In order to identify whether or not video games can be considered art, one must first consider what qualifies as art. According to most sources, art is a division of objects or things that are subject to certain aesthetic criteria, or the expression of human creativity and imagination.
From this definition, video games certainly qualify as artistic expression as they, just as much as any other art form, demonstrate a wide range of imaginative ideas. From games like Dead Space to Assassin’s Creed, creative genius is at work creating an array of different possibilities and ideas never thought of before. Gaming, in my opinion, sometimes even takes art to whole new levels that contemporary and ancient art does not, as it demonstrates levels of creativity far beyond the levels achieved by what is traditionally considered art. The range of games is virtually unlimited, and game designers are constantly expanding the variety of available games.
Furthermore, many games also create artistic landscapes, scenery, and backgrounds. For example, in the Assassin’s Creed games, entire cities are constructed that retain intrinsic beauty and complexity. It takes serious artistic talent in order to construct these multifaceted landscapes that come together seamlessly and create entirely new worlds to explore. To not consider this art would be to ignore the aesthetic beauty and unbelievable creativity required to construct these backgrounds and landscapes.
However, I doubt video games, in my lifetime, will ever be seriously considered artistic by modern society. Society tends to view gaming as simply escaping from reality, and it thus receives a negative connotation. It also is typically viewed as a medium that can really only provide base pleasure for the gamer as many popular games are warlike and do not engage the gamer cognitively. As long as games like Saints Row and Grand Theft Auto exist, however fun to play they may be, games will likely not be considered art. However, games can be cognitively engaging and have artistic storylines, even though the most popular ones do not. For instance, Lord of the Rings Online retains a deep and complex story that, if placed in the form of a novel, could easily be considered an artistic masterpiece. The game medium simply hasn’t become appreciated within modern society, and the artistry within some games is not appreciated as it sometimes should be. Maybe one day society will see that some games retain intrinsic artistic value and beauty, but that day is not likely to come soon.