Are video games art?

Nov 18, 2013 by

Are video games art?

As Bogost points out in “How To Do Things With Videogames,” asking if video games are art is just another variation of an antediluvian argument. Art can not be defined and should not be defined, it should just be. Ergo video games, along with everything else that identifies as art is art.

All of the video games that we were asked to play are art, same as every other video game out there although the video games that we played, such as Passage, conform to an conceptualization of art as defined by Ruskin. Ruskin, an art critic, said that art is only art when it has something to say or serves a social purpose. Passage, Marriage, and Arteroids are all games that have something to say and therefore can be defined as art according to Ruskin.

Yet, this should not limit the video games that can be defined as art because another art critic, Whistler, defines art as something just created for the purpose of creating; art for art’s sake. This definition of art is inclusive of every single video game that doesn’t serve a social purpose and therefore doesn’t fall under Ruskin’s definition.

Once you consider these two definitions, it is absurd to call anything that wishes to be art, anything else. Thus answering the question “are video games art?” with a categorical yes.

Roger Ebert says that video games can’t be art because “the nature of the medium prevents it from moving beyond craftmanship to the stature art” which is really funny because the word “art” comes from the Latin word for craft.

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