April 2012

What Is The Ultimate Expression Of Video Gaming?

Can video games be art, and if they were, would they still be "games"?

What is the ultimate expression of a video game? Is it in the industry blockbusters like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 or Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim? The nature of video games, and their relative “newness” in terms of our time spent developing them as a form of human expression makes it very difficult to determine exactly what a “video game as art” would actually look like. In artistic terms, we’ve taken the form from the equivalent of cave paintings (think Pong) to something much more sophisticated within a single generation. Yet, many of the more avant garde designers and developers are already striving to move video games out of the realm of simple entertainment and to give them credence as a stand-alone artistic form of expression.

A recent interview in The Atlantic with game designer Jonathan Blow, creator of Braid, reveals a man that is attempting to do just that thing. Braid, which was developed and financed entirely by Blow, has received loads of critical acclaim from the industry. However, the independent developer considers the vast majority of video games to be vapid and childish; violent distractions and fluff entertainment. He doesn’t have much better to say about the video game industry, either.