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Press Start: The Art Of Gaming


Hey guys and welcome back to Press Start. This week I want to tackle the issue of game development not being recognised in the art world. I don’t know about you guys, but I consider game development an art and, in actual fact, I think there is a lot more work involved in the art of gaming than most other art forms. Calling game development art seems to be a bit of a controversy these days. Anywhere you mention it, you are bound to start a conversation both for and against it. Personally I don’t understand why it isn’t classed as ‘art’ but first let us look at the definition of art:

“Art is the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.”

The above statement is the official explanation in any dictionary. This means that anything that a human can create in terms of imagination or skill set is considered art. Therefore, the argument is already moot. Every game starts in the imagination and is eventually written or drawn into life. Yes, of course there are computer coding languages used to bring a game to life but it’s just like painting. You need paint brushes and shapes to create an object that was originally thought up in your head. The code may help, but it is how you use and interpret the code to create your masterpiece that counts. Most of the arguments against game development are generally by people who just don’t understand games and how they are produced, but there are a few who understand and still don’t treat it as art.

Let’s take painting as our example. How you create art while painting is simple. You just draw whatever comes to mind and try perfect in accordance to your imagination. Once you have done this it is then art. However when we look at game development it is a lot more complicated. You first have your idea then you take to paper or a computer and draw out your creation and then colour it in which, so far, is the normal process. Then you have to use coding such as Javascript or C+ to enable these creations to move and interact the way you want with the world around them. This is the very simplified version of how game development works but already you can see the difference without taking into account the software you need, the hardware you need and the distribution.

I am a lover of art, especially paintings, but when I look at the Mona Lisa I honestly do not get the hype. I think it is a very bland painting and I have seen much better. This may sound weird but I prefer the art of The Sims over the Mona Lisa. Now I know you are probably thinking “What the hell is this guy talking about? How do they compare?” Well, the reason the Mona Lisa is so famous is because it represents a real life person in great detail. Is this not what The Sims does as well, just in a different way? With the Mona Lisa, it is still life that will never change, however in The Sims you can create hundreds of different people and you can choose their personality, hobbies, skills, traits as well as their clothes and life. You can then interact in the world however you want and wherever you want. Now I’m not saying The Sims is better because you can’t compare these two art forms as they are vastly different. What I am trying to say is that, if the Mona Lisa is art then The Sims is definitely a form of art too. They were both a figment of imagination brought to life by the skills of that particular person.

We can then delve deeper again when we think of other art forms such as music. This again is a different form of art. However, nearly every game has a soundtrack and lately more and more of those soundtracks consist of a full set orchestra. Therefore there is even more art packed into a game than most forms of art on their own such as music or paintings.

There are never many reasons against why game development is not an art other than the typical “But a computer made it!” excuse. This is irrelevant due to the fact that the computer needs to be told exactly what to do and what to create which requires human input.

So that is it for this weeks’ Press Start. As always, if you have any questions or opinions throw them in the comment section below. Do you disagree with my opinion? Do you not think game development is an art? Let me know.