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Old 12-04-2005, 12:42 PM   #1
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This was in the New York Times today:

The Gamer As Artiste-New York Times, Dec. 4, 2005

Quote:
But as video play occupies more and more of American imaginative life, the games themselves raise other provocative questions: Can games be something more than games? In other words, can they move people emotionally or intellectually in the manner of great art?
Don't many games already do this? I know this has probably been discussed elsewhere but what games have hit you emotionally. I haven't played any console games but The Longest Journey did it for me and yes, Syberia (both of them - don't pan me! I know they aren't everyone's cup of tea). I know I have seen Trep discuss Silent Hill and its story as well.

Read and discuss if you want.
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Old 12-04-2005, 01:11 PM   #2
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I'm not sure that I've been that emotionally affected by games. There have been a couple of points in some of them, when I was younger, that made me unhappy (normally when a character has died), but I've never really looked at them like that.

Maybe they're just failing to engage me at that level.
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Old 12-04-2005, 02:13 PM   #3
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You don't need emotion to make art. Look at Electroplankton. Emotion can also be pulled from you, not given on a platter.
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Old 12-04-2005, 02:17 PM   #4
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"A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art." ~ Paul Cézanne
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Old 12-04-2005, 02:20 PM   #5
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That's not necessarily true. Art isn't quotations either.
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Old 12-04-2005, 02:29 PM   #6
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But surely Art without emotion is just dry and functional.

like a road sign - Not art just functional.

For it to be art it must generate emotion.
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Old 12-04-2005, 02:47 PM   #7
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Is something art if it produces anger, or sadness? IE, a well-captured photograph of people in a concentration camp? Or is that just good journalism?
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Old 12-04-2005, 02:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucien21
But surely Art without emotion is just dry and functional.

like a road sign - Not art just functional.

For it to be art it must generate emotion.
You can create something on a technical level without emotion and gain an emotional response. Some things can become art without intention.
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Old 12-04-2005, 02:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squarejawhero
You can create something on a technical level without emotion and gain an emotional response. Some things can become art without intention.
In that case can I argue that some paintings aren't art? And if not on the grounds that some people have an emotional response to them, can I argue that anything is art?

I'm not exactly sure what we're trying to say by use of the word "art" in relation to games, but I'm not sure that our current definition works.
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Old 12-04-2005, 03:02 PM   #10
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Oh dear, not again.
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Old 12-04-2005, 03:29 PM   #11
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Being the art historian, I really liked the use of the Cézanne quote... but realize that although it's a great quote, it's not necessarily true even in the context of the history of art.

SJH is right in that you can create something technical and functional, and it would still be considered art. Take many sculptures in antiquity for example: They may or may not evoke an emotional response from the viewer, but some of those statues weren't created with the intention of being "emotional". Architecture is perhaps the best example, in that it is created with function in mind rather than emotion, and yes architecture is considered art in the art world. For some people, though, architecture can bring about some emotional responses but my point is... it usually does not begin in emotion.

To understand Cézanne's quote you have to take into account the period that he lived in, and the purpose of the artists during that era. Artists during his time are starting to be more concerned with "feeling" and expressing themselves through their medium. This does not hold true, however, for all artists throughout history.
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Old 12-04-2005, 03:31 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by me
This industry's Citizen Kane hasn't reared its head yet.
In fact, I kind of think it skipped Citizen Kane and went straight to Star Wars (that, and The Fast And The Furious).
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Old 12-04-2005, 03:36 PM   #13
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I agree. Games writers suck.
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Old 12-04-2005, 05:00 PM   #14
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Would you say Killer7 is art? It clearly uses artistic expression as a primary design element.
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Old 12-04-2005, 05:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Intrepid Homoludens
I agree. Games writers suck.
Well, not all of them.
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Old 12-04-2005, 05:36 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Intrepid Homoludens
Well, not all of them.
Yeah, if they did then what would have become of our beloved genre that this site is based upon!?
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Old 12-04-2005, 07:01 PM   #17
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I would like to chime in to agree with Trep and SamIAmSad. The vast majority of writers for games are terrible. Worst of all, many of them believe they are actually talented... I saw the making of Halo 2 and the writer himself seemed to think he had written some sort of great work that would go down in history...
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Old 12-04-2005, 07:08 PM   #18
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I think there needs to be a strong line drawn between "games as art" and "art in games". I think some people confuse the two.

Putting some cinematic scenes in a game and hiring a good script writer will never make a game artistic. It will only make them a lot more enjoyable.
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Old 12-05-2005, 12:00 AM   #19
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Very true. I also think people are mixing up the term art with good writing, which is only part of what makes up a game. I'd argue that the more artistic games, like Ico or its recent sequel, are more abstract in plot. Something like Vib Ribbon or Electroplankton are more artistic, to me, than Silent Hill.
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Old 12-05-2005, 04:29 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squarejawhero
Very true. I also think people are mixing up the term art with good writing, which is only part of what makes up a game. I'd argue that the more artistic games, like Ico or its recent sequel, are more abstract in plot. Something like Vib Ribbon or Electroplankton are more artistic, to me, than Silent Hill.
I actually wasn't mixing up anything, I was just agreeing with a point that was made in this thread... Squarejaw, I think you know my tastes well enough by now to know that I don't fully equate writing with artistic quality, it just depends on the game. I agree that two of the greatest examples of "games as art" would be ICO and Shadow of the Colossus.

Still, a lot of games out there are very intensive in the way of expository dialogue as opposed to telling the story more visually in a visual medium. That's already a flaw. That flaw is made even larger by the fact that most of the writers can't write in the first place. It's a double whammy of badness. They can't write, yet they write too much. That's what I meant.
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