Video Games as Art: Revisited

Browsing the on-line articles at the American Society for Aesthetics' website, I came across an article by Aaron Smuts titled "Video Games and the Philosophy of Art", where he discusses the current ambiguity and half-heartedness in determining whether videogames could be considered art (philosophically), a top that I discussed earlier, and that originated a brief experiment in interactivity (as discussed here). He, too, spends some time on the topic of "interactivity", and states:

...video games are possibly the first concreative, mechanically reproduced form of art: they are mass artworks shaped by audience input.
He also points out that to argue for or against possible aesthetic values in videogames, one must first stake out a definition of what a videogame actually is. This, indeed, seems an area that needs work. Ineed the whole point of the brief article is to discuss how underdeveloped this idea is, even when it contains and exemplifies some of the core problems and issues within the field of aesthetics.

This lack of real debate is probably due to the fact that people are resilient towards change of the status-quo, especially when their professional life has been spent analyzing long existent forms. New idea require new techniques, and substantial risk for making embarrassing mistakes. The entry of the upstart videogames into the aesthetics debate is probably just a retelling of the entries of film and photography into the hallowed realms of art. Both of these mediums, like video games, encountered strong resistance and derision when first presented as an addition to what was classically defined as "art". Eventually, though, they became a topic of critical discussion and analysis. I see the same fate for videogames, though it may take longer than film and art for the very thing stated in the quote above, the fundamental novelty of the emergent art form. Film and photography were similar to existent arts (stage and painting, respectively), while video games are largely unique. They could, though, be seen as a mishmash of various existent aesthetic mediums, such as narrative, performance, and such.

In this light video games could be seen as the culmination, or synthesis, of aesthetics. Combining aspects of everything else we call an art. There is complex narrative, visual art, music, the structure of timing, and several unique metrics which would assuredly arise as unique to this particular medium.

I agree with Mr. Smuts, this indeed is a field that need serious philosophic scrutiny.

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