The Instigator
Cl0ver
Con (against)
The Contender
SupaDudz
Pro (for)

Video Games Are Art

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/15/2017 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 2 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 259 times Debate No: 105077
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (10)
Votes (0)

 

Cl0ver

Con

In the April of 2010, renowned film critic Roger Ebert released a think piece on his website entitled "Video games can never be art". This multi-piece argument emphasized that due to the financial incentives behind game development, a lack of culturally significant titles, and the conventions of video games being more similar to sports than other art forms automatically discredited video games as a considerable force in the movement of artistic expression. Reception to this article from "gamers" was understandably unenthusiastic.

Only a few months later did Roger Ebert apologize for his piece, conceding that it was rash and his arguments were not well organized or thought out. Saying that he was without a clear-cut definition as to what "art" is and admitting to not playing many games to give him confidence in his claims that commerce and entertainment are emphasized more than anything of artistic value. Seven years later and with plenty of thinking on my end along with many controversies in the gaming industry either it be the Gamergate movement, or for a more recent example, the push for lootboxes in big name titles, has led me to believe that it's about time this argument is brought back from the dead.

I stand by the claim that video games are NOT art. Neither by the technicality of dictionary definitions nor by the more abstract notion that art can be anything in the eye of the beholder. My arguments, which I will further explore in subsequent rounds emphasize that the elements that make video games "artistic" do not belong to the gaming medium, that gamer culture itself discourages games with artistic value, many critically acclaimed games are purely for fun, and that the financial incentive in modern games undermines artistic value with commerce (but not in the way Roger Ebert argued). To anyone who accepts this debate, this first round is open to your opening statements and arguments you wish to present in subsequent rounds. As far as pure 'argue/rebuttal' goes, that will be entirely dependent on which points you wish to address, as you do not need to find a counter argument to every claim I make and the same goes for me.

And finally, I want to clarify that while I completely and unironically proclaim that the video game medium is not an art form, that does not mean that I do not see all games as devoid of artistic value. I will be bringing up games that I believe fit that bill in order to support my own arguments. That, and I wouldn't actually go out of my way to tell people to stop calling video games art. Because that would make me a jerk. I also encourage that those who will eventually be voting do so by the quality of our arguments, and not by if you agree or disagree, as I understand that my position is a pushy subject. Also, please only accept this challenge if you are willing to commit to all 5 rounds. I await a challenge!
SupaDudz

Pro

Listen here
Art is defined by Merriam Webster as "skill acquired by experience, study, or observation"

Someone that makes video games has a study for coding, computers, and ideas. They observe their surroundings by using real life scenarios to display messages and characters. The coder or developer had a purpose in putting characters in the game, while artists have a purpose in putting objects or people in their painting. Obviously, they observed the surroundings and have a general idea of idea of life. They used observation to add key scenes in the plot. They used observation to fix bugs, add new characters, look at critiques, and add new game modes, etc. An argument against this would be invalid because they are using observation to code.. and code is a skill which leads to skill

Skill is known as being good at a certain thing that maybe other are not... Coding takes a skill in computers and in coding to program. They need a skill to fix bugs and add new patches to improve a game, which is harder than making a painting because everyone will keep wanting and if they don't deliver, it can lead to a bad rep and people not wanting to buy a game. Art is the opposite, you can make art people do not like and they cannot do anything as the piece is set and stone. Artists tend not to listen, for example Michelangelo was told not sculpt the privates in David statue. he did it anyways because he didn't care

You can not pick up a coding manual in one day, and make a hit game. You need experience. Art and video games are the same way. Need experience in having art design, need experience for coding

In conclusion...the definition I got from Merriam Webster is what art is defined as and the best definition. I answered the definition and proved my point in all. Video Games and classic art are the same thing. Video games meet all the requirements from art.
Debate Round No. 1
Cl0ver

Con

You've certainly done a fine job defending video games as art... off the wrong definition. You have essentially equated artistic expression in video games to the mechanical process of creation akin to a book you'd buy called "The Art of Cooking" to help teach you how to make food. I am explicitly talking about art by the definition of expressing the imagination and abstract ideas through the form of artistic mediums such as music, movies, and novels. These are two completely different definitions and while, yes, video games are "art" in the way you describe it, that definition is no different than words such as "method", "process", "how to", and more - nothing about expression, but everything about objectively instructing you on how to get a job done. If anything you have demonstrated that video games are art through the intensive level of labor, care, and skill that goes into ensuring that every part works and makes sense - which helps reinforce my first point, surprisingly.

What ultimately discredits video games as being considered an artistic medium is the fact that the elements which make a given game "artistic" in the eyes of many are elements which do not belong to video games exclusively. Not only that, but the one element that sets video games apart from other mediums carries little to no expressive opportunity. Take music, for example. It claims sound as its own unique trait for expression while vocalists write lyrics to help create a story to accompany a piece. Here we see how music and writing come together to create an artistic piece. However, music does not explicitly require a vocalist or lyrics to be expressive and artistic -
as sound from instruments alone can construct entire narratives, worlds, and emotions on noise alone. For another example, film has visual movement as its own unique element. And while most films will be found including story or a soundtrack to tie those moving images together, film can express abstract ideas through camera angles, shot composition, and color. Other expressive mediums are limited in their ability to do this, as they do not have the privilege of tangible movement in their mediums.

As for video games, the one element that sets games apart from other mediums is player input and control. In lets say, an adventure game, you manipulate the movement of the game's main character to navigate levels and get to the end of a game. Your own method of playing and experience, depending on the game, can change dramatically from how another person played the game due to our own unique inputs manipulating the end result of the said game. And unfortunately, that is all that video games can claim as their own unique element. Video games, especially those which many prop up as examples that the medium has artistic value, rely heavily on visuals, sound, and story to present abstract ideas and concepts since, simply put, there isn't a lot you can get out of expecting a play to press the X button at a certain point in a game. Ultimately, we praise video games on merits that video games do not claim as their own. And unlike a film where music and writing can service moving imagery to improve the meaning its creating - sound, writing, and visuals cannot service player control to enhance expression. It is the other away around.

You have given credit to an aspect of video games that we, as audiences, cannot even see. The process of coding and design is skill and work that ultimately dooms video games as being accepted as an art form because, when discounting the elements of sound, imagery, and writing which are not exclusive to video games, it implies that video games can only be appreciated through a very objectively done job that audiences aren't aware of or don't even care for. Meanwhile, their appreciation is handed out to aspects of a game that you can easily find by picking up a book or watching a movie. Such as the Metal Gear Solid franchise, where eventually, the amount of cut scenes and scripted in-game events that map out each game in the series found itself being longer and overshadowing the gameplay itself. Yet you will never see anyone talk about how the gameplay itself helped cement the massive amount of themes and ideas that Kojima built up in his magnum opus.

There are a few games I'd consider capable of presenting the element of player input and control as something of artistic value, instead of being there by obligation as a game to instead prop up elements borrowed from other mediums. Games such as Undertale and Hotline Miami, which use long established conventions in video games to deliver interesting stories and criticisms of the said conventions they borrow, deconstruct the nature of player control and movement by heavily breaking down the confides of their own games. Undertale emphasizes 'consequences by our actions' with a system that tracks the actions you made across multiple playthroughs and eventually, and mind the spoilers, finds your player killing the game's files themselves if you stray too far down a morally dark path - a method that has never really been seen before in a game. Hotline Miami, on the other hand, delivers a criticism on violence in video games and the pointlessness of delivering a moral in a game that would rather occupy your time with 'no questions asked' violence. The game structuring itself as a combo heavy, violent, and neon-hazy shoot them up plays into the story of a game that asks you important questions about what you're doing and why... and then eventually mocks you for trying to figure it out when clearly you were just there for the few hours of violent thrill.

Other games such as Portal and even BioShock, too find themselves using elements of player control to create stories with very important and poignant morals that otherwise would not have any effect if told through other mediums. Yet, not only are these examples only a few out of thousands upon thousands of games. They are also rarely, if ever, included in discussions for games that "prove" that games are art. On top of that, nearly every single one of them when discounting Portal can only ever seem to deconstruct or criticize long standing elements of games that ironically limit video games ability to do far more on its own unique merits. Which brings games back to square one in showing that, as an art form, they are entirely limited or incapable of showing expressive meaning and artistic merits without borrowing elements from other mediums and almost always playing those said elements straight without player input contributing to them... or vice versa.

To summarize basically. The most appreciated qualities in games being propped up as artistic are qualities that are exclusive to other mediums and are borrowed for video games. The merits of player control that video games claim as their own unique quality are either extremely limited or incapable of enhancing the elements video games borrow to create more amazing and expressive themes and ideas. The few games I provided examples for as being undoubtedly artistic could only ever deconstruct and call fact to the limited nature of video games and artistic expression, which hilariously puts them back at square one for proving games can be an art form.
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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
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Debate Round No. 5
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Cl0ver 2 months ago
Cl0ver
Art is more than "look I can draw guys". Limiting mediums to technical construction is basically admitting that you are arguing that a film like Transformers: The Last Knight and The Shining are comparable because they both took a lot of people to make. I am not arguing art as a process or skill - I am arguing art as the concept of pushing ideas and abstract thoughts through expressive mediums.

Like, I don't think what I am saying is confusing. I thought it was pretty clear what I was talking about.
Posted by Marta10 2 months ago
Marta10
video games are art and requires all theoretical and practical knowledge to make them. You think there's no need for illustrators to do this? the same artists who make your favorite characters, and need creativity. this should not even be arguable is too obvious
Posted by SupaDudz 2 months ago
SupaDudz
ahhhh i must have gotten off track in time...shoot

there's nothing i can do.

i was trying to think of arguments.

welp good luck
Posted by SupaDudz 2 months ago
SupaDudz
ahhhh i must have gotten off track in time...shoot

there's nothing i can do.

i was trying to think of arguments.

welp good luck
Posted by Nataliewardwood 2 months ago
Nataliewardwood
whoa, Total glitch
Posted by Nataliewardwood 2 months ago
Nataliewardwood
Honestly, I believe that every thing around us, everything we use is art!
Posted by Nataliewardwood 2 months ago
Nataliewardwood
Honestly, I believe that every thing around us, everything we use is art!
Posted by Nataliewardwood 2 months ago
Nataliewardwood
Honestly, I believe that every thing around us, everything we use is art!
Posted by SupaDudz 2 months ago
SupaDudz
Ps I am willing to commit all 5 rounds! Might take me a while thought bc of school! Good luck
Posted by LogicalPen 2 months ago
LogicalPen
Videogames themselves are not art. Videogame design is, though.
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