Do Video Games Deserve To Be in the Same Artistic Category as Films?

GrandTheftAuto300.jpgSomething tells me that when you were playing Nintendo Duck Hunt back in '87, you never thought to yourself: "This is a true work of art that enhances the public good." Nearly 25 years later though, that is exactly what the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts is saying about Duck Hunt's sophisticated spawn by allowing the medium to be recognized as a legitimate art form that deserves federal funding.

The official announcement came last week when the NEA, a U.S. government program that backs artistic projects that "enhance the public good," declared that game developers are now eligible for the $200,000 grants that they offer to film and television artists who wish to create art "for a public place rather than sell it commercially." (So Grand Auto Theft IV won't receive funding, but a developer who wants to create a genuinely beautiful video game in which players don't service and kill prostitutes, for example, can.)

To make it official, the government group even changed the name of the corresponding grant category from "The Arts in Radio and Television" to "The Arts in Media." These changes, of course, mean that video game developers will be competing for -- and effectively, taking away -- funding that in the past was allocated for just film, television and radio artists.

Which leaves us with a lot of artistic "evolution" questions. Will a more competitive market for the NEA grant propel film and television artists to make greater advancements and faster? Is this a step forward for culture and art and if so, what is next? Most importantly, the federal government may recognize video games as art -- but do you? Please weigh in below!

· The US legally recognizes video games as an art form []


  • anonymous (not *The* Anonymous) says:

    Actually, a developer is *more* likely to receive a grant "who wants to create a genuinely beautiful video game in which players" *do* "service and kill prostitutes"

  • CiscoMan says:

    They certainly deserve consideration. Especially when you factor in the alternate reality gaming, which is pretty much undiscovered territory as far what it can be applied to and where it can go.

  • Milo says:

    This article is insulting. Have you ever played grand theft auto 4? While I don't think it's the best representation of video games as art, you cannot possibly understand what it means outside of shooting and killing. Would you accept someone's comment that the godfather was a terrible movie, knowing that they hadn't seen the movie, or had only seen the horse head scene (and thought it was disgusting and terrible because of that one, insignificant detail, which added to it's over all message and themes)? If you have played through the entirety of grand theft auto 4 (and even if you haven't) you need to understand that games are not movies and nor are they what they used to be when pong came out. You're looking at them in the wrong light. It's not about the high score, winning, or finishing the cutscene. It's about the experience, just like any art form is.

  • ILDC says:

    But why Duck Hunt? Is it because of the dog?

  • The Winchester says:

    Yeah but take out the violence, and the game was literally my life as a courier: Go to this location, Wait for this person, drive to next location, wait for someone else, deliver this, take this there, try to get a date, fail miserably, maintain relationship with over dependent cousin, change cell phone plan, check email, lather, rinse repeat.
    Look, Niko, I understand you love the game, and yes, games can certainly be more than entertainment and can achieve art status through transcendence of the medium (I'll be the first to play the Shadow of the Collossus card in that argument), but Grand Theft Auto 4 wasn't all that great, even to those of us who enjoyed playing it.

  • Jack Knive says:

    Video games are not art.
    Your encounter with the video game exists only within the constraints that the designer of the game dictated. The subjective you is entirely projected by the structure of the game. And you assume that mantle efficiently in order to succeed.
    They are masturbatory repetitive action addiction systems, like a rat running through a maze-- all the worse than other forms of meaningless distraction because of their illusion of "accomplishment" within their virtual "worlds."
    For all the would-be counter-culture-renegade-gamers' claims, video games seem to me to be more akin to training for the worst of the status quo of society at large (learn the arbitrary rules of the game and chase the carrots with aplomb and zeal in order to get your gold coins) than they are some radical monkey wrench thrown into "the man's" perceptual machinery.
    People who feel they have no identity seem most attracted to the pre-fab identity the virtual landscapes offer. In that way, as an escape from the anxiety of selfhood, they are perhaps aiming to be the new cultural anodyne.
    And yes, video games and cinema are both appealing as vessels of transgressive fantasy.
    One key difference is that video games (most often) represent the satisfaction of the desire for indulgent violent action without consequence, or at least with a certainty of consequence already anticipated by absolute "rules." You can customize your avatar in petty external appearance, but the actions you (appear to) take are tailored within the narrow confines of an arbitrary design.
    You can dress up the rat, and spruce up the maze… but something is still familiar about the cheese.
    Whereas the best of cinema is (almost) always an exploration of the consequences of action as choices ricochet and expand and propel us through the story where rules are as fluid and infinite as humanity and identity itself and the dialogue between the viewer and the film depends upon the totality of the humanity that both bring to the encounter.
    The film is technically exactly the same for everyone. And the "customization" is provided by you having your own identity.
    You have no "choices" to make as a viewer of the artificial world once you have made the choice to mindfully engage. And therefore are free to be truly involved and not yourself "acting." You are immersed and engaged in the most dialectical way, going out into the fantasy you are seeing while simultaneously sinking deeper into the recesses of yourself.
    I am convinced video games are highly appealing to those who can not handle the anxiety of human mystery and ambivalence involved in real art. You "get" the video game when you progress as the game designer intended. When you narrow your existence to the appropriate actions.
    Real art challenges you to exist. It sinks in. It touches you. It's (only) as deep as you are.
    You can "check out" of a video game, entering a kind of trance of repetitive action on your way to accomplishing the arbitrary virtual goal.
    A great film demands (and has to earn) the mindful engagement of a deliberate viewer in order for it's arc to transform and transfix the viewer who is willing to do more than just distract himself with flashing light and "stimulation."
    They may both take place on screens, but ultimately they have little in common.
    Video games deliberately create alienation from reality, and sustain it as long as possible. This "immersion" is lauded as the form's most valued goal.
    Film art, though a form of media and therefore to a degree alienating, also acts as a bridge back into the universal human experience-- like all story forms before that.
    I have heard a so many stories about the exquisite startling moments of a film etched into the memory of a person who beheld it. Or just one frame. One tiny sound.
    I have never heard a person say "Remember the 345th time I killed that orc," or "Remember the 567th time I beat level 6."
    You turn to the video game precisely because of its immersion in an undifferentiated stream of action that will not implicate or excavate all that you wish to run from in life. You lose time. You lose yourself. Until your eyes are bleary and you're jittery and ready to piss yourself. This is drinking the salty sea to slake your thirst. You just have to "play" some more until the play is a new kind of work.
    You watch a film maybe even for the same initial reasons, to run away-- but you come out of the suspension of real life more yourself, less alienated, more certain and more uncertain simultaneously-- fortified by the questions, by the implications and immersions in the tiny humanity contained in the 90 minutes, ready, just maybe to "immerse" yourself back in life. Ready to make some real choices and take some real actions.
    I have never heard anyone say they found their experience of a video game "inspiring."
    Here's an equation:
    Video Game Playing = Hooking Up. Mindful Film Viewing = Making Love.
    Laugh all you like.
    Ironically, I think a great number of people kill their daylight "beating a level" so they can unlock a few minutes of miniature cinematic storytelling involving their characters.
    That ought to say a lot about the issue.
    And honestly-- I still like to read books, the original "axe for the frozen sea inside us."
    My two cents is all. My apologies for the rusty copper.

  • casting couch says:

    That's more than two cents; that's a whole dollar ;)

  • Mnja says:

    Thanks for a refreshingly eloquent and thoughtful response. As a film lover who recently got my only game system (PS3) I've found it easy to lose myself for hours in games, often coming away with a nagging sense of guilt that I haven't learned or connected with anything. I agree it's all too easy for games to be little more than a masturbatory experience. A distraction from yourself, and a vent for unlimited ego release without consequence, particularly when playing alone. But that doesn't mean that's all there is too it, all the time.
    A couple counter thoughts. 1) Multiplayer. There can be social value in the shared experience of playing games with friends (split-screen in the same room, though I suspect similarly online if with voice and Real Friends). It is harder to lose yourself when simultaneously bantering to Real People while shooting them in a virtual world. Does that make it art? I'm not sure, but it is value and it is socially bonding to some degree.
    2) Depending on the gamer's ability to remain aware of him/herself while playing, one can appreciate the artistry behind the game. It's not the same as film which is a storytelling medium and about connecting to human experience for transformative effect. But, in the same way that listening to a piece of music or looking at a still photograph can evoke a mood or emotional response, I think if a gamer can stay present while playing, he/she can appreciate a) the art of the stunning worlds/vistas presented by extremely talented artists behind the game, b) the mood/emotional responses the game can evoke. Some are scary, claustrophobic, funny, whimsical, tense etc etc. I agree with you no one would say "Remember the 345th time I killed that orc" -- but I would say something like, "Remember the amazing sense of huge scale and helplessness when the nuke goes off in Modern Warfare," for example. There's merit in the feelings a game evokes, particularly if you can personally then make the connection between the game experience and real life.
    3) Also it's worth pointing out that film can easily be pure distraction as well, and is becoming more that way as people go to the cinema less, treating them less as works to go concentrate on and more as something that happens to be on TV to waste some time. I won't go into the fact that films focusing on masturbatory sex/violence are starting to dominate films that actually tell a transformative human story. Ultimately I think whether anything is art depends on the consciousness of the viewer. Listening to music or even going to a museum to look at paintings can also be just distraction -- but if the person is paying attention, they can also gain real appreciation and value from the work. I think the same is true of video games. It is inherently easier to lose yourself and become a masturbatory zombie while playing games, but that doesn't mean that there isn't artistic value there for those who can stay awake while playing to notice.
    Apologies for giving my whole dollar too.

  • Yawning Chasm says:

    Ah, yes, the glory of Cinema! Mr. Magoo, The Rebooted Reboot - Now with Twice the Full Frontal Nudity!
    It's art. It connects us. It touches our souls. Just like Piss Christ.
    I know reading is no longer fundamental, but for those who TL;DR'd it, the article explains that video games are now in the same NEA grant category as movies, regardless of recording media.
    'Nuff said.

  • Milo says:

    As much as it seemed, I don't like grand theft auto 4 that much (in fact I'm surprised I defended it so much). The tone of this article was the reason for my outburst and GTA4 was just a way of making my point. I find video games to be incredibly under appreciated, especially by the film community. We (the film community) are pretentious. I was being a bit strong with my words, but it's people like Jack Knive that I was speaking towards more so. Jack has never played any games like Shadow of the Colossus, Metroid Prime, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Bioshock, or Red Dead Redemption, and he probably never will. I think the reason why people act this way, is that film is the closest comparable art form to video games. BUT, you wouldn't have the same criticisms for a painting, that you would with a movie. So why is it okay to do this with video games? They're completely different and make you feel a completely different way.
    I have never heard a person say "Remember the 345th time I killed that orc," or "Remember the 567th time I beat level 6."
    This one sentence sums up his entire opinion. He thinks of video games entirely as gameplay, without any theme or emotion. Okay, Buster here you go:
    "Remember the time in Bioshock 2 where you were lumbering through the city, searching for the woman who took you're daughter? Do you remember when you finally met the man the entire game who had the same thing happen to him? Do you remember how you killed him (This is the player's choice and you never have to even hear of this man if you don't take the time to let the game sink in) out of greed, not knowing that he had the same goals? Do you remember how when you finally met you're daughter and she had become just as greedy as you because of decisions like that? Of course you don't. I can bring up another comment not involving killing that is just as emotional, and deep, and reflective of your choices as a person. Can a film do this that well? No, because it has no interaction with a person and because none of this required a cut-scene that the player had to watch. They were involved the whole time. To be honest, as small as this might seem (and as extreme as the decisions in the game might look) I found it inspiring because the entire game was about this, and many, many more subtle details were dribbled throughout the entirety of the game. It made me think about raising my child in a different way. Now, sorry for my rants Winchester and Julie Miller. You don't deserve something such as these. Mr. Knives may go read his book and dislike modern society and pop culture all he wants. If you read this, play a real game.

  • SunnydaZe says:

    When I first discovered video games as art was "Metal Gear Solid" on the PS1. Ever since then I have had a tendency to play games first and watch movies second. This made me feel guilty until I realized a very fundamental reason why this is> Games are something I DO; Movies are something I WATCH. Games are active and in being such allow for moral decisions that YOU make instead of passively watching a character on screen make those decisions. The Metal Gear games give you the choice of not killing and instead using stealth but if you take the sneaking route the game is much harder and also can become a bit boring so you find yourself going on sudden bursts of killing sprees just to break up the monotony. And since it was YOUR choice you sometimes feel guilty about it, afterwords. I can't think of a single film which evoked personal guilt for my decisions. (other than watching a horrible piece of trash which I should have turned off after five minutes) Making the viewer feel responsible for their own actions is about the highest emotion art can attain.

  • Jack Knive says:

    A well spent dollar, I say :)

  • Jack Knive says:

    That's exactly my point, in a nutshell.
    LIFE should be something you DO.
    Films (art) should be something you encounter that sheds some light on what you and we all do. Some light on being.
    Yes, art is an imitation of life. The actual objects are dead pixels, dead ink on a dead page. Pointed stains of light on stock. And your inner life, as irreducible and inexplicable as it may be, illuminates the inanimate matter that some other reckoner fashioned into some shape some time earlier.
    You can't make a choice in a video game.
    A choice, by definition, is a thing that takes place in life, where a being which conceives of itself as a being does something deliberate within the confines of what it thinks it knows.
    A video game "choice" is just a button pushed of those buttons presented which results in some electronic signals being oriented to produce a few different appearances that a human eye can read as something different on a screen from what was on a screen a moment before.
    It's all just pixels and shaped electronic noise.
    Now, if during your LAN party, you use a much-sought after magical axe to destroy a character your friend has built over a period of years in some online game "universe" that's been robbing him of actual life experience while he gained "experience points," and because of this he decides your years of friendship and sublimated intimacy are void and then a sociopathic rage erupts from within him that he can't even comprehend and he finds a real axe and comes to your home late one night and bludgeons you to death while inexplicably weeping... (oops, now I am making a movie, telling a story, making a stab at art…)
    Well... then you've made a choice And he did as well, even if his choice was to dedicate his conscious mind to convincing himself that he had no choice. Somehow the video game was involved in the human moments and co-ordinates of your choice…
    But there are no choices in the video game. Choice involves being. Not the inconsequential illusion of being.
    And once virtual landscapes have become so vast and the rules so flexible and fluid that you really do have total choice over what your avatar can "do," then you might eventually want to "sign up" for this thing that's been going on outside your (understandable) porno-cave retreat into existential cowardice.
    When you see a film and you are not so alienated that you are still able to conceive of yourself as a human being and then also are able to project that humanity into a character you are watching, you start to do something else besides "passively watch."
    (Now, yes, this depends on the film being a good piece of art-- that somebody risked enough of their soul to make. That's RARE. And to my mind consists of films you would probably not expect me to endorse-- don't confuse my heartfelt ramblings here with an endorsement of the current realm of "high arts." That's the blind leading the blind up to the emperor's naked ass right there.)
    Maybe that's the key here. Like I tried to express earlier and probably muddled over in my intolerable rambling: Art is only as deep as you are. The encounter is two ways. Someone wrought that piece with the inexplicable inside themselves (dare I say soul? I dare!) and only that inexplicable reckoning force inside you can encounter it.
    If your inner life is active-- if the era hasn't killed that in you by drowning an individual's basic sense of his self-- then you can not "passively watch" something that was constructed by another soul-- even if, and this is key-- that other soul has no idea what he even intended to say and doesn't even pretend to know himself enough to tell you the truth of his intentions to begin with.
    It's that someone was trying to tell the truth, you understand? And that you are trying to see the truth in a thing. That's the position you have to have the courage to take to have art mean something to you. Or life. (Life meaning something to you being the point of art.)
    It's the movement of that encounter that revitalizes and inspires. The sacred arc of it. Not necessarily what came over the bridge. But the miraculous and fleeting presence of the bridge itself.
    Video games allow for the possibility of "passively acting." That's what disturbs me the most. The illusion of living without the whole living part-- the collapse of all experience into the single narrow sense of the eye. Flickering pictures that even a house-cat is insightful enough to know not to swat at for long.
    You have to submit to art. As the artist submitted to the difficult act of creation. This sublime submission allows your ego to stop clogging up the transcendent pathway. It's a lot to ask-- and it's why bad art and bad cinema can make some of us so very angry-- not because we didn't "like what happened" to our "favorite character," but because the artist suddenly pulled a hack move, lost his courage and we were violently jerked away from that transformative moment of truth and found ourselves truly wounded by the experience.
    A video game tells you that you submit to nothing, that you get to "choose" and "act." That you are king while it makes a rat of you.
    Has anyone ever read a "choose your own adventure" book that affected them like a great novel? Of course not. Your job is to let the transcendence in. Just as the author's job was to painfully let it flow through him to infuse the page. It isn't your place to tell it what to do. And when that happens, how art is ruined. (I hate to make my point petty by this petty example-- but that's exactly why something like the TV series LOST (not good art to start with, but an easy common reference point here) came to absolute ruin. It stopped being inspired and started pandering to what the audience wanted. Once you start counting up the number of folks with TEAM WHOEVER t-shirts on in order to determine the majority preference, you've lost your way as an artist. And you end up with a facile finale that seeks to "acknowledge the love the audience has for these characters" rather than doing what an artist does and immortalizing the characters by doing something difficult and true with them-- making them into art. This is where the internet has been most ruinous to would-be-art-- people in the audience are pushing their borderline identities up against the media, trying to crawl into the screen with Carrie and the gals until their desire for participation has dampened the flame that drew them moth-like in the first place.
    So, yeah. In a nutshell: You don't "participate" in a piece of art. You deliberately and actively seek out and submit yourself to the encounter with a piece of art…
    you participate in life. Art exalts and enriches that participation.
    This is why video games can never be art. They consist of the exaltation of participation in and of itself without the only thing that can be participated in: real life.
    And they establish and encourage passive living- which seems to be the condition video games inspire in the reality of the lives of their converts. I guess that's what chills me.
    And for those of you who might even write here to defend your neo-monastic way of living... well, all I can say is you are not monks. Just because you harm nothing does not mean you have accomplished your humanity. The right to self-nullification is not necessarily being. And if you can tell me that nothing is ever gnawing in you deep down as you grasp your controller (and baby it grasps you) that longs for a world with teeth... well, more (nintendo) power to you.
    Huxley said all this better. And if some of you still read books, I recommend reading the immortal "Amusing Ourselves To Death" by Neil Postman. I imagine you can get it on your kindle. Or better yet an old musty copy with the smell of some stranger's life stained into it.
    I am now going to put something up that I'd really like to believe one or two of you human beings out there on the other side of some flickering screen might read:
    “Today, we are offered many products deprived of their malignant property: coffee without caffeine, cream without fat, beer without alcohol. The list goes on: the Colin Powell doctrine of warfare with no casualties could be seen as warfare without warfare, the redefinition of politics as the art of expert administration and tolerant multiculturalism as an experience of the Other deprived of its Otherness.
    “Is this not the attitude of the hedonistic Last Man? Everything is permitted, you can enjoy everything so long as it is deprived of the substance that makes it dangerous. Today’s hedonism combines pleasure with constraint - it is no longer the old notion of the “right measure” between pleasure and constraint, but a kind of pseudo-Hegelian immediate coincidence of opposites, with action and reaction coinciding. The ultimate example is arguably a chocolate laxative, available in the US, with the paradoxical injunction: “Do you have constipation? Eat more of this chocolate!”. Eat, that is, the very thing that causes constipation. The structure of the “chocolate laxative”, of a product containing the agent of its own containment, can be discerned throughout today’s ideological landscape. Two topics determine today’s liberal tolerant attitude towards Others: respect of and openness to Otherness and obsessive fear of harassment - in short, the Other is OK in so far as its presence is not intrusive, in so far as the Other is not really Other. So my duty to be tolerant towards the Other means, in effect, that I should not get too close to him/her, not intrude into his/her space - in short, that I should respect his/ her intolerance towards my overproximity. This is what is emerging more and more as the central “human right” in late capitalist society: the “right not to be”, that is, to be kept at a safe distance from Others.” - Zizek
    This was ten thousand nutshells. Not "in a" single one. My apologies again (but not really, see.) A buck fitty at least. An no more, I promise. Fingers Crossed.

  • jayman419 says:

    That was a long-winded and rather pompous way for you to say "I don't get video games, so I don't think they should count." You project all of these negative feelings and opinions onto every person who has ever picked up a controller, and try to elevate everyone else as smarter, more complete beings. You take the worst aspects of video games and compare them to the best aspects of movies.
    Movies are nothing more than the creators shoving their vision down your throat. You have absolutely no say in the direction of the story or the motivation of the characters. You either accept what the producers offer or you do not. There is no middle ground.
    You can't even try to say that the Twilight saga isn't a terrible beverage, at least not with a straight face. You can't say that "Saw (Random number)" is anything less than a hook-up, or that anyone walked out of Wild Things or Black Swan inspired to improve their life.

  • Milo says:

    I've figured it's better not to start an argument with you, but I do understand where you're coming from somewhat. I think you're treating it as more of a philosophical issue than it should be though. Just out of my own curiosity, what games and movies are your "favorites"?

  • Milo says:

    Aww... screw it. I'll argue a bit. I'm without much of my pent up anger now. I will use examples.
    Metroid Prime is a science-fiction adventure game set mostly on the dying planet of Tallon IV. Firstly, I say dying because the planet is being ravaged by a group of space terrorists. Secondly, I say mostly because the opening takes place on a biological research station run by these terrorists. The way you find out about their horrible experiments is by coming to their rescue after receiving a distress call. When you arrive, it is...
    I do not have enough time to make my point, but I promise you, I was almost there. I will return soon.

  • jayman419 says:

    I would put the best games up against the best movies and say they're easily comparable. Sometimes superior.
    Knights of the Old Republic is the best thing to happen to Star Wars since 1980. Red Dead Redemption is better than anything Hollywood has offered the genre since 1992. From the way the reviews are going, I'd say Ayn Rand fans would be better off picking up Bioshock.
    And some games feature excellent stories that couldn't be told in any other medium, at least not without losing something in the process. When Metal Gear Solid bombs at the box office next year (or whenever it finally comes out) and everyone is wondering why, those who have played the game will know it's because Psycho Mantis couldn't break through the 4th wall and physically affect you as a viewer. Portal wouldn't have the same appeal if you weren't able to imagine yourself trapped inside the computer's insane game. (See Cube, The.)
    The argument doesn't have to be so hostile, either. I was able to get through an entire post without once suggesting that people who disagree with me are too stupid to understand. But if you haven't played games, or if you haven't played since "back in the day", you really just can't understand what they've become.
    And I invite you to check it out. Playing a game isn't automatically any less productive than watching a movie. Watching a movie isn't automatically any more meaningful than playing a game. Either way, you're sitting on your arse and staring into the glow.

  • SunnydaZe says:

    Think of all the life you could be living instead of typing away about all the life we should be living!

  • Milo says:

    Okay, Back to my "argument".
    ... It is obvious something is wrong. After escaping you head down to the planet to find out more about what's going on. The planet is huge and beautiful. There's no characters or objectives besides exploring and defending yourself. BUT, upon entrance into a secret experimentation base on the planet. You find out Tallon IV is dying and these terrorist (space pirates) are accelerating it.
    This is the moment where you take action. You have "submitted" yourself to this world and now you can take action since you don't like what you see. Art is only as deep as you are. Yes, that is true. In Metroid Prime you have the choice to stop this even though it is a simulated world. But, isn't film a simulated world. No film can be entirely accurate of the world because it's constantly changing. It's a simulation. Video games are also a simulation, it's just that you can use them to emulate life in a different way. And maybe, just maybe they might inspire you to live your life in a different way, or think of a situation/person/etc. in a different light.
    Worlds can be realized so well in video games today that they can tell a story without reading anything or hearing any dialogue. Film can also do this, but not in the same way. Dead Space 2 has many of these rooms with narrative level detail placed upon them. Just as you could skip a paragraph and miss part of a description that would enhance a story, you can skip an area of a room and not understand what happened there, or even be able to think about what happened there. Dead Space takes place in a primarily secular future where environmental resources are close to nothing, and a religion based on a dangerous alien artifact is rapidly gaining speed. This world, even without any dialogue can serve as a warning for the future. We could be forced out into space, aimlessly searching for resources. The pain from this is visually represented throughout the entire game, even during the a viral outbreak involving the religion causes mass chaos. This is something that couldn't be achieved by film because the player is required to find this himself.
    Video games can also make you feel a certain way by putting yourselves in someone's shoes. For example, Red Dead Redemption is a western about a middle aged man being forced to hunt down his fellow gung-hoe gang members by the government, while simultaneously struggling with the terrible things he did while in that game, but deep down the game has themes about the death of the wild west and the industrial revolution of America. Red Dead Redemption let's you feel as though you really are a man struggling with these problems because of how subtle the immersion is in the game. People recognize you're deeds, they go about there daily lives, and the world is constantly changing according to it's rules. It's like a dream. Usually you don't realize you're dreaming until you wake up in your own bed. Even though dreams are only a mish-mash of your subconscious, while you're in them they feel real and everything that you're told or that you decide to do feels real. This is how good video games are.
    I do not believe you need to submit yourself for art to help enhance your life, because video games can do that without submission.
    I suggest you play Red Dead Redemption, the newly released LA Noire, Metroid Prime, Fallout 3, Oblivion, Dead Space 2, etc. I think if you look at them in a different light you may see, but if your philosophy is similar to Socrates and you could never be trapped in the cave, knowing their was light (playing a simulated world, as opposed to living life) then so be it. Although it might not seem like it, I enjoyed reading your "articles" of argument.

  • Jack Knive says:

    Touché! :)

  • Jack Knive says:

    I will definitely seek out some experience with the titles you've suggested. I don't intend to create a video-gameless cave of my own, that comments without experience of that which I am commenting on, certainly... (Of course, I am sure I could try heroin just to investigate and then wish to repeat the experience as well... :) I appreciate your words and thanks for reading my intolerable rambling. I am heartened by the time and lucidity spent by everyone on this thread.

  • Jack Knive says:

    We should all get off of our arses and out of the glow. You are absolutely right.
    And I do not mean to suggest there aren't an enormous amount of intellectually gifted and brilliant gamers. As a matter of fact, the existential escape offered by "virtual worlds" seems most appealing to sensitive, intelligent people who are toiling under the weight of those gifts.
    I am trying to talk about existential orientations. What someone deliberately does is who they are. That's identity. Not the collection of abstract traits they can be categorized under or platonically associated with.
    And yeah, by that real yardstick, I fail to measure up as well. That's what it means to live in the real world-- to fail-- even to die, eventually.
    I would like the smart, imaginative, sensitive souls out there hacking away at their fantasy images to come out and live again. That's all. Touch one another unmediated.
    Most of the gamers I've intimately known are just trying to meet other real souls from behind a crafted mask that protects them from vulnerability-- and that's not all that different from what human social life has always been.
    The problem is the desire for personal invulnerability, protection and safety breed sadism and a desire for only one-way conversations and exchanges. Which means nobody grows. Nobody lives, really. They just sit on a shelf, collecting dust while they look to recruit admirers.
    And I don't mean to be hostile at all or cause controversy.
    Ayn Rand was a cunt, though.

  • Jack Knive says:

    No, those films are shit. Absolutely shit. Not all films are art. Very few are. But they CAN be.
    I am saying that the inherent structure of the video game prevents it from entering into a transcendent dialogue.
    And certainly, many people wile away their lives "watching movies"-- but profound ones, and a profound experience with one does not make you want to watch twelve more hours of movies. Like a potato chip leading you to five more bags of lay's.
    Good art exhausts the alienation that led you to seek out the diversion of encountering the art to begin with-- then you rejoin actual life.
    After a fun flick,. you get back in line or maybe plot out buying the 5 disc special edition.
    After a film that has attained the level of art, you leave the theatre and call someone you've avoided for years-- or maybe go home and make love to the partner you were fighting-- or quit your job and move to another city... I have seen a meaningful encounter with cinema inspire all of those and more.
    A video game, like a bag of Lay's- is designed to make you eat more. And more and more and more. Until you forget what daylight felt like on your face.
    Some of my favorite films I have seen only once and could not bear to watch again. Laugh all you want. I know it sounds silly, maybe even not desirable…
    …but to know that I am not alone, to have seen in a film depicted the excruciating or joyous human moments that we universally forget we share…
    I don't know… maybe we just haven't found our Bergman of video game design yet.
    Maybe he's reading this right now. Put the chips down and get on it, buddy.

  • Jack Knive says:

    Mr. Magoo made lots of misanthropic ramblings. I think you'd like him...
    And yes, Mr. Magoo-- staring Sean Penn, directed by Gus Van Sant, where Magoo gets his vision repaired and then realizes he desires other men.... coming July 2012.

  • Milo says:

    Thank you for reading my grammatically incorrect rambling as well. Seeing as you have a strong stand when it comes to the objectivism of Ayn Rand, you should check out Bioshock. It's heavily inspired by her work "atlas shrugged", and not entirely in the way of supporting her.

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