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7 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
10 Points

Video Games are an art form.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/16/2011 Category: Arts
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,564 times Debate No: 15984
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (3)




I believe that the creation of video games should be considered a form of art. Cinema is an art form, literature is an art form, and photography is an art form. A good video game usually has all of components of the art forms above, like beautiful visuals, enticing story lines, and originality. The only difference between video games and other art forms is that the admiring audience is actually interacting with the masterpiece. So, people argue that the "masterpiece" is different to all people trying to admire it. I argue back that there are paintings that show different concepts to different people. So why are video games not considered art?


This is an intresting debate, and I like your point of view, so here we go.

A good movie, book, or picture are all art forms. Created by a person of group, these things can represent ideals, beliefs, ways of thinking, and choice. Art is human. From cave paintings to the Mona Lisa, art has impacted humanity in all sorts of ways. Video games can fulfill these same things, so why is it that video games are not considered an art form? Well, it comes down to a few things.

A: Video Games have Goals

Whether you are playing the campaign on Halo: Reach or fighting other players on Modern Warfare, video games have goals. Achieve this goal, run to this checkpoint, capture this flag, defeat your opponent. This, in essence, is how a video game is played: the accomplishment of these goals. Without these goals, a video game is nothing, an area to walk around. Do other art forms have a goal? See who can watch the movie the fastest, pay the most attention to the ballet, count how many people are in this picture? No, that is not what art is. Art is meant to be interpreted to the viewer or listener, and let that person decide how to feel based off that art form. One must achieve the goals of a video game, and thus cannot interpret the game for themselves.

B: Deliberation

Consider the art forms today. Literature, music, dancing, paintings, etc. These things have many things in common, but one aspect is usually overlooked: they have to be created deliberatly. Music has been around since man started eating beans, paintings since the blood of an animal accidently splashed on a wall, dance since a swarm of bees started to sting a man trying to steal honey, and and lierature as man took the sounds he heard and tried to record them so others could 'hear' it. Video games cannot happen randomly as these other art forms can. Instead, it takes years of work from a group of people to accomplish their goal of creating something entertaining.

C: Creators of Art

Excluding video games, all of the art forms listed in our debate have one thing in common: they were created by either a single person or a single group and one is left to interpret the art. Video games are not so. One can change the surroundings of a video game, interact with others, and affect a storyline. All other forms of art are created and then left alone for its enjoyers to interpret for themselves. By allowing the gamers to affect how the video game is played, it basically defeats the purpose of the creators creating an art form.

As you can see, video games may be considered an art with music, storylines, and graphics. To anyone who doesn't think about it, it could be considered an art form. Unfortunatly for myself, as a lover of video games, and the video-gaming community, it isn't an art form. The fact that one can interact with it does not make it an art, in fact it could keep it from being an art. By making the gamers conform to a set way of interpreting the game, i.e. achieveing goals and getting passed levels, it takes away the ability of the gamer to interpret the game for themselves. And, if it weren't for the creators deliberating creating the game, there would be no game, for nature does not allow video games to be created randomly. So thus, because of all the reason stated, video games are not an art form and I urge the voters to vote Con.
Debate Round No. 1


You have some interesting points, thank you for posting.

First, I would like to refute the arguments that you gave.

A:Video games have goals
All forms of art have goals, the only difference is that it is up to the player whether or not these goals are reached. In the Odyssey, the goal was to get Odysseus home. In Titanic, the goal was for Jack and Rose to survive the sinking. In all other art forms, it is up to the creator whether or not these goals are obtained, but the goals are still there.

What about cinema and photography? The first movie was not accidentally shot, then shown in movie theaters. The first photograph was taken deliberately. Yet both of these are considered art forms in today's society. Photography can be taken randomly, but the odds that it is admired among many people is highly unlikely.

C:Creators of art
Cinema and Drama both take many participants to make a masterpiece. Video games can be created by one man, but more than likely, it will suck. The same is true with Cinema and Drama.

I think that the interaction of the gamers make it even closer to an art form. The creator must choose how the player interacts with the game, and this could make or break a game from becoming a masterpiece. It's just like an artist choosing the perspective angle of his drawing. Most forms of art also leave somethings up to the audience to determine. An example of this would be Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and The Sea. It is up to the reader to determine if his final trip was a success or a failure. It depends on who you are on how the story ends.

I also believe the goals you mentioned are also important to the art form. These goals determine how difficult the game is, and therefore determines that type of player that will enjoy the game the most. All forms of art have the same aspects. It depends on how funny a movie is to determine the type of people who will enjoy it. It depends on the detail of the painting to determine it's audience. It depends on the wording of a novel to determine if a kid is going to read it. These goals also could pertain to the story, making them all the more essential.

I am also a lover of video games, and I realize their potential. If you have ever played Bioshock, it would be apparent that video games have the potential to have just as great artistic values as any other art form. People claim that most video games do not share these artistic values, but then I would like to point out that all art forms have it's crap. Cinema: Epic Movie, Twilight, and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Literature: Twilight. Music: rap. No art genre is perfect, and video games are no exception. But they are the newest of art forms, so we need to give it some time to evolve.


Thank you once again for the debate and thank you for a timely response.

A: Video Games have goals

You stated that all forms of art have goals, and you listed the Odessey and the Titanic as examples. When you listed these, I think that you may have misunderstood my argument. With the Odyssey and the Titanic, the goal can be interpreted any way one chooses. For example, in the Titanic, one might interpret the goal to be for the Titanic to sink. Others might think the goal is for Rose and Jack to fall in love. With all forms of art, it is up to the observer to interpret. In video games, this is not the case. If you do not interpret the video game in the sense that the video game created sought it to be, i.e. getting passed missions, then the video game does not proceed until you have accomplished this goal. Often times, there are even time limits on achieving these goals to further encourage doing the missions at a faster rate of speed. You can sit and look at a painting for hours and interpret it in all sorts of ways, but if you don't take the bomb to the checkpoint in 60 seconds in a video game, it'll blow up in your face.

B: Deliberation

You brought up cinema and photography as examples of things that could not happen in nature. This is not true. One could say the first movie was the memory of an event that took place. What was that memory? A series of picture played in the mind in a certain order that recalls the event. Thus, recalling the first time one drove a car would be an example of cinematica art. Same applies for photography.

C: Creators of Art

Once again, I believe you may have misinterpreted my argument. When I brought up this point, I was not refering to the numbers of creators. Allow me to try and explain it again. In standard art forms, the creator creates and and the observer observes. But in video games, the creator creates and the observer (gamer) can both observe (play) and interact (create) with the game. This differenciates video games from standard art forms, for video games allow the user to change and interact with the game, but standatd art forms do not allow the observer to change or interact with the art form. I like your argument about the perspective of the painting, but that does not go as far as to decide how the observer inteprets the painting, as does the game creator force the gamer to interpret the game.

Also, the goals of a video game force the gamer to interpret it the way the creator wishes. In the examples provided, you mainly discussed the entertainment value of standard art forms, but video games have a measure of how entertaining they are to the gamer as well. Also, a kid can read a college level novel and interpret it as gibberish (we all know we tried when we were little lol), but in a video game the same kid needs to accomplish goals, i.e. interpret the game as the creator wishes, to continue to observe and interact with the game.

I'm sorry to say that I have never played Bioshock, but I am an avid player of Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty. It's graphics, and the graphics of other video games, may be interpreted as forms of art, but that is seperating the graphics from the sounds, gameplay, storyline, and other aspects of the video game. Seperatetly, they may be considered art forms, but video games are a bundle package. By throwing all of the aspects of art in one package, it disallows video games to be a form of art.

I would also like to ask you to clarify why you brought up that all forms of art have their 'crap'.

Yes, its true, you and many others would consider video games to be the newest forms of art, but the fact is that their not. Video games are much different from the standerd art forms, and though their individual aspects are forms of art, the bundle package defeats the purpose of an art form. I stand in firm resolution that video games are not forms of art, and thus urge the voters to vote Con.
Debate Round No. 2


Thank you again for your input. You really should try Bioshock by the way, it's a classic.

A:Video Games Have Goals

All forms of art do have goals, but in the first round you stated only video games have goals. Not all art is designed for the audience to interpret for them selves, most have a clear purpose or idea that they are portraying. You said that the goals of video games are not up to the interpretation of the player, but this is not entirely true either. A growing concept among video games is choice manipulation, allowing the player to choose whether one thing happens or another, allowing the player th interpret which goal is more suitable. You also mentioned that a painting has no time limit, but a movie cannot be enjoyed forever, only for the amount of time it gives you.


If the first movie was a memory, than it isn't art, because that memory wouldn't be able to be enjoyed by others. But in that sense, the first video game could have been two men competing to see who could hit the most birds with one stone. If memories are a primitive type of cinema, any type of competition or game would be a primitive type of video game.

C:Creators of Art

You claimed that the audience can only observe art, but this is not true. Their are many works of art that allow the audience to interact. For example, their are books that allows the reader to make the major decisions, then lets them see where those decisions take the story. Another, but less common example, are movies that allow the audience to make the decisions. As for the observation of a game, the same ideals that are put into a movie could just as easily be put into a video game. There can be many meanings behind one game, and not always are they seen, so they are not forced.

The goals of a video game force the gamer to interpret it just as much as a book or movie. These goals can actually give many more interpretations than the creator even had planned. As for the Kid and the college level book, he did not get to experience the book as much as an elite scholar would, just as a newbie does not enjoy a harder game as much as an elite gamer would.

In a cinematic masterpiece, the music, graphics, and storyline are all taken in as a whole, so why are video games judged differently? If the graphics in a movie suck, then no one will be there defending it's amazing story, the same for video games. So why is Cinema a form of art, yet video games are not?

To clarify, I was saying that the general public does not consider video games art because the majority of games do not hold that great of artistic characteristics. But as we all know, all forms of art have their less then appreciated side to them.

According to Webster's dictionary, art is a "skill acquired by experience, study, or observation." Another definition is "the conscious use of skill and creative imagination." The creation of video games falls under both of these categories. And according to the second one, "The CONSCIOUS use," says that art does not have to be originally a mistake. In fact, it says it can't be a mistake.

Video games require both creativity and skill to make, so the creators should be respected as artists.


I'll find one of my friends with Bioshock and borrow, thanks for the suggestion.

A: All video games have goals

In addition to all of the previous arguments for this, I like your new argument about new video games with choice manipulation. I can think of one big example that I have experienced, Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords. In the game, one decision can change the rest of the game's storyline, which is innovative and very intresting. Unfortunatley, there are still decisions created by the game creators, in the case LucasArts. LucasArts is making you conform to a set way of thinking, a set way of interpreting the game. Standerd art forms allow the observer to decide how to interpret it, and though choice manipulation is much more of an art form than other video gameplays, it is still not a form of art.

B: Deliberation

Once again, I found your argument very creative. The most birds with one stone, amusing. But that still isn't a video game, thats a regular game. The definition of a video game as provided by Merriam-Webster is an electronic game played by means of images on a video. Electronic games can't happen randomly, they have to be man-made. Also, simply because only one person can enjoy doesn't discout a memory as an art form. Art can still be enjoyable if only one person could observe it. If the entire world was deaf, and only you could hear things, would music stop being an art form?

C: Creators of Art

I have yet to see a book that, in the sense of a form of art, allowed the reader to make major decisions. I have seen 50 cent flip books that allow the reader to go on a 'quest' and make decisons for themselves by flipping to different pages, but these books are probably not considered art forms. Same thing applies to interactive movies. And though there might be many meanings in a game, the game still has a standard set of goals that the gamer must achieve, and the creators of the game are in essence forcing the gamers to conform to the set of goals.

The goals of a video game do not allow the gamer to interpret it the way he or she pleases. Instead, the gamer must achieve a certain set of goals. The interpretation in a video game only goes as far as how the gamer views the game, not on how the outcome happens. And as for the kid/ college book and newb/elite gamer, though these may be considered analogies, these only perfectly correlate to each other if gaming is considered an art form, which this debate is all about.

Also, movies are not all the time taken as a whole. For example, many movie soundtracks are given an award for the composer and the quality of the music, and not the movie as a whole. In the gaming world, this never happens. Soundtracks in relation to gaming always stick with the game.

Thank you for clarifying your point. I understand what you were trying to say, but though standard art forms have less appreciated sides to them, they still have the characteristics of being art, while video games do not.

At the beginning of this debate, I sought to define the word "art" as to further clarify this debate. Unfortunaley, I found many sources that had contradicting definitions. Also, many say that art cannot be defined, and though my opponent and I were able to establish what we consider art, it still the leaves the definition up in the air. Below I have listed a source that discusses how art cannot be defined. Voters, I urge you not to vote on anyone else's definiton of art, only vote on what my opponent and I have established as the definition of art through our arguments.

In conclusion, I strongly believe that video games are not an art form for all the reasons listed. Thus, I urge the voters to vote Con on the resolution.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by wallfly 5 years ago
Another example would be MMA. Muay Thai and Boxing are considered sports, but also artforms. Due to the fact that defeating your opponent under the rules of that discipline is not an exact science, but open to interpretation and creativity.

Creating a video game like GTA or HEAVY RAIN which uses emotional storylines to bring the player into the enviroment on an emotional level and thus making the gameplay more impactive, is definitley and artform.

Maybe i'm misunderstading the resolution. Con did mention that there are artistics apsects involved in video games but overall it is not an artform.
Posted by wallfly 5 years ago
Why are video games not open to interpretation? Video games with a storyline become art. For some people, the main motivation for progressing through the game is to unlock the story, thus making the video game, pretty much an interactive movie. For example GTA would be an artistic video game, where as PACMAN/MORTAL KOMBAT would not be.

The same would be said for the filming industry. educational and corporate training videos wouldnt be classified as art because they are not open to interpretation.
Posted by heatfran 7 years ago
RougeFox, I greatly appreciate your correction. However, I would just like to point out that if the only thing you disagreed with was the grammar, you should have just equaled out that aspect, not the entire vote. I really don't care for winning, I just wanted to know what someone else thought about the idea. I am just saying this for future reference.
Posted by Brenavia 7 years ago
Thank you RougeFox for correcting that vote bomb, it is much appreciated.
Posted by heatfran 7 years ago
You were a grand opponent. While I believe video games are not a form of art, I also believe they have the potential to become one. I hope we can debate about something else sometime. Good luck in the voting.
Posted by Brenavia 7 years ago
Great debate heatfan! I look forward to debating you again! It was nice to see another point of view on this issue!
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by RougeFox 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Balancing JustinChains' votebomb. If he wants to have a debate on this topic, he should create one. However, voting on a debate is not the place to express one's opinion on the topic. You must try to remain balanced in your opinion. As for Justin Chain's vote itself, clearly pro does not deserve all his points. Grammar
Vote Placed by JustinChains 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I think I will create a similar debate soon. Video games are an artform because they are created. anything that is created is a form of art. A book or movie can be looked at in the same way, you are enjoying and interacting with a creation, through one or all of your 5 senses. Video games are no different. The movement that a character makes was created and therefor is art. A stage that was created just as beautifully as a painting, also a work of art. Anything that is created, a work of art.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con clearly had more structured arguments, Pro did not even understand he goals argument.