To get another perspective on games as art, I asked my good friend Branden, who is also a gamer, to answer a few questions. He provides some interesting insight on the subject:
Jason: Do you consider games to be art? Why?
Branden: Games are definitely a form of art. Well, some are anyway. A lot of games use multiple "layers" to tell a story, i.e. Lost Odyssey, where the graphics had a look about them that melded with the musical score and the words during the "memories" that evoked emotion in the people playing the game and told the story of the main character. Some games aren't about telling a story, and are purely entertainment (most shooters).
Do you think games are widely accepted as art in today's society, or do they still have a ways to go before they reach the same status as films, music, books, etc?
Games still have a ways to go to be accepted as art by the mainstream due to the shooters (the Call of Duty series namely) that have audiences that tend to be immature, and, since they are the games that most people know about, tend to have non-gamers view all gamers in this light. As such, most people tend to not pay much attention to the games that truly are art.
What is your favorite game that you consider art, and why?
One of my favorite games that I consider art would have to be the (cliched) Final Fantasy 7. Despite graphics that made people look like basic geometric shapes glued together, and even low-quality (by today's standards) audio, the game still managed to tell an epic story, and evoke enough emotion in its audience that even 15 years after it was released, it is still one of the most talked about games of all time.
Do you think it's important for games to provide an "experience" (i.e. with characters, story, emotion), or is good gameplay enough to carry the whole game?
Personally, I think that it requires both good gameplay and a good experience to make a game a truly good game. In some cases, a good experience may even outweigh not so good gameplay.
When do you think games started to "transcend" being simple games to become art? Or do you think they've been art from the very start?
I think that games have always been a form of art, but only in the last 15-20 years have they become mainstream enough to have the financial backing to deliver a graphic experience similar to that of reading a really good book, where you get so immersed that you feel as if you are living the story.
Thanks for your time. Any extra thoughts?
Honorable mention goes to Assassins Creed games for completely taking you back in an accurate (as accurate as possible) Renaissance Italy with a very evocative story. Evocative enough that I'm spending the money to read up on the time period and even taking a trip to Italy to see the world the game represented!
Major thanks to Branden for taking the time to answer these questions!