People have long debated the idea of videogames being a form of art. Many have strong opinions one-way or the other. I on the on the other hand, believe that videogames are both. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, the definition of art is “the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects.” In my opinion, it is hard to deny that the creators of a game like LOTRO were artists. It takes true artistic vision to be able to create a world so beautiful and so detailed. Purely by the definition of art one can see the fictional world of LOTRO is artwork. Creating it absolutely took creative imagination and it is quite aesthetic. It has become pretty widely accepted that video is a form of art of why would the LOTRO world not be considered as such?
Is the playing of a videogame a form of art? This is where the question gets trickier to answer. When a game has very specific rules, and the player strictly follows those rules, the player is not an artist. If anything, they are more of a mathematician. Simply doing moves like they are inputs into a formula. However, when the gamer decides to go beyond the basic necessities to complete their task, they can become an artist. When they invest themselves in the quest and the different ways they could go about their tasks the gamer becomes the artist. And what of art’s ability to bring about an emotional response in the gamer? That too is dependant on the gamer and how much they invest in the game. In fact, in some cases games can change a gamer’s total outlook. War games can make a gamer view real life war in a different way. Playing can give gamers a new appreciation for the job of soldiers. War for trivial reasons like seen in games can make real war seem pointless. However, when gamers are only invested enough to fulfill the minimum requirements to advance, there is no chance that they are affected emotionally by the game.
So are videogames art? In their basic form, as they stand without the gamer, I would say no. Despite the fact the imagery is art, the rules and coding in the game make the game too stagnant and inflexible to be. If the game becomes too much about the science that makes it work, it takes away from the artistry. However, with the right gamer, the videogame can become more than the coding. It can be appreciated emotionally and for its imagery and therefore becomes art.