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November 21, 2019, 03:48:42 PM

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TIGSource ForumsPlayerGamesVideo Games, High Art, Roger Ebert & the Cultural Ghetto
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Author Topic: Video Games, High Art, Roger Ebert & the Cultural Ghetto  (Read 1056 times)
Golds
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« on: October 18, 2019, 12:25:04 AM »

I ran across this brief talk today, which I gave at the Game Developers Conference in 2009, about video games, Roger Ebert, high art & the cultural ghetto. I think it’s held up pretty well over the years.





The quick synopsis of my thesis is, simply, that art is something that people do, and the medium is irrelevant.

With video games, “the artist” is designing a possibility space for the audience—what can happen, and what are the consequences of the player’s decisions.



You can read the rest of the post here: http://doomlaser.com/videogames-as-high-art/  Cave Story
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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2019, 06:06:43 AM »

I recall this debate when it occurred. What upset me at the time, is that the actors involved seemed to be full of it, it not being good semantics in this instance, but your clip seems quite sincere.

To me, art is the synthesis of logic and emotion, thus to be elevated beyond mere craft you have to do both. I even wanted to make a game called "Art Police" where you shoot up paintings and other works that are "Not Art" based on... spurious... definitions of what art is. The climax would be the head office of the Art Police declaring the Art Police art, and then a Dredd style climax would ensue.

But alas, I want to make fun stuff now which I think is a much more important debate: art is actually a very well studied and longstanding tradition, fun seems to be the forgotten sibling.

And of course, since I love throwing in a quote or two just to be silly: no definition of art of woman born can harm MacBeth.
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Schoq
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« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2019, 06:32:10 AM »

it's a shame roger ebert--the appointed sole arbiter of what is Art-- died without changing his mind about video games, dooming them thus to forever remain mere toys for children and the weak of mind
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« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2019, 07:18:46 AM »

Yeah, I think it's a bit of a moot point by now. Sure, most video games are basically industrial products pushed out with little in the way of artistic ambition, but the same is true of film and television and really any form of art with the potential to make a lot of money.
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fluffrabbit
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« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2019, 07:48:54 AM »

This thread and this entire debate are total bullshit and everyone who participates in the conversation should feel ashamed.

That said, there is the occasional overlap of art and commerce. Maybe 1 in 10 great works of art (in film at least) make money, so people are exposed to a little of it. But seriously, fuck art.
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michaelplzno
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« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2019, 07:53:48 AM »

Ebert was a great critic, not too much of a sense of humor. His intention to raise the bar was probably good.

I'll tell the boys at Andy's factory you think commercialism is bad for art though, since we are dealing with those they have gone on to better things.

@fluff charming as always: i hear the remake of revenge of the nerds is trying to cast a bully character, would you like me to put your name in?
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fluffrabbit
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« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2019, 08:15:42 AM »

Forgive me for contributing to a dead-end discussion.
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litHermit
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« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2019, 01:51:59 PM »

The quick synopsis of my thesis is, simply, that art is something that people do, and the medium is irrelevant.
Well put. I see games as just one of many sorts of vessels for expression, which may deliver something sublime, kitsch, or whatever else through intent (or not).

On the topic of art, games and Ebert; Brian Moriarty had an interesting GDC talk several years back



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michaelplzno
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« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2019, 03:57:59 PM »

I couldn't get past the word sublime, which is just so narrow and weak to define any kind of artistic expression. In essence, he is saying, with a profound fortification of pedantry, that only by elevating, exalting, or rendering finer the world of art do you achieve greatness. Thus, no work of satire is great art, and indeed to question the wisdom of the pedantic profits you may exclude yourself from the criteria of living an examined life.

Hard pass.
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b∀ kkusa
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« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2019, 09:11:51 PM »





Quote
“Art makes the familiar strange so that it can be freshly perceived. To do this it presents its material in unexpected, even outlandish ways: the shock of the new.”
― Viktor Shklovsky
« Last Edit: October 18, 2019, 09:55:21 PM by b∀ kkusa » Logged
Golds
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« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2019, 09:41:50 PM »

it's a shame roger ebert--the appointed sole arbiter of what is Art-- died without changing his mind about video games, dooming them thus to forever remain mere toys for children and the weak of mind

He did change his mind about the whole thing, after his first 2010 piece caused so much consternation.

The Museum of Modern Art in NYC had a dedicated "interactive" area for forever, but, starting in 2012, they began to have actual video games in their permanent collection. So, yeah, I'd also say the question now is pretty much moot. Btw, MoMa picked a pretty good range of games for their first lot:

Quote
• Pac-Man (1980)
• Tetris (1984)
• Another World (1991)
• Myst (1993)
• SimCity 2000 (1994)
• vib-ribbon (1999)
• The Sims (2000)
• Katamari Damacy (2004)
• EVE Online (2003)
• Dwarf Fortress (2006)
• Portal (2007)
• flOw (2006)
• Passage (2008)
• Canabalt (2009)

https://www.moma.org/explore/inside_out/2012/11/29/video-games-14-in-the-collection-for-starters/
« Last Edit: October 18, 2019, 09:49:51 PM by Golds » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2019, 09:48:50 PM »

I couldn't get past the word sublime, which is just so narrow and weak to define any kind of artistic expression...

While it's definitely like a favored word of art snobs, I don't see how it doesn't apply to satire for example? Many great satires after all are quite pedantically crafted and delivered with a great deal of care and subtlety to pack just the right amount of punch.

In the end appreciation and what each of us gets out of anything, and whether we deem it "art" is very subjective, no matter what some council or another says or wants to propose as a norm. I find we value "art" that's in line with our own values and experiences. Such works are the only ones capable of communicating and actually resonating with us.

Pedantry and delicacy simply seem like values resonating with Moriarty to me.

Or in the words of Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux: "The Sublime is not strictly speaking something which is proven or demonstrated, but a marvel, which seizes one, strikes one, and makes one feel."
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Superb Joe
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« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2019, 02:18:48 AM »

this is the battle this forum needs to re-fight to be good again
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fluffrabbit
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« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2019, 02:26:24 AM »

this is the battle this forum needs to re-fight to be good again
I honestly think you're being serious.

Shall I state my reasons for viewing the medium of vidyagames with utter disdain?

* Character models are typically hollow and not volumetric. It's the insides that count.
* No haptic feedback system that I am aware of captures the full human experience.
* Too many hard-technical STEM shit-takers and recent grads from their science programs polluting the "scene" with spillover from their left-brained corporate culture.
* Too many communists who think games should be free.
* Just a generally bad time.

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« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2019, 02:56:44 AM »

this is the battle this forum needs to re-fight to be good again

Get with the times Joe. It's no longer whether games are art, it's whether they're high (art).
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rj
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« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2019, 03:25:29 AM »

Mark Johns of http://doomlaser.com speaks
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michaelplzno
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« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2019, 04:01:28 AM »

1) "Art is a way of experiencing the artfulness of an object" *fart noises* No time for that one.

2)
Or in the words of Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux: "The Sublime is not strictly speaking something which is proven or demonstrated, but a marvel, which seizes one, strikes one, and makes one feel."

Now I am entirely sure I do not want to make something sublime. This "Ephemeral Opulence" that crams itself down your throat. Indeed some people pay extra for that.

3) @golds -> I'm glad they finally decided there was a list of what qualifies as an art, but did they ever measure how big the art was? @litHermet, indeed to have high art we must get out the ruler and determine its altitude. How do you think Miyamoto came up with the concept for High Rule?
« Last Edit: October 19, 2019, 04:12:12 AM by michaelplzno » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2019, 05:10:21 AM »

* Too many communists who think games should be free.
once upon a time, selling your games was decidedly NOT indie
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michaelplzno
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« Reply #18 on: October 19, 2019, 05:14:45 AM »

Well also traditionally tig's view of what is indie involves proving you are dependent on a cabal of other devs, the scene. I always thought indie wasn't short for independent but rather in de club.
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Schoq
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« Reply #19 on: October 19, 2019, 05:46:30 AM »

For the record: games should be free and so should bread
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