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Monday, August 21, 2000
Are Games Art?
1:26 PM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story

When Spiderweb Software's Jeff Vogel isn't crafting engrossing, gigantic RPGs such as Avernum for the Mac, he likes to write columns. His latest Grumpy Gamer column at CDMag deals with a question that is very dear to many game designers -- are the creations that they slave over for months, perhaps years, to be taken seriously as artistic endeavors? Or are these merely entertainments, to cast aside like a Frasier rerun?

Vogel remains objective about the subject matter, and believes that games are still in their early, crude stages as works of art. Just as the first scratchings on a cave wall led to the Mona Lisa, games are progressing similarly towards true expression and communication. Here is an excerpt:

In many ways, computer games are crude things, fairly simply constructs that donít hold up under close examination. That doesnít mean that they arenít art, just that they still have a way to go before they have the complexity and power of, say, a really good movie. However, that is clearly the direction they are heading.

I defy any reasonable person to look at the writing of Torment, the complex analysis of human interactions in The Sims, or the stunning visuals of Ultima IX, and tell me that computer games donít have the potential to be just as deep a form of communication as movies, or books, or anything else people study in college. I think that computer games are the real deal, and I wonít apologize for this medium in any way.

Read the rest of Jeff's column for more of his arguments as to why games should be taken seriously as an expressive and creative medium, then come back and share your thoughts in our Forum or in the comment thread of this article. What games would you consider to be works of art? What keeps games consigned to the back pages of newspapers and to their own magazines, when they have the potential to break through into popular culture? Why do games have so little presence in the media and film, when millions of users devote the majority of their time on PCs to this pursuit? Let us know what you think.

Grumpy Gamer: The Big "Computer Games Are Art" Rant

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