Why games are not art.



Did you see what I did there? The games are/aren't art thing is long dead. Nobody talks about it anymore and we're not ones to be ahead of the curve! However watching some of the top artists and art critics talk absolute bollocks about what is or isn't even good or bad art in the excellent Saatchi's Best of British TV show has inspired this post. We are not ones to bore you all to death with information written in paragraphs. Our preferred method is the list:

1) Games are of too broad appeal. From a midnight addiction to Minesweeper through to the latest mini game on the iphone. Everyone has at some point played a game. It is really hard to be elitist when everyone knows what you are talking about and can call you out on the BS. So games aren't art because it is too popular. Also, a game which nobody has played makes headlines for a scene taken out of context. A tunnel in which an artist rapes people barely makes Gawker media. People care about games even if it is in a negative way. Few people care about art.

2) Games are made by too many people. One artist is fine. Two makes a collaboration but the armies that fill the credits of most games today? Too many. The pedestal is not big enough for all of them.

3) Games are too objective. Not completely objective otherwise every game would be like the next (well this does happen). But if somebody makes a rubbish game they would never get away with "I was inspired by Indian immigrants outside my studio". People would just say your game is shit Midway and you are full of bollocks.

4) Games are too demanding. Few works of art would demand that you spend 100 hours engaging with them in order that you could talk to a fellow art enthusiast about the work with some level of authority. In fact with the exception of interactive art and audience participation performance art the only demand made is that people go to an art gallery to feel cultural and stuff. Art critics and the like already write a gazillion volumes on art as it is. Imagine if they got into the games scene. Ugh.

5) Games are too modern. The currency of the art world is private views with plenty of canapes and wine, exclusive tours, self indulgence and making everybody rich. The currency of the gaming community is flame wars on forums, a community wide but individual celebration of a new games launch and the occasional awkward moment IRL. To try to force the community to attend galleries, exhibitions and lectures would ruin a lot of what makes the game community so vibrant.

6) Gamers have a long way to go. It's true. We can't even agree that it is okay to play games on a console, PC or mobile device. Artists have gone meta and can't even agree what is and isn't art (essential a panel of 14 big people in the art world dictate this).

7) Games are too cheap. Well it's no good if everyone* can get their hands on some of the greatest games of all time for barely the price of a blank canvas! How is anyone to feel privileged if they can just download it from steam or buy it off ebay? Stupid games.

8)There is no celebrity culture in gaming. Not necessarily a bad thing but it does mean that celebrating heroes is tricky and as such gamers don't really have much of a voice. Well maybe not yet. Nobody to fight our corner, or go on TV and make sensible comments or to tell the PM to back off unless you know what you are talking about! Yeah. Shit needs to get political.

9) There aren't so many big breasts in art. It is true. There are breasts in art but not so consistently as big as the ones in games. Guys, I really think we need to tone down the breast thing. It's just embarrassing and it is holding us back.

So there we have it. Proof that games are not art. But that is not such a bad thing. It means there's no elitism for one thing. Any more to add to the list? Pop something in the comments then you freak.

*Excludes most of Africa, large parts of South America and Asia.

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