There’s an ongoing, interesting debate as to whether video games are high art—or art at all.

I’ll agree video games are a great metaphor for the millennial generation; a designed medium that gives just enough opportunity for customization that the player feels in control of their own destiny. Yet, in all reality there is no creativity or improvisation; there are checkpoints of progress, levels, bosses, and designated tasks. The environment is merely complex enough to allow for an exponential amount of ways to distract from the truth you are a slave to the system.1 While video games may be challenging, they’re so only in forms of logic and problem-solving.

A video game does not present a challenge to the idea of war the way Guernica remains steadfast in, nor can video games present challenges of current social norms as modern film does. Like the worst forms of popular culture, gaming is designed to tailor to the desires of individuals who remain within a designed and orderly system of control.

Video games may provide a better form of escapism than traditional means of art and culture, but that shouldn’t retroactively qualify entertainment as high art. They can be custom tailored because that is their business model, while art, if anything, will challenge the reception of the audience instead of attempting to tailor itself for it. While I could see the video game format being used to create a piece of art, the idea that an industry is an art form merely because of cultural significance sounds like it’s out of Ronald Reagan’s hellish version of heaven.2

  • With even greater irony, there’s an easy escape. Turn the system off. Reject the general principle that this would be how to spend time. There are plenty of other forms of entertainment. But most of that culture—the true art—is not necessarily seeking mass approval. It is not looking to retain customers, month after month.
  • It should also be noted that if personalized entertainment is granted the same cultural significance as high art, we’re de facto allowing capitalism yet another opportunity for a direct line into the history of art.

Posted to Social at 15:59 on 1 January 2018

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