culture, partly thanks to the rise of mobile gaming and social media. It seems like Ebert's death was like the end of an era, where an older generation of "snobbish" art critics and film critics refused to acknowledge "video games as art". Now that video games are finally embraced by mainstream culture, gamers don't feel the need anymore to prove that "games are art". And so gamers started losing interest in art games, hence the decline of the art game genre.

Now in 2019, Death Stranding comes across like a relic from a bygone era. A time when gamers, and game developers, desperately wanted to prove that "video games are art". Which much of the gaming public, and game critics, have now moved on from.

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#24 PSP107
Member since 2007 • 17588 Posts

@Juub1990: "They incorporate elements of art but are still games which in no way diminishes their artistic merits."

What makes an musician an artist?

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#25  Edited By I_P_Daily
Member since 2015 • 13255 Posts

@jaydan said:
@i_p_daily said:
@Juub1990 said:
@i_p_daily said:

Because they are different elements put together to create a video game where one plays the game, not pays a cash amount to just sit and stare at the cover.

That's a rather gross oversimplification of art but OK.

Well do you want to go into some deep meaningful conversation about art? if so then go ahead, I will read it and have a chuckle, but calling a video game art is a stretch for me, is it made up from artists sure, but serves a totally different purpose to art.

Where do we draw the line with art? people who design cars are artists therefore cars are art, tv's have slick new designs created by an artist, boom tv's are art, honestly where does it stop???

In your own defense: I can tell you an artist gives structure to the entire world. An architect - which you can say is an artist with a strong background in the arts - designed your house/apartment - but would you really call your house/apartment a work of art or simply your living space?

An artist designed the look of your Xbox One/PS4/Switch, but are these works of art?

That's a real zinger question for everyone to consider. YES, artists shape the world. They designed your community, they formatted the menu at the restaurant you last ate at - but could we just call everything a work of art at this point just because an artist was part responsible for these things?

Right where does it end?

For me video games are not art, but that's just me, but if a developer says he wants to make art, then give that idiot a paintbrush/paint/easel/canvas and let them have at it lol.

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#26 I_P_Daily
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@Archangel3371: Happy for you but DS is not art, its being conceived as art because as a game its shit, but the reviewers who love Kojima much like yourself won't allow themselves to score it correctly, thus the art & brand new genre shtick are made up to somehow justify the high scores they are giving it.

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#27 I_P_Daily
Member since 2015 • 13255 Posts
@Juub1990 said:
@i_p_daily said:

Well do you want to go into some deep meaningful conversation about art? if so then go ahead, I will read it and have a chuckle, but calling a video game art is a stretch for me, is it made up from artists sure, but serves a totally different purpose to art.

Where do we draw the line with art? people who design cars are artists therefore cars are art, tv's have slick new designs created by an artist, boom tv's are art, honestly where does it stop???

I didn't say video games are art. I said there is art in video games but did stress that the game as a whole is not an art form. For instance the musical score of a game is definitely art. There is virtually no difference between the soundtrack of a game and the soundtrack of a movie. Things like writing, voice acting, music. These are all forms of art present in video games however looking at a video game as a whole is like you said with the car, it's not art even if there is art in the fabrication process.

The game is there for a specific purpose. It has an objective and means of interactions for the customer to reach said objective. That is very much at the antipode of what art is.

So do you agree that video games have art in it, but art not art?

That's my question to you.

I believe that video games are not art.

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#28 AJStyles
Member since 2018 • 1197 Posts

Video Games are art.

Go google the definition of art. It’s just a creation of something that evokes emotion.

Video games do that in spades. I have felt more emotions from MGS2-4 than any stupid painting in a museum could ever do.

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#29  Edited By jaydan
Member since 2015 • 2675 Posts

@i_p_daily said:
@jaydan said:
@i_p_daily said:
@Juub1990 said:

That's a rather gross oversimplification of art but OK.

Well do you want to go into some deep meaningful conversation about art? if so then go ahead, I will read it and have a chuckle, but calling a video game art is a stretch for me, is it made up from artists sure, but serves a totally different purpose to art.

Where do we draw the line with art? people who design cars are artists therefore cars are art, tv's have slick new designs created by an artist, boom tv's are art, honestly where does it stop???

In your own defense: I can tell you an artist gives structure to the entire world. An architect - which you can say is an artist with a strong background in the arts - designed your house/apartment - but would you really call your house/apartment a work of art or simply your living space?

An artist designed the look of your Xbox One/PS4/Switch, but are these works of art?

That's a real zinger question for everyone to consider. YES, artists shape the world. They designed your community, they formatted the menu at the restaurant you last ate at - but could we just call everything a work of art at this point just because an artist was part responsible for these things?

Right where does it end?

For me video games are not art, but that's just me, but if a developer says he wants to make art, then give that idiot a paintbrush/paint/easel/canvas and let them have at it lol.

As a professional artist and photographer myself - I can tell you there is a fine line somewhere.

Let's take photography for example: I look at it as a wonderful medium for art. When I first ever stepped foot in a dark room and learned how to develop film, my mind was just blown at just the amount of creative liberties I can take when developing a photo. And respectively with digital photography, learning how to get different exposures for different effects, learning the creative liberties something like Photoshop can give.

Same goes with my graphic arts. I have creative freedom to make anything I want, but I'd be lying to you if I said every piece of work I've ever done equates to art just because I used a medium that can be used for art.

While I can say I've made plenty of artistic photos for my own artistic pleasure - I can't say taking up jobs like doing product photography or doing catalog shoots as anywhere near as art compared to what I can do when I have the creative liberty.

So maybe, whatever medium we're using here - it can be a bit of both?

With the case of video games, it is mostly a means for our own entertainment within a product. So can a video game be art? Sure. But that's not what we gamer's are looking for.

Art games do exist, but we've stigmatized them as "walking simulators" and "movie games". It's not what gamer's are looking for when choosing a video game.

I mean we do like art - but in different mediums - and that's why we need video games to escape from the usual depth of meaning and instead just be purely entertained.

Same shit with movies. Some movies are pure art while others are just pure entertainment. It does not degrade the artists involved with a movie like The Avengers, but that is pure entertainment and not meant for deep artistic thought.

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#30 I_P_Daily
Member since 2015 • 13255 Posts

@ajstyles said:

Video Games are art.

Go google the definition of art. It’s just a creation of something that evokes emotion.

Video games do that in spades. I have felt more emotions from MGS2-4 than any stupid painting in a museum could ever do.

So by that definition if I take a shit and forget to shut the door and my missus walks past and says that it stinks, it must be art because I just evoked emotion form my missus.

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#31 I_P_Daily
Member since 2015 • 13255 Posts

@jaydan: Way to much thought put into that response, it can't end somewhere as someone will just take liberty with it just like I did with my response to aj.

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#32 freedomfreak
Member since 2004 • 51395 Posts

Roger never saw the Monster cans of Death Stranding. It would've changed his mind, for sure.

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#33  Edited By Archangel3371  Online
Member since 2004 • 28850 Posts

@i_p_daily: Haven’t played the game myself so I can’t really say if it was “scored correctly” or not, whatever that means considering that much of a game’s review can be construed as subjective outside some of the obvious technical aspects.

Quite trying to berate me just because I happen to enjoy games that Hideo Kojima makes. I don’t berate you just because you don’t happen to enjoy them. I’m not a reviewer so I don’t even get why you say “reviewers like me”. I like what I like and if that bothers you so much well then that’s just too damn bad.

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#34  Edited By Ezekiel43
Member since 2017 • 1978 Posts

Who the hell cares? Don't answer that rhetorical question. Doesn't make any difference in my life or my enjoyment of the medium if it's art or not. I don't need it to be taken seriously by people who wouldn't play the games anyway.

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#35 AcidTango
Member since 2013 • 1731 Posts

@jaydan said:
@uninspiredcup said:

Correct. This man gave Once Upon A Time In West a negative review.

Man was a hack, what a horrible legacy.

The only opinion that matter.
The only opinion that matter.

Armond White is one of the worst critics lol

I really think that Armond White is a troll. He hates a lot of good movies but loves a lot of very bad ones.

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#36 I_P_Daily
Member since 2015 • 13255 Posts

@Archangel3371 said:

@i_p_daily: Haven’t played the game myself so I can’t really say if it was “scored correctly” or not, whatever that means considering that much of a game’s review can be construed as subjective outside some of the obvious technical aspects.

Quite trying to berate me just because I happen to enjoy games that Hideo Kojima makes. I don’t berate you just because you don’t happen to enjoy them. I’m not a reviewer so I don’t even get why you say “reviewers like me”. I like what I like and if that bothers so much well then that’s just too damn bad.

I wasn't referring to you as a reviewer, however how you like Kojima, much like the reviewers who are giving it a high score to defend the game when they have clearly said it wasn't good, i could have worded that better.

If you like his games then good for you and enjoy your walking lol.

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Archangel3371

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#37 Archangel3371  Online
Member since 2004 • 28850 Posts

@i_p_daily: Yeah I took another look at your post and I misconstrued the wording of it. My bad.

Anyway I can very much enjoy exploring a game’s world and contemplating the message that the creator is trying to convey. To me that can be rewarding in and of itself.

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X_CAPCOM_X

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#38 X_CAPCOM_X
Member since 2004 • 8763 Posts

The same thing was said about film, as in, "film can never be art."

http://m.oldmagazinearticles.com/download.php?file=film_is_not_art-pdf

Even Ebert himself held similar views although he didn't dismiss it entirely as his 'predecessors' in this ideology did:

https://nofilmschool.com/2013/07/roger-ebert-movie-not-a-logical-art-form

As to my position on this matter, video games can be art. To dismiss a new medium as not having the capability to portray human culture solely because of the advancements in technology that enable a more immersive experience is to also dismiss how advancements in technology are part of and influenced by scientific advancement. Art simply displays this development of human culture through a medium.

Take for example a painting of a train, by joseph william mallord, Rain, Steam and Speed.

To hold this view is to express a lack of understanding of this relationship.

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GoldenElementXL

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#39  Edited By GoldenElementXL
Member since 2016 • 3562 Posts

Sure, games can be art. Death Stranding isn’t that game, though. Hearing Giant Bomb discuss the game, Kojima’s legacy will be heavily tainted after this game. It’s all, “on the nose” and uninspired. There’s nothing deep or profound about Death Stranding. And it sure as hell isnt art. Gamers need to cut the shit regarding Kojima.

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Juub1990

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#40 Juub1990
Member since 2013 • 8836 Posts

@i_p_daily: Agreed. As a whole video games aren’t art. They do have art in their fabrication process however.

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NoodleFighter

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#42 NoodleFighter
Member since 2011 • 10575 Posts

@jaydan said:
@i_p_daily said:
@Juub1990 said:
@i_p_daily said:

Because they are different elements put together to create a video game where one plays the game, not pays a cash amount to just sit and stare at the cover.

That's a rather gross oversimplification of art but OK.

Well do you want to go into some deep meaningful conversation about art? if so then go ahead, I will read it and have a chuckle, but calling a video game art is a stretch for me, is it made up from artists sure, but serves a totally different purpose to art.

Where do we draw the line with art? people who design cars are artists therefore cars are art, tv's have slick new designs created by an artist, boom tv's are art, honestly where does it stop???

In your own defense: I can tell you an artist gives structure to the entire world. An architect - which you can say is an artist with a strong background in the arts - designed your house/apartment - but would you really call your house/apartment a work of art or simply your living space?

An artist designed the look of your Xbox One/PS4/Switch, but are these works of art?

That's a real zinger question for everyone to consider. YES, artists shape the world. They designed your community, they formatted the menu at the restaurant you last ate at - but could we just call everything a work of art at this point just because an artist was part responsible for these things?

My question is if it isn't art why effort put into the designs of these things? Since after all if it isn't art why put in all this unnecessary stuff if basic and plain looking designs are more than enough.

For example is this not art after all since these are just buildings people live in?

After all a structure like below is more than functional but you won't see people paying top dollar to live in something like it. Why can't a person's home be a work of art and a living space? If it's one or the other then why do so many people put effort into what their homes look like inside or out? Why is it neighbors get pissed if you decide to change the outside of your home to a very abnormal design?

If cars can't be considered art then why is it that one of the main things you pay for with a sports/super car is its EXOTIC design? Be honest if the two cars I have below costed the same and had the same level of functionality which one would you pick?

It's one the main reasons why people with tons of cash still go for Lamborghinis, Ferraris, McClarens, Pagani, Bugatti and etc. Because even though you could a buy a Nissan GTR for cheaper and mod the hell out of it to the point it can run faster than these cars it doesn't have a design that makes it stand out like the listed. People wouldn't even be able to tell you own a status symbol if it looks barely any different from what regular folks drive.

If the designs of the consoles didn't matter they wouldn't have hired artist to design them since after all they could have crammed the hardware into something like this and call it a day. Nor would console makers bother putting game art onto their consoles.

What I'm saying is you don't have to call everything the greatest piece of art ever since after all there is good art and bad art. Art can come in different levels of good and bad not everything has to groundbreaking or high tier. Art can simply just be making something that is aesthetically pleasing. Is the work you see in an art gallery or art school not art because it's not on the level. We also could be taking for granted what we see because we're used to it. For example if an alien came to out planet they'd likely be fascinated by our architectural designs while to us they're just standard and boring but we'd see the alien architect as groundbreaking when it's standard and boring to the alien. We humans are aesthetic creatures which is why we put effort into appearances beyond functionality.

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NoodleFighter

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#43 NoodleFighter
Member since 2011 • 10575 Posts
@Jag85 said:

Like other genres that have come and gone, the "art game" genre is slowly dying. The art game genre peaked around 2001-2012, starting with Ico and MGS2 in 2001 and then having its last hurrah with Journey and The Walking Dead in 2012. Ever since then, the art game genre has been declining, with art game developers like Team Ico, thatgamecompany and Telltale struggling to stay relevant (and with Team Ico and Telltale no longer around).

If Death Stranding had released during that 2001-2012 era, then it would've almost certainly gotten rave reviews. Game critics and fans would've cited it as evidence that "video games are art" and used it to "shut down" those "snobbish" art critics and film critics like Roger Ebert.

But from around 2013 onwards, something changed. From around 2013 onwards, video games have become widely accepted as part of mainstream culture, partly thanks to the rise of mobile gaming and social media. It seems like Ebert's death was like the end of an era, where an older generation of "snobbish" art critics and film critics refused to acknowledge "video games as art". Now that video games are finally embraced by mainstream culture, gamers don't feel the need anymore to prove that "games are art". And so gamers started losing interest in art games, hence the decline of the art game genre.

Now in 2019, Death Stranding comes across like a relic from a bygone era. A time when gamers, and game developers, desperately wanted to prove that "video games are art". Which much of the gaming public, and game critics, have now moved on from.

Do games have to be part of the "art game" genre to be art? Maybe we evolved past the "art genre" since like you said people like Ebert are dying off. Maybe what is considered an "art game" now is right in front of us but we don't recognize it. Warframe's The Second Dream quest is considered one of the best moments in current gen gaming. I'd definitely consider it art, how the quest is handled in comparison to the rest of the game before it and its delivery greatly changes your view of the game. Even people that didn't play Warframe for the story now look forward to the story quest. Perhaps were Warframe succeeded and Death Stranding failed is that Warframe didn't sacrifice what is, a game in order to seen as "art" by non gamers.

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#44  Edited By KungfuKitten
Member since 2006 • 26908 Posts

Just think of all the artists working on a game. Designing the clothing. Designing the architecture. The cultural influences. The lighting and shadows. All the writing in the games. The way that all these elements are weighed and balanced to be in harmony or to convey a vibe. Of course games can be art. How could a painting be considered art, and not a game? A game can give you a beautiful impression of an emotion, of something surreal or extremely real. It can be a way for the artists to communicate a message or a form of beauty or a dream or desire, or a state of being. Of course it is art.

Never say never.

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Jag85

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#45  Edited By Jag85
Member since 2005 • 13803 Posts
@NoodleFighter said:
@Jag85 said:

Like other genres that have come and gone, the "art game" genre is slowly dying. The art game genre peaked around 2001-2012, starting with Ico and MGS2 in 2001 and then having its last hurrah with Journey and The Walking Dead in 2012. Ever since then, the art game genre has been declining, with art game developers like Team Ico, thatgamecompany and Telltale struggling to stay relevant (and with Team Ico and Telltale no longer around).

If Death Stranding had released during that 2001-2012 era, then it would've almost certainly gotten rave reviews. Game critics and fans would've cited it as evidence that "video games are art" and used it to "shut down" those "snobbish" art critics and film critics like Roger Ebert.

But from around 2013 onwards, something changed. From around 2013 onwards, video games have become widely accepted as part of mainstream culture, partly thanks to the rise of mobile gaming and social media. It seems like Ebert's death was like the end of an era, where an older generation of "snobbish" art critics and film critics refused to acknowledge "video games as art". Now that video games are finally embraced by mainstream culture, gamers don't feel the need anymore to prove that "games are art". And so gamers started losing interest in art games, hence the decline of the art game genre.

Now in 2019, Death Stranding comes across like a relic from a bygone era. A time when gamers, and game developers, desperately wanted to prove that "video games are art". Which much of the gaming public, and game critics, have now moved on from.

Do games have to be part of the "art game" genre to be art? Maybe we evolved past the "art genre" since like you said people like Ebert are dying off. Maybe what is considered an "art game" now is right in front of us but we don't recognize it. Warframe's The Second Dream quest is considered one of the best moments in current gen gaming. I'd definitely consider it art, how the quest is handled in comparison to the rest of the game before it and its delivery greatly changes your view of the game. Even people that didn't play Warframe for the story now look forward to the story quest. Perhaps were Warframe succeeded and Death Stranding failed is that Warframe didn't sacrifice what is, a game in order to seen as "art" by non gamers.

"Art game" isn't really a real gameplay genre, but just a "genre" name for games where the "art" part is the main focus of the game.

One reason why art critics reject video games as "art" is because of its interactivity. Traditionally, art has been passive, something spectators experience from passively looking at or listening to. This is true for pictures, music, and film. But video games are different, because they're inherently an interactive medium. Hence the debate over whether video games qualify as art. By having spectators actively participating in a video game, it becomes more like a sport rather than an art.

This is why "art games" have traditionally been semi-passive experiences, in order to meet the stricter criteria of "true art". One way they went about it was to give the player agency for much of the game, and then denying player agency during certain sections of the game. That's how they balanced the interactivity of gaming with the passivity of art.

Some titles take it all the way and become visual novels, which is a mostly passive genre, with interactivity limited to things like narrative decisions and dialogue choices. Speaking of visual novels, that's an exception to the "art game" decline. Just as other "art games" started declining, that's when visual novels started taking off and reaching a wider audience outside Japan.

Personally, I'm of the view that active gameplay-oriented video games are not art. By their very nature, active gameplay-oriented video games are more like sports, rather than art. But I would consider semi-passive narrative-oriented video games to be art, because their focus is not on the "fun" part but rather on things like telling a story, expressing themes, or providing a semi-passive audio-visual experience. Kojima's games usually maintain a fine balance between these two extremes, combining fun active gameplay with passive cinematics. But with Death Stranding, it appears he's shifted that balance too far into the latter semi-passive camp.

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#46 DaVillain-  Moderator  Online
Member since 2014 • 39051 Posts

Strange, even Hideo Kojima once said video games is not an art himself years ago while he was still with Konami.

As far as "art" goes, art is in the eyes of the beholder. Art, in its broadest sense, is a form of communication. It means whatever the artist intends it to mean, and this meaning is shaped by the materials, techniques, and forms it makes use of, as well as the ideas and feelings it creates in its viewers . Art is an act of expressing feelings, thoughts, and observations.

And I'm just going to leave it like that.

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#47 PAL360
Member since 2007 • 29655 Posts

It doesn't matter if it's Death Stranding or Pong.

Not only videogames are art, they are probably the most complete form of it. Creating a videogame requires designers, cartoonists, musicians, etc....in case of big budget games also actors, sometimes architects, etc...

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#48  Edited By Bread_or_Decide
Member since 2007 • 29500 Posts

There are a lot of electronic interactive art pieces in modern art museums.

Similar to video games.

Everything is art. Nothing is art. People have been arguing over centuries whether a square red blotch of paint on a canvas is art. The answer is yes. It's all art. Video games, if structured to provide a specific experience to the player, can also be art. This experience often has a vision with themes and the gameplay is an extension of those themes.

Everything is art.

Deadly Premonition is art. Killer 7 is art. Death Stranding is art. Journey is art. Shadow of the Colossus is art.

ART is intent, thematic meaning, and the reaction it causes in the viewer. Art is not the specific act of drawing or designing, that's a different form of art. That is skill, profession, the tool.

A guitar is not art. Unless physically constructed by an artist with intent. The sound it makes is not art. Unless the person playing it puts their own soul and emotion into the piece.

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Zero_epyon

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#49 Zero_epyon
Member since 2004 • 13476 Posts
@i_p_daily said:
@Juub1990 said:
@i_p_daily said:

Elements of making a video game, not art.

These aren't mutually exclusive. Why aren't they art?

Because they are different elements put together to create a video game where one plays the game, not pays a cash amount to just sit and stare at the cover.

If a medium is made up almost entirely of artistic elements, how is it not art? Is a movie not art either? A movie consists of actors, scripts, props, effects in some cases, and a whole lot of effort just for someone to sit there and watch it for a couple of hours. What is it about games that make it different enough to not be art?

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Zero_epyon

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#50 Zero_epyon
Member since 2004 • 13476 Posts

I'm of the mindset that anything produced for the sole purpose of entertainment is art. Video games are certainly a form of art. It's designed, created, and enjoyed by others. It's pretty simple.