What do you think of when someone mentions video games? Maybe Super Mario Carts or boss battles? We all tend to think of video games as solely a form of entertainment but, what If I said that was false. Video games are just as much an art form, as they are entertainment. These games have grown over the past few years from a rudimentary few pixels on a screen, to cinematic emotion-inducing masterpieces.
Video games induce emotion and intense empathy within the player,“ If you can observe the work of another and find in it a personal connection, then art has been achieved.”Chris Melissinos, a writer for Time states. Why feel scared while being chased by zombies or sad when a fictional character dies? it’s because you are empathizing, sharing a personal connection with that character. This idea is similar to film in the sense of emotional involvement through empathy. What some might ask now is, what’s the difference? Why might people view film as art and not video games? Well, it all boils down to the way video games’ stories are interpreted. This new type of art expression is different from any to date. This makes people such as Roger Ebert, a famous example of critics opposing the idea that video games have artistic components, to state video games aren’t “worthy of comparison with the great poets, filmmakers, and novelists.” This, however, is just not true… “Video games are the only form of media that allows for personalizing the artistic experience, while still retaining the authority of the artist.” (Chris Melissinos) Video games allow for a new form of artistic expression: participation. Sculptures, paintings, music (classic examples of art forms) can all be interpreted by observation. Video games are interpreted by your physical involvement through an avatar. This encourages people, such as Ebert, to take video games less seriously, thinking of them as a toy.
Now that we have a baseline in explaining how video games are art, not just entertainment, what should be done, and why is this important? However, the real question here is why isn’t it important? Game designers, programmers, soundtrack producers, concept artists, animators and so many other amazingly skilled people work to make a game beautiful and complex. It is not right for those games to be viewed as just a toy. Award ceremonies have been held for the creative artistic features in video games. If these were more mainstream, for example, broadcasted on National television like the Oscars, then video games would be seen more as an art form and less as a toy. If society is able to view video games more as art, then the rest will follow suit.