Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Links: Arthouse Games

Can a video game be "art"? While it's undisputed that video games can have art in them (in the form of excellent graphics or memorable music), the discussion of whether video games themselves can ever rise to the level of other media, like movies and books, has been an interesting debate. It's also weird how such questions of expression interlock with First Amendment law and politicians advocating restrictions on violent video games.

Arthouse Games, a blog by artist Jason Rohrer, attempts to chronicle the "artgame," a species that usually consists of small, independent games far away from the mainstream me-too 3D first-person-shooters. In my experience, the only big budget games that I thought might qualify as art were "Ico" and "Shadow of the Colossus." Not surprisingly, both of those games had memorable stories, and the way in which the stories were told (as a puzzle game and an action game, respectively) played a huge role in how effective they were - they just wouldn't have worked as films or books.

Jason's recent GAMMA 256 entry, Passage, is quite an interesting little game. You should probably play it. Is it art? I'm not sure, but it certainly merits discussion.


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