Are video games art?

We pose the question because this week saw both the BAFTA video game awards, and the opening of the The Art of Video Games exhibition at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Lets start off with a hearty congratulations to our favourite Sweed, Markus @notch Persson who picked up the Game Special Award at the Baftas. We aslo congratulate British Developers at Rocksteady Studios for the latest Batman instillment, Arkham City, which Won 2 awards, one in the Action category and one in Performer for Mark Hamill’s role as The Joker, which is well deserved for the Star Wars 2nd favourite hero, assuming we agree Hans Solo is the cool hero of course.

Portal 2 was the big winner, unsurprisingly as it was an enormously satisfying sequel with fun logic puzzles, humour and great story telling. Funnily enough it picked up Bafta’s for Best Game, Best Design and Best Story.

Rayman Origins also picked up a cheecky best Artistic Achievement Award. So well done to all, for the full list see http://www.bafta.org/games/awards/nominees-winners-2012,2892,BA.html.

Now on to the Smithsonian, apparently there are 3 parts to the Art of Video Games exhibition, the first is where you listen to the designers, the second where you can play from a selection of 5 games which is essentially showcasing the building blocks of game mechanics, story telling and other aspects that games have since built upon. The exhibit is on from March 16th – September 30th. Some of the classic title on display are pacman, zelda, super mario, pitfall, and many more.

The debate as to wether video games are art depends on who you are, some find that 8 bit graphics are art, take Minecraft for instance, and recreated megaman in blocks is like pixel art, and the fact its built in a 3d world is pretty funky. Then there’s the upcoming retro city rampage, which envoles a feeling of nostalgia for old nes, games, i could consider that art too. Moving into hi res games, some of the graphics are breathtaking, sometimes almost real, and sometimes just a beautiful creation. Games like limbo have that noir look to it and is definitely an artistic view. But of course with games, there is more to the art than just the imagery, theres the story, and the gameplay mechanics all of which can be an artform. Portals puzzles are well thought out and constructed, again an artform.

So if games aren’t art, what are they?

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