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    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2008
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    In the 80's when Pac-Man was just starting to be everywhere, some wise person said "if video games really influenced our culture we'd all be running back and forth in dark rooms eating pills and listening to repetitive music."

    Another wise person once said "GAME OVER MAN! GAME OVER!"
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2008
    I'll not take the bet. Video games? That assumes that technology has remained fairly static. Video games may be a thing of the past in fifty years; taken over by some other mind-numbing cultural-dumbing invention. So long as religions have been dumbed down too I'll be happy (no I won't I'll almost certainly be dead!).
  1.  (1092.23)
    Something can easily be functional and artistic. Those concepts are absolutely not mutually exclusive. I have seen examples of all three of things you have mentioned that have been both very functional and very artistic. Your argument really comes down being able to pin a concrete definition onto the word 'art' and everyone knows what a silly endeavor that is. Eye of the beholder and all that.

    Video games, because of their flexibility, already have the ability to do all the things that almost any other medium can do AT THE SAME TIME. They can, and have, incorporated movies, prose, music, comics, whatever.

    The comic book comparison is weird. Have comics "matured" much in since the 30s? The art form itself hasn't really changed all that much, as far as the storytelling capabilities, and the format. Where as, the differences between Pong, 35 years ago, and Wii tennis are pretty large. Now compare Pong again to something like Half Life 2, and we've gone a huge distance. Video games have gone from interactive entertainment to interactive storytelling. That single aspect by itself represents quite a bit of maturing.

    As far as being well-respected... Can anyone name a comic book character that has been created since 1981 that has had as much of a cultural impact as Mario? If there is one, I am totally blanking on it. In 50 years, Mario will be about as old as Superman is now. It will be really interesting to see how that character has changed.
    • CommentAuthorMathias B
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2008
    @pi8you: You're right, there are untouchable classics within this medium, too, and nostalgia. What I meant was that most people who regularly play videogames are still excited about new games, new technology. They mostly don't consider Ice Climber the pinnacle of the medium's potential. It seems to be the common opinion by film critics that Citizen Kane is the best film ever made, a film released almost 70 years ago. Some rock magazines go almost a year without having a single new artist on their covers, endlessly dwelling on the 60's and 70's. In that perspective, videogames feel progressive and relevant to me. That may change at some point, of course.
    @reasonableman and obliterati: Good points.
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2008

    I think what I'm saying is that one gets in the way of the other much of the time. Yeh sure there's that Guinness advert with the horses that everyone thinks is really artistic, but I have my doubts as to how well it works as an advert (and personally I think it's rubbish as art as well). You could shoot a porn movie in a creative way, but it's almost certainly going to either detract from what the guy jerking off to it gets out of it, or go completely unnoticed. I think for something to really be art it can't be restricted in the way these things are. Maybe in that sense it's not a case of something being either art or not art - incidentally I don't believe that whether or not something is art depends on the quality of it - but to what extent it is artistic. In that respect video games are incredibly limited in their artistic freedom. You have to have a majority of the time dedicated to some kind of fun interaction - shooting things, negotiating obstacles etc. Lots of these games in recent years that have featured like 3 hours of story with about half an hour of gameplay just don't work. Metal Gear Solid 2 for me was an absolute failure as a game because it featured such frequent and long cut scenes. Much as I like movies and shows, some along similar lines to MGS, the fact that I was playing a video game actually made me disinterested in the story sequences, which I may not have been were it a film. You can make art that is difficult or unpleasant for the viewer, but is still artistic expression of something, but this is not true of any of the above. There is room for creativity, sure, but there are also areas of each where there are very tight limits. There is also room for creativity on a CV or a business card, but I don't think that makes them art.
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2008
    @reasonable man

    The argument can be made that Neil Gaiman's Dream of the Endless has had as much impact as Mario, but in different ways. And while we can argue about the dates of publication, Art Spiegelman's MAUS certainly fits that criterion. The difference, as i'mme sure you'll point out, is that Mario is marketed (to great effect) at youth, and they keep that daffy plumber with them their whole lives. I'm one of the; I can't wait til I finally have a chance to dig into Mario Galaxy. That being said, both Dream and Maus are in that upper eschelon of characters. I realize they haven't been marketed at even close to the level that Mario has, but I don't think they are any less iconic.
    • CommentAuthorgrenacia
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2008
    I have a six year old stepdaughter who discusses video games as if they are just as culturally relevant as books*, and there's plenty of other kids who do the same. Maybe some of them will outgrow it, but they don't necessarily have to. Hopefully video games will continue to grow up with them. In 50 years these same kids will be grandparent-age, so who knows what may happen between now and then?

    * And she's already reading fantasy novels written for teenagers, so I wouldn't just put it down to her being an ignorant kid.
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2008
    hell, I discuss video games as if they're just as culturally relevant as books. I've read some books that are pieces of mindless drivel compared to my favorite video games.
  2.  (1092.29)

    They are absolutely less iconic. If you think that Dream is as recognizable as Mario on a global scale, you are absolutely deluded. Same with MAUS. I am surely not comparing literary merit, but... Mario is The Icon of a multi billion dollar world wide company.


    I think what I'm saying is that one gets in the way of the other much of the time.

    Implicit in that statement is that it is not a necessary condition, so we agree. The rest of your post is arguing taste, or implying that artistic value can be quantified, which is pointless.

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