Games as Art

At TGAM we don't care if anyone thinks of games as art or not. Do you remember the early 2000's when you couldn't move for the internets, mags and forums explaining are games art question? Endless touting of Ico or Rez as pure art. All the while in America there were loads of videogame-art exhibitions. Have you noticed how all the posts this year seem to be very nostalgic? Is it because with the exception of "Halo 3 not yet released" is the only news at the moment? Who can say. Anyway. TGAM, one time only, no more discussion; GAMES AS ART.

If we were pushed we could put Games under the umbrella of art but I wouldn't. Art and Art Galleries fall under my remit as part of my real work outside of Planet TGAM and if you want to associate Games with pretense, boredom, elitism, waste of time and evolutionary worthless then yes, Games are Art*.

All I know is that I'd rather watch final fantasy AMVs set to that song by Linkin Park endlessly than watch David Beckham sleeping, people shouting, a bowl of fruit decomposing or a naked woman slowly slide off her chair. I'd prefer to play Devil May Cry on Dante must Die difficulty than sit through a typical art lecture telling me that obscure foreign art made by an obscure artist during a boring period in history has revolutionised the way we live today. I'd prefer to watch reuns of GamesMaster or a documentary on why Devil Dice is turning American Teens into killers than watch some Oxbridge nonce with 20 silver spoons up his arse explore the 18th Century artwork in a grand mansion in Wiltshire. Of course you may like art but do you go around denouncing things as art? I'm a scientist by training but I don't denounce things as Science or not science.But I guess I'm busy whereas the thousands of work for food art historian graduates have nothing better to do than to convince the Guardian or museums that in fact Pong is the most significant work of art in the 21st Century.

Both gaming and art are marginalised and many people choose to leave both to do other things like get laid, buy houses, drive fast, die on a mountain or have kids. So there is a lot of common ground there. But there is potential. The problem is with a lot of game art is that, as my good friend Brother of ChunkySalsa says a lot of it is "one line art" i.e. it can be explained in one line. There's no deeper levels. Often it looks nice because it's digital. Members of the public say "ooooh", gamers says "i think the fourth level of the Thing would communicate this idea better" and art critics say "what a nice use of media but it's not really art". Game-art needs to either explore gaming or to provoke a viewer response.

Here's some one line game art people should do. Unemployed new media artists feel free to steal this ideas as long as you reference That Guy's a Maniac and as long as you do a sex roleplay with your partner where you call each other Cunzy1 1 and Richie:

1) Record someone playing through Final Fantasy VII to the end recording every single button press. They should then stick Playstation controller buttons to a wall in the sequence in which they were pressed. This piece of art would communicate the dynamic nature of player-controller interface albeit in a static way. It would also highlight how much fucking time gamers waste on a big game with a silly storyline.

2) Create a selection of pikups from Halo and leave them strewn around the gallery. People can pick them up and carry them but they have a timer. When the timer goes off gallery visitors have to drop them. This art highlights the concept of death and camping in FPS as well as highlighting our own mortality

3) Wall of death. An artist should get the online records for one of the squillions of online FPS. They should then construct a wall similar to the Vietnam Veteran's Wall and put all the tags up of people who were fragged. Gamers would come to see if their name was there and it would be controversial, which art galleries and critics love because it condones violence and equates real war with shooting games. Also, I would love to see Cunzy1 1 engraved onto a nice marble.

4) Something Awful Gallery. Someone should just rip all the hilarious videogame photoshop phridays by the genius goons something awful. This art would replace the usual elitism of art galleries with the elitism of the message boards and forums of the internets. The elitism of not knowing your game history.

5) Put Rez on a TV in a gallery and everytime someone says "Oh cool, Rez!" the building burns down instantly. This art explores the themes of combustion and going on and on and on about really average old games. Cough Resident Evil

6) Build the museum from Animal Crossing. That would work. Well Wired and boing boing would love it I guess.

If you are an out of work arts graduate and I suspect if you are an arts graduate you are unemployed and you want more ideas for lazy art based on videogames to get some exhibition together in a Local Authority Museum then give us a shout. We're full of shit ideas like this that you only wish you could of dreamt of that time your friend invited you to an art exhibition where you got to speak to the director for five minutes.


*Dinosaur art is of course the greatest art ever and dinosaur games are art this is not up for debate


  1. Anonymous16:56

    "a naked woman slowly slide off her chair"

    Meat curtains?


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