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Topic: Video games can never be art

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theblackdragon

81. Posted:

@stuffo: if you check the article itself, ebert describes how it was provoked by someone attempting to convince him video games were art.

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Stuffgamer1

82. Posted:

It all comes down to what the individual wants, even to a specific time. Sometimes, I WANT simple fun like Mario. Other times, I want to be challenged on an intellectual level or experience something unique. That's where Braid, Flower, Heavy Rain (as much as opinions are split on that one, I find that it gives you reason to think in a way NOTHING else does), and others come in.

In short, my definition of "art" says that SOME videogames are art, not the whole medium...but the same applies to film, paintings, poetry, music, and whatever else Ebert wants to call "art."

EDIT: @TBD: I did read his entire article, so I guess I missed that part. In that case, I would question why that person felt the need to start the argument at all.

Edited on by Stuffgamer1

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Adam

83. Posted:

I have to disagree though, Stuffleupagus. Tiny Toon Adventures is thought provoking (even if it is no Pinky and the Brain). That's some deep stuff. I learned a lot from Babs and Buster. Anything can be thought provoking. There is a movement that has gained quite a bit of traction to subject lowly "pop art" and entertainment to the same kinds of analyses that we use with the so-called "high arts." I don't see the need for the distinction, myself. It's a vague, artificial separation, and it never served much positive purpose.

Edited on by Adam

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CharlieRod

84. Posted:

I think theyre art if you apply what your trying to do. Do you want a pretty game, nice music, the mood of the game, intriging text, a good fight? the list could go on, but with as much math as there is involved in this stuff and the like, I can understand his point. I think because of the interaction of your body is where he drew the line, making it more of an activity. Everything has to blend together so you can't narrow it down to numbers or a clock and predicted timing.

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Paperclip

85. Posted:

Huh, check out this awesome article from IGN on what Ebert said.

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Adam

86. Posted:

Where'd they get this guy? The article seems out of place on IGN.

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Stuffgamer1

87. Posted:

I didn't actually mean to suggest that you don't think AT ALL when watching Tiny Toons, but it's generally (generally being the operative word) not the really deep stuff. Deep thought and comedy don't seem to mix too well, really (as evidenced by the tail end of Click being not very funny).

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romulux

88. Posted:

the frustrating part is when ebert cites a few video games that were presented to him as art- frustrating because none of the games he references are examples that i think any gamers would have chosen to represent the medium. "waco resurrection" is a good example of this, obviously chosen because of it's controversial gameplay rather than the quality of the game itself.

video games have always gotten just as much of a reaction out of me as any film or album. super metroid has been my favorite game since childhood and gets a very strong emotional response whenever i play it, not just because of nostalgia, but because it's such a genuinely beautifully game. the music and artwork lock together to draw a world that's surprisingly disturbing and depressing for a 16 bit game, a testament to how video games can be more than just simple fun when the developers really take the project seriously. i don't play it to pass time or have fun; i play it because i want to go back to that world.

there are plenty of other games i'd reference as works of art long before any of the ones ebert mentioned-- muramasa, with it's hand drawn sprites is like playing an ever-changing hokusai wood carving, while okami, another amazing game based on traditional japanese art, looks like a watercolor painting in motion. the zelda games all have a timeless beauty to them, although majora's mask and windwaker stand out as having my favorite art direction.

cave story is a perfect example of a video game being a very personal labor of love to somebody, something ebert claims isn't possible in his journal. another of his arguments is that games can't be art because they have rules and objectives to follow, but i can't count the number of times i've stopped playing any of the games above and just stopped to soak in the different worlds. the fact that there are goals in a game doesn't have anything to do with the quality of the artwork within it as far as i can see.

the problem with convincing someone like ebert that games can be a deeper experience than simple time wasting is that he'd actually have to play the games to understand them, something most naysayers have no interest in doing. he's judging games as if they were a passive medium like films or paintings or albums, which don't require any interaction from the user to appreciate. games are an interactive medium, and judging one without playing it is like reviewing a film with a blindfold on.

but like he asks, why does it matter if they're art anyway? if games were widely accepted as art, it wouldn't make me feel any differently playing them myself. i know what games mean to me and what it is that i get out of playing them, and no matter what anyone says my favorite games will always mean as much to me as my favorite music and films. which brings me to my point; art is something very personal that can't be defined in any clear or absolute terms. there are huge differences from person to person in what they regard as art, and trying to find a simple across the board definition of what art itself even is will lead to long arguments before everyone involved just gives up. most people probably aren't even aware of how tenuous a hold they have on their own personal definition of art; they could admit that games they love don't qualify, but will readily recognize a painting that means nothing to them as a work of art without knowing why.

so instead of asking why gamers why games 'need' to be art, i'd ask ebert why he needs to believe that they're not. what does it matter to him whether someone out there appreciates a video game the way he enjoys a film? i'd like to scrap the whole argument and let games have whatever impact on the players that they happen to have. the typical movie or album could be considered to be just as cheap of a product as your typical video game, with only a few releases here and there gaining attention as something special. if that great movie or album or game comes along and means something to someone, let it mean that to them. when a poor one comes along, let it be cheaper experience that it is.

that's as simple as it needs to be; instead of judging the worth of entire mediums at once, why not take each game, film, album, or painting on a case by case basis. if anyone has read this far, you might want to take a nap for a while. you've earned it.

as a bonus:
this is a post by one of the artists from metroid corruption, who goes through all of the rooms he created and explains the process of designing them photo by photo. seeing all of the unbridled creativity and dedication to every pixel makes it hard to say that game creation isn't an artistic endeavor: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=120115

Edited on by romulux

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Adam

89. Posted:

Click isn't evidence of anything since it's not really a comedy, and certainly not an example comedy. Satire has been forever a favorite choice of artists with a political message, and often this results in the best comedy, not to mention it is by nature thought-provoking.

And there are a lot of independent films that better weave together comedy and drama than Click so that the comedy is just as relevant as the rest of it, rather than simply unloading a few jokes in the beginning and then spending the next two hours with no other goal than to make the audience depressed with scene after repetitive scene.

But back to important matters -- Tiny Toons -- you can only write it off if you completely disregard the intended audience. The children enjoy the arts, too, and their programs have different goals. You can't measure intellectual interest, so I don't see the need to make distinctions, personally.

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Gogo Dodo = super high art. Just look at that umbrella. Now that is thought-provoking.

Edited on by Adam

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Stuffgamer1

90. Posted:

Upon further reflection last night, I found that I wanted to chuck most of what I've already said about what art is and say this: Art is really something someone can connect with. Usually, that means that the creator(s) put their heart(s) into making it, not necessarily for the public, but perhaps to meet their own desires (yes, I think art in its purest form is somewhat selfish).

For example: I was recently watching the special features on the Toy Story Blu-Ray. They talked about how they were at one point being forced to make changes, making it ever "edgier," by some folks at Disney. The screening for that version of the movie went HORRIBLY! But then they were able to go back to their OWN design and make a movie that was pretty much just for them. And that movie is now extremely popular, well-loved, and getting its SECOND sequel in a couple of months.

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Stuffgamer1

91. Posted:

Interestingly, this way of looking at things connects "art" with "quality," as making something you don't give a crap about usually leads to it being not very good. Which isn't to say that people don't sometimes make bad products when they DO invest themselves in them...something else can always go wrong. But that's the same difference I've often stated between Wii Sports and all the games that try to sap money from Wii owners; the former was made with love, care, and respect for ALL gamers, while the latter are often made by people who have no personal interest in the titles whatsoever.

Even with these guidelines in place, there's always room for interpritation by the end user. I say Earthbound is excellent, and arguably art by the above definition. Some say it's crap (their loss). Few would argue with the genious that was poured into Chrono Trigger, though...which pretty much mimics other artforms, which have both mainstream and niche markets. So if film=art, then video games=art.

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RowdyRodimus

92. Posted:

(Bad joke then my thoughts on the matter)
Don't worry about all the negative responses, Mr. Ebert, keep your chin up!

Ok, now that my horribly devised joke that would send me to hell if I believed in it is done...

My entire problem with what he says is based on his own definition of art. He includes film, so in his mind the Super Mario Bros. movie is more of a work of art than the Super Mario Bros. game. Why? Because the movie is linear and tells the audience everything, whereas the game tells you nothing about how you got to the Mushroom Kingdom or why you are trying to save the princess.

However, doesn't that discount all of the artists who put elephant dung on the Virgin Mary or drizzled some paint on a canvas with no rhyme or reason? Do I think those things are art? Not a chance, but they are accepted as art. It seems that Ebert isn't happy unless the art in question has a motive and drills it into your head or a Thomas Kinkade painting that you can look at and say "hey, it's a coottage during winter! Haven't seen that one by him before."

A game like SMB can be art since it challenges you to decide the meaning for yourself, it is no different than Yoko Ono placing a card on the ceiling with the word "yes" on it during an exhibiton that required the viewer to climb a ladder to see it. Neither give you the detail of what it means and both require the viewer to interact with the work.

Do I expect anyone else to hold the same viewpoint on what is art as I do? No. To be honest I put the comic art of Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby and John Romita on the same level as DaVinci and Rembrant and the writings of Stan Lee on the same shelf as Shakespere. That is just my view on art and nothing anyone says can change my viewpoint.

As for Ebert, I think we're all getting carried away by something that was written by a failed screenwriter who is responsible for the disgustingly horrible Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.

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romulux

93. Posted:

art.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5le9sYdYkM

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Adam

94. Posted:

He doesn't believe all movies are art (he mentions at least one movie he doesn't think of as art -- though he says it's still better than video games, of course), so the SMB game vs. SMB movie example doesn't work. One of the biggest problems with the poorly written article is that he does not once offer a proper definition of the term he is arguing. Though he briefly flirts with a more defensible position saying that games are not art because they have rules and win conditions, he proceeds to spend the rest of the article arguing about games being low quality. But if art is quality, then anyone and everyone can decide what art is, which makes his argument irrelevant, even if he were basing his opinion on anything other than pure ignorance and bias.

Edited on by Adam

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mnementh

95. Posted:

I think Roger Ebert is a real idiot... anybody who takes the job "film critic" seriously is stupid IMO. And his opinions are just crazy at least half the time. He thought that Godfather 3 was a good movie and that Corleone's "daughter" played well! He thought that Congo was a good movie, he thought Fight Club was a bad movie. 'Nuff said.

I think games are mainly toys and entertainment but many, especially classic ones, are pure form of art. Tetris. And Karateka was pure art.

Edited on by mnementh

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Ico

96. Posted:

This just in: Roger Ebert is old. Old people are often out of touch with the happenings of the younger generations. Guys like Fumito Ueda have already proven games can be art.

Ico

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Aviator

97. Posted:

Why was this revived?

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Unca_Lz

98. Posted:

"Art is the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way to affect the senses or emotions. It encompasses a diverse range of human activities, creations, and modes of expression, including music, literature, film, sculpture, and paintings." -Wikipedia

Yeah, video games qualify as art according to this definition. The one big difference is only the added interactivity of the audience (the player)

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Percentful

99. Posted:

mnementh wrote:

@Aviator - there was another thread which led here. This shouldn't bother you if it was revived or not (aka none of your business).

Umm, it's ok if someone asks why a thread was revived, after all it is a public community forum...
And you sound like a 2nd grader when you say "it's none of your business."

Just let it happen.

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Aviator

100. Posted:

mnementh wrote:

@Aviator - there was another thread which led here. This shouldn't bother you if it was revived or not (aka none of your business).

Likewise, you wondering why I felt it is necessary to revive this topic is none of your business.

EDIT: Thank you 100percentful for that kind comment. :)

Edited on by Aviator

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