Much ado has been made about videogames and whether or not they’re art, and the general consensus among people who actually play the damn things seems to be that they are indeed. Many compelling arguments have been made to support this view, and I find myself agreeing almost entirely.
Inevitably, the argument usually boils down to concerns about the quality of the narrative and the aesthetic presentation. Critics expect narrative art to have compelling, nuanced narrative with something important to say; similarly, they expect visual art to have rich and vibrant aesthetics that go beyond merely parroting the real. Videogames are both a narrative art and a visual art, and are thus not exempt from either of these expectations if they wish to be considered a legitimate art form.
Fortunately, games have lived up to both these expectations quite well, with the likes of Ōkami and Shadow of the Colossus providing fantastic examples of aesthetic greatness, and games like Bioshock and Half-life 2 doing the same for narrative greatness. It seems like the case for games as art is airtight…except for one thing: almost none of the (otherwise quite sound) points that have been made in favour of videogames as art apply to a long-held favourite genre of mine, the racing game. Continue reading