Next to be put through my interview gauntlet is my friend Michael. I'm asking him the same questions I asked Branden in the previous interview, so we can see different views on the same subjects.
Jason: Do you consider games to be art? Why?
Michael: I think some are art, but not most. The ones that are art focus on a lot of the same elements that make movies and books art, like story and characters.
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?
I don’t think they’re widely accepted as art. Even though some games do stand above the rest in terms of being art, most people who don’t play today’s games think they’re still on the same level as Pong. Meaning, games are simply time wasters, something that’s fun but ultimately pointless. Not everyone knows that some games tell stories on the same level as films.
What is your favorite game that you consider art, and why?
Mass Effect is my favorite. It’s about as close to an interactive movie as you can get. It not only has great action gameplay, but tells a very compelling story with interesting characters. Best of all, the game has interactive dialogue. You get to pick what your character says, and the decisions he makes. Each line of dialogue you pick will get different reactions from the characters around you, and your decisions all have consequences. It’s a very compelling experience.
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?
It can go either way. If a game is simply fun, then that’s enough to keep my attention. Sometimes a lack of a story is a good thing for games, if it’s in service of gameplay. That said, I always welcome stories in games but it’s not necessary.
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 there are some games from all time periods of video gaming’s history that should be considered art, but the movement of games as art is relatively new (within the last 3-4 years). I personally think the first major standout art games were released on the first Playstation about 15 years ago.
Thanks for your time. Any extra thoughts?
I think games are definitely a rising art form, even if they aren’t all quite there yet. Some games in particular are paving the way. Give it another 5-10 years and the way video games fit into our culture might look very, very different.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Michael!