It Doesn’t Sound Right to Say I Beat Art: My Thoughts on Games as an Art Form

Why does it feel good when you complete a game, but not when you finish a film? I remember several years ago, I spent every morning playing Okami on Playstation 2. It was the only time of the day I didn’t feel guilty enjoying a game because video games are known as a waste of time by society’s standard. Nowadays, it’s a bit more acceptable. Gaming and coffee was a great way to start the day (that’s how I became a morning person). I remember Okami wasn’t necessarily mind blowing, but it was good enough for me to complete. It took me about 60 hours. As I mentioned in one of my posts, I play games thoroughly. So when the credits started rolling, I felt a little sad that my journey has come to an end, but the result was quite rewarding. I felt a sense of achievement because I cleared the game.

Amazon.com: Okami - PlayStation 2: Artist Not Provided: Video Games

When it comes to films, I can sit and watch for an hour without feeling anything but entertained, depending if the movie is good. However, games require a lot of memorization, backtracking, and problem solving. No wonder, I often feel mentally drained once I beat a game. Games are simply expensive and time consuming. Movies on the other hand, are less expensive, less effort and therefore less rewarding in terms of achievements. I don’t feel the need to brag to my brother that I just finished watching a film. So when I hear people say video game is art, I sort of disagree even though I enjoy the artistic side of it very much. Yes video games can be artistic, but it is still not an art form. You see, I didn’t play Okami for art sake. I played the game to beat it. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the story that comes with the game. However, in the end, you play to beat. You don’t say to someone: “Congratulations for completing the film.” It sounds awkward. Did it really require a lot of effort and time to complete a film other than requiring your full attention?

And before you jump the gun on me, I didn’t write this blog post to promote war, but a dialogue. If you have a different perspective, leave me a comment. I don’t mind being challenged. In fact I encourage you to prove me wrong.

4 thoughts on “It Doesn’t Sound Right to Say I Beat Art: My Thoughts on Games as an Art Form

  1. I think this may come down to a definition of art. If at the core we take art to mean an expression that generates an emotional reaction or provokes the audience to think, then the actual ludonarrative and game mechanics themselves could be considered art. The act of making the player repeat certain actions, backtrack or set their gameplay into a constrained time frame dictated by ability cooldown or enemy mechanics also create a reaction in the player and that reaction is thought out and designed by the game creators as an art form.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t deny that some games can be artistic as most visual novel games tend to lean towards that direction. Light puzzles, thought provoking dialogues help enrich the player’s experience. However, in the end video game as a form is still marketed as a competitive sport. Do I agree with that direction? Not necessarily.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with you on most parts – although some games bring a lot of artistry into either their graphics or the depths of their story lines. The fact that more and more games are being made into movies (Warcraft, Assassins Creed, Witcher etc.) Just underlines that. But on the whole the goal is so inherently different (playing instead of savoring) that I have to agree. Not art. But still creative.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I noticed these days there are a few games adapting into anime series such as Shenmue. It makes me wonder why bother playing games if I can just watch it instead.

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