ARTICLE: Will Games Ever Become an Art?

In Germany it is illegal to use nazi references, including flags, in various ways. One of them is games. Wolfenstein for instance, is a game that looks very different in Germany. However, movies are not put under the same scrutiny. Reason? Movies are considered art. Games are only entertainment. But, is X-Men First Class less entertainment than a video game?

To label something as art goes beyond the philosophical realm. It has real effects on everyday life. Games are at a tipping point in history. Like Rock music, it has to prove itself and battle society’s status quo before it can be taken seriously.

Are games art? Well, first of all, defining art itself is near impossible. But I’ll say this. If literature, music, sculpture and film are arts, then games are undoubtedly art too.

When I was little I liked to draw, to write, to play music, to act… my parents knew I was a creative person,  but it was hard for me to choose one single art. I liked all of them! Hence I became a filmmaker. Film allows you to play with visuals, storytelling, music and body language as means of expression. It was the most collective and varied art in that sense. Now I’m a full-time game designer. Why? Because there are things that can only be experienced through games. Things like choice. No other medium allows for the audience to make choices.

I am confident that games will become art sooner or later, the question will be how sooner than later. What we need to differentiate is that, like other forms of art, some pieces are more commercial than artistic. That doesn’t mean they should all be treated equally, of course. They should be evaluated individually, intrinsically.

If you still have doubts, I recommend you play some of the game’s reviewed on this site and ask yourself, ‘if this were a movie, would you consider it art?’ and what’s more, ‘could you even express the same thing in a movie?’.