Is Game Design Art? Great Designers Say 'Not Really'

At a GDC 2009 roundtable with renowned designers, Art seems to be a dirty word

It’s a debate that has raged for centuries: Do video games constitute art? Ok, maybe not centuries, but it seems like a while. Personally, I say ‘yeah, of course it is!’, but I’m not the creator of games that have been hailed as art by so many.

At this years GDC conference, ICO creator, Fumito Ueda says of his most recent project only that “My team and I are making a game which is close to art - that's what people say.”

He goes on to refute the claim that their games are art in general. He continues, “We're making a game to entertain people. Sometimes my personality and my team's might be reflected on the game, and it might look like art, but it is a game to entertain people. That kind of feedback is welcome but it's not what I'm trying to achieve."

Emil Pagliarulo, lead designer of Fallout 3 mirrored the cautionary tone about art, "We'll come into our own. We don't have to push the issue. Who are we trying to impress? I think game developers should concentrate on making good games. The art thing will happen naturally."

Goichi Suda (a.k.a. Suda 51) creator of the quirky Killer 7 and No More Heroes also weighed in, "I pay attention to art. In making entertainment, if we try to achieve art, that would be difficult. But people in the art field play games and are impressed."
He also said of his experience in creating Killer 7, “… it was a really new attempt with really new things... Even if I tried to explain that to people working on it, not everybody could really understand. It was difficult to put it into words."

Sounds like art to me.

Hmm… this begs for hours of nerdy discussion from us, but it sounds like some of the best designers themselves don’t like to go there. They can’t hide forever behind the flawed argument that art is defined by whether it’s GOOD art or not. Hard to complain about their modesty, though.

[via eurogamer.net]