5th November 2014

Having read through a book that covers the subject matter that I want to cover , but it also highlight some key things I may want to bring up when writing my dissertation, a bonus to this I came across some text on the evolution of film and their recognition as art this may help strengthen my argument for video games as a new art form.

THE GREATEST ART FORM, BRETT E. MULLANEY, p13, “In reality, art simply cannot exist without technology, and as a result, art is, and will continue to be, both complicated and exponentially expanded by the advent of new technologies.”

Robert Sklar , Film: An international history of the medium, P54,” The transformation of filmmaking in the decade after 1910 had barely begun before sweeping new claims were made for the medium in the realms of culture, philosophy, and art. Motion pictures were said to be the first new art form of the modern era.” “Here was a new medium and art form almost unlimited potential, in the eyes of many, yet in its everyday reality it remained predominantly an inexpensive popular entertainment, produce for profit.

8th November 2014

For this weekend I had an important tasked to do and that was to read and understand Richard Wollheims works to fully understand it so I could apply it correctly, to that point I have succeeded thpugh it require me to re read through the text over three time I have a clear grasp of his appoarches.

Book: Art and its objects, Richard Wollheim, various pages,

  • “Aesthetic value is assigned to three different kinds of thing: to art itself (or some particular art); to particular works of art; and to characteristics either of art or of some particular work of art.”
  • – “…Realism attributions of aesthetic value have truth-value: they are either true or false.”
  • – “It is not conditional upon the possession of any other property by any further object, and more specifically it is altogether independents of the psychological properties of human beings.”
  • “…Objectivism too, attributions of aesthetic value have truth-value, but objectivism does not require that their truth-value should be totally independent of the physiological properties of human beings, though it must not be dependent on the psychological properties of specific human beings…”
  • …According to objectivism, aesthetic value depends upon the experience of humanity at large…”
  • “According to relativism not only is aesthetic value dependent upon the psychological properties of human beings, it is dependent upon the properties of specific human beings or specific groups of human beings.”

11th November 2014

Reading through a small section of the principles of art highlight a valid point that Richard Wollheim also make

The Principles of Art, R.g. Collinwood P105, “…use the word art or some kindred word to designate certain kinds of thing, and in the sense which we have now isolated as the proper sense of the word.


research update

Date: 3rd November 2014

Are video games art? For such a small question, the answer is not so simple. Research today is based around this question. There will it seems always be arguments for and against. But the question has to be taken seriously when people in educated positions and respectable institutions begin to accept the stance that video games are indeed art. As this journal entry exhibits.   Both arguments for and against art are discussed from educated points of view. It also interestingly looks at how we interact with art, especially in the present. It argues that art is not a set form of anything. The below quotes are interesting sections of the journal that raise important points. However, the articles promotes video games as art. Stressing the point that sometime in the near future video games will be held in the same stature as paints, novels and films.

– Video Games being taken seriously:

” . . . key form of video games’ validation is cultural and aesthetic. Contrary to Roger Ebert’s assertion that “no one in or out of the field has ever been able to cite a game worthy of comparison with the great poets, filmmakers, novelists and poets,” video games are increasingly being taken seriously by degree-bearing academics and less-credentialed fans alike. At least one major cultural institution — the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. — has already staged a major show, The Art of Video Games . . .”

– Are Video Games Art?

“”For the first time we have gamers raising gamers,” the exhibition’s curator, Chris Melessinos, told reason at the time. “From this point forward, you are going to see a greater, more rapid appropriation and acceptance of video games as anything from art to a worthwhile pursuit.””

– How does Art become Art?/What makes Art Art?/Why are Video Games not seen as Art?

“Following Plato, Ebert argued that “art should be defined as the imitation of nature” (emphasis in original), that it is “usually the creation of one artist,” and that games — unlike painting or literature — have rules and winners, thus disqualifying them from consideration as artistic expression . . . Ebert (who died in 2013) didn’t just give video games a big thumbs down, but two thumbs smack in the eyes. “Why are gamers so intensely concerned, anyway, that games be defined as art?” he asked, exasperatedly name-checking great competitors in chess, basketball, and football. “Bobby Fischer, Michael Jordan and Dick Butkus never said they thought their games were an art form….Why aren’t gamers content to play their games and simply enjoy themselves? They have my blessing, not that they care. Do they require validation?”

– How we interact with art . . .  and games?

“As the University of Tulsa’s Joli Jensen stressed in her 2003 book, Is Art Good for Us?: Beliefs about High Culture in American Life, what we call “art” is not a set of fixed forms, media, and genres. It’s an ongoing conversation in which all of us question and explore our place in the world through the production and consumption of an ever-increasing array of creative outlets. “It is important,” Jensen says, “that we fundamentally respect the tastes and choices of people who are choosing forms different than our own. We should stop thinking that we’re talking about something essential in each cultural form rather than constantly renegotiating what is good or bad, authentic or commercial. Thirty years from now today’s commercial culture will be ‘authentic’ culture.” Which brings us back to Roger Ebert’s pissy impatience with gamers and their grubby desire for validation. It wasn’t so long ago that film studies was dismissed as “some bullshit on the side,” a trivial object not worthy of serious scrutiny. The same goes, of course, for most forms of popular music, comic books — now sanctified for grownups as graphic novels — and even novels themselves.”


“Video games are entering a remarkably fertile period in which creators and audiences alike reflect more consciously on what they’re doing and what it all means. Now that the initial official backlash is mostly in the past, the genre is ripe to be explored fully and without apology or even explanation. We should all be on the lookout for the gamer version of Madame Bovary or Moby-Dick. It won’t look like a novel and it certainly won’t read like a novel, but like all great art, it will perform a similar function of engaging us in an open-ended conversation about our past, our present, and our future.”

Date: 7th November 2014

This journal entry is interesting in it’s own right. It does not look at Video Games as a single piece of art work but as a collective piece with multiple contributions. Collective piece of artwork. The question of what defines art is considered. Why Video Games if looked at by ‘traditional’ definitions of art cannot be consider as art. Robert Ebert, is naturally mentioned in this debate. It seems it is difficult to get away from his opinion on the subject. The journal reverts back to Video Games considered a collaborative art and modern examples of this.

– Article answers the question what is art:

“So what defines art again?  In his book Art and its Object , British philosopher Richard Wollheim distinguishes three approaches to defining art: the Realist, where aesthetic quality has an absolute value independent of any human view; the Objectivist, where it is assigned an absolute value that depends on general human experience; and the Relativist position, where there is no absolute value, but a fluid one that varies with different human experiences.”

– Why Video Games cannot be considered art/How art becomes art/Why art is seen as art – Why not games/How we interact with art & games:

“Roger Ebert set off an intense debate among members of both the film and video games industry . . . by stating that video games are fundamentally inferior to film and literature as an artistic medium and that video games could never move “beyond craftsmanship to the stature of art.”  Inherent to Ebert’s position in his basic definition of art, which is contained in his declaration that “Video games by their nature require player choices, which is the opposite of the strategy of serious film and literature, which requires authorial control”.”

In contrast – Are Video games art?:

“. . . noted dark fantasist Clive Barker, who in addition to writing short stories, novels, plays, and films scripts also illustrates his books, paints, publishes his own line of superhero comic books . . . Barker first entered the medium of video games with his 2001 release, Undying, and again . . . Jericho . . . Baker is very enthusiastic about the potential for video games to have artistic merit by allowing their creators to collaborate on a multitude of design elements . . . Moreover, video games as a medium offer a combination of old and new aesthetics for consideration.”

Date: 08 Novomber 2014

Comments from people in the film and television industry accrediting video games for the pieces of art they are.

This article discusses how video games are over taking the film industry. How once Video games tried to emulate the movies but now it is very much the other way around, as Andy Serkis, who – as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings co-founder of The Imaginarium said in the article. Peter Gornstein, global cinematic director at Ryse: Son of Rome developer Crytek says how the problem of the uncanny valley is now a thing of the past, this is largely due to the vast inprovement in design. How can it be said that video games have not the right to be called art?

As the article finished rightly, Serkis says, ” . . . Video game technology and video games are acknowledged by Bafta now, and are rightly getting credit for what they are, which is extraordinary pieces of art.”

The Smithsonian, the worlds largest museum and research centre based in Washington DC openly declares how video games have captured and enthralled people for many a years and how this new exhibit at the Smithsonian views them as serious pieces of art. Chris Melissinos, leading figure in the Java community and exhibit curator discusses the exhibit in this article. From the history of video games to modern day gaming.

Further research I conducted found that this exhibit was one of the most successful and visited exhitis in the history of the musuem. Bringing about more than 23,000 visitors in it’s opening week and more than 680,000 in the six months that the exhibit was running. What does this say about Video Games as art? Surely there is something there?

The Art of Video Games exhibition is still running on a 3 plus year tour across the US.

Games Committee Chair Harvey Elliott talks about 2014 outstanding progress in the Games industry. Labelling as a creative medium. – (Video links) &


Preliminary research

Research diary

24th  June 2014

Over the previous two weeks I had began researching into different areas of the video game world and began looking through subject areas that interested me one in particular was the ongoing discussions regarding the what games are, some tilt toward them being a collection of different art forms creating a piece of interactive entertainment others see it as a new art form in and of itself as it uses other art form in it’s own unique way.

What are games

women, culture, in games

games never art

games as art form

opinions on games as art form

An early attempt to defend the notion of games as art can be found in Chris Crawford’s book The Art of Computer Game Design ,Salen and Zimmerman, in their new and very useful textbook Rules of Play, provide an annotated bibliography and a discussion of a handful of attempts at defining video game. A notable attempt can be found in The Medium of the Video Game, where Mark Wolf presents a set of conditions he thinks necessary for something to be a video game: rules, conflict, valued outcome, and player ability. The notion that videogames require rules has become something of a dogma in the literature, but it seems that a complete videogame cannot provide rules proper

Are Games Art? (Here We Go Again / Proffwsional opinions ( Chris Crawford’s book The Art of Computer Game Design )

25th June 2014

finding the game theory, it discussion the implications of the basic concept that drive players of play, moving on from this I began looking at how we interact with games and what element  make a games up at its very core.

Game theory,” Elements of a Game

There are three main elements of a game:

  • The players.
  • The strategies of each player.
  • The consequences (payoffs) for each player for every possible profile of strategy choices of all players.                           love in paintings of painting with meanings July 2014Before going any further I think it is essential first to define what is considered art.  What specific features a piece of work must have to be considered as actual art work.  When we think about art in the world around us, we see many things classed as art, from dance to street vandalism.
  • Simpson episode homer get my pad (s24,ep6) not losing hope
  • Moving away from games I wanted to start looking a paintings and other media’s of art that have deeper meanings and came across many pieces and explanation of the meaning place into them by their respective artists. Oddly enough I found a very interesting one while watch an episode of Simpson where Homer had left himself a message saying hope, watching this the message of this episode was about never losing hope.
  • 5th July 2014
  • games merchendice or art
  • video game are art, games have no artist so no point toward art.
  • Games as art
  • Today I wanted to look directly if video games are art and found a wide array of information both for and against it some believed that since there is not one artist putting a meaning on it cannot be consider art, others suggest that meanings in game are interpreted by the viewer as intended by the developers as they would just like an artistic piece.
  • 4th July 2014
  • are deeper meanings good?
  • deeper meanings levels, alice madness return doll maker making mutated dolls + him warpping innocent girls, Catherine game = insecurity and fear of commitment, level design of block are layed out as unpredictable like relationship and no on right way to solve puzzle. Pyschonaught looking into mind of character look through worlds as metaphors deeper meaning must be piece together.
  • Ico, Caleb Lawson , ‘…move me to tears’
  • Art if form of personal experssion, “Some philosophers may also claim that works of art perform a social function.  Edmund Burke Feldman states that this is true when “it is created to be seen or used primarily in public situations [or] expresses or describes social or collective aspects of existence as opposed to individual and personal kinds of experience “
  • Today in wanted to look into the deeper meaning that some games have, in my finding I found that video games stirred strong emotions in some players in games such as ICO, however not all of these meaning were placed in on purpose where as some games such as alice madness return have put meanings into their game.
  • 2nd July 2014
  • video games are sports? What is clear game are evolving e.g sport ice skating, history education/simulation
  • video game are more than they are but dogging whether they are an art form or not
  • what are video game, with this as a basis I can look through the reference  to follow up more solid leads
  • looking through today I wanted to look into how video games are seen and what they could have the potential to be, in my findings I have come across some interesting information, that a lot commenting on the status of video games as art often dodge the question but all seem to agree video games are evolving
  • 29th June 2014
  • william digital danger / making new art instruments, making new and different art
  • Today I began looking for example of modern art but came across some interesting information, specifically in a small recording musician Will-i-am talks about how for an exhibit created music but taking that one step forward made instruments to make the sound effectively creating a new form of art.
  • 28th June 2014
  • Listing what gamers feel from playing, this could be used to compare to feelings art can make us feel.
  • Though not related to video games directly the basic premises of this theory are eve present in games.  “
  2. Breakdown of art
  1.    7th July 2014 As discussed briefly above yesterday, art comes in many forms.  In this section I want to briefly look at different forms.  However, this is a rather large area and I will be focusing on Digital media/art more. Interestingly I found a link listing the types of art form and found one called mixed media which is a collection of art which video games fit into perfectally.Lists various forms of art
  4. What is art?,The evolution of the concept of art, Aesthetics of art, Art as we know it today, New media revolution and its relationship to artists
  1.     Today while going through I thought about how art is seen in general, is it as an objective thing. Something outside of ourselves.  We rarely consider the effect it has on us as human beings.  It is interesting to consider how an audience reacts to art and how this affects them on an emotional and mental level.I found this link interesting as performance art can be seen as a sport but it is classified as an art form.
  3. 13th July 2014
  5. This link looks at how the British Council work with different art forms
  1.    Date: 22nd July 2014 –  This link looks at how the British Council work with different art forms, such as:-  Creative Economy-  Film-  Music Date:6th August 2014
  2. To an Artist, their work is not just simply their work.  At least, not always.  Some part of the Artist is captured in their creation.  Deeper meanings.  These are all influenced by the times, their surroundings, environments and society itself.  At times Artists are known to speak to their audience.  A need to get some message across. Or do we as the audience see what we want?
  3. –  Visual Arts
  4. –  Literature
  5. –  Drama & Dance
  6. –  Architecture, Design, Fashion
  8. – Lists various forms of art
  9. As discussed briefly above on my last research day, art comes in many forms.  In this section, different forms will be observed.  However, this is a rather large area and concentration later on in this research will be focused on Digital media/art.
  12. Did the player learn something?, Did the player feel something?, Did the player do something?
  2. 10 famous paintings with hidden codes.
  2.             ‘The problem with the arts, though, is that although it’s possible to make hopeful    generalisations about the conditions that promote good work, in the end there really are no rules. In the past ten           days in Scottish theatre, I’ve seen one             stunning piece of international work clearly aimed at         exposing the background to        the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, one excellent play from West    Yorkshire           Playhouse designed to promote empathy and understanding for young             unaccompanied asylum-seekers . . . Yet none of them is “bad art”, or mere            propaganda . . .             Artists should always be wary, of course, of being harnessed to   other people’s social or political   causes. Yet where the cause chimes with      something true to the artist’s own experience . . .then art with an obvious purpose can sometimes rank with the very best; and has a chance to prove itself pure, dead             or brilliant, alongside every other creative effort in our bustling cultural landscape. ‘
  2.             Street art with powerful messages
  2.             Images – Political messages through art
  1.            Date: 7th August 2014
  2. Video games have come a long way in the past thirty years or so.  However, no one would have ever considered the fact that video games maybe a form of art back then.  Even today, it is a much debated subject.  Yet one can see where those who believe it to be true come from; not simply ascetically but in a literary sense also.
  3.             EXTRACT – Art and its Messages – Meaning, morality and society – Edited by Stephen   Davies
  2.             ‘. . . games aren’t art and that we shouldn’t care. “Electronic games offer a rich and            spectacular entertainment,” he declares, correctly, “but why do they need to be           anything more than fun? Why does everything have to be art?”‘
  3.             TWO article discussing video games as art as a new exhibition at the Smithsonian in the USA displays two games it is calling ART – FLOWER & HALO 2600
  2.             Article discussing games should be classified as an art form like films and deserve awards         too.
  1.  Date: 22nd August 2014
  2. Date: 27th October 2014
  3. THE GREATEST ART FORM, BRETT E. MULLANEY, p13, “In reality, art simply cannot exist without technology, and as a result, art is, and will continue to be, both complicated and exponentially expanded by the advent of ne technologies.”
  4. Having Purchased a book that covers the issue I want to discus help get an external perspective to the issue I wanted to cove but also gave more focus in the direction I wanted to take with this.
  5. Date: 26th October 2014
  9. Today tried looking into art and design to see what their fundamental differences were  if there were any and found that there is a stark difference between them but often they a referred to as one and the same.
  10. Date: 12th September 2014
  14. Painting started off as scratches, evolved
  15. Lara craft designed meaning purpose- art piece have purpose
  16. Digital Art.  A canopy under which many modern forms of art are classified.
  17.             Interesting article on how video games as an art form are better than traditional forms of art,        especially in regards of to the audience.

Looking through a book online I found a complex attempt to understand the nature of design but after three attempts to read through the text I finally understood it but what was key

“Designing with nature, on the other hand, disciplines human inten- tions with the growing knowledge of how the world works as a phys- ical system. The goal is not total mastery but harmony that causes no ugliness, human or ecological, somewhere else or at some later time. And it is not just about making things, but rather remaking the human presence in the world in a way that honors life and protects human dignity. Ecological design is a large concept that joins science and the practical arts with ethics, politics, and economics. “,David/Oxford%20University%20Press%20-%20The%20Nature%20of%20Design%20-%20Ecology,%20Culture%20and%20Human%20Intention%20(2002).pdf

Date: 27th October 2014

Reading through these books allowed me to get a better understanding of the more complex issue around the matter if video games can be art but looking at thnkers such as Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol gave me a lot to think on

Book: What is art, by Leo Tolstoy, Chap 5, Art purpose is to convey the creators feeling and views “… it is upon this capacity of man to receive another man’s expression of feeling and experience those feelings himself, that the activity of art is based “

Book: Art Matters by Peter de Bolla,  Pg15, Agrees the “….the great value of art lies in its power to prompt us to share experiences, worlds, beliefs, and differences.”

Philosophy Looks at the Arts: Contemporary Readings in Aesthetics  P64 “incompatibility of property between works of art and physical objects’

Date: 28th October 2014

Looking for a more refine definition of design I search for books a came across what is design? Which was a very useful book as it gave example of piece when trying to make point .

Book: what is Product Design? By Laura Slack, p6, “Design is a form of expression and products are a currency for exchange.”

“Product design is a generic term for the creation of an object that originates from design ideas-in the form of drawings, sketches, prototypes, or models-through a process of design that can extend into the object’s production, logistics, and marketing.”


Is it Art? part 1

‪- what is art1:

  “So what defines art again?  In his book Art and its Object , British philosopher Richard Wollheim distinguishes three approaches to defining art: the Realist, where aesthetic quality has an absolute value independent of any human view; the Objectivist, where it is assigned an absolute value that depends on general human experience; and the Relativist position, where there is no absolute value, but a fluid one that varies with different human experiences.”

Looking at this break down of what actually is we can see that the relativist position is where games would fit into the category of art as video games can have multiple meanings and convey multiple messages just as some pieces of art and other medias do.

An example, in the Pinocchio movie the character Lampwick, a delinquent introduces Pinocchio to the darker side of life such as drinking and gambling, making total Jackasses of them and by doing this turn into Donkeys force to work in mines.

This shows that bad children who don’t work hard will not have a bright future ahead.

Comparing this to the game EarthBound the player play as little kids trying to save the world however in the last part of the game it becomes extremely dark and fight the boss which looks extremely like a cervix. The creator of this game was trying to tell the story of how he had grew up and how he had lost his childhood innocent by accidentally watching an adult erotic film.

‪- Why art is seen as art1:

  “Roger Ebert set off an intense debate among members of both the film and video games industry . . . by stating that video games are fundamentally inferior to film and literature as an artistic medium and that video games could never move “beyond craftsmanship to the stature of art.”  Inherent to Ebert’s position in his basic definition of art, which is contained in his declaration that “Video games by their nature require player choices, which is the opposite of the strategy of serious film and literature, which requires authorial control”.”    

While Roger Ebert makes some interesting points in his argument however by bringing in choice into the matter we could easily this applies to other medium I a broader aspect, we choose to see a piece of art we choose to do something with that piece of art, we choose to watch a movie and we choose to do something with that movie and we choose to play a game and choose to see or do something with that game.

This something we do is find meaning and purpose; by having interactivity (or player choice) we are simply giving the audience to choose whether or no to look as you would with other mediums.

Forum on the Arts, Stefan Hall, Video Games as Collaborative Art


Should Video games be considered art?

In this blog I will be posting my findings to answer the question above as part of my dissertation, I chose this area as it is my own weak point which is why I wanted to learn more about the theory aspect of art and games to better understand what it is I am really doing on my university course.

From here onwards I will be breaking down my question and examining different aspect of the issue starting by trying to look at what art is actually defined as and what design is to see where video games fit in best and start to expand my search into this question.