Video Games as Art quick blog

In a recent column Roger Ebert again emphasized his claim that “games can never be art.” My point here is not to explore the topic in depth, but rather to introduce and begin a discussion and to address one of the final points that Mr. Ebert made. No opinion is right and no opinion is wrong, and no viewpoint on the matter can be fully supported or disproven.

In his closing paragraphs, he asks why gamers are so concerned that video games be regarded as art. “Bobby Fischer, Michael Jordan and Dick Butkus never said they thought their games were an art form,” Mr. Ebert points out. The difference is that video games are an original, creative work. I would even argue that the design of chess, and even sports games like basketball and football, is artistic. Game design is artistic implicitly, even if the creator has no artistic intention.

The bumper sticker might read: “If porn is art, why aren’t video games.”

Let’s hash this out. Are video games art? Are they not yet, but the could be one day? Is Roger Ebert right and they will never be an artistic medium?


2 thoughts on “Video Games as Art quick blog

  1. Are we talking about video game design or playing. I’ve never really thought of the topic. However, I think it takes original writers, designers, programmers, ect to create a video game much like creating a movie. I would say that if you are talking about playing video games I can see how that could be less “artistic.” The key issue is and always will be what is art?

    To use your chess example, playing chess can be strategic, exciting whatever but I wouldn’t call the act of playing chess art. I would call the creators of chess, basketball, ect artist though.

    Just my 2 cents.

    • Yes, I was talking about creating games being artistic. I don’t really believe playing games is implicitly artistic. It can be made into an art, by one with the right vision and talent. But the focus here is on creating games and the games themselves being regarded as high art.

      Penny Arcade actually posted a recent comic ( that sums it up nicely. If 100 artists spend five years creating art, how can the result not be art?

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