Video games are many things. Some call them trash, others think they are works of art. Can videogames be considered art? Can videogame mechanics and design be seen as unique as the brush strokes or coloration of the paintings of Pablo Picasso or Vincent van Gogh?
I believe they are.
Granted video games might not be better than Vincent’s Sunflower, but video games are still works of art. Consider Watch Dogs 2, which is a third person role playing game (RPG) with a plot and a story line. It took the company four years just to create the game and the graphics are amazing. They have parkour, and hacking graphics. The attention to details in the cars and the surroundings make everything seem realistic, not to mention that they spend extensive research on the physics of the parkour. The programmers even did the parkour themselves to get the motion just right. They have included new physics and upgrades to the gameplay. The amount of work and time they put into the creation of the game made the game unbelievably entertaining.
One definition of art is, “The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form” (Definition). By this definition, video games must be considered art. Tremendous skill and imagination goes into the story lines of video games, the graphics draws the player into a virtual world, and the artists-creators of video games can make you feel emotionally attached in the same way as van Gogh’s Starry Night or Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Not everyone agrees, however. Roger Ebert wrote a blog entitled “Video Games Can Never Be Art” in which he said, “One obvious difference between art and games are that you can win a game. Games have rules, points, objectives, and an outcome. . . . [An] immersive game with no points or rules . . . becomes more of a story, a novel, a play, dance, a film.’” (Ebert).
Ebert’s mistake, though, is he is ignoring the definition of art. Art expresses human creative skill imagination. The Kiss, by August Klimt is art because it draws in the viewer into the passion of the couple. CounterStrike uses storyline (soldiers vs. terrorist), points, and objectives to evoke anxiety or triumph depending on whether or not you survive. The result of the programmer's effort and coding to make it look as realistic as possible is art in a visual form as the player feels the game like an art lover feels the beauty of a painting. Ebert tried to prove his point by showing old video games with crude graphics. However, video games have evolved to such an extent that they borders on virtual reality.
I remember playing the old Bomberman, or other famous games like Pacman, Centipede, and Tetris, on the iPod nano. They were such simple games with simple graphics, but these games were just the beginning. These games might have not been considered art because of how technology was back then, but now we have video games like Watch Dogs 2, or Uncharted 4, and the experience is unbelievable.
Video games are a unique type of art. They are fun and emotional. Video games express creativity and imagination, and they also draw out an emotional connection with the viewer just as great art does. Video games are still criticized for many things like their violence, time consumption, and wastefulness, but even though they are sometimes dismissed, video games are still art.