Meredith Design

Video Games take on Art! Not quite.

Posted on: April 21, 2010


Before you read my quick rant,  ponder for yourself the ridiculousness of this argument and take a little solace from Penny Arcade.

Let’s first debunk art. Art is what exactly? People tell me I’m artistic every single day of my life now. They look at what I create and nod their heads in approval of a social standard. I have reached that level of acceptance by my peers. Am I really making art? Sometimes, sure. Most of the time? No. I’m trying to make a living and just happen to be enjoying the process. How about Michelangelo or DaVinci? Most of us know that some of their most beloved works of ‘art’ were in fact done simply for money and recognition. The purpose of the piece was to awe or inspire, to create traffic in an area that inevitably led to increased profit for someone involved. Some people might call that an advertisement, not ‘art’. Does that mean the “artist’s soul” is put whole heartedly into the work? I don’t think so. It just means it’s art that’s functional. Can you see my love of graphic design starting to peek through? Sorry. I’ll try to cover that up.

Now what about video games? Their soul  purposes are solving a puzzle and monetary gain you say? Let us ponder this further. What was the ultimate purpose of the Sistine Chapel if not to attract visitors into a religious place. But still, it’s final outcome was simply aesthetic in nature. Right? Wrong. It was there to make people think. Think about the awesome power of the Church and of God. Think about creation and existence. Think about the path one is on and whether it is leading them closer to God or farther.

All of this thinking and because of an advertisement for the divine. What game has ever been created that hasn’t forced one to think? I don’t mean just to run some problem solving gears. I mean there are games out there that make us question our existence, our ideologies, our faith, and even our sanity. These games will be different for everyone but if I had to pick one that was just as influential as the Sistine Chapel, I would choose Starcraft. For me, this was a game about learning why choosing sides is pointless. This was the first game I ever played where I was able to play the ‘bad guys’. I’m sure there are other games out there that had done something similar but as a 12 year old, this was ground breaking for my brain. I would loathe the ‘bad guys in the first part the campaign. They were killing my soldiers, of course I was angry with them. Then the second campaign would begin. Wait a second… now I’m not only killing those same soldiers but I want to. By the end of all the back and forth, learning the history and reasons of why each side was fighting, I realized wars don’t make sense. They still don’t make sense over a decade later. Now, I was a smart kid. I knew my history and I made correlations between the conflicts in the game and real conflicts, past and present. I understood the importance of deciding then and there that the only place where wars do any good is in a virtual reality. In art school, I made similar connections. Though maybe not as philosophically or socially profound, I made them nonetheless.

I think that’s enough out of me for now. I could go on and on about how past generations will never fully comprehend the ideas of the next generation or why deciding what is and is not art is downright inhuman but I won’t… not yet. Please don’t think I put this post up to argue with an old man. I did this for me. We should all thank him for making us think critically about the things that really have an affect on us.

With love  – M

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2 Responses to "Video Games take on Art! Not quite."

this isnt a rant.
it’s thinking.
Deep thinkng

It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside to hear that, so thank you.

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