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Old 12-05-2005, 04:55 AM   #21
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In fact, I kind of think it skipped Citizen Kane and went straight to Star Wars (that, and The Fast And The Furious).

Look, what I've done when I tried to do the Trep-(quote yourself)-thing. There goes my post.

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I also think people are mixing up the term art with good writing
Me, neither. I swear! Honestly.
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Old 12-05-2005, 09:06 AM   #22
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I think people spend too much time trying to make gaming an "art form" and not enough time asking for games that are fun to play, well designed and interesting. Which is why I hate the "Are games art?" discussion, because I don't feel that art is what I got into gaming for.
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Old 12-05-2005, 09:45 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by RLacey
I think people spend too much time trying to make gaming an "art form" and not enough time asking for games that are fun to play, well designed and interesting. Which is why I hate the "Are games art?" discussion, because I don't feel that art is what I got into gaming for.
Shallow fun is nice, but niceness and simple escapism are worthless to me. A work of art is a conversation between an artist and a spectator (or a player) and the object on your end is to "get" what the artist is saying. The artist in turn needs to figure out a way to "say" what's on his mind, to say anything at all, and not bludgeon you with some agenda (but I guess the not getting bludgeoned by an agenda part is just my preference). There doesn't have to be a feeling, it doesn't have to be painted, it doesn't have to be pretty or beautiful (in fact, ugliness works better), it just has to do something on some transcendent level, not just on a tactile, immediate level most games work on. There is no such thing as art about nothing. I would say there are paintings that aren't art.

That said, I think both the Longest Journey and Syberia are awful examples of games as art.
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Old 12-05-2005, 10:35 AM   #24
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That said, I think both the Longest Journey and Syberia are awful examples of games as art.
Hmmm... I think Syberia is pretty good as "art", but I would agree about The Longest Journey.
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Old 12-05-2005, 11:26 AM   #25
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Hmmm... I think Syberia is pretty good as "art", but I would agree about The Longest Journey.
I could see how Syberia could be "pretty good" as an example if really, really bad "art". It lacks craft in the writing and gameplay department, so much so that it nullifies any claim to "art" it may also bring up. It makes the "art" seem accidental. I thought the game began well enough, but then it got bogged down in making me scroll through pretty images and inane dialogue. Crappiness in delivery, if the work of art is striving for a crispness and polish, really can destroy the impact of the piece. Imagine a Botticelli in a fire-apple red, enamel-painted frame.
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Old 12-05-2005, 12:22 PM   #26
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I could see how Syberia could be "pretty good" as an example if really, really bad "art". It lacks craft in the writing and gameplay department, so much so that it nullifies any claim to "art" it may also bring up. It makes the "art" seem accidental. I thought the game began well enough, but then it got bogged down in making me scroll through pretty images and inane dialogue. Crappiness in delivery, if the work of art is striving for a crispness and polish, really can destroy the impact of the piece. Imagine a Botticelli in a fire-apple red, enamel-painted frame.
Well, again, I don't quite hold games to the same standard of art as the older forms. Not yet anyway. Syberia is very visual though. The visuals tell the story, so the dialogue is fairly unimportant in many respects. In a review I wrote of Syberia some time ago, I said:

"In a way, I find his games (Benoit Sokal's) to be similar to the Myst series. The way his puzzles are always so tied into the very fabric of the game's story and characterization, particularly in Syberia, and the way that the locations themselves reveal pieces of a certain character's personality or interests. In the Myst games it's Atrus or his two sons; in Syberia it is Hans Voralberg."

And also:

"The puzzles feel very natural, they are very much a part of the world, and more specifically, very much a part of Hans Voralberg. As you explore, you learn more and more about Hans, his creations, and his dreams. Kate may be the character you play, and she gets plenty of development via cel phone conversations with people back home (her boss, her mother, her boyfriend, and her best friend), but in the end this game is the story of Hans. It is the story of Anna Voralberg as well. The story of automatons. The story of a dream to see something that may not even exist. It is a story of faith, and a story of love."

I didn't think any of the "pretty images" were only there to be pretty. Everything served a purpose. For a game I thought it was very well done. Far better than The Longest Journey, with its endless expository dialogue...
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Old 12-05-2005, 07:36 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Once A Villain
Syberia is very visual though. The visuals tell the story, so the dialogue is fairly unimportant in many respects.
Games aren't inherently a visual medium, but an interactive one. Hence, there isn't anything anyone can draw, render or film that can make games "art".

Remove the distractions of the visuals (and music as well for that matter) from your mind and ask yourself what games bring to the table that movies, literature, stage plays, operas, etc., don't. What is the brush that games paint with? The answer rings rather hollow at this point, doesn't it?

If games remain nothing more than a "container" for other arts, then I am sorry to say, they will never become art themselves and a game that explores interactivity to such a shallow depth as Syberia does, is about as far from "game as art" as can be possible.
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Old 12-05-2005, 07:45 PM   #28
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Games aren't inherently a visual medium, but an interactive one. Hence, there isn't anything anyone can draw, render or film that can make games "art".

Remove the distractions of the visuals (and music as well for that matter) from your mind and ask yourself what games bring to the table that movies, literature, stage plays, operas, etc., don't. What is the brush that games paint with? The answer rings rather hollow at this point, doesn't it?

If games remain nothing more than a "container" for other arts, then I am sorry to say, they will never become art themselves and a game that explores interactivity to such a shallow depth as Syberia does, is about as far from "game as art" as can be possible.
Depends on your perspective. I don't require the best interactivity to consider a game artistic. Syberia succeeds in other ways. But yes, you're right, it's not the most interactive game. Neither are most other adventure games.
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Old 12-05-2005, 07:52 PM   #29
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Old 12-05-2005, 08:57 PM   #30
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Depends on your perspective. I don't require the best interactivity to consider a game artistic. Syberia succeeds in other ways. But yes, you're right, it's not the most interactive game. Neither are most other adventure games.
You're missing the point. Syberia succeeds by utilizing OTHER artforms, whilst basically ignoring its own medium. That might be a very enjoyable and thought provoking experience, but it isn't an artistic "game" by any stretch of the imagination. It's merely art parading as a game.

It's kind of like bringing a movie camera to a stage play, recording it from your seat, and calling it an artistic film because the play had a great thought-provoking story, great acting, a wonderfully immersive score, and great effects and backdrops. The reality is that such a recording, no matter how great the content, would be utterly devoid of artistic merit as a film as it doesn't express anything in the language of film.

Likewise with Syberia as a game.

The same argument holds true for just about every other adventure game as well.
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Old 12-05-2005, 09:57 PM   #31
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It's kind of like bringing a movie camera to a stage play, recording it from your seat, and calling it an artistic film because the play had a great thought-provoking story, great acting, a wonderfully immersive score, and great effects and backdrops. The reality is that such a recording, no matter how great the content, would be utterly devoid of artistic merit as a film as it doesn't express anything in the language of film.
Sorry, this statement ruins your otherwise decent post. You have obviously not seen Ingmar Bergman's The Magic Flute. He films the play he directed. Granted, he doesn't use a single, unbroken shot or film from a seat in the audience. There is editing, but it's essentially a stage production on film. A pretty good one at that. Of course I realize that the addition of editing probably means I'm supporting your point instead of refuting it, but it's still on a stage, with the play backdrops, and people floating around with strings and what not.

Now, to be honest, I see your point perfectly, I just don't agree with it. What is the artistic merit of radio? It's all sound effects, voices, and music. We can get all of that by turning off a TV screen and leaving the audio on. But radio, music, whatever is still its own medium even though all of its attributes are seen in another mediums. Videogames take it a step further, in a sense. Like film did with music and stage plays. Videogames take all of the attributes of film, and make them interactive. Some in a more limited respect than others, but by giving the viewer/player CHOICES or allowing them to solve puzzles to progress the story, they are already doing something that other art forms do not.

I agree that videogames are an imperfect art form at this point and most of them are far, far from being art. I'm simply saying the medium itself is one where art can be created. I agree with Squarejaw that two of the best pure pieces of art in gaming are ICO and Shadow of the Colossus. They are both very interactive, they do the "game" thing quite well, and they also excel in the areas of art direction and imagination. They are complete packages, so to speak.
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Old 12-06-2005, 07:45 AM   #32
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Video games are somewhere between the pure entertainment and higher aspirations, kinda like movies.
Cinema is often referred to as the 7th art, and yet Fast and Furious exists.

Therefore, even if games like Counter Strike couldn't obviously (in my opinion) not be considered as art, the all genre could.

Myself, I see many AGs as being pieces of art. Riven, Myst 4, Obsidian, The Neverhood, The Last Express, Grim Fandango, Syberia and many others obviously have higher aspirations than "mere" entertainment (or fun, if you will).

In fact, I might go so far as saying that that's how I would define art: when the intention is to do something more.
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Old 12-06-2005, 07:47 AM   #33
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Oh yeah, ditto.
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Old 12-06-2005, 08:14 AM   #34
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Myself, I see many AGs as being pieces of art. Riven, Myst 4, Obsidian, The Neverhood, The Last Express, Grim Fandango, Syberia and many others obviously have higher aspirations than "mere" entertainment (or fun, if you will).
Great list man. You named the two games in the Myst series that I would have named. Also Last Express (brilliant!), Grim Fandango, Syberia, Obsidian...very good choices.
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Old 12-06-2005, 08:41 AM   #35
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Great list man. You named the two games in the Myst series that I would have named. Also Last Express (brilliant!), Grim Fandango, Syberia, Obsidian...very good choices.
I feel like sucking up to you, so I'll add Gabriel Knight 2.

And Loom.
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Old 12-06-2005, 08:48 AM   #36
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I feel like sucking up to you, so I'll add Gabriel Knight 2.
Ninth, I know you like GK2! You aren't just sucking up to me!
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Old 12-06-2005, 09:05 AM   #37
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Ninth, I know you like GK2! You aren't just sucking up to me!
Yeah well, it just seem too coincidental, you know. Like: "I like this and that." "Wow, you do??? Me too." "Well, I like that other thing too." "Incredible, so do I!"
So I try to come up with a way to use GK2 as an example without falling into this. Attempt failed.
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Old 12-06-2005, 09:23 AM   #38
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I could see how Syberia could be "pretty good" as an example if really, really bad "art". It lacks craft in the writing and gameplay department, so much so that it nullifies any claim to "art" it may also bring up. It makes the "art" seem accidental.
Wow, those are some pretty harsh statements. There's no arguing that Sokal is a great artist; his comic books are some of the best ever made, both in writing and graphical style. It's hard to deny that the graphics and setting of Syberia were inspired and original, right? I can agree that the gameplay might have screwed up your experience of the game, but I don't see how Syberia would be a good example of the lack of good writing.


Aside from that I agree with most things said in this game. In order for games to really move the player, they need seriously improve the quality of the writing. There are only a couple of games out there that are noteworthy for their excellent writing, and most of them are (not coincidentally) RPG's. The last time a game actually moved me a lot was the final choice in KOTOR1, where I was forced to desert some of the sidekicks I'd grown attached to during the game because of my alignment.
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Old 12-07-2005, 08:38 AM   #39
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Roger Ebert says: "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooo!!!1 "

Scroll down, ladies.
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Old 12-07-2005, 09:37 AM   #40
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Roger Ebert says: "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooo!!!1 "

Scroll down, ladies.
Wow. You know, I read that edition of Ebert's Answer Man when it was new, and as soon as I saw his comment I thought, "That's going to piss a lot of people off." Guess I was right. I like how Jim Emerson put it: " Roger Ebert recently opened Pandora's Xbox when he wrote that video games have yet to rise to the level of art."

I guess hell hath no fury like a gamer scorned...
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