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Are video games art?
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Video games can be compelling, but not on a culturally relevant scale

A person may find a particular video game to be meaningful in their own life, but society as a whole is not impacted by a video game in the same was as they would be by a more profound art form.
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The Argument

Fine art is something which is appreciated by society as a whole. Fine art shines through in society because people find it meaningful and impactful. Almost everyone can recognize a work of fine art and many people can even name the artist. Take the Mona Lisa for example: a person may or may not know that it was Leonardo da Vinci who painted it, but ask anyone on the street and most people will at least be able to recall its name. Some may even stop to ponder why Mona Lisa smiles. Video games may be appreciated by some as art, and they do have artistic merit. But the majority of society sees video games as nothing more than entertainment. Show someone on the street a screenshot from Chrono Trigger and most people will not recognize the game; especially now because of its age. Even though it is considered a classic by gamers, it is not socially impactful enough that just anyone would know or appreciate what it is. Fine art is also timeless; it doesn't matter that the Mona Lisa is centuries old. People recognize it anyway because of how famous it has become. Chrono Trigger, on the other hand, is only decades old, and many non-gamers will have forgotten its existence by now, if they ever even knew of it in the first place. They might recognize something as current and iconic as Skyrim, but as that ages it, too, will fall out of people's immediate memory. Video games are not timeless. They are not impactful on society as a whole. They may be art, but they are not fine art.

Counter arguments

There are plenty of video games which have reached a culturally relevant scale. Pokémon is an example; one would be hard-pressed to find a person who has never seen or heard of Pikachu. Even if they don't know what game Pikachu comes from, it has become so iconic that it is recognized worldwide. Super Mario, Sonic, and many others have also become cultural icons over the past few decades. The majority of society may not see video games as fine art, but that doesn't mean they never will.[1] There have been plenty of great artists and artworks which were seen as small and insignificant in their time. Vincent Van Gogh was one example of an artist who was heavily criticized and seen as a failure during his lifetime. No one on the streets would have recognized or cared about his art back then, but show anyone today a picture of The Starry Night and they will immediately recognize it. Timelessness doesn't happen overnight; a work of art turns timeless after enough time has passed, and it has become or remains culturally revered. No one today can say whether a certain video game will be considered a work of timeless fine art, as only the passage of time will reveal that. Video games have the potential to be timeless. They are impactful on society as a whole. They are a new medium of fine art.



[P1] Gamers may value video games as art, but society as a whole does not see video games in the same light. [P2] Video games are not meaningful, timeless, or impactful to society like fine art. [P3] Video games are art, but not fine art.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Society as a whole may not see video games as fine art today, but that doesn't mean they never will. [Rejecting P2] Video games are meaningful, impactful, and have the potential to be timeless like works of fine art. [Rejecting P3] Video games are fine art.


This page was last edited on Friday, 1 May 2020 at 15:43 UTC

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