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Video Games: Art Or Fun?
Posted on Thursday, April 14 2011 @ 14:47:11 Eastern

The discussion about video games as an art form has become a widespread topic throughout the gaming community. Just the other day, a few friends of mine were having discussing it in quite some detail and I was listening in passively on it, until one of my friends stated: “Games should be purely for pleasure. Games shouldn’t be about statements, or feelings, just fun!”

 My initial feeling was to simply shrug him off as close-minded, but it brought up a question in my mind: Should video games only focus on creating fun for the player? Should video game developers shift focus to purely on artistic merit? To summarize my answer to both questions: Neither.

I think that it should go both ways. Video games need to change as they progress as an industry and a pastime, so games should evolve into an art medium. At the same time, video games are games when all is said and done, so there will always be games made for pure dumb pleasure. As a matter of fact, I do not see art as exclusive to fun and vice versa. I think video games, with proper direction, can become a great example of a fusion of the two. To weigh in on this, Shadow of the Colossus, is a game that handles quite well, mixing a lonely trek across empty wilderness, and tense, pulse-pounding battles within giant stone behemoths.

As things stand now, there are plenty of independent game developers who are blazing the frontier of artistic games. At the same time, there is no shortage of mainstream titles that are filling the pleasure category of games (the Gears of War series, Dynasty Warriors, etc.) In some ways some of the independent titles aren’t so much games as interactive experience (the one I am thinking of is essentially about walking an old woman through a graveyard but I don’t remember the specific title), but perhaps that is simply the way that they will evolve into a fully-fledged art form.

Video Games, as they stand right now, are completely capable of reaching to more artistic audience, while continuing to provide us with fun experiences to kill time with. However video games might change in the future, perhaps splitting into two separate categories of “video games” and “interactive experiences,” or becoming of hybrid vessel that can appeal to both sensibilities, I think we can all rest assured that there is plenty of fun waiting in the future. 
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