According to Kellee Santiago, modern video games are akin to the cave paintings of our ancestors. They are the crude beginnings of what will undoubtably become a magnificent artistic medium. But what does it mean for something to be “art” ? Santiago uses the following definition: “Art is the process of deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions.” From my experience, I can certainly attest that many video games are capable of evoking a myriad of emotions, as well as providing jaw-dropping visual experiences. However, this broad definition is problematic, for even things that are not considered art forms can fit this criteria. Therefore, I am going to contextualize the analysis of video games as an art form with already established art forms, such as drawing/painting, music composition, and filmmaking.
Firstly, what are the goals of all these art forms? It could be to express the creators’ experiences, thoughts, and feelings. To evoke the audience’s emotions or appeal to their senses, as Santiago believes. Or perhaps even to influence the audience’s thoughts by conveying different perspectives. Paintings, poetry, films, and music all fulfill these goals. So why should video games be cast aside when many of them are actually mixtures of these art forms? There is no denying that the graphics of video games have become increasingly detailed and realistic. In fact, every frame in and of itself could be considered a piece of digital art. If an animated movie can be art, then the design and animation of a video game character and video game world should certainly qualify.
Most video games also have music scores that enhance the player’s experience. In fact, many people actually listen to the music scores of video games separately, and if this music alone is art, then the music in the context of the game should be no different.Some of the most recognizable melodies come from video games (e.g. Zelda and Super Mario)!
Similar logic can be applied to the storytelling aspect of video games. The cut scenes, either in the context of the game or compiled separately, are no different from a film. Therefore, I would consider video games as art, especially when taking into account the amount of creativity, time, and resources that go into them. What is even more remarkable about the medium is its breadth, anything from delicately crafted indy games to big AAA titles can fit the description of art.