I had a great conversation with my friend Anna Knos today on IM. She’s not in the video game industry but somehow is doing researches about games. And by sharing my thoughts on video games and art with her I learned a lot myself.
In short, video game can be Art if you make it.
And here are my lazy IM notes…(JC = me)
(AK = Anna)
AK: How do you define a game?
JC: In the traditional sense, they are interactive contents considered mainly for entertainment and leisure purposes. However it is often considered the most commercially successful art form of interactive media. Whether game is going to become the new name for interactive media just like the “film” of motion pictures is still unknown.
AK: I’m wondering the difference or split (if any) between an art game and game
JC: Game is really just a medium, so anything in a medium can be art or not be art. Art is a communication between the creators and the audience, where non art can also be entertaining. However, there’s no intellectual message embedded. Someone said art is for changing the world while entertainment is for leisure.
AK: Hmm. Postmodern is not to change the world.
JC: Yeah that’s why I didn’t completely agree with him.
AK: what is the drive in your art making?
JC: To me art is sharing understanding of life with others. Whether it’s an opinion or an appreciation, artists express that message and feeling through their works.
AK: are you saying that an artist can create a game around his appreciation for the relationships formed between user and piece (game)?
JC: very likely. For example, in architecture, the artists design a building with consideration of how human interact with the building, the lighting, the shadow and so on. I’d consider that as an interactive art rather than a sculpture of concrete. In fact, if you look at a well made sports car, isn’t it an appreciation of the relationship and extension between the driver and the machine?
AK: 🙂 indeed it is
JC: However, while most people make cars, they don’t necessarily put their messages in it. They are just making a car. They forget what they want to express through the metal. Therefore, the car is just a car, not an art.
AK: yes. That’s clear 🙂
JC: if I’m an industrial designer I might be able to design a car that expressing my feeling about peace, depression or anything. I think artists are people who have something to say and have the desire to share with others. And the medium they can use are unlimited.
AK: Do you see digital as a medium?
JC: digital is a tech term to describe that things are stored in numbers, usually 0/1. So I won’t call it a medium.
AK: Yeah. But I keep seeing “the digital medium”
JC: well that means “any medium that uses 0/1 to store” which can be painting, movie, music and game, anything as long as they are stored in some kind of data format.
AK: Do you feel that there are universal structures to the game (like having a goal and levels and so on)?
JC: there are conventions, but never rules. So goals and levels are not mandatory. But it would be easier for others to understand if a game has them.
AK: what’s the most abstract game you’ve seen?
JC: it’s hard to define abstract, maybe that means the opposite of realism
AK: umm, I mean farthest from the classic game while still falling under the term Game
JC: I can’t really choose the most abstract game of all time. There are too many art pieces that are considered non-game.
AK: I’m trying to get a grasp of the poles within the game medium. But I’m asking what you consider a game… I dun care about other people
JC: you can try out “passage” which is a game that I considered art. One of the most inspiring games I played in the past two years