Are Videogames Art?

According to The Smithsonian Institute, the answer is a resounding YES!Hello, this is Mark Freedman, reporting live above Washington D.C. aboard News Chopper 64. A new exhibit is coming to the Smithso

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According to The Smithsonian Institute, the answer is a resounding YES!

Hello, this is Mark Freedman, reporting live above Washington D.C. aboard News Chopper 64. A new exhibit is coming to the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum featuring the evolution of videogames from an artistic standpoint. And from now until April 7, you can actually vote on what games will be featured. It’s easy to sign up, and you can vote for 80 games, although it seems like you can only vote for one in a preallocated selection of three. Oh, cruel world, you had to put A Link to the Past, Chrono Trigger, and EarthBound in the same group of three?! It appears to be mostly mainstream games, which are not necessarily the most artistic ones. I was also expecting to see more games that actually featured museums, like Ghostbusters.

E.T. for Atari is a voting choice. What’s their angle here—to figure out which game is artistically awful? It’s well understood that this is one of the worst games ever; E.T. actually phoned the landfill, because they didn’t know what to do with all the copies. There will also be five playable games in the exhibit, including ‘Cola favorite The Secret of Monkey Island.

zonkeyUnfortunately, The Lackluster Quest of Zonkey Peninsula was not chosen.

Myst is another playable title, which makes sense—it’s the game I think of when I’m thinking about games with artistic merit. Also anguish, torture, and ultimately resorting to the strategy guide.

So cast your votes, pick your favorite games, but remember: Graphics and blood are not what make something artistic.

3 votes, average: 7.34 out of 103 votes, average: 7.34 out of 103 votes, average: 7.34 out of 103 votes, average: 7.34 out of 103 votes, average: 7.34 out of 103 votes, average: 7.34 out of 103 votes, average: 7.34 out of 103 votes, average: 7.34 out of 103 votes, average: 7.34 out of 103 votes, average: 7.34 out of 10 (You need to be a registered member to rate this post.)
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About the Contributor


Since 2006

Mark Freedman is a hard hitting reporter on just what the crap is going on in the world of video games.He also writes reviews and manages the staff Q&A column. Occasionally, he has been known to take a shower. zzzz

4 Comments

  1. not 1 minute after telling my wife that “It’s a damn shame people will just vote for their favorite games and not the ones with the most artistic merit” I’m given the Chrono Trigger/Link to the Past/Earthbound choice and choose Earthbound with the lame excuse “Hey, it has minimalist charm!”

    Also, the game I think of when I think of games with artistic merit, Ico, was sadly absent from the voting. Looks like it’ll be a cool exhibit though.

  2. When I look at a painting, I try to think of what the story is it’s trying to tell me, and I tried to think the same with these video games. Unfortunately, there were many games that I’ve never played, so was I supposed to pick a game because I liked it over a game I never played? I generally like a game for some artistic quality, I think.

  3. The reason ET is there must be because it’s an ode to the depressing fact that great films are often ruined by awful cheaply-made video game tie-ins.

    =P

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