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Editorial: Video Games Are Art

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We are always told to go outside, put our controllers down, pay more attention to the things around us instead of what’s on our screens.

Video games have held this stigma that playing them will just “burn our brain cells” and have no benefit toward our growth or mindset. However, this is not true. Video games are an art form and much like the art that you find in museums, it takes time, precision, and passion to be a creator and a player.

What separates video games apart from other forms of art is the participation of the audience. Viewers are no longer just viewing it; they are a part of it, which then draws a strong connection to the game and its platform.

In the CNN article “Why gaming is now for adults and art lovers”, Chris Melissinos said, “from games that recreate the childlike wonder in discovering magic and delight in the world — like ‘Super Mario Brothers’ — to those that explore the hopelessness of losing a child — as in ‘That Dragon, Cancer’ — video games are capable of expressing the full breadth of human experience.”

With video games, we have storytelling, color theory, digital animation, and so much more. With all these factors, we come to an emotional and wondrous experience, much like the feeling one experiences from art on a wall… But even deeper because of our active role in the video game’s process.

Jonathon Jones, The Guardian’s art critic and reporter, said in an article titled “Sorry MOMA, video games are not art”that video games are not art because “no one ‘owns’ the game,” he suggested. “So there is no artist, and therefore no work of art.”

Some may argue that with video games, there’s no real ‘owner’ but what you can’t always see is that the artistic owner of the game is the audience.

Yes, the people behind the scenes physically creating the games are the technical ‘owners’ but the people who play the games are the artists. With video games, you create your own world using the layout given to you, thus creating your own version of this art, and there are infinite opportunities. It’s the art that continues to grow.

Kyle Chayka, a journalist for The Atlantic claimed in his article “Why Video Games Are Works of Art” that “video games are nothing if not experiential. They are visuals and music and poetry all wrapped up into a single package. A video game isn’t just a game—it is a controlled passage through an overwhelming aesthetic experience.”

Art is always experimental, and video games are experimental as well, in their own way. There is always a new wave of graphics yet to be tried out, just as there’s always a new technique for using acrylic paint to learn.

In 2017, we were given the Nintendo Switch. This is a next-generation console made by the same company that gave us Super Mario Brothers. With this console, “Zelda: Breath of The Wild” was released.

As an example, the aesthetics of this game are uncanny. Each strand of hair on the main character’s head, the mountains in the distance, the sky’s ever-changing shades, the interactions between characters… It all has to do with the art form that you can’t help but notice.

Video games should no longer be looked at as useless or be used as a “time killer,” but instead be seen as a new way of seeing the artistic potential of the future. In video games, you can experience all kinds of emotions and experiment with different outcomes, finding new ways around obstacles.

These screens and controllers aren’t always holding us back. In fact, it could be helping us progress.

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Editorial: Video Games Are Art