“Stylized graphics do not make a game high art. High art is a work of importance. Works of importance are pieces of art that have cultural significance that include social commentary. Games as a whole are missing these key ingredients. Where are our games that deal head-on with themes like religious fanaticism, racism or the holocaust?”
-From “Roger Ebert is Right…”
I firmly disagree with the above.
Many valuable points are made in the article: that the Video Game industry is particularly young, and that limitations like “must be fun” and “must sell” (for the mainstream, anyway) can keep them from being “art”, etc.
However, “Works of importance are pieces of art that have cultural significance that include social commentary. Games as a whole are missing these key ingredients.”
Are you MAD? A lack of social commentary?
I don’t think you’ve ever played a video game. Enjoy your hand.
“deal head-on with themes like religious fanaticism, racism or the holocaust?”
I can see how that is “important”, but on the other hand, I think it is also very shallow. There is so much “art” like this already that it is almost a sad default: instead of being made for the right reasons - to challenge outdated, ineffective ideals, to inform - much of this kind of art can feel like a giant pessimistic circle-jerk of brooding. For the sake of progeny and so forth, the three examples cited certainly should not be ignored nor forgotten, but as far as examples of High Art go they are terribly limiting.
Yes, games are fun, and hopefully they will expand… but even Now their immersive qualities shouldn’t be overlooked. A game needs little to no explanation: it engages a gamer totally, it becomes their world for a time being, and it is beautiful. Days on end (of forgetting oneself in order to enter One Idea, One World, One Problem, stopping only to snack on bad fast food). Years, even. What else does that? Creating art does that. Scientific inquiry does that.
A film can do it for a few hours, a painting can do it for… well, that’s variable, and even so an ”art piece” often needs a little placard next to it, to explain what the hell it is that someone was trying to symbolize.
Games have the ability to take us away, and drop us back here, still thinking and even dreaming of them. That is really powerful, and hopefully won’t go overlooked for too much longer.
“Games are a young form of media and in the years to come we will be given the opportunity to answer our critics and gain the respect of the mainstream, let us not waste it.”