Reading Blog 11 – October 14, 2015

“Chapter 1: Art” (p. 9-17) by Ian Bogost from “How To Do Things With Videogames.”

Since it’s rise in popular culture, there has been a heated debate about whether or not video games should be considered as art. In this week’s reading, Ian Bogost makes an argument about why video games should be considered as an art form. Bogost claims that in the past, the definition of art has been reformed and recreated. Art doesn’t have one standard definition, because it keeps changing as generations go on. For example, Bogost discusses the avant-garde movement, and how it made art hard to distinguish because of it’s rejection to art’s traditional roles. Video games, Bogost argues, fit this criteria as well. Though it may not fit society’s traditional view of art, video games are creating new standards for art. He goes on to describe the idea of proceduralist games which “rely primarily on computational rules to produce their artistic meaning” (13). This means that the expression of art comes from the way the players play the game. These games, though their template may be simple or two-dimensional, still have a deeper meaning when you play them. They emulate an experience that you may have had, an emotion that you may have felt, or a way in which you have viewed the world. Bogost also claims that the art isn’t just the video game itself. It’s the experience of playing the game, and analyzing what it might mean. It’s a new, interactive way to experience art. And just because it doesn’t fit the traditional roles of art, doesn’t mean that it can’t be considered as an art form.

Links:

  1. “Video games and art: Why does the media get it so wrong?” http://www.theguardian.com/technology/gamesblog/2014/jan/08/video-games-art-and-the-shock-of-the-new
  2. “Video games can never be art” http://www.rogerebert.com/rogers-journal/video-games-can-never-be-art – the infamous article discussed by Bogost in the beginning of the chapter
  3. “The Art of Video Games” http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-art-of-video-games-101131359/?no-ist

Discussion Questions:

  1. Bogust mentions how certain video games like to keep their templates simple in order for the players to understand its deeper meaning. Does this mean that more developed or more realistic games don’t relay deeper meanings as well as simple games do?
  2. What kind of deeper meanings can derive from, what Bogost calls “concrete games” such as SimCity and Madden?
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