Today, I want to talk about something a little different.
A lot of things come in groups of seven. There are seven continents, there are seven seas, there are even seven deadly sins. There’s seven days in a week, seven samurai, and seven little dwarfs. There’s even seven Harry Potter books, but most of all, there are seven different art forms. Today, I want to talk about the last one: the seven art forms. Many people have mixed opinions about this, but I believe we are witnessing the birth of an 8th art form. This hasn’t happened since the birth of cinema, and I believe we perceive that 8th art form the same way we used to perceive cinema in its early years. To me, video games are the 8th art form. I know, it’s a bold statement, but I’ll explain myself. So, why do I consider video games to be an art form? To answer the question, we must first determine what is a piece of art.
A lot of people say art is a creation that makes you feel a set of emotions. Now, these people aren’t wrong but if we go by that rule, the drawing you made when you were 4 years old could be considered a piece of art for someone like your parents. Anything can be art and that’s what’s so amazing about it; art is everywhere. So yes, by that extent, video games are an art form. However, the question can be slightly modified to become the following: why do I consider video games to be part of what we call the fine arts? Why do I classify video games in the same group as music, theatre, cinema, or even literature? Many people disagree, but I strongly believe the medium has its place among the group. I also believe that they will never be considered as a fine art, and that is because of their reputation.
From what I’ve witnessed, video games have one of the most negative reputations of any medium today. From news outlets to scared parents, it seems like everybody has a grudge against video games except the people who actually play, work, or even patronize them. The reputation that video games have is mostly because they are an easy target. School shootings have been reported to be caused by video games and the effect they have on our lives, but there’s not a single scientific study that links the two. Look, I can understand if you don’t enjoy playing video games, but bitching about them because they are an easy target is not going to change anything. People who don’t enjoy watching movies don’t point fingers towards them whenever something bad happens. Understand something before judging it. That being said, apart from the negative view we have about them, why don’t we consider them like art?
Video games are in the same place cinema was about a hundred years ago. Apart from the negative reputation they have, video games are perceived as an entertainment, and that’s not wrong. Cinema used to be considered a form of entertainment, but after a few masterpieces and its effect on our culture, we started treating it like other art forms. That’s why people don’t consider video games to be an art form already, because they think its only for entertainment and that it has a bad effect on the people who play them. I find that sad because video games are a combination of many different art forms, and a lot of people are missing out on some amazing experiences. What’s even sadder is when non-gamers look at big games like Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty and say video games are only about shooting people. Really? That’s your argument? That’s the equivalent of watching a Michael Bay movie and saying cinema is only about big explosions and supermodels. I mean for fuck’s sake, understand something before judging it.
Alright, I’ve driven off subject a little so let’s go back to the main question: why do I consider video games to be part of the fine arts? It’s simple really, I believe that statement because of the experience video games give me. They’ve made me experience a large number of different things. From laughing to crying, I can’t think of an emotion a video game hasn’t made me feel yet. Fine arts are about seeking beauty and meaningfulness in a creation, and I’ve found that in video games more than anywhere else. The fact that I am in some sort of control of what’s to come makes the experience a lot more memorable. Even Noam Chomsky stated that communication is a lot more effective when it’s done with the 5 senses rather than just using language. Language utilizes one of our senses while video games can use up to four of our senses. That’s why we remember physical experiences more than anything else, and video game creators know that. Video games are, for me, the most effective way of communicating a message. That communication results in extreme emotions that can’t be conveyed by other art forms. A movie that might’ve made me shed a tear would’ve probably made me cry if it was a video game. Why? Because I am part of the creation. I am part of the experience and I become the character. I don’t observe what the character feels, I feel it too, and that’s why I consider video games to be the higher form of art.
Video games have changed my life more than I care to admit, and they will continue to influence me for the rest of my time on this little planet. However, there’s a question that remains… How are they a piece of art? I’ve answered the “why”, but I think I’ll keep the “how” for another a entry. In the mean time, I’ll go play Journey or something like that…