Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Computer Games as Art

I was recently shown a TED Talk By Kellee Santiago, which was then refuted by Roger Ebert.

Roger Ebert's blog is here:

There's a link to Kellee's talk at the bottom, and I suggest watching that first for the blog post to make more sense. There's also some rather lively discussion in the comments in the blog.

I find it hard to really argue either way on this situation because I obviously have a love of gaming and I consider that to be a bias under which I shouldn't be part of the discussion. Having said that, both Santiago and Ebert have large biases in their viewpoints also, and it doesn't appear to be stopping them.

I had a few thoughts about the argument though. Since computer games are largely structured simulations of real or imaginary environments, what happens if the entirety of a game consists of walking your character into a theatre and sitting down to watch a play by Shakespeare?

Is a piece of music considered art from the viewpoint of someone performing it? When I'm performing music, I'm following a structured framework set about by the composer, but at the same time, I'm interacting with that structure. I change it by my own interpretation of the artistry and my own unpredictable actions. How is that fundamentally different from the choices made in the following of a narrative in a computer game?

It's a really interesting debate, although I really find it ignorant for someone to witness a new form of media and communication and unilaterally can it by saying "Video Games can never be art".

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