The Return of the “Are Games Art?” Debate

Have you heard? 

There seems to be some debate as to whether or not video games can be considered art.

All kidding aside, “Are games art?” is a passionate and oft-debated topic; your opinion probably depends on how you’re defining art.  If you define it simply as a work produced using skill, creativity, and imagination then the answer is very likely yes.

However, if, like Devin Faraci of movie news site CHUD, you define art as “something purposefully created or presented with the intention of communicating an idea or feeling” then you may, like Faraci, conclude that games do not fit the bill:

[Games] may be artistic… and they may be used as art objects – an exquisitely hand painted Monopoly board, for instance – but games are not art. The carved chess pieces are art, the actual playing of the game of chess is not…  in the end a game is simply a series of rules… If rules themselves were art, the US Congress would be the most prolific artists of our time.

Now before anyone cracks their knuckles in preparation of a strongly worded email, Faraci offers one final thought.

For the people so hung up on getting video games recognized as art, I have to ask: why? Why does it matter to you that your hobby is validated in that way? If you’re having fun, isn’t that enough?

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Correspondent Andrew Eisen met Devin Faraci once and promptly forgot how to pronounce his name…

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  1. 0
    NovaBlack says:



    The graveyard,

    The Path,



    if those games arent ‘art’ then i honestly dont know what is.


    The path is so messed up, but hauntingly beautiful. Totally spooky, and full of emotion, and metaphors about life, its amazin.

  2. 0
    captain_cthulhu says:

    >> AE: Let’s keep it a bit classier than that.

    sorry, I saw lots of classlessness in other posts and thought it was ok. I did try to couterpoint my lack of class with intelligent points… ‘B’ for effort?

    but let me put the original point back in: I bet Faraci and Ebert agree on lots of things, in an out of bed.

    still not classy but certainly a bit more :)

  3. 0
    captain_cthulhu says:

    >> To clarify my stance, my personal definition of art (which you are all free to throw tomatoes at, if you wish)

    maybe your definition isn’t the best (not up to me to decide) but it’s your attitude that makes you spot on and is exactly the missing element from Faraci – he’s getting lots of tomatoes thrown at him for spewing his inanities and he doesn’t like it one bit -check out the CHUD site where he’s now complaining about all the feedback he’s getting.

  4. 0
    Raziel says:

    Screw him! Games have made me who I am, molded my personality! MGS4 is so art. Some games… Who is this Dude?! He can go take a picnic at a park with biscuits and a side of my balls to suck on.

  5. 0
    Balance says:

    To address Mr. Faraci’s last question first:

    We care about games (not gaming, mind you, a distinction Mr. Faraci seems confused about) being recognized as art because things recognized as art are easier to defend under the First Amendment, and games frequently come under legal attack. Additionally, we want to see the developers who work so hard to provide us with games get the recognition and honor they deserve.

    The rest of his opposition to the idea comes down to the old, thorny question, "What is art?"

    Nearly everyone who has seriously considered the question has their own unique slant on the answer, even if it amounts to "I know it when I see it." Mr. Faraci’s claimed definition “something purposefully created or presented with the intention of communicating an idea or feeling” actually comes fairly close to my own, but I feel that he betrays that definition with his own argument. He confuses technical elements of a medium with art expressed in that medium. He refers to "an exquisitely hand painted Monopoly board", for instance; while such a thing may be pretty, does it necessarily convey an idea or feeling? It could, perhaps–I could envision a bitterly satirical custom Monopoly board, for example–in which case it would be art by both Mr. Faraci’s definition and mine. Merely being pretty, or the canvas of excellent painting techniques, is not sufficient, however. Indeed, many works of art could be considered ugly, or poorly executed.

    To clarify my stance, my personal definition of art (which you are all free to throw tomatoes at, if you wish) is this: Art is anything created for the purpose of evoking a specific emotion or complex of emotions in an audience, or to convey an idea along with an emotional context for that idea. The medium is irrelevant to the definition–art is art.

    So, are games art? They can be. Many aren’t, of course; I would not call Pong art. Some most certainly are, however, and their numbers are growing. As a medium, games offer unprecedented flexibility and scope for art. They can engage audiences in ways no other single medium has managed.

    Perhaps that’s what naysayers like Mr. Faraci are afraid of.

  6. 0
    Gaffit says:

    For the people so hung up on getting video games recognized as art, I have to ask: why? Why does it matter to you that your hobby is validated in that way? If you’re having fun, isn’t that enough?

    I love it when people try to cover their opinions with last statements like this. He’s basically saying, "here’s all the reasons my opinion is right", and ends with, "why do you care about your opinion? You shouldn’t try defending them, that’s pointless."

    I have to say, games have frequently had a profound impact on me. Games like KotOR that teaches lessons of supposedly "moral choices" that have unintended consequences. Or Terranigma, where I have shame in admitting that I had tears in my eyes at the end.

  7. 0
    Asahi says:

     "GamePolitics Correspondent Andrew Eisen met Devin Faraci once and promptly forgot how to pronounce his name…"

    It’s pronounced "F**khead".


  8. 0
    captain_cthulhu says:

    this d-bag contradicts himself and his main points are go-nowhere failures of logic

    his definition stinks:
    >> something purposefully created or presented with the intention of communicating an idea or feeling…

    so then he says:
    >> an exquisitely hand painted Monopoly board, for instance [is art]

    really? how is an exquisitely painted Monopoly board communicating a feeling? and if it weren’t ‘exquisitely’ painted then it wouldn’t be art? he’s trying to grapple with concepts that are out of his league, obviously.

    >> in the end a game is simply a series of rules

    ahh! but no one is saying that the rules are what’s art, it’s how those rules are manipulated, utilized, bent, broken, etc… to the will of those who are engaging the rules. Classical painting has quite a lot of rules (color, stroke, composition ,etc…) but it’s how the painter manipulates those rules to create the painting that is the art as much as the finished product. this is completely lost on this ass clown.

    >> For the people so hung up on getting video games recognized as art, I have to ask: why? Why does it matter to you that your hobby is validated in that way? If you’re having fun, isn’t that enough?

    for those people so hung up on getting video games NOT recognozed as art, I have to ask: why? why does it matter to you that your hobby doesn’t have a deeper meaning or affect on the human psyche? if you’re having fun, why is that enough?


    AE: Let’s keep it a bit classier than that.

  9. 0
    Asahi says:


    I agree with you. 

    Most of what CHUD does seems to be an exercise in self-indulgence designed to get page views.

    This is just another hack movie reviewer trying to drum up attention for themselves.

  10. 0
    axiomatic says:

    Lets put it a different way. For me to get in to the game development world I have a fine arts bachelors degree and a 3d animation degree. I use the knowledge of those degrees with every thing I create. For the end result to NOT be art while built with every ounce of art knowledge I have is preposterous.

    The codeing language under the art is mostly for displaying the art in an interactive manner, but that still doesn’t change the fact that the product is still just moving art.

    This Devin Faraci is really just twisting the semantics of the term "art" in a way that will generate page views for his article. IMO

  11. 0
    garrett says:

    Oh, THIS old thing again.

    Someone, please explain to me why this is art:,_Suprematist_Composition-_White_on_White_1917.jpg

    or this:

    They… are considered masterpieces. Fine. If people want to think it’s art, then it’s art, OK?

    Let’s argue that. Michelangelo created that lovable naked statue of David. It was a disegno, which means it was a male art form based on the study of God. What that means is, if you don’t believe in God, or the God that Michelangelo worshiped, then the statue of David might not be art. It’s just a sculpture. Miquel Barcelo is an atheist painter that nonetheless designs art for churches. Is his "art" any less because he does not share the same ideas? If religion would not be your only persuasion on thought, how about your nationality, your race? The color of your skin? Would an African art mask be less art then a White Anglo-Saxon’s painting?

    Fartci isn’t looking at the whole picture. He says we’re so hung up on getting video games recognized as art, we don’t have to. We already know. I don’t think ALL games are art. I just think that much of the ones we have been seeing, especially as of late, have much to offer to the senses.

  12. 0
    Greatwesley says:

    "[Games] may be artistic… and they may be used as art objects – an exquisitely hand painted Monopoly board, for instance – but games are not art. The carved chess pieces are art, the actual playing of the game of chess is not… in the end a game is simply a series of rules… If rules themselves were art, the US Congress would be the most prolific artists of our time."

    He gives the argument away as he begins it. "The carved chess pieces are art." Well, sir, I agree. The rules are not… I agree. I believe this debate is whether the imagery, story, and overall experience the game produces is art, not the rulesets within the game. That is the case in my opinion. Those who produce the games are artists, those who participate in those games are the audience.

    The relative nature of art leads itself to this debate often. For instance, I think that those who find the "painting" David as valid artistic impression are retarded. I say this because a solid red line evokes nothing in me. Was it that he called it David? I don’t know, but the fact remains that it resides in museums dedicated to displaying art.

    To answer the more pointed question as to why we who do defend this medium as a valid form of art would care, I can only say for myself that many of those in the industry deserve the title artist. And as a fan of their work, I find comments by people like you arrogant beyond merit.

  13. 0
    Bennett Beeny says:

    "The carved chess pieces are art, the actual playing of the game of chess is not"

    Written by someone who has never seen a great chess game.  I urge Devin Faraci to get the book "The Immortal Game" by David Shenk.  If a person can read that book and finish it still thinking that chess play is not art, then that person is a complete philistine.

    As for whether games rules can be art, of course they can.  Heck, the ‘en passant’ rule in chess is art in and of itself.  It can’t be science – it has no logical reason, yet it works.

  14. 0
    Gift says:

    I don’t know about the Movie industry specifically, but I do suspect there is a resistance to labeling video games as art because of the protection that will afford the medium.

    I get the impression that, in the US at least, if games become labeled ‘an artform’ it would further hamper the activities of people like JT. I don’t think Mr. Faraci wants games restricted in any way, but I don’t think he fully appreciates the concern caused by those who do want to legislate against video games.

    Where gamers do care about the artistic status of games, I suspect it’s often because that status will prevent external interference.


  15. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    Art is in the eye of the beholder, a house thats only white is bland a pokadotted one is well…..crazy…


    Gore,Violence,Sexauilty,Fear,Emotion these are but modes of transportation of story and thought, to take them from society you create a society of children and nannys, since adults are not required.

  16. 0
    MechaTama31 says:

    "If rules themselves were art, the US Congress would be the most prolific artists of our time."

    If placing paint on a surface itself was art, housepainters would be the most prolific artists of our time.  Gee, I guess your analogy is pretty terrible.  Of course it’s not going to sound artistic if you reduce it down to a boring, flat description of the mechanics behind it.

    Even if we accept, for the sake of argument, the premise that a game is nothing more than a set of rules, why can a set of rules not be art?  Whether it’s the delicate act of balancing multiplayer, or making a puzzle game with rules that are seemingly simple, but allow for intriguing complexity and nuance, how is coming up with these rules and implementing them in a skillful and entertaining way any less "art" than painting?

    "For the people so hung up on getting video games recognized as art, I have to ask: why? Why does it matter to you that your hobby is validated in that way?"

    For the people so hung up on preventing video games from being recognized as art, I have to ask: why? Why does it matter to you that our hobby is not validated in that way?

    You see what I did there?  For whatever reason, people do care about this issue and want to discuss it, and being dismissive just makes you seem childish and petulant.

  17. 0
    MaskedPixelante says:

    If it’s art, then it probably gets first ammendment protection, and then the states will stop wasting money on video game legislation that will always, ALWAYS, fail.

    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  18. 0
    GoodRobotUs says:

    I wonder if, in part, this is not motivated by fear on the part of the movie industry to be honest.

    The Game Industry now vastly out-earns the movie industry, if games get labelled as an artistic medium, with the protections that go alongside that definition, then the Movie industry has very little chance of ever fighting back against it, they’ll be on a downhill slope as new forms of interaction and entertainment rise, and they can either change or fade.

    Maybe this is why certain figures in the Movie Industry would hate to see games recieve art status, because it takes money out of their pockets?

  19. 0
    Gift says:

    Well I don’t mind the question myself, the question of what constitutes art is probably one of humanity’s favourite debates. That being the case I really don’t have a problem with Mr. Faraci chewing the fat. After all when the definition of art is so elusive, categorising something as ‘art’ will be a similarly vague process.

    However, using the strict definition offered by Mr. Faraci, which in itself is highly debatable, would exclude a good number of things hanging/presented in galleries across the globe.

    something purposefully created or presented with the intention of communicating an idea or feeling

    What idea or feeling, for example, is Piet Mondrian trying to communicate with his geometric paintings? If there is any message the knowledge required to hear it, is esoteric to say the least.

    In comparison, it’s certainly easier to pick up on ideas and feelings conveyed by games (not all games but certainly plenty of them).  For example:

    Bioshock- a game that is practically a running commentary on Ayn Rand’s philosophy. You could debate Ken Levine’s interpretation of Ayn Rand’s ideals all day if you wished.

    Fallout 3, how can a story told in a post-apocalyptic future not convey feelings, and ideas. It certainly stimulated debate among my friends, the moral choices, the vision of a ruined metropolis all feelings and ideas presented and explorable by you the “viewer”.

    I could go on, but for the sake of brevity I won’t. Sure games can have very simple rules, but modern ones come with stories, detailed environments and artistic vision. Chess, while it is a fine game, is something quite different.

    Yes, ok video games do focus on a few genres, war etc. but then literature devotes a great deal of time to war as well. Furthermore, I’m pretty confident that as technology improves the scope of video game art will widen, we’re already come a long way from pong…

    Just to finish up, why do I care whether people classify games as art? Well I don’t really, I just know they are art to me.



  20. 0
    GoodRobotUs says:

    Things like F.E.A.R are very story driven as well, for at least the first few chapters of the game, you are driven between cutscenes that define (or at least highlight) the background story.

  21. 0
    Faceless Clock says:

    Faraci is wrong for a specific reason.

    He assumes that the rules of a game are implemented only to facilitate the playing of the game, and not to create any larger impact, etc. Faraci is demonstratably wrong, many times over. Even simplistic rule changes, like the way Half-Life 2 will periodically restrict the player’s movements, are clearly implemented with the intention of creating an effect upon the player. Faraci becomes even more wrong when you consider games like Shadows Of The Colossus or The Path, where the rules themselves are integral to what the game is communicating to the player.

    Besides, assuming that there must be intent to create art for something to be art is silly. Ultimately, Faraci has just made another long artistic rant that adds nothing to the arguement about games being art or about what art is in general. As Faraci says, this has been going on for hundreds of years.

    The Honest Game –

  22. 0
    Coach says:

    I would argue they are more artistic than any other medium.  Stories like books, continuous visual stimulation like movies, 3D models like sculptures, texures like paintings and all this has to run in real time and have a contiguous look and feel to it.  Not to mention the collection of music that goes into a game.  There is a reason game companies advertise job listings for artists.  I’d even argue that programmers are mathematical artists.  It is a medium that contains every major art form there is and a few new ones.  It seems to be this guy has penis envy.  It’s okay, movies are still art.  You just can’t interact with them.    

  23. 0
    GoodRobotUs says:

    What never ceases to amaze me is this ‘Video Games contain art but are not art’ malarky.

    After all, you could say that, without the ‘art’, a film is a collection of empty frames, or books are a collection of empty pages. A Book contains art, a film contains art, but without that content, they are not art.

    It’s one of the most pointless arguments out there.

  24. 0
    Shadow D. Darkman says:

    "Hanenbow" from Super Smash Bros. Brawl was kinda neat. I wanna see that made into a game.


  25. 0
    GoodRobotUs says:


    A Book, after all, is simply a collection of printed letters, there’s nothing artistic about letters, therefore books are not art.

    A Film is merely a collection of photographs shown quickly, and photographs are just chemical reactions, there’s nothing artistic about chemical reactions, therefore movies are not art…

    The Mona Lisa does not tell a story or project an idea… ergo, it is not art.

    I could keep this up all day…


    Also, can I just ask, if art is supposed to be presented by an artist, why are things like the Pasquino in Italy consiered artistic when they are wholly based on public interaction? Apparently if it’s 400 years old and made of stone, it’s automatically interactive art, whereas if it was released last August, it isn’t?

  26. 0
    Nullanon says:

    Man vomiting edible paint onto canvas = art

    A large team of developer pouring their heart and soul into a medium for months or years to create an encompassing and interactive experience that lasts for hours upon hours and can convey as much or more emotion than any other medium to date, all while being relivable and rather inexpensive = lol games aren’t art lol


    Yeah, I see this guy’s point.</sarcasm>

  27. 0
    nightwng2000 says:

    Looking over his editorial, it’s clear he’s just trying to find an excuse to say video games aren’t art.  A justification why one type of media isn’t, to him, art, while another is.  In fact, he seems to argue that video games are a "subset" of movies/video productions.

    He’s trying far too hard to develop an excuse why no one else should see video games as art, to the point where it becomes his own belief and too specific to his own personal tastes.  In general, his argument falls apart because he’s defining what is art TO HIM.  Not a general view of what constitutes art.

    Again, Art is in the eye of the beholder.


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 has also updated his MySpace page: Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  28. 0
    mdo7 says:


    For the people so hung up on getting video games recognized as art, I have to ask: why? Why does it matter to you that your hobby is validated in that way? If you’re having fun, isn’t that enough?

    Games can be art in many good ways.  somebody should show him Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Flower, Spore, Linger in Shadows, Bioshock, Metal Gear Solid 4, Final Fantasy 7 (and it’s other compilation).  Would somebody show him Final Fantasy 13.  I bet he never seen Okami, Disgaea, and Mirror’s Edge.  You sir, I think I should do what the boys at Guanatanamo Bay should do to the terrorist.  Here’s one difference though, this doesn’t involve pain.  But I want your eyes open at all time, no single blinking.  You will watch all the video game with highly beautiful art and you’ll tell me if those are art or not.  This is how I do it. 

  29. 0
    mogbert says:

    I’ve only glanced over the other comments as I’m on short time here. I think I echo many other people when I say that his definition fits a game perfectly, however a handpainted Monopoly board does not. As Professor Vu once said, "Where is your logic? You need to go to Kroger and buy one pound Common Sense." See, he thinks of games as a set of rules, however games haven’t been "a set of rules" for over a decade now. Can you honestly say that a work of William Shakespeare isn’t art? How about a performance of a work of Shakespeare? Funny, both of them fall under art by all legal and common sense definitions. However, as soon as it becomes interactive, you claim it is no longer art?

    Basically, it seems to be a person who hasn’t played a game since Pong. These guys need to open their eyes and see a few things. People are getting awards for writing in games. Famous authors, actors, and family of famous authors (I’m looking at you Pratchett) are writing and acting in games. It is merely a new form of media.

    Just as the printing press didn’t make books any less art, putting art into the form of a game, or rather making an artistic game, doesn’t make it any less art.

  30. 0
    foolkiller79 says:

    Mr. Faraci has confused himself, I believe.  Using his own words:

    something purposefully created or presented with the intention of communicating an idea or feeling

    "[Games] may be artistic… and they may be used as art objects – an exquisitely hand painted Monopoly board, for instance – but games are not art. The carved chess pieces are art, the actual playing of the game of chess is not…  in the end a game is simply a series of rules… If rules themselves were art, the US Congress would be the most prolific artists of our time."

    When did anyone claim that playing a videogame was them practicing art?  If a chess piece can be art then so can the design of GTA.  If a painting is art but a person viewing a painting is just appreciating art, then a videogame is art and the playing of that videogame is the appreciation of that art. 

    If we are looking for “something purposefully created or presented with the intention of communicating an idea or feeling” then we have just defined an videogame with a story.  If videogames weren’t communicating some form of idea or feeling we would quickly get bored.  Sure Pac-Man is as much art as a guy randomly flinging paint at a blank canvas.  Sure, it is there and you can look at it and appreciate it, but the complex "intention of creating an idea or feeling" is missing.  But a very story driven game that makes you rethink your perspective on things or draws you in emotionally is the gaming equivalent of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. 


    I have nothing against Mr. Faraci or his thoughts on this, but I do think he fails at debate.  His defense of his opinion does not make sense.  In fact, I just used it all to say the exact opposite of what he was trying to say.  It seems as if he does not understand the debate and is trying to say that I, as a gamer, am calling myself an artist.  Maybe I could argue that with my levels in LittleBigPlanet, but as far as me thinking that my playing a game is me creating art, no.  And I do not think anyone has ever tried to argue that.  I think the game itself is the art and people like Kazunori Yamauchi or Hideo Kojima are artists. 


    Honestly, I think that if people want to have this debate we need to talk to people like Harmonix employees, musicians who make games about music.  They are artists, without debate, when they aren’t at their day job.  Perhaps as undisputed artists (quality may vary) they can give insight into whether they find their game creation to be equal to when they create an original song with their band. 

  31. 0
    NekoNari says:

    In video games, most of the time you watch a plot unfold without your control over it. And then when you finally gain control of the game, the plot suddenly comes to a total halt to let you enjoy the "game" part. Whatever you’re performing in that time, be it solving problems, buy items, run errands, or what not, you’re doing something remotely related to the actual, meaningful plot, and thus has tiniest bit of consequence.

    If you want to include those parts like fighting thousands of critters that just runs around on fields, or crawling about in dungeons to find the best item ever as parts of the overall story, then I say that story is worse than the most boring story. The current pinnacle of art my arse.

    Someone has said that art (in a general sense) is knowing what to take out of a work to perfect it. If all those sections involving player action must be dropped to be a better piece. But when one does exactly that, what do we have here? It’s something with absolutely no characteristics that make a game what it is; we have a movie with a face of a game–machinima–but not a game.

    XBL: NekoNari

  32. 0
    NekoNari says:

    That doesn’t make sense at all… Why isn’t reading a book art? The act of reading itself isn’t something to call art, but it certainly is a form of communication. That’s where Faraci-defined artistic value is, which I agree with.

    But playing a game by following rules doesn’t communicate much. The parts that really communicate with you is actually that of other medium, according to Faraci, and I agree with him. Think carefully when and where you’re being told of a story in any given game. Most, if not all, will be by cutscenes, CGI movies, narration, text block, logs, dialogues, or anything that’s not at all interactive. This means you can pretty much drop game part altogether, connect those non-game parts together, and still be told of the same story, and probably in more time-efficient way.

    Am I the only one who agrees (while not absolutely, totally, to 100%) with Faraci? Am I the only one who feels the delta between player action and the plot of any given game is far too large? Playing games for storylines, emotions, messages, but is frustrated by interruptive "game" parts? I just can’t believe none of you have any beef at how today’s games are formatted.

    XBL: NekoNari

  33. 0
    vellocet says:

    I think he’s not looking deep enough into the subject matter.

    He says rules themselves are not aren’t.  That’s arguable, but I’m going to let him have that one.  In the same way that a square is not art.  But you take a bunch of squares and put them together in a meaningful way, and that IS art.

    If you look at what he would call "the rules" of say a game like Braid (which pains me to praise), they are simple time based gimmicks.  But it’s the application of those gimmicks (game mechanics) that make the levels in that game art.


  34. 0
    HandofCrom says:

     So if art is something purposefully created or presented with the intention of communicating an idea or feeling”, then would spraypainting on a wall "Devin Faraci is a goat-raping wanker" be considered art?  It is a purposeful creation to communicate my ideas and feelings on the person.

  35. 0
    Pseudonym says:

    "The carved chess pieces are art, the actual playing of the game of chess is not…  in the end a game is simply a series of rules…"

    You mean the same way reading a book isn’t art? That doesn’t make the book any less artistic just because you’re looking at the wrong side of what’s going on.

    The storylines and the players interaction with them is an artform, the strategies a player uses are an artform, the level design, modelling and texturing are all artforms. So why the hell aren’t game art?

  36. 0
    NekoNari says:

    I just signed up here to leave this post:

    Am I the only one who sees some merit to Faraci’s post? I mean, the question, "Are games art?" aside, doesn’t the part where "today’s games are more or less movies with games inserted in between stories" sound somewhat true? For me, I used to love games for what they are, simple but pure fun experiences. However, now that they’ve added so many layers to it, the core gameplay alone isn’t the center of the experience anymore, as noted by someone else here. Plot and characters are at least as important, if not more, as gameplay to the whole experience now. And still, games keep forcing players to dish out hours and hours of meaningless gameplay sections just to progress plots. More story-driven a game is, more unnatural the experience is, and I sometimes wish the game was just an interactive movie without interruptive game sections.

    Yes, the "interactivity" is the primary merit of games, hence, it should be perfected. But today’s trend of games goes against this. I think games really need to be seperated into something that’s more honest to the core game–which is what Nintendo is doing–and something that’s purely story-driven interactive experience without game-like interruptions.

    But then, I’m already straying too far from what this article is about.

  37. 0
    Wolvenmoon says:

    Art can be anything that tells any type of story, depending on who you are. Arguing what constitutes and does not constitute art is rather silly.

    The most common explanation for what is art is: "Art is anything that expresses an intangible quality". By this definition, anything can be art as anything can be experienced differently by any number of different people.

    I will not buy securom games. and

  38. 0
    RPH says:

    "For the people so hung up on getting music recognized as art, I have to ask: why?  Why does it matter to you that your hobby is validated in that way? If you’re having fun, isn’t that enough"

    I changed but a single word in that above quote, but I think that simply replacing "videogames" with "music" is a good way of showing how ludicrous Devin Faraci’s quote really is.

    Are videogames art? That depends….. is computer animation art? Is music art?  Is storytelling art?

    If you say yes to all three of those questions, then why is it that when one adds "interactivity" to the mix the videogames as art debate isn’t anything other than a no-brainer?  Finding Nemo is art, but Okami isn’t because it’s interactive?

    Sorry, but that’s garbage logic.

  39. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    Thinking on it, this guy seems more like a "artiste" than an artist. The difference for me being that an "artiste" only accepts mediums they themselves work in, and will openly mock anyone who doesn’t "get" the meaning of their work right away. It can be a sock stapled to a piece of cardboard and they would publicly mock you for not understanding it.

    MAybe he’ll accept a game made of nothing but sound and black dots.

  40. 0
    Gift says:

    If I did that on a poetry forum I’d expect to be laughed off actually. I’m surprised more gamers don’t do the same. After all Mr. Faraci can say what he likes on art it doesn’t mean he has a point worth listening to. As I said above, his very narrow definition excludes a good deal of modern art not just games; it’s silly and not worth getting annoyed over.


  41. 0
    Quarantine says:

    Yeah. I guess in his view Art is something you just look at, not touch or interact with. He’s very oldskool about it, no doubt. But it’s hard to say that games haven’t created inspiration for many people.


    "Because this town is under the stranglehold of a few tight eyed Tree Huggers who would rather play Hacky Sack than lock up the homeless" — Birch Barlow

  42. 0
    Mech says:

    "For the people so hung up on getting video games recognized as art, I have to ask: why? Why does it matter to you that your hobby is validated in that way? If you’re having fun, isn’t that enough?"

    Why does it matter to you if they are? Fucking hypocrite.

  43. 0
    wii_charles says:

    Faraci is typical of people who feel art is made up of the things we are used to art being made up of. He thinks his argument is, "games aren’t art because game mechanics are not art and are not capable of expressing art," but his actual argument is, "games aren’t art because I’m not able to understand how game mechanics can be art."

    Game mechanics can be used to communicate an idea or feeling, and I wish the book Well Played was out now so I could encourage everyone to read my essay in it on Ico, in which I discuss at considerable length how the game mechanics themselves create the strong bond between the player and Yorda.

    The fact is, there are ways to create emotion or express ideas that can *only* be done through interactive gameplay.  There aren’t a lot of examples, and not all the examples are good, but since Faraci is making a blanket statement that games aren’t art, all I would need is a single example.  So while I could come up with examples besides Ico, it’s not necessary.

    If Faraci were a book critic in 1910, I’m sure he’d have written a similar essay on why movies aren’t art.  He acknowledges that his arguments could be applied to film, but says that editing makes them art. I’m sure this imaginary 1910 Faraci would deny editing as an art form simply because it had never been an art form.  He would probably compare film editing with being a newspaper editor.  His essay is facile but ultimately simply shows his lack of understanding of the power and potential of video games and his lack of vision and imagination.

    Charles Herold – Wii Guide

  44. 0
    Lazier Than Thou says:

    In my eyes, art is, essentially, telling a story.  It is in the way you tell the story that it becomes alive and begins being art.  A simple black square on a white canvas is no more a story competently conveyed than the word "it" on the middle of a page.  I know this isn’t the best description, but many different things can be considered "art."

    Art has been around since the dawn of man and has evolved in quite the fashion.  I’ll be honest when I tell you that I have no idea how it started, but I’d imagine it was a villiage elder or wise man that would tell stories by fire at night or drawings on the insides of caves.  There has been steady and obvious progression on those humble beginnings.  Moving from verbally told stories to pictures to songs and dance to canvas paintings to sculptures to books to moving pictures to moving pictures with music to where we are now.  Now we are a PART of the stories we see.  Now we personally control the story and make our own as we manipulate moving pictures with sound.  No two game plays of the same game will be exactly the same, even if they are remarkably similar due to the constrictions of the game.  This is where the game becomes the most artistic, in my mind.  When it is played by someone who makes their own story of how the game progresses.  How many different paths are open to you when you first begin your journey in Oblivion?  What different choices can you make stepping your first time into an MMORPG?  How many different ways can you kill the same five guys in any FPS?  How is this not a story?  How is this not art?  How can you tell me that making your own story is NOT art?

    Video games are the current pinnical of art.  They combine all the things of the past that made things art as well as giving the person enjoying the art a sense of creating their own story through the medium.  I have very serious doubts that the way I play video games is the same way other people play video games.  The difference in the stories is remarkably large, even if the pre constructed story remains the same.  A sniper moving through the battle field will be largely different than a grunt.  A mage will make completely different moves than a warrior.  A car with front wheel drive will behave differently on the same track than a four wheel or rear wheel drive car.  To be perfectly honest, some of the most beautiful moments in my recent gaming history have been watching an expertly maneuvered vehicle go through twists and turns.

    Really, though, this all comes down to a single question.  Is all art created equal?  If so, then pornography is just as valid as any movie playing in the Sundance Festival.  If not, then maybe we should start assigning values to our art to determine once and for all whose art is better than everyone elses.  It seems odd that everything in the world eventually just comes down to prick measuring.

    Then again, I am just a crazed video gamer.  What do I know for art?

  45. 0

    Art is relative, dude. Even with your definition, many games fall into the art category because videogames tend to have stories. Stories are ideas y’know.


    Let’s stop trying to find reasons to keep games from being considered art, ‘kay?

  46. 0
    JacobAWD says:

    True but I know that some people will asume that if games are considered art, they will call us artists if there is any level making involed. That alone would get me ready to knee someone in the face.

  47. 0
    treydawg says:

    hell yeah games are art. games require "artist" to help make the games and games also follow a "ART" direction when it comes to scenery and the characters so yes games are art.

  48. 0
    Faceless Clock says:

    This is a gaming website. I don’t see why these responses would seem surprising. Go to a poetry forum and tell them they’re worshipping a dead art, then come back and tell me how many friendly replies you get.

    It doesn’t help that Faraci makes the mistake of ending his editoral with a jab against anyone who might have arguements against him.

    The Honest Game –

  49. 0
    Gift says:

    I’d like to say I’m surprised at the number of angry response to this story. I know the status of video games is contentious but try not to take this specific story personally, people argue over what constitutes art all the time; it’s not necessarily a slight.

    I doubt many of us would get so upset if someone questioned "modern art" in the same way. Keep a sense of perspective.


  50. 0
    JacobAWD says:

    Personaly I think that video games are more like a book and a movie combined with personal interaction, then art like a painting or a poem. Although there are some games that are in a different sense of the word art, like the one game Flower.


    In life there is one constant. When an opinion is made, an idiot can change it to be hurtful.

  51. 0
    SS says:

    let me be the first to say this…


    Fuck the elitist artists and connesiours.  They are so damn winded up in their abstract rants about what’s art that they make no sense half the time.

    Can’t we have a simple defination please?


  52. 0
    Murdats says:

    me having fun isn’t enough.

    just like I don’t just see movies to have fun, I also want challenging (as in morally, socially, ideologically) games, ones that present unique viewpoints and all the other things that are good but not necessarily fun.

    Let me ask him, there has been a lot of fuss latley about Six Days in Fallujah, why would there be fuss if it is just a series of rules? could it be that there is more to games just like a movie isn’t just a series of still images.

    saying games are not art prevents people from creating artistic games, also the question is not that simple, movies themselves are not art, however some movies are.

    counterstrike is not art however I would say some games like braid or the path are.

  53. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    "For the people so hung up on getting video games recognized as art, I have to ask: why? Why does it matter to you that your hobby is validated in that way? If you’re having fun, isn’t that enough?"

    Um, because one jagoff saying something isn’t art should NOT define that for the rest of us. Hell, when movies first came along I bet this same debate raged on, same for comic books and television. Now if someone claims those mediums have noe artistic value, they get ridiculed.

    Art, like many things in life, is subjective(sorry if i get my terms mixed up), just because one person doesn’t consider something art does NOT mean others should follow suit. If one considers it art, that’s their opinion.

  54. 0
    Laughing Hyena says:

    I take it you are refering to Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain?

    Because that was the whole point being made by the Dadaists (anti-art) to the art establiments and schools at the time. Duchamp, if he were alive today, would think games as art. Isn’t chess a ready-made object?

    And I bet Devin Faraci would fit in with those jerks who hated the Dadaists. Or he could be a descendant of a member from the Académie des Beaux-Arts who thought the Impressionts’ work wasn’t art. Cause his faulty complaints sound too simlair for my tastes, you could interchange it for any art style developed through the years. (Artist who is also into Art History)


  55. 0
    NekoNari says:

    Rules are not art in his definition, meaning that rules are not created to communicate. However beautiful or elegant a set of rules can be, what are they trying to communicate? If you really dig into the rules and try to come up with meanings to them, you’re attaching meanings to them, rather than engaging in intellectual communication. There are other publications that tries to do the same thing with classic video games, and you know what? They’re just funny. So, don’t do that.

    And to defend my opinion abit more here, I do think playing chess can be art, just like there can be beautiful game of soccer or historic moment of basketball game. But these still fail to be "art" in Faraci’s definition (which again, was defined in certain way just for his article and that only).

    XBL: NekoNari

  56. 0
    Zerodash says:

    Chess is so beloved for so long a time because of its rules, which surely can be considered art.  Just because it is something intangible that cannot be touched or heard doesn’t make it invalid.

    Why do many people consider Martial Arts to be art?  The same reason I (and others) consider games to be art- the intangibles.

  57. 0
    narcogen says:

    "The carved chess pieces are art, the actual playing of the game of chess is not…  in the end a game is simply a series of rules… If rules themselves were art, the US Congress would be the most prolific artists of our time."

    A video game, as an artifact, is no more identical to the act of playing it than a chess board or the rules of the game of chess is identical to the act of playing the game.

    The comparisons here are not valid. A piece is art, but the rules are not. Why? If chess is a beautiful and elegant game, shaped by its rules, why are the rules not art whereas a piece is? Some chess pieces are beautiful, some are ugly, some are merely utilitarian. However, the existence of some beautiful pieces mean that pieces, in general, can be art, but the rules, however beautiful and elegant they may be, cannot be art?

    This seems to make no sense, except as bias towards a traditional form and against a nontraditional one. One might just as well take the tack that chess pieces, as they are utilitarian, are not art, but rather craft, since they are designed for a specific purpose other than just being objects of art.

    The comparison between the rules of chess and laws made by congress is also a canard. When you refer to a pretty chess piece being art, you are consciously appealing to the audience’s memories of particularly attractive chess pieces or chess sets they may have seen, which many would clearly identify as art. When you refer to Congress, you are consciously appealing to the audience’s predictably negative opinion of politicians. However, I see no particular reason why an aesthetically pleasing piece of legislation is any less deserving the title ‘art’ than any other piece of writing in a different genre– unless, again, we are excepting items with non-artistic utility as ‘craft’ in which case chess pieces are still out.

    Faraci’s arguments are bogus. They don’t stand up to rigorous examination and do little, if anything, to cast light on the admittedly interesting topic of what the nature of art is, and how one determines whether particular forms of human expression, like games (video or otherwise) are capable of being considered art.  

    The argument that separates purely or primarily utilitarian uses of human faculties– that separates train schedules from novels– from primarily or purely aesthetic ones would certainly seem to fall on the side of the argument that games, especially video games, with their audio visual elements, can be art. They are intended primarily to be appreciated for their aesthetic qualities in a way that a chess set is not. The aesthetic qualities of a chess set are secondary to the experience of playing the game because the game experience is essentially unaffected by those aesthetics. The same is not at all true of a video game. There are many games one could essentially describe as "first person shooters" with generally similar gameplay mechanics, but many times what distinguishes one from another, what makes one enjoyable and another not so enjoyable, are the aesthetic– the artistic– elements. 

  58. 0
    NekoNari says:

    No, all of them fall under what he defines as bastards of cinema, games that use movies to tell stories. Most RPGs are the best examples to this as what you do is run around maps to trigger events that progress plots. Whatever you do in between really doesn’t matter to the story, the primary reason anyone plays RPG. (Well, Bioware’s Mass Effect may be worth noting here, as it does let player to define the tone of the overall plot with its clever but still shallow dialogue system, something books or movies cannot do.)

    If you really want to give an example of games that really tries to be something on its own, think The Marriage. However, I bet you that you won’t like it. It’s simple, boring, and ambiguous. And also it brings up the old, hackneyed quesion, "What is game, exactly?"


    XBL: NekoNari

  59. 0
    Vake Xeacons says:

    Obviously, individual games, or movies, or TV shows, and definitely paintings, may not qualify under any of those "definitions." But as a whole, yes.

    Cybernatography is defined as "the art of performing a process through use of computers." Yes, games do express feelings and stories, ideals, and even morals. Graphics aside, the storyline of any game qualifies it as art just as much as any book.

    Taking Chess as an example. The playing of the game itself is not the art; the RULES, and the strategies of the game, set up by it’s creators, is the art. We are not the artists as we play, but as we create.

    If that’s not enough, cybernatography includes a variety of different art forms in itself: theatre, music, literature, computer graphics, cinematography, etc.

    This argument must be applied to every medium, not just games. If games are being scrutinized, then every other medium must be put to this test. 

  60. 0
    Bennett Beeny says:

    Anything can be art if the creator or any viewer see it so.  That doesn’t mean you have to like it or buy it.

    If you dislike something, that means it’s not art for you.  But that doesn’t mean it’s not art for anyone else.

  61. 0
    JustChris says:

    He is emphasizing is that video games are never 100% artistic assets. If they were, all we’re left buying are DVDs full of a collection of textures, 3d models and videos. I guess the question nobody seems to agree on is "how much art must exist in a product until the entire product can be considered art?" Or the opposite of this question, "how much art can you take away from a product until the product is no longer art?" The answers are highly subjective.

    These questions would only fall on things where its creation crosses disciplines outside of artistic fields.



  62. 0
    Monte says:

    So wait… in the article he says that the music in games are art, the narrative in games is art, and goes on about all the elements in a game that could be considered art… but the game is not art… essentially he is saying that games are made out of art, but are somehow not art in and of themselves because of nothing more than the idea that "playing the game is not art"

    That’s got to be one of the stupidest arguements that i ever heard. Really how could combining all those artistic elements into a single piece and making it all flow and work together as one not be considered art in and of itself.

  63. 0
    RonnieBarzel says:

    I find it kind of funny that someone writing for a Web site that most likely takes its name from either the movie ‘C.H.U.D.’ or one of Stephen King’s pulpier novels, ‘It,’ is trying to define what is and isn’t "art."

  64. 0
    Seiena_Cyrus says:

    something purposefully created or presented with the intention of communicating an idea or feeling


    Okay so this has probably been said, but Games are just that. Yes Games have rules, games are playable, but the rules are not the only aspect of a game, it’s just that it makes it a game. A Video game tells a story just like a book or a play, or even a movie. It’s visuals are something like a painting each area there to communicate an idea or feeling, the music too does the same thing. Take a game like Silent hill, the combined Story, visuals and music all work together to enhance your nervousness to pull you in like a book does through written description to paint a picture in your mind.

    To use the monopoly and Chess as this idiot did….yes Monopoly and chess have rules, a beautifully crafted game board, pieces whatever is still art, someone purposefully created those things to make someone feel like while she were playing that she was playing above her station. "Oh isn’t this just a gorgeous set? makes me feel like a high class lady! I bet all rich people have sets like this!" That’s exactly what these sorts of things are made for…to communicate the idea that because someone has that board or set that she is high class, she gets kind of a confidence boost in that area I imagine.

    So really all that stuff fits perfectly into that definition, I imagine this person has never played a video game or they’d see what all was involved.

  65. 0
    Obi says:

    No piece of art is really complete until it has an audience because the viewer’s own experiences add to the meaning of the work.  A painting in a closet isn’t art, it’s junk and/or unfinished.  A painting on a wall is art.

    The point of art is to engage the viewer.  In my mind at least, this makes video games perfect for art.  You can’t experience a game without playing it, so the medium forces engagement in the piece.  Okay, I guess you could watch someone esle play it, but I can never do that without wanting to play myself.



    — Obi

  66. 0
    Sai says:

     Since when can’t games commuinicate ideas or feelings though? I mean someone still has to design the areas and the characters, someone has to craft the models, someone has to write the story. So if the chess pieces are art but the actual playing of chess isn’t, surely the game itself can be art while the actual playing and experiencing of it isn’t.


    Did he really think people meant PLAYING games is an art? 


  67. 0
    Saxy says:

    Actually, the way he’s talking leads me to believe him. I got the impression that he feels not all games are art, but they CAN be. Like the chessboard example. Just because it’s a game doesn’t mean it’s art, but at the same time, there are many games that can be considered art by themselves. Thats the way I feel, anyway.

  68. 0
    Cerabret100 says:

    Chess is definitely a piece of art in the board game world.  It’s one of the few things me and my dad really consider an art form together.

    I see the art in the many interpretations of moves and possible strategies…he see’s the art of kicking my ass every damn time >_>.

  69. 0
    Kojiro says:

    Saying playing the game is not art is the same as saying watching a movie or looking at a painting is not art: duh.  But the painting, the movie, and the game are all art. 

  70. 0
    Bennett Beeny says:

    ""If rules themselves were art, the US Congress would be the most prolific artists of our time."

    Now THERE is some obscene, incompetently done art!"

    The fact that it’s bad art doesn’t mean it’s not art.

  71. 0
    nightwng2000 says:

    "If rules themselves were art, the US Congress would be the most prolific artists of our time."

    Now THERE is some obscene, incompetently done art!

    "The carved chess pieces are art, the actual playing of the game of chess is not…"

    Again, a matter of interpretation.  Think of "The Art of War".  Many see strategy as an art form.  The very movement of pieces to out think your opponent is much like dance.  And dance, not merely the dancers but the ACT and MOVEMENT of the dance is art.  And not everyone agrees that all types of dance are art.  Many times, we only identify dance such as ballet as being art.  But many other dances, even modern dance forms, can be art in some people’s eyes.  And so can the use of strategy in various games.  From Monopoly to Stratego, to Halo and more.  Even checkers, simplistic as it is, CAN be art.  What Devin is defining as art is merely visual.  A painting.  Maybe the visuals of movies.  But art can be beyond that.  Written words.  Music.  Taste (yes, even cooking has been viewed as an art form).  Touch (when someone describes a day and scene as beautiful, would they be doing so even if the weather were nastily sticky?).  And so much more.

    He has his view of what is art to him.  That doesn’t mean everyone will share the same view of art or what art is.

    If I’m enjoying music, isn’t that enough without calling it art?

    If I’m enjoying reading classical literature, isn’t that enough without calling it art?

    If I’m enjoying looking at a painting, isn’t that enough without calling it art?

    As I, and others, have said before, Art Is In The Eye Of The Beholder.  And art can be enjoyable, whether "beautiful", "fun", or any number of other emotions that we may feel along the way.


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 has also updated his MySpace page: Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  72. 0
    Michael Chandra says:

    "For the people so hung up on getting video games recognized as art, I have to ask: why?"

    For him being so hung up on getting video games recognized as non-art, I have to ask: why?

  73. 0
    Wraith108 says:

    I’d add Okami to this, never played Flower though, not got a PS3.


    Also he says Games don’t convey feelings or a message. Huh? Play the likes of MSG or the later Ace Combat games which have a heavy anti-war message. Or something like Okami, Ico or Shadow of the Collosus which are just beautiful visually.

  74. 0
    NovaBlack says:

    something purposefully created or presented with the intention of communicating an idea or feeling”… hmm…


    what… ok.. go to the psn store.. download FLOWER. Now turn up your speakers, close the curtains, and come back to me in 6 hours and apologize.



  75. 0
    sirdarkat says:

    Ah yes this piece is called black line across white canvas see the symbolism …

    And this piece is called white line across white canvas see the symbolism oh I’m sorry thats a place holder its just an empty piece of canvas no wait wait excuse me this is called nothing an exquiste piece that shows to us we are still waiting to be painted.


    Art is simple its how much BS can I put behind something and actually make you believe that BS is truly behind it.  

    I watched one artist basically throw paint at a canvas and because of how it randomly ran it looked somewhat like a human figure so he claimed it was a woman and that it was repsersenting feminism and people bought the BS.

  76. 0
    gamegod25 says:

    And him I would ask "And who decides what IS considered art?" Seriously half the stuff I see on display at galleries and museums are (IMO) just pieces of junk which I could make just as good, and I have no artistic skill whatsoever.

    I believe that games can be art as well as entertainment. Isn’t a game with an great story, beautiful graphics, and/or an orchestral soundtrack just as deserving of being called art?

  77. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    That, and….

    Metal Gear Solid


    Most RPGs


    Half Life and Half Life 2

    Grim Fandango

    Grand Theft Auto

    Shadow of the Colossus

    Assassin’s Creed


    And we got games that celebrate other forms of art, for isntance Guitar Hero and Rock Band for music and DDR for music AND dance, well, kinda dance.

  78. 0
    Flowerbed says:

    maybe, just MAYBE… gaming is an entirely new fom of art? all those creative elements, all the narrative, all the ideas, the presentation, the interactivity, cause and effect, even the rules, MIXED IN ONE CONSUMABLE PACKAGE??!!! GASP!

    something purposefully created or presented with the intention of communicating an idea or feeling”… hmm… i find it hard to understand how this disqualifies games as art, as there are MANY titles that do this. MGS? Bioshock, LBP, Grim FAndango, GTA, Witcher… to name a few?

    No, gaming is not a painting, it is not a drawing, it is not a film, it is not a book. It’s all these things mixed into one beautifully unique blend. As our industry grows, this debate will become less and less viable. We’re still in the early formative days, somehting to consider and be REALLY excited about.

    Pardon me, my geek instincts took over…. :)


  79. 0
    tacc says:

    "For the people so hung up on getting video games recognized as art, I have to ask: why? Why does it matter to you that your hobby is validated in that way"

    As for germany, they could finally stop to censor Swastikas in every single World War, Indiana Jones or whatever game.

    It’s ridiculous. Movies can show as many of them as they want, while games have to be called back if there is a tiny swastika on the back cover that can barely be seen with a magnifier (happend to a medal of honor game).

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