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Sessler's Soapbox: Adam vs. Ebert - Games as Art

Posted: April 20, 2010
Sessler's Soapbox: Adam vs. Ebert - Games as Art
http://www.g4tv.com/videos/45457/sesslers-soapbox-adam-vs-ebert-games-as-art/
http://images.g4tv.com/ImageDb3/233268_LGST/soapbox-4-20-10.jpg
Video_45457
Adam discusses Roger Ebert's article about how video games can never be art, and why he thinks the argument is somewhat pointless.

Comments are Closed

  • Montsho

    Art can be anything. If someone can convey an emotion in any medium, painting, dancing, singing, acting, or a video game it's art. You take a bottle cap on the ground you may not consider it art, you take a bottle cap and you paint it red for no reason now it's art. If something invoked an emotion regardless of what it was... it can be considered art

    Posted: April 20, 2010 3:51 PM
    Montsho
  • magic1264

    Those who would say that "who cares whether games are an art form or not" don't understand the underlying issue at hand. Getting video games recognized as an art form would bring it very far as it becoming a legitimate, socially acceptable form of media. While American society has gone very far to abolish the negative stereotypes, bogus research, etc. the industry and its followers have had to suffer, it doesn't take a PHD to understand that video games are still considered a "gimmick" for lack of a better term.

    There are a lot of positive things video games can offer to society, but just flatly aren't allowed to because many still see it akin to chewing a piece of bubble gum. Sure, it tastes good, but you aren't going to sustain yourself on chewing on some Double-mint. Similarly, there are people who believe that playing Call of Duty is just killing time, and that there is no way you'd be able to grasp any understand of any portion of a real military conflict, historical or present.

    Getting society to see video games as a wholly legitimate form of art will allow people to recognize all of the social, physical, and cognitive benefits the medium has to offer. Additionally, it could even allow the people who run the industry to take their games into bold new directions people normally wouldn't like to see video games go. It is only when video games are un-questionably seen as an art form will we see the industry truly blossom into the thing of beauty we on g4 already see it as.

    Posted: April 20, 2010 3:51 PM
    magic1264
  • Variand

    I cannot call games art in and of itself. However, Games can be artistic!

    My analogy would be architecture. It is a construction, however we've all seen buildings that are masterworks of artwork. Games as architecture can be utilitarian, decorative, or even artistic expressions. To go along with Adam, the user's control over games is the same as people decorating their house! A house can be beautiful, but it's the emotional and sentimental decoration in the house that are put there by the users that truly brings out the individuality of it all.

    Second note: Adam's Shirt = PURE ART!!!

    Third note: when games are placed in that "art" category, you lump it in with all that crap people try to claim is art. "Look at my inability to voice my opinions that I will try to force it down your throat with visual imagery instead" turtleneck and beret wearing yuppies. I would hate to see that happen, because then games would be more about making an opinionated statement rather than having something fun and engaging.

    Posted: April 20, 2010 3:50 PM
    Variand
  • Wakeman90125

    Video games, Cars, Food, TV, Movies, Abbie Heppe, ect. Thease things are not ART. They are a form of Entertainment.. some of those things are needs, some are wants.. but all have the ability to be done in an "Artistic" way. That being said. Art is also a form of entertainment, and like ALL entertainment, it is subject to opinion. Art is not a "benchmark" to be achieved by any product..And we as consumers speek with our consumption. I am a Gamer.. I love Games.. I love my Jaguar..I love Abbie Heppe.. I find beauty in all of them, but they are not art to me..

    I think calling Games "Art" is an insult to Games.. don't be so insecure gamers.. be proud of who you are..

    Posted: April 20, 2010 3:48 PM
    Wakeman90125
  • iPan

    Roger Ebert's a dork. Who cares what critics think?
    People are just arguing over the difference between
    art
    artisanship
    artistry
    artform
    etc...
    ad nauseum

    at the end of the day, does it really matter?
    And video games are becoming more "art" every year.
    When talking about a medium that is transforming, and transforming the world around us, it isn't always necessary to conclude that the "form" it takes atm is it's final form.

    I think geezers like Ebert are just worried that their world is changing too fast for them to handle.

    Get with it Ebert! Or go the way of the dinosaurs.......

    Posted: April 20, 2010 3:40 PM
    iPan
  • HAMCHUNKS

    it depends on your definition
    mine is, art is something that influences thoughts, and emotions in someone.

    what i have trouble is that video games are static, there is usually nothing you can do other than what its creator's have allowed you to do, whether they want to allow 7 different endings is all their choice.

    i agree with sessler in a way, but IMO VIDEO GAMES ARE IN A WAY STATIC, in a way

    Posted: April 20, 2010 3:39 PM
    HAMCHUNKS
  • UltimaBlackMage

    I also find it hard to consider video games as an art, but that's because of games like MW2 and other games that are using realise as their key inspiration. Games I would consider art very from game to game. I wouldn't consider Final Fantasy XIII art but would scream black and blue that Eternal Sonata is. I think it's all a matter of how each person views the game but it's hard to say video games as a whole is an art form. Some games that use realism as a key component can be consider art but it requires other elements like the Uncharted games. I would consider them art because of the story telling and vibrant environments, although because it's more like an adventure film it's easier to consider it art. Pretty much as a whole video games will never be an art form but that's doesn't mean some games can't be art. If I had to choose 1 game over all of them as art I'd choose Lunar Silver Star Story Complete. It's got a beautiful story with great, lovable characters and for it's days on the Sega CD great visuals.

    [This is an edited version since I forgot to proof read the last one]

    Posted: April 20, 2010 3:39 PM
    UltimaBlackMage
  • Luke_nx01

    I agree with some posts I've read, art as it stands does not have to be "static" to me, in fact, it is not. When you look at a painting, read a book, hear music or see a film, you project onto it, and take away what you will, and honestly that is nearly always different from someone elses expierience. For example, a year or two ago I read Of Mice and Men, which my english instructor had outlined as a "classic" and I thought it was a terrible book filled with one dimensional characters and plot holes the size of the atlantic, but that was what I got out of it.

    Videogames to me are a form of art, at least as much as a movie is art, or a piece of music is art in modern society with money being the driving factor. But my great example is Rise of Legends, it creates a beautiful visual style paying omage to all kinds of cultures, great gameplay and a story which I enjoyed even if the voice acting was occasionaly laughable. That to me was a piece of art, it presented something, I had an experience, and it was a good one.

    Besides, art is such a loose term it makes no sense to try to pander to it. I mean look at history, I'm guessing people said radio drama wasn't art when it came out, or rock and roll etc. I do agree however on the idea that we don't need any outside approoval for this medium.

    Posted: April 20, 2010 3:37 PM
    Luke_nx01
  • HAMCHUNKS

    wow i kinda agree with Sessler, but

    it all comes to down to what people is the defintion of art, i go with the, everyone takes a medium, whether static or not and if it can mean different things to different people, if it evokes emotions, thoughts and changes in one, THEN IT IS ART!


    and for me GAMES are my favorite art form, though not traditional

    Posted: April 20, 2010 3:35 PM
    HAMCHUNKS
  • UltimaBlackMage

    I also find it hard to consider gaming as an art, but that's because of games like MW2 and other games that are using realise as their key inspiration. Games I would consider are very from game to game. I wouldn't consider Final Fantasy XIII are but would scream black and blue that Eternal Sonata is. I think it's all a matter of how each person views the game but it's hard to say video games as a whole is an art form. Some games that use realism as a key component can be consider art but it requires other elements like the Uncharted games. I would consider them art because of the story telling and vibrant environments, although because it's more like an adventure film it's easier to consider it art. Pretty much as a whole video games will never be an art form but that's doesn't mean some games can't be art. If I had to choose 1 game over all of them as art I'd choose Lunar Silver Star Story Complete. It's got a beautiful story with great, lovable characters and for it's days on the Sega CD great visuals.

    Posted: April 20, 2010 3:35 PM
    UltimaBlackMage
  • Acerlux

    I guess it comes down to how you define art. I personally see it as anything that causes me to really ponder something. If a painting makes me think the origin of human existence, then its art to me. If a movie makes me question my own mortality, its art to me. If a game manages to make me legitimately question the line between what is right and what is wrong, that's art to me. Art is all about interpretation. If anything, games can be the next step in art to me because they let the player further influence their own interpretation. But then again, this is all my opinion. And quite frankly, its the only one that truly matters to me.

    You were dead on about gamer insecurity though.

    Posted: April 20, 2010 3:32 PM
    Acerlux
  • JayDogg24

    I really like what you have to say, but I'm just going to have to disagree on your verdict of it being something other than art. Just because the player can interact with it and it's not static doesn't mean it's not art, I don't see how that disqualifies it. When I play Mass Effect 2, I make my own experience, but it is still within the confines of the options made available to me by Bioware. They still created every alternative. When I write a song, I create several parts and try to make them all interesting in their own right. A person who is a bass player can choose to focus on the bass part, and a guitar player can choose to focus on the guitar part, but the decisions they make are still within the confines of what I create for their experience. I would argue that they are interacting with my music and creating their own experience, much like a video game.

    I would like to expand on your idea that video games are something unique. I would tend to agree, but instead of saying that it's something unique and independent of art, I think of it as showing the diversity of the artwork we can produce. It doesn't fit the ridged image that comes to mind when we think of prototypical art. It fits certain elements of that prototype, but then has many characteristics that we don't encounter in paintings or movies. Instead of attempting to rigidly stick to our traditional classifications and definitions of art, we should be expanding the category to fit our ever-evolving creativity and technologies.

    Posted: April 20, 2010 3:32 PM
    JayDogg24
  • PinkCrayon32

    oh noes! some guy said video games are not considered art! get over it. beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so if cliffyb believes that gears of war is a piece of art, then let him believe it. if tim schafer believes brutal legend is a work of art, fine. some excellent points made by KevinJames23 as well. oh and sess, did you mean leave roger alone, or you?

    Posted: April 20, 2010 3:31 PM
    PinkCrayon32
  • FuzzofPekinopolis

    Why in 2010 do we still put things into these ridiculous categories? Call games whatever you want, if it's good I'm still going to buy it.

    Posted: April 20, 2010 3:25 PM
    FuzzofPekinopolis
  • topgamer101

    "Just hug yourself, chill out and leave the old man alone..."

    Love that. Gamers do need to learn to calm down a bit.

    Posted: April 20, 2010 3:23 PM
    topgamer101
  • MiJoMoo

    Sess,

    Couple of things. First off, I agree that the constant attempt to validate gaming betrays a good amount of insecurity on the part of the individuals attempting said validation. But I don t know that I agree that success is some type of cultural validation in and of itself. Or, to put it another way, I don t agree that existence ipso facto grants validation, at least in the sense that people are seeking for video games.

    Also, highlighting interactivity as the reason for excluding games from Art is interesting. Honestly, I think it s the best approach for it. While, granted, not everyone will appreciate an individual piece of Art to the same degree, they at least have the option of examining and experiencing it top to bottom, start to finish. Since games are intrinsically interactive, its possible that a game, which could otherwise be called Art, would be inaccessible to someone due to their gamers inability to button mash.

    Good soapbox, keep it up.

    Posted: April 20, 2010 3:21 PM
    MiJoMoo
  • jungleman67

    famous composers left empty notes for improvisation. videogames are a tool to create art. either way, most art out there is useless, unimaginative, and just wrong as meant by the artist. half of them had no idea what they were making.

    Posted: April 20, 2010 3:17 PM
    jungleman67
  • Robin_Goose

    I remember when Hideo Kojima said they weren't art. His reason was something like, because you can change or alter what the creator has created. Like, you cant change a book or movie or painting or song. So thats what makes something art? Okay, thats good to know.

    I can see the point, but they are missing 1 thing, you cant really change anything. You are only physically allowed to do something in a game in which the creator or programmer allows you to do, you are in a sandbox where the possibilities are limited and unlimited at the same time. Is creation art? Is planet Earth art? Is existence art? Are laws of gravity and scientific tables art? The answer is I don't know, but what what I do know is they are beautiful and perfect. The same goes for video games, they are a beautiful gift to humanity and they may not BE art themselves, but they certainly consist of art.

    Posted: April 20, 2010 3:14 PM
    Robin_Goose
  • Pillowman

    I found Adams stance on the topic to be very interesting. I would think he would be a bit more defensive on the topic as Eberts stance effects him directly. If videogames are not art then what does that say about videogame critics? If they are not art but simply games or merchandise then the reviews, thoughts, comments and impressions when reviewing a videogame become more objective. It is summing up the properties a product like a baseball bat, tv or lubricant. Is their not some intrinsic value to a videogame that places it a realm seperate from these entities that is more in line with a painting, novel or film? Its an interesting topic and I can appreciate that Ebert broached the subject in a wat thats sure to illcit a response.

    Posted: April 20, 2010 3:10 PM
    Pillowman
  • JustTheBeginning

    Saying video games will never be art is very foolish and ignorant. How are pixels different that paint? They are both used to piece together something beautiful and elegant.

    The game Flower is art I do not care what anybody thinks, great art in video games may be rare but it surely exists.

    Posted: April 20, 2010 3:06 PM
    JustTheBeginning
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