Ian Bogost On Gaming's Goodness: Part I
PSXE: Roger Ebert got a lot of attention when he said video games weren’t art. Later, he retracted the statement. Are games art in your eyes?
Bogost: "This question assumes we have any idea what 'art' really is. During different periods of human history, art has meant different things. There was a time when art was restricted to rituals and ceremonies. By the middle of the 20th century, the traditional idea of art just got blown up; then art was just anything you could get away with. Most of the time, people don't know what they mean when they say, 'videogames are art.' It's not exactly like paintings and opera, which have a certain position in the cultural world. And that has changed over time, too.
I think the question to ask is, 'what do games do for art?' and 'how do they change what it means to experience art?' This could mean changes into the way art is conceived and experienced. It could mean new ways of framing artistic practice. I don't think there's one answer. Is the urinal on display at the museum art? Well, it did something, it had an effect on the art world. It doesn't really matter if it was art or not. Art gets judged by history and situated in relation to other works."
In the second part of the interview, we talk about the "gamer" label and how we should leave it behind if we want to progress, the dangers of focusing on ultra-realism, and when mainstream media sources will finally give this industry some respect.
In the meantime, be sure to check out Ian Bogost's blog. Also, we definitely recommend the book; it's really empowering for video game fans and a breath of fresh air in comparison to the negative feedback we often hear. So head on over to Amazon and consider a purchase.
Part II will go up soon, so stay tuned.
9/20/2011 Ben Dutka