The old expression of “I don’t know much about art but I know what I like” describes me easily. Are stories art? I don’t know, I just enjoy good stories. I guess it’s the “Apple Jacks” argument but it works for me. That’s why when Roger Ebert falsely claimed that video games can’t be considered art, I just ignored it as a dumb statement from a man who once wrote a horrible movie but still judged everyone else’s movies. (At least I know my work isn’t that great. It took years just to get to “I’m willing to share this with others”.) Of course video games are art. They can convey emotions, be used to impact the lives of others, and as the medium has improved so have the graphics. I think all forms of art are covered. You might as well say animation is not art. Just make sure your armor is good shape and your ducking behind the right object.
Apparently George R.R. Martin has brought the “video games aren’t art” nonsense from the novelist’s perspective, despite the fact that I hear he’s actually working on a video game at the moment, and there are games based on his work. Maybe he’s seen those boring Game Of Thrones browser game ads. However, video games tell a story in a way no other medium does. In fact across the whole spectrum of currently existing formats of media–television, movies, books, video games, comics, audio dramas, stage plays, role-playing, LARPing, web series, and probably some I’m not remembering right now–each can do something the others can’t and naturally vice versa. I wasn’t going to do a second video this week but The Closer Look just put out a great response to Martin’s claim and I felt the need to share it. WARNING: Some written swearing in this video.
I wish Henry, the host, had mentioned some of the other types of media I mentioned above because comics, audio dramas, and stage plays also have their own benefits, but I guess examining every form of storytelling media out there would be a video on it’s own. Or perhaps a series of videos, or even articles. Plus as I said, video games share a lot with animation and can be visually beautiful. Even if you don’t think it’s storytelling art you have to at least admit it’s visual art. Or are we going to be snobs to digital art again?
Anyway, if you want to catch more episodes of this video essay show check out The Closer Look‘s YouTube channel.