游戏是不是艺术的论战在Gamasutra网站上已上演过多次。如，Simon Parkin曾发文举证：Guillermo Del Toro（墨西哥电影导演）捍卫游戏作为艺术的合法性，指责反对者“没玩过游戏”没有发言权。Grant Tavinor的书《The Art of Videogames》采用叙述学方法和艺术史知识来研究游戏；Brian Moriarty在GDC（游戏开发者大会）发言和文章《An Apology For Roger Ebert》运用诸多理论来解释这个问题。其他争论则以宣言的方式称如果“尿壶”可以算是艺术品，那游戏怎么就不艺术了？
然而，Darth Vader（《星球大战》中的人物）和Julia Child（游戏邦注：因将法国菜介绍给美国大众而出名的厨师、作家和电视名人）的厨房也被放到博物馆去了，他们算不算艺术品呢？当然不算，但他们对西方文明太重要了，应该受到作为与文明相关的艺术的礼遇。艺术与文明存在诸多关联，电子游戏何偿不是如此。
其他写作人借用康德的作品来论证为什么游戏不是艺术。可是，当代艺术鲜有被当成美的、崇高的、合宜的或优秀的东西来探讨或判断。几乎没有当代艺术展会被归入康德在他的《Critique of Judgment》中所谓的艺术品之列。也难怪，该文自1790年发表后，世界和理论都发生了翻天覆地的变化。
独立团体是是20世纪60年代，领导美国波普运动（Pop Art movement）的先驱。波普艺术流派包括许多著名的艺术家，如Andy Warhol、 Jasper Johns 和独立团体的成员Richard Hamilton。
独立团体成立于1952年，由一帮年轻的当代艺术学会（Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA)）会员在英国伦敦组建，其成员主要是设计师、建筑师、艺术家和理论学家等。该团体在ICA成员中举行会议，鼓励关于现代技术和流行文化（游戏邦注：包括描绘奢侈的生活作风的美国广告、汽车设计和科幻电影）的理智的讨论。美国杂志描绘的灯红酒绿的生活，与战后的英国那种荒凉的环境和严格的额定配给制生活形成强烈对比，引发了该团体对其产生的浓厚兴趣，从而诞生了波普艺术。
理论学家Omar Calabrese 和 Angela Ndalianis曾写道，20世纪和21世纪的娱乐与17世纪的巴洛克风格，即崇尚改作、幻想、暴力和血腥有着相似点。但是，当代娱乐却带有新巴洛克风格。
Moriarty在《An Apology For Roger Ebert》中总结道，改作、续作和仿作也并非都是拙劣的作品，但都是新巴洛克艺术。巴洛克时期，人们迷恋重述相同的故事，就像我们喜好《最终幻想》的每一次重制。单个主题的拓展和延续就是靠系列来完成的。对于巴洛克艺术家，系列是不断地用现代化的视觉表现形式（素描、油画或雕塑等）重述当代的背景，这就是基督的生与死。对于游戏玩家，系列是20世纪80年代或90年代的硬盘游戏的重新发明或发行。
第一人称射击游戏和Silicon Knights的《Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem》展现了巴洛克对光学和“错视”的偏爱，《Eternal Darkness》为游戏玩家提了完全实现的共存空间。开发者创造了“理智”的概念作为可测量的、可得可失的量值。理智的缺失引起技术上的错误，包括熟悉的音量条出现和调小声音，游戏删除本身。
《Eternal Darkness》中的“疯狂”设定让人回想起《合金装备》中的Psycho Mantis。Psycho Mantis 是一个心灵感应大师，他能解读玩家角色的记忆卡。Psycho Mantis 评论一个玩家保存多少次游戏，从而打破了游戏和玩家之间的界限，并且在记忆卡中探讨其他游戏。
疯狂机制和Psycho Mantis 的心灵感应都是借助各种艺术技巧把玩家引诱到游戏中，这与巴洛克天花板的原理相似。这种虚幻让玩家开始质疑：游戏怎么如此了解他们，把他们带出玩游戏的安全区，带入承认虚幻存在的叙述中。就像油画会使观众相信画中人在与之对视，步入现实。
其他游戏“拼贴”案例，包括《Marvel vs Capcom》和《Super Smash Bros》系列等。在《Super Smash Bros》中，角色来自《超级马里奥兄弟》的马里奥可以和来自《塞尔达传说》的Link或来自《口袋妖怪》的皮卡丘吵架。这类游戏的组合效果就像毕加索和布拉克的立体画相拼贴。
玩家不必知道所有Square Enix的主角才能享受游戏的乐趣，但玩家如果知道所有Square Enix的角色，就会明确地表达对游戏的不同理解。拼贴画与此类似，熟悉各种引用素材，会观众产生各种各样的解读。
《王国之心》有着不完全、永久的成形和熟悉感。Donald Kuspit 在他的文章《Collage: The Organizing Principle of Art and the Age of Relativity of Art》中把它与拼贴画相提并论。
艺术与电子游戏的另一个交集是挪用。Nicolas Bourriaud 在2002年完成的书《后期制作》中，他观察到在当代艺术家之间流淌的一股趋势，即运用预制对象。不是创作一幅拼贴画，艺术家重新定义一个对象，使其意义和用途发生改变。在现实生活中，这样的例子如：从跳蚤市场买来的缝纫机可以转作桌子用；一个DJ采样的歌可以谱出一首新曲。
Brian Jungen的设计原型New Understanding #23（2005年），挪用了限定版Nike Air Jordan篮球鞋，这款篮球鞋主要是面向非裔美国人消费者。Jungen融合这两种高度编码的人工产品，产生了能展示这两种文化的第三种产品。它通过利用消费品来显示了文化的衰落和同化，从而创造了真正的本土化产品。
其他艺术家如Myfawny Ashmore 和 Cory Arcangel，挪用了流行电子游戏《超级马里奥兄弟》来创造新的艺术品。
电影和游戏研究理论学家Alexander Galloway 和Bob Rehak注意到，FPS类游戏的玩法挪用了主观镜头。特别是Robert Montgomery在1947年拍摄完成的黑色电影《Lady in the Lake》，该电影大量地使用主观镜头。
Art and Video Games: Intersections
by Diana Poulsen
[Art historian Diana Poulsen takes a closer look at the "are games art?" discussion, bringing in an academic perspective steeped in knowledge of games to help untangle the thorny question of what art, precisely, is, and what relationship games have with it.]
The argument for and against games as art has been made several times on Gamasutra. These have included: “Del Toro Defends Video Games As Art, Accusing Detractors Of Being ‘Out Of Touch’” by Simon Parkin which simply stated that director Guillermo Del Toro thought games were art. Several books, such as The Art of Videogames by Grant Tavinor, employ a narratological approach with a dash of art historical bent for examining games, and Brian Moriarty’s GDC presentation and article, An Apology For Roger Ebert, tackles the issue using a variety of theorists. Other arguments are manifesto style, arguing that if a “piss pot” can be a work of art, then why can’t a game?
Many of the arguments have been overly simplistic, relying on art’s beauty and stating that if a work is beautiful or evokes emotion, it must be art. However there are artworks that are outright ugly or evoke no emotion in a viewer, but are considered works of art.
Some writers have suggested that if a game is exhibited in a museum it must be a work of art. Many museums have created exhibitions on gaming including the Museum of Moving Images and the most recent Smithsonian exhibition.
However, are Darth Vader and Julia Child’s kitchen considered works of art since they are in museums? No, but they are significant to Western Culture and should be treated, like video games, as having as much cultural relevance as art.
Several have argued that games cannot be art since they are interactive, but interactive art, as well as some performance art, require participation, occasionally taking the form of a game. For example, several of Toshio Iwai’s interactive art pieces were re-created for the video game Electroplankton for the Nintendo DS.
Other writers have used the works of Immanuel Kant to argue why a game can’t be art. However, contemporary art is rarely discussed or judged as beautiful, sublime, agreeable, or good, as Kant did. Hardly any contemporary art exhibition would fall under what Kant deems a work of art in his Critique of Judgement. The world and theory has changed significantly since it was released in 1790.
It has been argued that art is meaningless. Art is never meaningless; if it is meaningless is it not a work of art.
So far in the games as art debate there is a struggle to define art in relation to gaming. There is no easy definition for art and for every example a counter-argument can be provided.
The big question is: does it matter if a video game is a work of art?
No, it does not make a difference. A video game declared as a work of art does not increase its value, cause it to become intellectual, cultural, or more enjoyable. Video games are already valuable, intellectual, cultural, and enjoyable without the “work of art” label.
Video games are a discipline in their own right and include several fields of study. Ludology, the study of games, examines games and their relationship to traditional games. The video game industry looks at technological advancements and how to improve gaming. The newer genre of theory, Game Studies, is the interdisciplinary field devoted to the study of games.
Video games do not have to be art works. However, art and games are connected. Video games are in essence a visual medium that has yet to be properly contextualized within the confines of art and visual culture.
The face of art history has changed in past 60 years. Art isn’t demarcated into strict categories defined by Modern theory. Many works of art blur arbitrary categories. Art history decodes art works and visual culture, rather than making judgements based on preconceived notions of taste.
In the 21st century many art programs as well as first year art history classes have changed their titles from “Art History” to the more inclusive “Art History and Visual Culture”. Visual culture includes popular culture. Pop culture includes video games. Yes, you read that right. The study of art history and visual culture can include video games.
“Visual culture” is the all-encompassing term and study that examines culture as a whole. Culture is not divided in separate categories but overlaps and influences each facet. This is an argument put forth by many groups, including the Independent Group in the 1950s.
The Independent Group is the predecessor of 1960s American Pop Art movement. Pop Art consisted of renowned artists such as Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns as well as Independent Group member, Richard Hamilton.
The Independent Group was formed in 1952 by younger members of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London, England. It was composed of designers, architects, artists and theorists. The group hosted meetings at the ICA encouraging intellectual discussion of modern technology and popular culture, including American advertisements depicting a luxurious lifestyle, the design of cars and science fiction films. The group had a particular fascination with American magazines since they depicted a life of plenty and luxury, contrasted to the bleak reality and harsh rationing of post war Britain.
The group believed that all manners of cultural production are equal, and that instead of making judgements based on value or separating them into different categories, scholars should instead decode these artefacts.
In 1958, group member Lawrence Alloway vocalized his insistence on the inclusion of popular culture into the art world by writing that:
“… Rejection of the mass produced arts is not, as critics think, a defence of culture but an attack on it. The new role for the academic is the keeper of the flame; the new role for the fine arts is to be one of the possible forms of communication in an expanding framework that also includes the mass arts.”i
Alloway believed that with the rise of mass culture the definition of art should be broadened to include popular culture, because it is a reflection of contemporary culture.ii
Television, magazines, cars, the fine arts, video games etc., are all forms of communication and expressions of culture. All should be included in the all-encompassing category known as visual culture. No longer would pop culture and art be thought of as two separate ideas, but examined together as part of contemporary culture as whole.
The argument against the inclusion of video games into the art world was also made against film and photography at their inception. Alexander Galloway postulated that there is a “thirty year rule” for a new medium to be accepted.iii
However, games are not a recent invention, but have been around for thousands of years, and are featured in paintings such as the Backgammon Players, attributed to Pieter Codde from the mid-17th century. Board game designs have influenced several abstract painters and the French word for play, “jou”, appears in several collages by Pablo Picasso.
Culture is connected. Culture crosses intellectual boundaries and manifests in fantastic ways. There is a little bit of art history in video games, and I will trace a brief history of the intersections between art and games.
Theorists Omar Calabrese and Angela Ndalianis have written that 20th and 21st century entertainment has a similar 17th century Baroque fascination with remakes, illusion, violence and gore. Contemporary entertainment is the Neo-Baroque.
Remakes, sequels and spin-offs are not all kitsch, as Moriarty concludes in An Apology For Roger Ebert, but are Neo-Baroque. The Baroque period was obsessed with re-telling the same story just as we are obsessed with each remake of Final Fantasy. Seriality allows for the continuation and the expansion of a single theme. For the Baroque artist, it was the life and death of Christ, retold in a contemporary setting with updated visuals (drawing, painting or sculptural techniques). For gamers, it is the latest 1980s or 1990s game re-invented or released in HD.
Game developers and filmmakers, like Baroque artists, constantly invent new ways to blur the barrier between reality and illusion in order to heighten the player or viewer’s experience. This illusion is called trompe-l’oeil: extremely realistic drawing or painting that deceives the viewer to believe it is real.
It is also referred to as the Baroque quality of virtuosity; however it dates as far back as Ancient Greece and Rome. In the preserved city of Pompeii (79 AD) there are examples of murals of false hallways and windows to make the space appear larger. In Baroque ceiling paintings, it often appears as though the heavens are creeping into the viewer’s space and watching the viewer.
These illusions use techniques of foreshortening and perspective to deceive the viewer into believing these imaginary spaces are real. Video games have a similar fascination with optics that was embraced by Baroque artists.
First-person shooters, as well as Silicon Knights’ Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, demonstrate a Baroque adoration for optics and illusion. Eternal Darkness provides gamers with a fully realized co-extensive space. The developer created the concept of “sanity” as a measurable quantity which could be gained and lost. The loss of sanity resulted in faked technological errors, including the familiar volume bar appearing and turning down the sound, and the game pretending to delete itself.
Insanity in Eternal Darkness is reminiscent of the Psycho Mantis encounter in Metal Gear Solid. Psycho Mantis, a psychic, has the ability to read a player’s memory card. Psycho Mantis breaks the barrier between the game and player by commenting on how many times a player has saved their game, and discusses other games on the memory card.
Both the insanity mechanism and Psycho Mantis’ telepathy lure the player into the game through virtuosity — like a Baroque ceiling. The illusion makes players start to wonder how the game could know so much about them, taking them out of the safe place of playing the game and inserting them into the narrative by acknowledging their existence… just as the painting would make the viewer believe it is watching them and seeping into reality.
Like the Baroque trompe-l’oeil paintings, video games convince the viewer and player that what they are seeing is real and make them question reality. Art is also referenced by video games through the use of existing objects in the form of cited material. The Kingdom Hearts series uses both Disney and Square Enix catalogues to create its narrative.
Other examples of this collage-type of game include the Marvel vs Capcom and Super Smash Bros. series. In Super Smash Bros., characters such as Mario from Super Mario Bros. can brawl against such characters as Link from the Legend of Zelda or Pikachu from Pokémon. These types of games function like collages by artists like Pablo Picasso and George Braque.
Picasso’s 1912 collage Violin and Sheet Music is comprised of a series of fragmented clippings (sheets of music, newspapers, rope), similar to the characters and narratives cited in Kingdom Hearts. Both the art work and the game allow for constant expansion, since new relationships can be formed with the cited material, as different viewers will bring diverse readings to the collage based on their variety of experiences.
A player doesn’t need to know all the Square Enix protagonists to enjoy the game, but a player that does know all the Square Enix characters will formulate a different interpretation of the game. Similarly in collage, familiarity with the cited material allows for a variety of readings.
Kingdom Hearts has the incompleteness, perpetual becoming and familiarity that Donald Kuspit associates with collage in his essay “Collage: The Organizing Principle of Art and the Age of Relativity of Art”.v
The relationships between the displaced characters in the Kingdom Hearts series are never resolved. For example, are Aerith (FFVII) and Leon (FFVIII) a couple? Is Auron (FFX) in the Greek underworld rather than the Farplane as a punishment for killing a ‘god’? Similar to a collage, there are connections that are left unexplained and it is up to the player and viewer to decide what has transpired.
Another intersection of art and video games is appropriation. In his 2002 book Postproduction, Nicolas Bourriaud observes a trend in contemporary art of artists using prefabricated objects. Instead of creating a collage, artists re-purpose objects transforming their meaning and use. A sewing machine bought a flea market can be turned into a table; a DJ samples a song to create a new composition.
Brian Jungen’s Prototypes for New Understanding #23, from 2005, appropriates limited edition Nike Air Jordan basketball shoes, which are marketed towards a primarily African-American audience, to create aboriginal masks. Jungen’s fusion of these two highly coded artifacts creates a third object that is a discourse on both cultures. It comments on the corruption and assimilation of culture by using consumerist objects to create authentic native artifacts.
Other artists such as Myfawny Ashmore and Cory Arcangel appropriate the popular video game Super Mario Bros. to create works of art.
Instead of building an object from scratch, artists use existing objects and transform them to suit their needs. Game developers, like artists, repurpose objects and create hybrids to formulate new ideas and meanings. For example, in film, the subjective shot allows for the viewer to “experience” the action through the eyes of the character. It is not a very popular shot, yet it is often used to demonstrate a character’s drunkenness.
Film and Game Studies theorists Alexander Galloway and Bob Rehak observed that the FPS style of gameplay is appropriated from the subjective shot. In particular Robert Montgomery’s 1947 film noir Lady in the Lake, which uses the subjective shot extensively.vi
It even has moments when the viewer can see the character’s arm and hand holding pistol, like an FPS. The subjective shot allows for the player to feel like they are the protagonist. No longer are we an audience, but in control of the character on the screen. The subjective film shot is re-purposed by the game developers to become one of the most beloved genres.
Developers use techniques that have been established throughout art’s history to create innovative games. Another example is Resident Evil 4, which is a hybrid of the survival horror genre and an FPS, creating the action-horror genre. Game developers are like artists who repurpose objects and create new ideas.
Separating art and popular culture is not defending culture; it instead prevents it from flourishing. Games and art are not separated into tidy little boxes, but are connected. Art and games exist together and overlap in fantastic ways, each appropriating, influencing and expanding from the other.
Despite their connections, they are not one and the same. Each communicates ideas in a different way, although sometimes they use the same conceptual and visual language. Examples of intersecting relationships between art and games are numerous, and I have only scratched the surface with a few examples.
Video games as art will constantly be debated; however, it is an argument that was settled over 60 years ago with the beginnings of Pop Art and the inclusion of pop culture into the fine arts.
Video games are part of contemporary culture, and therefore are worth as much scholarly devotion as a work of art, film, opera, play or religious ceremony. Both art and games can be examined and decoded to reveal the sensibilities of our time. By denying video games’ rightful place in contemporary culture one is rejecting an accurate representation of culture.（source:gamasutra)