Thursday, June 26, 2008

Games are art

*Oh noes*

The most useless and redundant topic ever brought to life since the days of Adam and Eve. So we’ll try to get this done swiftly.

Anytime it pokes its ugly head in a discussion, half the audience looks away and leaves the room discretely, while those who remain engage themselves in long exchanges of… of what exactly?
I don't know, but many think citing famous people makes their arguments all the more solid.

If I had to think of an image, I’d say that it’s a topic as embarrassing as your toothless grandfather literally spoiling a good family dinner with remarks about how homosexuals wouldn’t get so much slack if they kept silent about their filthy ethics, when your new girlfriend is sitting next to you and comes from a family which is very open about those questions.
No, this is not based upon real anecdotes, although I can perfectly imagine this happening in Texas or Turkey. (For those who want to flame-mail me, you know where to click.)

Fun, money, interactivity and repetition have never been good arguments against art labeling.
For one, many paintings, revered as art these days, were the fruit of propaganda by the Catholic Church, notably against Protestants.
The Sistine Chapel’s ceiling paintjob was commissioned by Julius II for crissake! Yes, MONEY.
So many modern sculptures and towering architectures have a price tag attached to them.

Think on this:

It's art because I say so.
- Me, 2008.

Maybe monkeys think that yoghurt pots are art?

I think we need a game wherein you destroy art.
Or maybe a controverted FPS where you protect a group of young Jews from a bunch of heavily armed Nazis, with a stomach wrenching moral dilemma in the end where you have to let the kids be captured to complete an important sabotage mission in the prospect of nearby liberation.

The real, one, true problem is not about gaining respect by making high art, serious art or else through video games (and would they remain games then?), it’s about stopping lying to ourselves, and destroying that idea that games, under any form, are an embarrassment in that society where the workaholic is the next hero.
Everyone tries to find game principles in given domain or activities.
Political elections are nothing more than a game of combos and locks, Populous at trying to deceive pawns into getting their favours and support, with a winner in the end and the voting percentages being the top score.
The politician may think there’s a challenge, a mature responsibility, but it’s nothing more than goals, facing problems and winning while following rules.

Video games would probably earn more respect if a famous video gaming champion would gain as much aura as Ayrton Senna and André Agassi did get in their time.
Oh, sure, we’re still far from that. Fatal1ty?
Ah sorry, not there yet. Though we can hope, because there are not many reasons not to have adults sit around machines, play against each other, and have top list TV channels broadcasting the games, safe cultural bias, conservatism and a lack of preparedness from current economical powers.
After all, watching a football match is not more mature, nor more educating than watching a duel on Supreme Commander, right?

Oh, I see. The big fat lazy ass syndrome. Games are terrible because you sit (Hence Wii Sit, erm… Fit I mean). The problem is in the body position.

But… wait. How many people watch goddamn Who wants to be a millionaire again?
Sure, this is not ranking high in the charts of morality (maybe just above Janet Jackson’s wiggling boob) but there’s an audience there, there’s a business there, and people unite in front of the box to watch that.

I believe video games can do better.

I think some people are just too proud to ever “lower” themselves to the idea of playing games just because play and leisure are integral parts of us.
It’s also the whole Nintendo games are for kids again, with a different multicultural and global flavour to it, nothing more.

Now just try to imagine a world without any game.
See the collapse? It makes no sense.

So… to bring this post to an end, with no relation to the part above…

If you want to make a remarkable meaningful game, if you actually think you’re making one, or playing one, then bravo, fine, go on, may the Force be with you.
If you think games are just about entertainment, fun and sometimes barely worth a Hollywood B grade movie, OK, no problem, fine, go on, may the Force be with you.

But please. Not that. Not again.

If one unique, thoughtful and deep question shall remain regarding whether games are art or not, it would surely be “who gives?”

So much for making this short.

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