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tuubi commented on 5 October 2015 at 3:04 pm UTC

Mountain ManJust because there is art in a game does not make the game itself art.
No, but the existence of rules does not disqualify it as art either. I'd say it's a game if you can play it. Your examples only work if you use a very narrow definition of games, excluding almost anything you'll find on sale today.

Mountain ManGoing back to the chess example, ...
Please don't. Just let go. Chess is not representative of modern computer games.
Mountain Man... you can argue that the pieces represent art, ...
I haven't, and I won't. Chess pieces are irrelevant to the discussion.
Mountain Man... but the game of chess in and of itself is not art. It's the same thing with video games. Like chess, they use art to make the presentation of the rules more intuitive and entertaining, but the game itself -- that is to say the rulesets that mark the division between a work of art and a game -- is not art.
Chess is not art, agreed. There's lots of games that are hard to, and would indeed be pointless to classify as art. But let's move on. How about the rest? Should there not be interactivity in art? Why do we need a clear separation between art and games?

Mountain ManTo put it another way, the closer a game is to art, the less it looks like a game.
If that were true, what about the inverse? Does a game look more like a game if you remove the soundtrack? Or if you make the graphics more spartan and business-like? Your statement only works if you ignore the fact that gaming has evolved since noughts and crosses. If a definition does not work in the modern world, you really need to update it.

Mountain ManI think the late Roger Ebert put it very well:
I think he once again spouted a metric ton of embarrassingly self-assured opinion, but that was his job.

Mountain Man commented on 6 October 2015 at 1:28 pm UTC

tuubiThere's lots of games that are hard to, and would indeed be pointless to classify as art. But let's move on. How about the rest? Should there not be interactivity in art? Why do we need a clear separation between art and games?
You're almost getting it.

Again, the question is what makes a game a game? Obviously it's the rules. You can make art without rules, but a game can't exist apart from its rules, in fact, it is the rules. Of course art can be interactive, but interactive art is not a game, and if you try and turn it into a game by adding rules and objectives then it quickly ceases to be art.

tuubi
Mountain ManTo put it another way, the closer a game is to art, the less it looks like a game.
If that were true, what about the inverse? Does a game look more like a game if you remove the soundtrack? Or if you make the graphics more spartan and business-like? Your statement only works if you ignore the fact that gaming has evolved since noughts and crosses. If a definition does not work in the modern world, you really need to update it.
The definition works just fine. Even if the art has been completely stripped out of a game and all that's left are a set of rules then the game still exists, even if it's just in an abstract sense. You could, in theory, play any game in the world as a purely mental exercise because it's the rules that make the game. Whatever art exists in games is used purely as a means of presenting the rules in an intuitive and entertaining way.

You ask, "Why do we need a clear separation between art and games?" We don't need it. It just exists.

tuubi commented on 6 October 2015 at 3:25 pm UTC

Mountain ManYou can make art without rules, but a game can't exist apart from its rules, in fact, it is the rules.
You also cannot make a painting without paint, or write a story without words. Rules are something you need to make a game, just like rhythm is something you need to compose a waltz. There are many different types of art, and all of them have something that basically defines them but isn't art in itself.

Mountain ManOf course art can be interactive, but interactive art is not a game, and if you try and turn it into a game by adding rules and objectives then it quickly ceases to be art.
I still don't see why. I repeat: If you can play it like a game, it's a game. This has nothing to do with its artistic value. You can easily find aspects that make it work as a game and others that make it appreciable as art, but you cannot separate them without destroying the whole. Unless you're thinking about some nonsense example concerning a computer simulation of a board game again. Or unless you genuinely believe you can reduce something like Planescape: Torment or Baldur's gate down to their simplified 2nd edition AD&D rulesets without losing anything essential.

Mountain ManYou ask, "Why do we need a clear separation between art and games?" We don't need it. It just exists.
I don't think it does, and you have not even begun to convince me otherwise.

Mountain Man commented on 6 October 2015 at 6:34 pm UTC

tuubi
Mountain ManYou can make art without rules, but a game can't exist apart from its rules, in fact, it is the rules.
You also cannot make a painting without paint, or write a story without words. Rules are something you need to make a game, just like rhythm is something you need to compose a waltz. There are many different types of art, and all of them have something that basically defines them but isn't art in itself.
The analogy doesn't work. Rules are not a component of a game or a medium through which games are made. On the contary, rules are the game. If you don't have rules then you don't have a game.

tuubiI repeat: If you can play it like a game, it's a game. This has nothing to do with its artistic value. You can easily find aspects that make it work as a game and others that make it appreciable as art, but you cannot separate them without destroying the whole. Unless you're thinking about some nonsense example concerning a computer simulation of a board game again. Or unless you genuinely believe you can reduce something like Planescape: Torment or Baldur's gate down to their simplified 2nd edition and rulesets without losing anything essential.
I'm not sure what you mean by "If you can play it like a game, it's a game." The only way you can play something like a game is if it has rules and objectives. Otherwise, it's not a game and can't be played like one.

And, yes, games like Planescape Torment and Baulders Gate could be reduced to their basic components without losing any of the essential pieces that are actually necessary to make them games. Afterall, combat in those games is just a series of dice roles and mathematical calculations., and character progression is constrained by a well-defined set of rules.

I'll put it this way, suppose you played Baulders Gate around a table with your buddies using nothing but a set of dice and your imagination -- in other words, the original Dungeons and Dragons experience. Would you insist that was art? I think it pretty obviously isn't. So why would translating that experience into a computer game suddenly make it art?

Answer: It doesn't.

tuubi
Mountain ManYou ask, "Why do we need a clear separation between art and games?" We don't need it. It just exists.
I don't think it does, and you have not even begun to convince me otherwise.
You may not be convinced by my arguments, but neither have you refuted them. ;)

tuubi commented on 6 October 2015 at 8:19 pm UTC

Mountain Man
tuubiYou also cannot make a painting without paint, or write a story without words. Rules are something you need to make a game, just like rhythm is something you need to compose a waltz. There are many different types of art, and all of them have something that basically defines them but isn't art in itself.
The analogy doesn't work. Rules are not a component of a game or a medium through which games are made. On the contary, rules are the game. If you don't have rules then you don't have a game.
And what exactly makes rules so special? I don't buy that everything else is just unnecessary decoration. Any more than the subject is the only thing of consequence in a painting or an artistic photograph. Playing a game is rarely a mechanical process with a desired end result. In many cases it's also an emotional experience. This experience is very much influenced by the form of the presentation, rules and all.

Mountain ManI'll put it this way, suppose you played Baulders Gate around a table with your buddies using nothing but a set of dice and your imagination -- in other words, the original Dungeons and Dragons experience.
Right. I'd be getting the table-top Dungeons and Dragons experience, a distinctly different experience from what I get playing Baldur's Gate on my computer.

tuubiYou may not be convinced by my arguments, but neither have you refuted them. ;)
Are you serious? We're discussing art, an inherently abstract subject. There's nothing to refute. Just opinions all around. The best you can expect from debates on art is food for thought. Pick a more concrete subject if you want to prove someone wrong.

Hamish commented on 8 October 2015 at 4:16 pm UTC

Sorry for the delay in replying lads - I was either away from my computer or rebuilding it.

Mountain ManI think a much better definition can be found with a simple Google search: "the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power" ... I do not think games qualify as art based on this definition
Under that definition novels and stories are not art either, something which I think most people would be willing to reject along with me. That is why I passed over it. Still, if you have never appreciated the beauty of a game's mechanics, or been emotionally affected by something expressed in a game, I can only think that you have been playing the wrong games. But then such things are infinitely subjective by their very nature, and not worth being argued about.

Mountain ManI'm not trying to degrade games at all. I appreciate them as a form of entertainment, but I don't try and make them something they're not. What I find baffling are the people who feel the need to falsely elevate games to an artform in order to justify their interest in them. Isn't it enough to say that I enjoy playing games?
You enjoy playing games, but you do not respect them. Art is a label that confrims respect onto its subject. Without respect it is treated as a mere disposable commidity, which invites abuses such as artifically imposing restrictions on its longevity, the very practice that you sought to defend by denying games access to the label.

Mountain ManI think the late Roger Ebert put it very well
Since you did not choose to express your own opinions here, I will not bother to express my own either and just refer you to Yahtzee:
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/video-games/columns/extra-punctuation/7473-Videogames-as-Art.2

Of course acording to him this entire disscussion is rather pointless - but I think we can all kind of agree on that.

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