A blog about tabletop hobby and or strategy games, with a side order of electronic turn based goodness here and there. Now with tons of retro gaming content both electronic and tabletop. Also with 20% more self loathing douchebaggery!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Someone explains art in a way that makes PERFECT SENSE

If you haven't heard, Roger Ebert (a movie reviewer I can pretty much say is a living national treasure and someone I wish I could write a third as good as) has gotten a lot of videogame fans mad because he has said (well typed as he can no longer speak sadly) games are not art.

Many people have tried to counter his claims.  Plus there have been a number of "shock" artists have tried to claim when they do disgusting things usually designed to piss off the political/religious right (a group you can piss off very easily.  Hell.  Just be a non WASP and say anything at all!)  that honestly even a more relaxed person like myself think are really over the line if not outright MESSED UP.

Well the online version of one of my favorite indie comics, Serenity Rose (which I so need to review here one day.  Call it kind of hipster Hot Topic if you will but I adore it.  ITS SO GOOD!) has this little once a week thing where one of the characters of the story answers questions readers email in from the perspective of her reality.

Read it.  It won't take you but a minute:  REAAAAD IIIIIT NOOOOOWWWW .

Her definition of art just fits and makes perfect sense.  Art evokes an emotional reaction.  Its why a drawing can be technically amazing yet seems to fall flat.  Its not giving any emotion out of it.

This of course means even crap can be considered art even if unintentionally.  While I really liked Star Wars Phantom Menace, many people hated it as if Lucas came down from up high and kicked them in the junk.  It evoked a reaction out of its viewers, albeit one I doubt the Flanneled One actually intended.

(Though its probably a topic for another time, but sometimes I think the things the Internet hivemind SAYS SUCK AND IF YOU DON'T AGREE YOU ARE WROOOONG as mocked in this brilliant Onion article: ( I might have linked this before but its too good not to use again. The irony of the post and some of my own tendencies is not lost on me. ) are taken too heavily as fact.  As huge as the Net is nowadays, angry ranting Internet people, myself included don't amount to a hill of beans in what people in general think about something.  Just don't tell the Fallout 1-2 fanbase this.  According to them Fallout 3 is digital Herpes or whatever in spite of the fact its sold mad amounts and I have yet to meet a REAL person who didn't enjoy it.)

So can a game be art?  Absolutely.  Even some of the horribly abusive NES games like Battletoads and Ninja Gaiden are art.  They cause massive amounts of rage in players.  Yet something like Phantasy Star 2 or Ultima 5 are a more positive form of art as they evoke feelings of isolation, sorrow, and determination as you press on with the game to try to save these fictional pixels.

We can say the same with tabletop gaming.  A really good intense campaign is certainly a form of art.

Now technically this means almost anything can be art.

I am comfortable with this.

A breezy Spring day without a care in the world?

Catching one of those damned Metal Slimes in Dragon Quest before they run off and getting their sweet sweet massive amounts of experience points?

That perfect tackle of a top rated Quarterback in the team you love to hate by an underdog?

Someone's ridiculous statement online causing you to get all bent out of shape till you realize how STUPID you were even caring about what some random person thought about something you like?

A perfectly made Irish Coffee?

That first kiss of someone you love you haven't seen in quite some time?

That's all art.

Art is life.  Life is art.

Sometimes its rough and painful, but lasting art is always a strong emotion you remember good or bad.

Something to think about.

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