There seems to be this elitist attitude about art that it has to be some refined taste like that of a wine connoisseur or a notion that it can not be appreciated nor understood by the mere plebeian masses. This outdated and and false notion of art formed when it was the domain of the wealthy aristocracy alongside the slow upheaval battle every new conception has to face to gain legitimacy over the established paradigm.
First of all, lets not delve into any academic discussion on the nature and definition of art. For pragmatic reasons, I'll define video games as an integration of multiple art forms into a cohesive interactive structure that could not be permitted otherwise. The same way movies are art (for the better part of the last century they were not considered art. In many ways, even today few consider mainstream movies to be art and many would have you believe only niche avant garde foreign movies are artistic while the rest of the movies we watch are simply entertainment trash.
Here I'll argue to the contrary that video games can be exemplary in their creative artistic avenues that given the youth of video games, in hundreds of years there will be art museums showcasing 21st century video games.
I'll give some examples to illustrate my point further.
Planning or designing a city or a level is done in many ways similar to how an architect designs a building. The difference is one physical and the other digital. Look at Bloodborne or Darksouls to see how the developers crafted intricate and often labyrinthine worlds that can be explored.
Video game designers instead of relying on paint brushes simply utilize technology to "paint" the textures on the sculpted or rather "modeled" 3d figures. The result is gorgeous and instills a sense of wonder and awe in many of us due to how beautiful video games like Breath of the Wild or God of War look.
Video games allow the utilization of music to both enhance and provoke emotions the same way cinema does. Listening to the music of Nier Automata or Untertale in the context of their respective tales is a strikingly different experience than listening to them on their own.
With the advent of motion capture we're seeing more and more cinematic video games that in time will garner enough traction to employ better talent. The Last of Us presents us with an emotionally gripping performance that is no different than a play or a movie.
Many games already employ writing such as Disco Elysium or the include codices or books such as The Lusty Argonian Maid in Skyrim. The potential is there to include great writing but the talent often is not.
The central Issue therein lies is that video games, not unlike movies have no singular author. Same as with the Auteur theory in cinema where a director would be credited with the final work of art. Video games suffer an even greater issue in which games are a work of too many hands collaborating that unlike a painting or a book. You can not simply call a game a Hideo Kojima game and neglect the other working parts of the studio.
A book is the art of a writer. A mountain is the art of Nature. A video game is the art of a developer.
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