Yes, I know. "Games are art; we don't have to prove it anyone."

Problem is, we kinda do. When politicians, lawmakers, and the average joe off the street continues to hold the same outdated and inaccurate stereotypes concerning this industry, maybe it's time we do something. They won't do the research, so let's do it for them.

Every time another terrible tragedy occurs and some fool somewhere pins it on gaming (which is seemingly inevitable), all of us want to point to the Journey s of the world. Granted, they're not as popular as the more violent blockbusters like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty , but they certainly exist. And if you really start to think about it, they exist in spades. Hell, you could name all three from Thatgamecompany ( flOw and Flower in addition to Journey ), and there are many more, especially in the digital realm.

The recently released Child of Light can certainly be added to the list, and a variety of intriguing, challenging, unique, colorful, and compelling games should be up for consideration. Some, like Joe Danger , are just plain fun. What games can we add? LIMBO ? echochrome ? Rain ? The Unfinished Swan ? Just think how many could be on the list…

Related Game(s): Child of Light

Subscribe
Notify of
50 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Kokushi
Kokushi
6 years ago

Okami

The Last of Us

matt99
matt99
6 years ago

I think rather than listing games that prove their artistic merit, we should show the process of making a game. The amount of talent and effort that goes into creating a beautifully detailed 3D environment and characters. In fact I'd love to see a little mini documentary where they show the similarities in the creative processes of traditional artists and game designers. I think something like that would prove games really are art.

Underdog15
Underdog15
6 years ago

Yeah, just watching someone on one of those digital drawing boards is super cool. A 3D canvas! Literally!

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
6 years ago

Good point matt.

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
6 years ago

What's art? Is it pretty pictures? Is it nice sounds? Is it an entertaining film? Or is it, as I believe, the use of those pictures, sounds or videos to elicit an emotional response from the end user? I also believe that art should make you think about it; what it says and how it says it. It has to say something about the world, or human nature, and I suppose in that respect, it needs to be a work of philosophy… Not all entertainment is art, but all art can be considered as entertainment.

For me, the games that I've played that I would call art are Flower, ICO, SotC, Journey, The Last of Us, Gone Home, Uncharted 3 (the scene when Drake comes back from his escapades on the boat. Those feels…), Ni no Kuni, and Spec Ops: The Line. Those are just off the top of my head, and each for different reasons.

For some of them, it's a sense of melancholy that they evoke. For others, it's whimsy. Spec Ops is more about about what the game has to say about the nature of war and heroes.

Games are getting better, but the interactive element seems to be a real barrier to many developers. They seem to not want to make a game that isn't conventionally fun, when the removal of the traditional fun factor can actually make a game more powerful. I mean, Shadow of the Colossus is a fine example of that. Having to clamber on those enormous beasties in order to kill them isn't "fun". I found it to be harrowing, especially when you consider that you're killing a series of absolutely majestic creatures. And I'll add Demon's Souls here, too. Same story in a lot of ways, though not as well executed, methinks.

Underdog15
Underdog15
6 years ago

Really like your first paragraph. And I'm usually too overly critical of people's opinions of "art".

Banky A
Banky A
6 years ago

SoTC makes me get dem emotion things.

Dukemz_UK
Dukemz_UK
6 years ago

@ Lawless: I agree with u.
But if u take your average "dudebro", let him play a title like Journey, and you'd get a response like : "Hey WTF, this sucks! I can't even shoot stuff"
I don't think art can be appreciated by everyone


Last edited by Dukemz_UK on 5/5/2014 5:31:51 AM

Banky A
Banky A
6 years ago

When can we get this list started?

Corvo
Corvo
6 years ago

Call of Duty modern warefare 2 could be added to the list. Titanfall as well.

Dukemz_UK
Dukemz_UK
6 years ago

Explain please?

Underdog15
Underdog15
6 years ago

and… Hot Tub Time Machine and American Pie for movies?

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
6 years ago

Underdog15,
Lets not also forget those masterpiece movies that Porky's 1 & 2 were too, LOL

Underdog15
Underdog15
6 years ago

Oh… muh GAWD, Biker.

Changed my life, they did!

XD

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
6 years ago

A few spring to mind….

From Dust

Dutura

Okami

Puppeteer

Rain

Eufloria

Super Stardust HD (stunning visuals & colors)

Mercury Hg

And it's not actual art for art's sake, but if we're also talking of stirring up emotions as a true art form too, then I'd have to go with the pitting of humanity vs the Dark Ones in both, Metro: 2033, & in Metro: Last Light too.

Also, Spec Ops: The Line & the 4 different climatic ending sequences of Shepard's valiant efforts to save life in ME3 get a honorable mention from me too.


Last edited by BikerSaint on 5/5/2014 1:16:19 AM

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
6 years ago

I agree with the Black Swan & Limbo too.

And, I just thought of another one.
I'm not sure if I'm spelling it correctly but that "El-Shadid" game a few years(?) back would be another one that I'd consider as art too.

Another would I'd consider art would be that older Wii's killer-type game called Red(something or other) where it was all done like a illustrated background in only black & white, but with with splotches of red to highlight and/or empathize the battles, blood and/or other important factors, etc.

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
6 years ago

You're thinking of El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron (still need to get that game!) and, I think, MadWorld.

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
6 years ago

Yeah Lawless, that's the ticket(on both games)LOL

Lord carlos
Lord carlos
6 years ago

heavy rain
beyond:two souls
MGS4
Ico
Shadow of the colossus
The last of us
Uncharted 2
The walking dead (telltale)

All these games made me feel happy & sad,there's more but i can't think of them.

Beamboom
Beamboom
6 years ago

I'm against calling games "art". I hate over-intellectualizing things.

Fact is of course that *anything* man-made can be considered art. No-one with an understanding of what "art" is will dispute that. But games are entertainment *products* and should not be forced to claim artistic legitimacy in order to be taken seriously.

We find art in billboard advertisements, product wrappings and all sorts of containers, product design and even logos. To claim that games are art is just as purposeless as to say some wine bottles are art. It's like, "yeah, so what?".

Games are *products*. They are entertainment with very unique properties. And they are jolly good at being so. That's nothing to be ashamed of!


Last edited by Beamboom on 5/5/2014 3:40:40 AM

Dukemz_UK
Dukemz_UK
6 years ago

Good point.
(Why I love reading the comments on this site)

Underdog15
Underdog15
6 years ago

"I hate over-intellectualizing things."

Ain't that just the truth! ūüėČ

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
6 years ago

Feel free to pull me up if I'm "over-intellectualising" in making this argument, but…

I can't really agree with that assessment. You're totally right in saying that pretty much anything created by a person can be considered to have artistic qualities, but I don't agree that that automatically makes it art. Where games *can* differ from billboards, logos, containers and suchlike is that they can be designed to give the end user an *experience*, whereas the latter is more about being eye-catching and/or memorable on a more immediate level.

Some games, like most of those listed in these comments, are actually designed to make the player feel something deeper than being entertained, and succeed in that goal. If you want to deny their ilk the nebulous denomination of "art", then you may as well deny it to everything. I mean, how is, for example, Shadow of the Colossus's ability to make a person 'feel' any lesser than that of Les Miserables?

That being said, I do agree that the majority of games do firmly deserve to be regarded as little more than *products* as they are purely to be regarded as entertainment. And I agree that there is nothing wrong with that, but to label all games as such, when not all games deserve to be labelled as such does a disservice to those that truly aspire to be more.

Beamboom
Beamboom
6 years ago

"can be considered to have artistic qualities, but I don't agree that that automatically makes it art" -> Key word here is *can*. Anything made by a human being *can* be art. It doesn't mean it automatically makes it so. But that's much in the eye of the beholder.
Clue is, it *can* be.

The emotional impact from these products are all related to the properties of this media. An audio/visual experience where you are an active participant is by its very nature one of the strongest means of doing an emotional impact there can be.
Still, that in itself doesn't make it "art". Just a very effective media.

And just to be clear: Indeed there are works art found in games today. Just like there are bottles of wine that can be called art. Or advertisements. Or sculptures. Or Magazine covers. Or architecture. Or clothes. Or anything else created by man.


Last edited by Beamboom on 5/5/2014 8:48:54 AM

Underdog15
Underdog15
6 years ago

The definition of art is a tricky one because the very nature of it demands the freedom to not be held down by labels nor expectations. So, perhaps ironically, no one who truly has a good handle on what art is would ever try to give it a concrete definition. The more you understand about art, the less likely you would be to define it, yet the more likely you would be to identify it.

However, I agree with lawless that art should have a form of expression. I only have a bachelors of arts degree with one of my majors being "Theatre Arts", so I don't have nearly the same amount of education as someone with a master's or Ph.D… but I did learn a few things, I think.

One of the most interesting things I've learned from art history is that whenever a new medium of art is introduced, it is met with criticism, skepticism, and downright disrespect. A little over 100 years ago, the moving picture was introduced. People laughed at the notion of it being art, and as people began spending more money on it than the theatre, that laughter turned into some hurtful criticism to the creators of the films. They said things like how it could never achieve what the theatre can achieve, how it was pathetic, and that technology could never become art.

What they failed to realize was that movies would not replace the theatre… it was simply a new medium. And the coolest thing about movies as time went on and the tech got cooler, was that it also combined multiple art forms into it's expression.

To me, that story is identical to what is going on with video games, and I liken the first moving pictures to the Atari or Colecovision days. As the tech moves forward, we're able to do more all the time. And go figure, like with movies, the more successful it becomes, now eclipsing the movie industry much like the movie industry eclipsed the theatre, people are becoming more hostile to it out of a lack of understanding… Just like the did with movies way back when.

So really, like with movies, the opportunity for art is there. And I think artistic quality can be measured by the sum of all parts combined with the connection people make to it on a human level. So sure… that wine bottle may be artistic or considered art, but unless we can connect to it or relate to it, it's value is reduced as "art" within that medium.

So for those "art" labels, I too think "so what?" like Beam. But I also agree with Lawless in that if you can't comprehend the importance of human expression, brokenness, beauty, creativity, and connection, you don't really "get" art, anyways.

It's that connection that, I think, allows us to say with some level of integrity that something like Journey is "more artistic" than Gears of War. And in those comparisons, it's easy to tell what is designed to be a product and which one has people hoping to accomplish something more while earning a living.


Last edited by Underdog15 on 5/5/2014 9:25:09 AM

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
6 years ago

Good points, I agree with you both. Though I don't think any serious person would pick up a book on historical advertising and say that those bodies of work aren't art.

Underdog15
Underdog15
6 years ago

I don't know much about canvased art, or anything, but I believe there's also a historical significance that adds to those examples. At the time, they might have been just advertising, but now, they are tremendous representations of society of the time and gives us a visual to help understand what people had to go through, thus the human condition of the time.

Those women at work posters are especially potent!

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
6 years ago

"I hate over-intellectualizing things."

In a world where everyone's goal is apparently to under-intellectualize things, legitimize all things, say everything's "okay" and everyone can do anything they want, I'm good with some "over-intellectualizing" right now.

Beamboom
Beamboom
6 years ago

… But Ben, aren't you now "over-intellectualizing" in order to "legitimize all things"? :p

Underdog: "The more you understand about art, the less likely you would be to define it, yet the more likely you would be to identify it." – quote of the week.


Last edited by Beamboom on 5/5/2014 11:55:07 AM

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
6 years ago

No, saying games are art doesn't legitimize anything in my eyes.

Just proving that they're an art form does help us fight the clueless anti-game activists who quite honestly label video games as evil.

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
6 years ago

Beamboom, Lawless, & Underdog.

Just wanted to say that you three intellectual philosophers are always well above my pay-grade of wishful thinking's.

And even though sometimes I feel like I'm just an a lowly old knuckle-dragging air-breather in comparison on this grand lecture tour(LOL), I certainly do understand where all you guys are coming from.

Sooooo I for one, just wanted to express the fact that I enjoy reading every moment……& to keep it up!

Now back to my own certain kind street smarts mode for this(mostly) Italian guy….

"Awwwww, forgetaboutit"


Last edited by BikerSaint on 5/5/2014 3:15:20 PM

Underdog15
Underdog15
6 years ago

Biker, you've always reminded me of a guy I used to work with in a lot of ways… personality, approximate age, similar life path…. you're both even big into biking!

He wasn't a big talker, but boy-o-boy did he ever make a difference in the lives around him… most of the time he didn't realize it, I think. But the value he added was noticed and surprisingly large.

So don't sell yourself short. I especially love the special deals you tell people about, and the news tips you always used to give were awesome.

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
6 years ago

This right here, this is why I love this site. Awesome contributions, all.

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
6 years ago

Underdog, thanks!

Yeah, now closing in on 62 this November, I've spent almost of those years gaining life's experimental experiences or valuable &unlimited street cred as I call it, since I've been on my own at the early age of 14.

I've been fighting life since early on & even though it's always felt like Mother Earth's been keeping her boot up my ass for my 1st 1/2 century, I'm hoping that I can finally see where I'm making a indentation on her rugged footwear….

…or at least a scuff mark or 2.

Anyways, I could tell you stories upon stories, such as the street smarts I've gained at 16 to be able to live & survive on just 1/4 of a dollar a day, & still wind up with Hefty bags & bags filled of fried chicken, Big Macs, & other fast food sandwiches & fries, all for free every single night. Plus still be able to feed all my friends too, with enough left over to feed all their families too.

Hell, I could probably do a book on my life, but I'd definitely need a ghost writer.

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
6 years ago

lawless,
I'll second that emotion!

Danny007
Danny007
6 years ago

Journey

Banky A
Banky A
6 years ago

Journey

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
6 years ago

Gurney?

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
6 years ago

Help! I need a Gurney!

Underdog15
Underdog15
6 years ago

Annie get'cher gurney

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
6 years ago

Killer Is Dead. And yes I'm serious. For one the art style is unique in all the world, for another the character creation and expression is meticulous in its mix of hyperbole and moroseness. The collection of stories are filled to the brim with brilliant undertones from literature. It is at once overt and incredibly subtle in its presentation of subject matter, which plays on eastern and western fairy tales. The stories rivaled episodes such as those in the classic Cowboy Bebop.

PC_Max
PC_Max
6 years ago

Unfortunately the definition or interpretation of what is art is now so diluted these days ANYTHING and EVERYTHING is art. A reason why I no longer refer to myself as an "artist" but as a "designer".

Really NOW art is what you see, from your perspective. Games I still do not see as art on general. Now the concept "art" to me is and design, but the game overall no. Elements of… yes.

Is programming art? Yes to a programmer even if it is just data and code. Code being the pencil, pen or brush of a programmer.

Its confusing. Are game designer looking for validity? I know up here in Canada you get funding for something you can get classified as art and/or culture.

To each there own. Games to me… just elements are art, but the whole. If it was I think I should get paid more. ūüôā

Keep playing!

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
6 years ago

I'd say the biggest culture explosion of our time is geek culture. All anybody is concerning with right now is making it "cool" to be a geek. All the shows and movies are about the early tech company days or otakus and nerds.

It's kind of cool to see that culture allowed into mainstream but it also sort of makes me sick because there was a time when gaming was like having leprosy.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
6 years ago

Another point: We should also consider the creative process behind making a game as an art. You have to sync up audio, visual, story, design, and everything into a presentation that flows properly and connects with the gamer. I think just making something that connects on a deep level with that combination of tools (like an artist's palette) is in itself an art. Like a symphony, even though every one of them uses similar instruments and even the same sheet music sometimes, the performer still makes it their own somehow. And that's what's special, what makes us go "That guy's an artist." We might not think of Ken Levine as an artist, but Bioshock is art from start to finish.

Some people are comfortable expanding the term, others aren't. It usually depends on how much education you've had in the field. I like to write, I think that's an art because it's an internal world made into an external one. Games are that too.

homura
homura
6 years ago

Video games is already considered as an art by the US Federal Govt, to be exact, by the National Endowment for the Arts. So at least in the USA, it's legitimate.

The Last Of Us
rain
Unfinished Swan
Child Of Light
Valkyria Chronicles

Killa Tequilla
Killa Tequilla
6 years ago

Okami?

telly
telly
6 years ago

I'll just cast my vote for both Journey and Last of Us, as well. Two titles that affected me deeply.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
6 years ago

Heavy Rain

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
6 years ago

Oops, wrong post.


Last edited by BikerSaint on 5/5/2014 6:45:06 PM

trumpetmon65
trumpetmon65
6 years ago

Valkyrie profile had a lot of wonderful backdrops and stories that could make a great case that even if a game as a whole isn't art, there is a lot of such within it.

Legacy of Kain: soul reaver was the first game I started noticing architecture within games

Xenogears and the xenosaga series do a great job of using and reworking existing religious ideas to make one of deepest stories ever [ partially] told.

The concept art for final fantasy games (along with his other works) by yoshitaka amano has been exhibited in museums.

I honestly don't understand why there's still a debate.