Games Aren't Art, At Least According to Roger Ebert

Re: Games Aren't Art, At Least According to Roger Ebert

Postby stitch626 » Fri Apr 23, 2010 12:05 pm

Or you could look at it like this. The intent of a movie is not to be admired for its "art" but simply to be entertained by a story. Same with a book. So therefore, by your intent definition, those are not art.

And with a painting, a cynic could say its intent was simply to be sold for money. At which point, its intent would make in non-art as well.

I'm not trying to be a jerk, I'm just trying to illustrate that using intent is a foolish method.

And as I mentioned before, the vidio game Heavy Rain is more of a movie that happens to be interactive, where its intent is to tell a story and send a message, while allowing the user to have a little play in the outcome.
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Re: Games Aren't Art, At Least According to Roger Ebert

Postby Mikey » Fri Apr 23, 2010 12:45 pm

stitch626 wrote:The intent of a movie is not to be admired for its "art" but simply to be entertained by a story. Same with a book.


You're not making any sense. A thing being admirable for its content or entertaining for its content is identical for the purposes of this discussion. If it helps you understand better, the intent of a movie (or book, or painting, or sculpture, or...) is to be perceived. The purpose of a game, even a pretty one like the "Rainfall" you mention, is to be tangibly engaged.

stitch626 wrote:So therefore, by your intent definition, those are not art.


Well, I suppose it seems that way if you decide to misunderstand the definition. Hopefully the above explanation clears that up.

stitch626 wrote:And with a painting, a cynic could say its intent was simply to be sold for money. At which point, its intent would make in non-art as well.


I have already said this in a far more inclusive way than you do; however, you're confusing the creator witht he creation. An artist's intent may be to make money; that doesn't explain why he creates one particular work over another. I'm talking about the purpose of the creation, not the goals of the creator.
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Re: Games Aren't Art, At Least According to Roger Ebert

Postby stitch626 » Fri Apr 23, 2010 2:09 pm

I see you point. But what about the millions of paintings that are bought and stored in someone's basement, rarely if ever sen by human eyes. What would be the purpose of those, other than simple possesion.
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Re: Games Aren't Art, At Least According to Roger Ebert

Postby Tyyr » Fri Apr 23, 2010 2:12 pm

Sionnach Glic wrote:The purpose of the game is to have some fun, not admire the spectacular backgrounds or the great plot twists. Such things are great additions to a game, but all take second place to whether the game is actually enjoyable.

Except that often those are a big part of why a game is enjoyable. Would Knights of the Old Republic have been as critically acclaimed and loved by fans without the plot twist of the player character also being the big bad? No, it wouldn't have been as enjoyable. Would any RPG be worth a crap without a good story? Has anyone played Mass Effect and not once in a while just stopped to look at the scenery porn it throws up occasionally?

Captain Seafort wrote:
Lighthawk wrote:just because a person isn't "skilled" doesn't mean they can make art.


Yes it does.

Sorry Seafort, you're just wrong. You don't have to have an amazing amount of skill to be an artist. Do most artists develop skill at their craft? Of course. That doesn't mean that a relatively unskilled artist can't produce art.

Mikey wrote:Intent. I don't know how many more times I can say that without cracking up. Intent, intent, intent. How about if I say it like this: purpose. The purpose of a video game is not to be admired as a work of art - it is to be used in the manner for which it is made; i.e., played.

I would argue that it's meant to be enjoyed. In the case of a video game it's enjoyed by interacting with it. It's a new medium. Sculpture and painting are meant to be enjoyed by looking at them. Music is enjoyed by listening to it. Books are enjoyed by reading. Theater is watched and listened to. Same with movies. In fact I'd imagine that a hundred years ago some stodgy critic likely argued that movies would never be art as they keep moving and changing and you can't just look at what is and appreciate it. The difference between a video game and other forms of art is that it's meant from the ground up to be interactive. It's a new form of art that is meant to be enjoyed just like any other the only difference is how it's enjoyed. You poke it and you see what it does. How did the artist accommodate this? How did they handle that?
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Re: Games Aren't Art, At Least According to Roger Ebert

Postby Mikey » Fri Apr 23, 2010 4:06 pm

stitch626 wrote:I see you point. But what about the millions of paintings that are bought and stored in someone's basement, rarely if ever sen by human eyes. What would be the purpose of those, other than simple possesion.


I answer that with the very obvious statement that misuse by a subsequent owner doesn't change the original purpose.

Tyyr wrote:In the case of a video game it's enjoyed by interacting with it. It's a new medium. ...the only difference is how it's enjoyed.


In my devil's-advocate argument, I'd say that the difference in the user-product relationship - which difference you even indicate - is what sets it apart.
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Re: Games Aren't Art, At Least According to Roger Ebert

Postby Tyyr » Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:05 pm

Well lets put it this way.

Lets say you have a chess set. Each piece was hand carved by a master sculptor, the board is put together exquisitely. Is it not a work of art because you use it to play a game?
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Re: Games Aren't Art, At Least According to Roger Ebert

Postby Captain Seafort » Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:22 pm

Lighthawk wrote:Yes, but that was never meant to be art. It was an attack on America by religious extremists. While its possible some art has been started by mistake, I'm sure most art is done with the intent to create art.


You defined art as "an expression, whether it's an emotion, an idea, a thought, whatever." Terrorism is an expression of someone's political opinion. Ergo, by your definition, terrorism is art.

Really? So tell me, where is the line? At what point does a drawing go from being lines on a page to art?


At the point where the detail involved in the piece exceeds to ability of the average person to reproduce it.

Well when photography first came around, most "serious artists" didn't consider photography art because it was too easy. Anyone could take a picture. Yet try to deny photography as an artistic medium now.


Painting is also an artistic medium, but that doesn't make my wall a work of art. While photographs can certainly be works of art, that does not make every photograph art. As with other mediums, the skill involved (lighting, framing, depth of field, etc) is part of it.

Or how about what Mikey brought up, a child making art.


If you art the art world's equivalent of Mozart, fair enough. If you're talking about finger painting, then no. A child going to the effort to produce something, or in said child improving their skills, does not mean that they are producing art.

So music isn't art?


No - it's music. However, I apply the same method of determining what is and isn't music as I do art.

Tyyr wrote:Sorry Seafort, you're just wrong. You don't have to have an amazing amount of skill to be an artist. Do most artists develop skill at their craft? Of course. That doesn't mean that a relatively unskilled artist can't produce art.


No, but neither does it mean that something anyone with a pen and a ruler could produce is art. I don't require every artist to be Van Gough or Picasso, but I do require them to be capable of producing stuff that the average person can't.
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Re: Games Aren't Art, At Least According to Roger Ebert

Postby Mikey » Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:57 pm

Tyyr wrote:Well lets put it this way.

Lets say you have a chess set. Each piece was hand carved by a master sculptor, the board is put together exquisitely. Is it not a work of art because you use it to play a game?


I do have a chess set of that nature - the board is travertine marble, each piece is carved of either onyx or chalcedony. It sits and a side table as a decorative piece. If it were a set I used regularly, I'd have to say that as used as above, it's art - as used to play chess, it's a functional piece of gaming equipment.
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Re: Games Aren't Art, At Least According to Roger Ebert

Postby Sonic Glitch » Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:15 pm

Mikey wrote:
Tyyr wrote:Well lets put it this way.

Lets say you have a chess set. Each piece was hand carved by a master sculptor, the board is put together exquisitely. Is it not a work of art because you use it to play a game?


I do have a chess set of that nature - the board is travertine marble, each piece is carved of either onyx or chalcedony. It sits and a side table as a decorative piece. If it were a set I used regularly, I'd have to say that as used as above, it's art - as used to play chess, it's a functional piece of gaming equipment.

I see no reason it can't be both. Is there some rule against artwork having a practical use? I.E. in the case of the above, it's a work of art used to play chess.
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Re: Games Aren't Art, At Least According to Roger Ebert

Postby Graham Kennedy » Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:29 pm

I certainly wouldn't call a computer game a work of art. Not sure one ever could be, either.

I don't pretend to have a definition of art, but on the "I know it when I see it" criteria, computer games aren't it.
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Re: Games Aren't Art, At Least According to Roger Ebert

Postby Tyyr » Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:32 pm

Captain Seafort wrote:No, but neither does it mean that something anyone with a pen and a ruler could produce is art. I don't require every artist to be Van Gough or Picasso, but I do require them to be capable of producing stuff that the average person can't.

I still disagree.

Image

Just because the average person might be able to reproduce it doesn't mean it's not art. I could recreate the Mondrian if I wanted to, this... not so much

Image

I do have a chess set of that nature - the board is travertine marble, each piece is carved of either onyx or chalcedony. It sits and a side table as a decorative piece. If it were a set I used regularly, I'd have to say that as used as above, it's art - as used to play chess, it's a functional piece of gaming equipment.

So it's art so long as you don't touch it? Somehow the process of touching one of the pieces and moving it takes what was seconds ago by your own admission a work of art... and it stops being art? That's an incredibly arbitrary difference. Nothing's changed, not the craftsmanship, not the skill it took to make it, not the beauty of the piece or its aesthetics, and yet it's no longer art?
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Re: Games Aren't Art, At Least According to Roger Ebert

Postby Captain Seafort » Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:36 pm

GrahamKennedy wrote:I certainly wouldn't call a computer game a work of art. Not sure one ever could be, either.

I don't pretend to have a definition of art, but on the "I know it when I see it" criteria, computer games aren't it.


I agree with you in a general sense, but with the caveat that while computer games aren't art they can contain art. In much the same way as Mikey's example - a chess set isn't art, but individual pieces might be.

Tyyr wrote:Just because the average person might be able to reproduce it doesn't mean it's not art.


Yes it does - if the average person could reproduce it then it requires no particular skill, and therefore is not art.
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Re: Games Aren't Art, At Least According to Roger Ebert

Postby Tyyr » Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:48 pm

Captain Seafort wrote:
Tyyr wrote:Just because the average person might be able to reproduce it doesn't mean it's not art.


Yes it does - if the average person could reproduce it then it requires no particular skill, and therefore is not art.

Well then we're going to have to agree to disagree because a kid in grade school could reproduce a Mondrian but it's art.
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Re: Games Aren't Art, At Least According to Roger Ebert

Postby Captain Seafort » Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:53 pm

Tyyr wrote:Well then we're going to have to agree to disagree because a kid in grade school could reproduce a Mondrian but it's art.


What makes it art? Because someone says so? If it requires no particular skill then why should it be considered anything special?
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Re: Games Aren't Art, At Least According to Roger Ebert

Postby stitch626 » Fri Apr 23, 2010 8:40 pm

I answer that with the very obvious statement that misuse by a subsequent owner doesn't change the original purpose.

So what about the painting someone paints just for the sake of painting. Or the music one composes, never to be heard, just for the sake of composing.

The only enjoyment of these items comes form the process involved in doing them, just like the enjoyment I get from a video game (can't speak for others). Does painting for the sake of enjoyment make that painting non-art?
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