Arthouse Games
by JabberwokMonday, January 19, 2009 [6:43 am]

The relegation of any medium to some sort of lower tier is practically the definition of pretentiousness.

Both films and games are amalgamations of many things. A movie contains writing, music, acting, set design, et cetera. All of these things can be art, and create a larger work of art in the process. Games are made up of nearly the same elements as film. Ebert seems to be talking merely about whether the narrative can be art or not (which it still can, I believe, as there is just as much story in many games as in the best films). Which is silly, because mediums such as painting often contain no narrative. They are a work which leaves all interpretation of a piece to the audience, which is what makes them so beautiful to begin with. It's why you get generations of people standing in front of a famous portrait wondering what the subject was thinking right that moment.

Games are no worse than a painting that you can step into, and there is no qualitative reason why the medium should be marginalized. They contain just as many elements with the potential for artistic excellence as any film, and in fact plenty of the people involved in making games are artists of one sort or another. There are graphical artists, writers, designers, and you even see voice talent coming from famous actors these days.

The problem is that games rose to popularity through the mass media as an innocent diversion for children. However, what keeps the entire medium from being able to rise beyond that stigma is authorities of the art community being unwilling or unable to broaden their own perceptions.


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