Before delving into an incoherent attempt at explaining ‘THE DEFINITION OF ART’ we must first establish what kind of art it is that is being discussed. All games are art. That’s a given. Each one has been graphically designed – conceptualized, storyboarded.
What defines art therefore depends upon perception.
The screen lights up in a flash of gold, wisps of violin caress you out of your body to… Somewhere else; the world melts away in a haze of beeps and dial up. What internal relief does a person gain from playing an arthouse game like Thatgamecompany’s Journey? Does floating ethereally across a desert provoke desires on wanting to travel, escape? Like the robed figure we control, are we all searching for a mysterious end goal? Does the lack of storyline cause the player to create a new plot in their own mind, firing up those creative synapses after a day of hardcore sandwich artistry? ‘Would you like salad on your giant, cloth eating sand snake?’
On a more grounded note; in a generation of Texting and Facebook, as well as people of various age, creed and colour screaming ‘NOOOOB’ at each other through online mics; a pleasant feature in the game is that our character can assist and communicate with other players through the medium of music notes – nothing more. No text, no names, no speech. Given that the game was released in 2012, are we to believe that the developers wanted to make some kind of political commentary about social networking and the debatable pitfalls thereof?
Consumers, it seems, are paying real close attention to the little things. But then, this isn’t a new occurrence in any sense. ‘Video Game Art’ has been out there since the early 80’s with offerings such as Alien Garden from Atari, harrowing commentaries on the nature of our seemingly pointless existence, i.e. Deus Ex Machina for the ZX Spectrum, another stab at the digital age in the form of Font Asteroids where information itself is the enemy – the list goes on. Media Artist Erik Loyer talks about his website ‘The Lair of the Marrow Monkey’ and its 1998 acceptance into the San Francisco museum of modern art, one of the first websites to achieve such a feat.
The website itself is a series of chapters, consisting of memory sensitive ‘membranes’, typographic elements and exploding monologues.
(And can be fiddled with here)
The best things are seen when you switch off the golden trail, and allow yourself to be swept into the unexplored corners of the world.
That was the sound of your mind being blown
Do you see video games as a form of art? And what did you think of our interpretation?
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