Although the days where video games are displayed alongside paintings by Dali or Rodin’s Thinker are likely far away, it is not unreasonable to consider them a valid art form. The amount of creative thinking and talent that is put into creating video games cannot be discounted. They contain multiple forms of media that most people considers art, with both musical accompaniment and cinematic cut scenes. Intricate story lines are also a major part of many video games, which are just as artful as many novels.
Many video games can be considered forms of art, but some specific games genres clearly emphasize the artistry aspect more than others. RPG games with very detailed narratives allow the gamer to enter a fantasy world that is beautiful and captivating, especially in the case of LOTRO. The visual experience by itself is breathtaking, as the construction of the landscape and the buildings is both sophisticated and aesthetically pleasing. If that isn’t enough to make it art the creators of the game also provide music that uses tempo and pitch to give the player a more full understanding of the current situation that they face. The music alone is very good and would suffice as art, but instead it adds dimension to the game that further qualifies it as an art form. The detailed nature of each quest is a piece of art in its own right, as many different creative pieces are put together to make it work fluidly.
On the other hand some games can be seen as a blank canvas for the gamer to create their own masterpiece on because of the level of interactivity that they provide. Games like Age of Empires and Zoo Tycoon offer the player to piece together their own landscape with endless possibilities. Even sports games like FIFA can be played in ways that could be considered artful by fans and enthusiasts. The interfaces themselves may not be considered works of art but they can be used creatively to produced pieces of art themselves.
Some people may argue that there are many tasteless and unimaginative video games that ruin the genre’s chances of being considered a form of art. While there are clearly games out there that are not exactly masterpieces, the same is true of most all other forms of art. Not all paintings are the Mona Lisa, nor do all authors write like Dickens. A few bad apples should not be considered representative of the entire art form that is gaming.
-George de Roziere