Sure, I can tell you what a painting is. I can even name a few different paint types, and the styles in which to paint – I couldn’t tell you how. That’s the difference I think that a lot of traditionalists are finding it hard to pick up on, that hard knowledge that just because they don’t understand how a certain piece is made, that they can write it off instantaneously, and say that because it was made on a computer, it isn’t real.
Want to know a decades-old debate that has been going on within the PC (and larger gaming community)? Whether video games are art. How is this relevant?
Well, think about the average gallery owner, or chair of an arts committee. Stereotypically, they are going to be a little bit older, a little bit less up to date, and they aren’t going to have played Red Dead Redemption 2 from start to end – they are going to think of media popularized games like Space Invaders or Pac Man and write them off as a fun hobby.
That’s to say nothing of the hours of coding that go into modern titles, the animations that are often of movie grade quality, performances that span both motion capture and voice that have been delivered by some of the biggest names in film and incredible talents within their own field – and these games are written off as nothing more than wastes of time.
That’s the kind of difference I’m getting at here. If you have played Red Dead 2, you know the story, you know the acting, and you know the scenery – all of which in their own right deserve recognition for their merits, but instead, they have been written off because of their format.
They are similar to films in that we are in the (relative) beginning of their life cycle. Right now, people compare games to movies in the same way that silent films were compared to novels – because its what we are used to, and the technologies aren’t fully appreciated.
But leave it a few years, and hopefully, the general masses will have a better understanding of not only what a game is, but how it provides art even though it came from and is displayed on a computer – and the drastic (and often borderline criminal) levels of effort that is put into these titles, and that the fact it relies on computers isn’t somehow cheating, but a necessity that derives from the format.