Are Video Games Art?

It’s the age old question: “Are video games art?” Some (e.g. Robert Ebert, at least before they occasionally retract their position) say no, others (i.e. the rest of the free world) argue in favor. Either way, it seems something of a silly debate to be having in 2010, after moving experiences from Ico, Passage and Shadow of the Colossus on up to modern-day masterpieces like Braid, BioShock and Heavy Rain have clearly proven the medium’s ability to evoke thought and emotion, not to mention interactive entertainment’s overall aesthetic chops.

Interested in exploring the debate, a little ways back, we took the time to poll the industry’s top designers, executives and journalists, who weighed in for a special mini-documentary simply titled The Art of Video Games. At roughly 10 minutes in length, it presents a fairly brisk, but thorough taxonomy of the subject. Grab a peek and decide for yourself – do Picasso, Van Gogh and Renoir (or literary greats such as Dickens and Shakespeare) really have anything to fear when it comes to exhibit space and cultural relevance in the 21st century?

About Scott Steinberg
Scott Steinberg is CEO of strategic consulting and product testing firm TechSavvy Global, and a noted keynote speaker and business expert. Hailed as a top tech expert and parenting guru by critics from USA Today to NPR, he’s also an on-air analyst for ABC, CBS and CNN.


  1. People go on and on about how “this game was moving” and “that game evoked emotion”, but usually don’t care to break it down as to why or in what way. Worse, rarely does a person think to ask the question, “Does the ability to ‘evoke’ an emotion actually mean anything?”–Especially considering that the emotions ‘evoked’ (AKA Push buttons) are artificially done so and usually encompass the 7 or 8 most basic and primitive emotions. It’s quite sickening. Okay, so you were sad because Person X died, or you wracked your brain thinking about transhumanism for hours, but you did it all under the umbrella of your own favorite word–Entertainment. There was no sacrifice involved on your part. None. You get to go back to your normal life, unchanged, but with a new sense of superficial satisfaction that someone did something ‘interesting’.

  2. Taste is the Enemy of Art 🙂

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