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Making Statements With Video Games

Soulskill posted about 6 years ago | from the let's-ask-jack-thompson dept.

Games 329

You may have heard about the recent controversy at the Leipzig Games Conference over a modification of Space Invaders in which the invaders are slowly demolishing the World Trade Center. The creator intended it as an artistic expression, but has since removed the game, saying, "it was never created to merely provoke controversy for controversy's sake." Kotaku took this occasion to ask whether "statements" can and should be made via video games, and how it affects the ongoing question of whether video games should be considered art. "The entire issue begs comparisons to Danny Ledonne's Super Colombine Massacre RPG!, an unsettling and involved title that tasks players on the most basic level with acting out the 1999 Littleton, Colorado school shooting in the role of killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. Ledonne told the Washington Post that his intention with the title was never to glorify the tragedy, but to 'confront their actions and the consequences those actions had.' Like Stanley's Invaders!, Ledonne and his title stopped short of providing a direct interpretation - neither artist has been especially specific about 'what it means,' or in instructing players on how they should interpret their work or what 'message' should be taken away."

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Oblig. Southpark (3, Funny)

halsver (885120) | about 6 years ago | (#24744765)

Too soon?

Re:Oblig. Southpark (4, Insightful)

grantek (979387) | about 6 years ago | (#24744889)

South Park takes the proverbial piss out of this stuff pretty well. So does the Simpsons - the statue of David never came with an instruction manual directing people how to interpret it, but somehow people called it art instead of porn until the conservative extremists got some media bandwith to play with.

Re:Oblig. Southpark (4, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 6 years ago | (#24745293)

Last night on Family Guy Peter Griffin shot his daughter at point-blank range with a handgun.

Across the universe a million Jedi padawan cried out in laughter and were quickly elated by having their first play of GTA4 and 2.45 percent of those were arrested for committing copycat crimes within the hour.

Elsewhere, some guy creates a bunch of pixellated blips which make other blips make noise. It is too "controversial" to be released into the wild.

But he said "World Trade Center"!!! (4, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | about 6 years ago | (#24745683)

Everybody knows that the FBI appears if you say "World Trade Center" three times in front of a mirror.

Re:But he said "World Trade Center"!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24745801)

9/11 = LOL

there is no question (5, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | about 6 years ago | (#24744813)

Video games are art. It is long settled. No one of consequence is disputing this.

Re:there is no question (5, Funny)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | about 6 years ago | (#24744979)

From the summary:

Kotaku took this occasion to ask whether "statements" can and should be made via video games, and how it affects the ongoing question of whether video games should be considered art.

From parent:

Video games are art. It is long settled. No one of consequence is disputing this.

From the mod:

(Score:1, Offtopic)

This is why I love slashdot.

Re:there is no question (1)

moteyalpha (1228680) | about 6 years ago | (#24745337)

From the summary:

Kotaku took this occasion to ask whether "statements" can and should be made via video games, and how it affects the ongoing question of whether video games should be considered art.

From parent:

Surt

Video games are art. It is long settled. No one of consequence is disputing this.

From the mod:

(Score:1, Offtopic)

HapppySmileMan

This is why I love slashdot.

By doing such a silly thing, somebody has served the opposite purpose. And this why I like slashdot. As far as categories go, art and other things can be merged and it is not always possible to determine where the water ends and the alcohol begins in a drink.

Re:there is no question (1)

Surt (22457) | about 6 years ago | (#24745473)

Wow ... I have to agree ... the offtopic moderation is ridiculous.

Re:there is no question (5, Insightful)

n dot l (1099033) | about 6 years ago | (#24745231)

Yes video games are art (see Braid). Yes, you can make artistic statements in video games. You can make all sorts of statements in games. No, all video games are not good art (the same applies to paintings, books, and movies). And no, you do not have any sort of right to a warm reception whatsoever for your work. Just like with paintings books and movies (fancy that). If your "statement" makes your game unfun or offensive then, well, suck it up, you broke your own shit. It's not our fault for "not understanding" your well-obfuscated intent.

That out of the way, I have to agree with the parent that it's stupid debating the whole "games as art" thing in the first place. We don't question whether movies are art when someone makes a film denying the Holocaust. What the hell is it with all these "controversies" we get lately (here, in blogs, in political discourse, in the MSM)? Are we really trying so hard to be "nuanced" that we have to dump illogical statements into every other sentence just to be interesting?

Although, this gives me another item for my list of "things to do if I suddenly become a god": have my prophet spout subtle logical fallacies and then laugh it up as the idiot humans get upset, and waste a bunch of time or do damage to themselves, and then finally figure it out and say, "hey, wait a minute, that doesn't even make sense!"

Re:there is no question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24745345)

I wish there was a "+1 Topic locked" moderation. You said all that needs to be said. The End.

Re:there is no question (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24745827)

Name one video game that has the intellectual depth of a fine art painting or literature. Just like comic books and manga, video games occupy the same intellectual ground as pulp fiction novels and trash romantic comedy movies. There has never been nor will there ever be a video game that can compare with great art and literature like Rafael, Picasso, van Gogh, James Joyce, Yeats, or Shakespeare.

Re:there is no question (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 6 years ago | (#24745375)

Video games *can be* art. That doesn't make all video games works of art.

Re:there is no question (4, Insightful)

kestasjk (933987) | about 6 years ago | (#24745449)

I'm going to make a bold prediction that somewhere in this discussion there will be a debate over the meaning of "art".

Re:there is no question (1, Informative)

Surt (22457) | about 6 years ago | (#24745527)

Video games are art. They may be terrible, terrible art, but they are art.

Re:there is no question (3, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 6 years ago | (#24745865)

Video games are art.

But should that art be censored?

The fact remains; most people associate video games with children and young people. While this remains the dominant view of the medium it will be subjected to a level of scrutiny and censorship unseen by any medium that has come before it. There are movies rated PG-13 that, as a game, would never be certified with anything less than an M or 18s rating. We've all played GTA. What, if anything, in the entire series compares with the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan?

Is there a higher level of censorship because the player is "committing the action's themselves!". No. That is only a rationalisation. The real reason is because Joe Public and John Politician think games are for "kids", and should have a level of "decency" befitting that role. Mention drugs or prostitution in a video game, hint at violence, or make even innocuous remarks about sexuality, or heaven forbid use even very mild "language" and you'll be rated akin to a James Bond title.

Ratchet and Clank [wikipedia.org] as a series, has been continuously rated "Teen" by the ESRB. The ESRB, touted as a serious rating agency, is telling me with a straight face that Ratchet and Clank is unsuitable for 9-12 year olds? This is the status quo in the video game industry. In an environment like that, just how much risk do you think artists, or their patrons, will really be willing to take with their work?

Re:there is no question (1)

westlake (615356) | about 6 years ago | (#24746007)

Video games are art. It is long settled. No one of consequence is disputing this.
.

That I very much doubt.

The London stage was considered popular entertainment is Shakespeare's day.

If you wanted recognition as a writer you wrote and published poetry - or perhaps a book of essays, like Sir Francis Bacon.

It is a long way from the tintypes of 1860 to the landscape photography of Ansel Adams.

MoMa didn't begin collecting photographs until 1930, motion pictures until 1935. That is forty years of the American film - Porter's The Life of an American Fireman to Little Caesar and King Kong.

Retarded Niggers (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24744817)

Tautology [goatse.cz]

Abe's Oddysey.. vegetarian? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24744819)

I believe that I read once that Oddworld, Abe's Oddesey [wikipedia.org] drew its themes from vegetarian ideas? Is that true? [holloway.co.nz]

Re:Abe's Oddysey.. vegetarian? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24745755)

Yes, it is true that you believe you read once that Oddworld drew its themes from vegetarian ideas.

That said, Oddworld in fact did not draw its themes from vegetarian ideas.

I have never played Oddworld, nor have I ever eaten a vegetable.

Re:Abe's Oddysey.. vegetarian? (1)

KGIII (973947) | about 6 years ago | (#24745853)

I have never played Oddworld, nor have I ever eaten a vegetable.

Of course you haven't, they're a pain in the ass to get out of the wheelchair.

Anybody capable of programming a game... (0, Troll)

Joce640k (829181) | about 6 years ago | (#24744829)

...should on no account be allowed to make "statements".

Re:Anybody capable of programming a game... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24744963)

...should on no account be allowed to make "statements".

Elaborate, oh wise one.

Re:Anybody capable of programming a game... (4, Funny)

WK2 (1072560) | about 6 years ago | (#24745021)

Statements and expressions are requirements in most programmings languages.

Re:Anybody capable of programming a game... (3, Funny)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | about 6 years ago | (#24745023)

...should on no account be allowed to make "statements".

printf(%s, "Why no... whoops"); //well if we can't make a statement, we should just leave a comment instead.

meh (4, Insightful)

thermian (1267986) | about 6 years ago | (#24744841)

Ever since I discovered the joy of hunting down and killing innocent civilian transports in Elite I've been looking for ways to be a completely evil bugger in the games I play.

I'm not alone either, people like to do that sort of thing. Why else would you be able to sit on top of buildings taking out hookers with a sniper rifle in a car driving game? There is of course a big difference between doing that in a game and doing it in real life, but quite obviously it is something people find amusing, at least in a fantasy sense.

I can't say I'd like replaying real world modern atrocities, but I know from accounts of elderly relatives just how bloody and horrific the second world war was (in unfortunately graphic detail, given how young I was when I listened to the stories), yet we happily recreate that in game after game.

recreation of nasty events is going to happen, there's no way to avoid it, and good luck trying to set a time limit on how much time must pass before an event becomes a suitable topic for a game.

Re:meh (2, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | about 6 years ago | (#24745043)

I think it would be fun to have an augmented reality sniper rifle. You climb up on a tall building, sight up some people and then blast them.. the scope in the sniper rifle gives you a realistic account of the blood splatter and how they would fall to the ground, etc. You could wear headphones to simulate the sound of the rifle firing. Of course, when you take your eyes away from the scope the person is still alive and walking around.. I'm not suggesting we need VR goggles here.

Unfortunately, if someone spotted you up there on the roof pretending to shoot people, they'd send the police to kill you.

Re:meh (0, Flamebait)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | about 6 years ago | (#24745159)

That's kind of insane - you're basically conditioning yourself to snipe random people in a real setting, which is highly divorced from sitting in an arcade messing with a game (or at home). Basically, it's one step removed from senseless slaughter, and yes, you'd probably get shot for your stupidity. Hell, I get nervous contemplating stuff like this [rus-camera.com]

Re:meh (-1, Troll)

QuantumG (50515) | about 6 years ago | (#24745245)

Or, it's harmless fun and you irrationally believe that the police exist to protect you from things that people might be doing.

Re:meh (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 6 years ago | (#24745305)

So it ok in virtual setting (video game), but not a real one. Ok what about if he was in a holo-deck is it sick then? It seems to me you are arguing the ethics of this action by its graphical fidelity.

Re:meh (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 6 years ago | (#24745433)

Well, on TNG, they were definitely dismayed at Broccoli [sic] putting the other crew members into his holodeck fantasies.

Re:meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24745465)

Some "Fulcrum_of_Evil" you turned out to be.

Uhmm (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24745771)

Can we moderate -1, Psychotic?

Re:meh (1)

Awptimus Prime (695459) | about 6 years ago | (#24745167)

I agree with you. Those crazy people who think people will act out video games should get ready for me to dress up in a pirate outfit and go around stabbing people in the back with a 3 foot long dagger, /dancing and /giggling the whole time.

(World of Warcraft PVP, world ganking people 50 levels lower than myself for fun)

The fastest way score in Elite is to shoot Police (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 6 years ago | (#24745705)

Everybody knows that. An infinite supply of ships flying towards you and none of that tedious mucking about in hyperspace.

Re:meh (0, Redundant)

EdIII (1114411) | about 6 years ago | (#24746067)

There is of course a big difference between doing that in a game and doing it in real life, but quite obviously it is something people find amusing, at least in a fantasy sense.

This is not about video games and their relation to violence at all. With all due respect to both sides of that argument, "Blah Blah Blah Fucking-Blah". That issue is being brought up to provide cover to the real issue here, and unfortunately there will be a lot of posters arguing back and forth. I am sure there will be some pretty insightful and compelling arguments on both sides, but all of you just fell into a trap.

This artist is a narcissistic asshole. He claims that it was not controversy for controversy's sake, a statement that I highly doubt is true. Instead of confronting the issue he tries to throw two questions up in the air and escape out the back door while the rest of us are arguing. Knowing that the argument would turn into a heated debate about video games and their relation to violence, just shows that he chose the topics wisely.

The question about whether or not video games can make "artistic statements", and if indeed video games could be considered a form of art, is also irrelevant. Obviously it is a form of art. From programming, to graphics and music, video games are full of art. Can art make statements that are moving, profound, and controversial? Ummm, well what else was it for in the first place? Duh.

recreation of nasty events is going to happen, there's no way to avoid it, and good luck trying to set a time limit on how much time must pass before an event becomes a suitable topic for a game.

This is the real question. It is about boundaries that should be obvious to most people, but are not. Linking Space Invaders with the tragedy of 9/11 was just in poor taste and lacked any artistic value. It was created to purely shock people, and nothing else. Games about World War II, and others like them are recreating the experience of war, which is different than what this artist was doing. How does Space Invaders recreating the experience of 9/11 have any value?

Anytime art involves horrific tragedy it is treading on dangerous ground. An artist does need to be careful with the statement that he/she is trying to make. Plenty of artists have tried to make art with genocide, the holocaust, and horrible natural disasters. Some have succeeded and some have failed. You run a big risk doing it. Your better be able to explain your statement and it should be a good one at that. Pretty simple.

This gentleman failed spectacularly . It is possible that he was just stupid. I don't think so, but it is possible. He could of said, "I tried making a statement. You don't understand it or appreciate it. I apologize to all offended". Instead he did not explain anything, but created a cluster fuck of a smoke screen and walked away.

Everybody on /. should not let him get away with it by participating and instead just send him a healthy heaping of "Fuck YOU".

The message (0, Flamebait)

Robert1 (513674) | about 6 years ago | (#24744849)

"neither artist has been especially specific about 'what it means,' or in instructing players on how they should interpret their work or what 'message' should be taken away."

That's because saying "to intentionally be controversial to garner attention for myself" doesn't go over well when you're trying to maintain a facade of artistic merit.

Re:The message (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24744959)

Hmmmm... I don't like people that "tell me what it means" or tell me "how I should interpret their work" or tell me what message I better be hearing.

All of that, and what I think, belong to me and me alone. I don't know what's worse - terrorists or people that seek to control my thoughts.

Re:The message (1)

KGIII (973947) | about 6 years ago | (#24745907)

Every time you argue the merits of your thoughts with another it is an attempt to control their thoughts. Else you'd just let them think what they want.

I see you doing that a lot here on /. Mr. Anonymous Coward.

Re:The message (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24745041)

trying to maintain a facade of artistic merit.

Did I lose the instruction book that came with the Mona Lisa, or was da Vinci just trying to maintain a facade of artistic merit?

Re:The message (1)

Televiper2000 (1145415) | about 6 years ago | (#24745447)

I think this is the crux of the issue. This is where the artists fail to make their case that they are making an artistic statement, and not simply hiding behind the label. Telling people what your message is doesn't necessarily mean telling what to take home from the piece. It means giving some statement of where you're coming from, and the significance of each of the elements. Art isn't poker, you're not supposed to hide your cards. In the case of these two pieces we're left to come up with our own interpretation, as long at that interpretation is arty goodness, and not smelly garbageness, because you know it's art.

Re:The message (1)

grahamd0 (1129971) | about 6 years ago | (#24745587)

In the case of these two pieces we're left to come up with our own interpretation, as long at that interpretation is arty goodness, and not smelly garbageness, because you know it's art.

On the contrary, I doubt that either person has the ability to limit your interpretation, which could easily include it being smelly garbageness.

That's the beauty of art.

Re:The message (1)

Televiper2000 (1145415) | about 6 years ago | (#24746093)

To criticize the piece the artist will be forced to form their own interpretation of the piece.
The artist can arbitrarily dismiss the criticism by saying, "that's not what I meant."
When the artist doesn't attach their own interpretation to a piece, and they respond to criticism with "it's art, why all the negativity" they are, IMHO, begging for a polite interpretation. The 'artists' here are basically saying, I'm not going to tell you what I mean, but I'm appalled at being misinterpreted.

Pussy Nazi Sez (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24744863)

No pussy for YOU!

You can make whatever statements you want. (1)

sycodon (149926) | about 6 years ago | (#24744867)

But others will always have the right to tell you you are a dumb ass.

At least no one put out a Fatwa on him.

Re:You can make whatever statements you want. (1)

abigor (540274) | about 6 years ago | (#24745351)

Or just the opposite of a fatwa, whatever that is (WARNING: this is guaranteed to offend, and yes, this game does exist):

http://it.youtube.com/watch?v=vUY-ciT-mu4 [youtube.com]

I don't know what's worse, the game or the commentary.

Re:You can make whatever statements you want. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24745415)

FYI a Fatwa is just a generic religious ruling by a Sharia judge [wikipedia.org] , it's not a death threat. However a Fatwa to kill someone is a ruling to kill someone, but you need the "to kill someone" bit for it mean what you're implying.

ps. Sharia Courts are bullshit: "In instances of rape some interpretations of Sharia law require for an allegation to be validated, victims must have four witnesses to the crime or else the victims risk being charged with fornication or adultery making a rejected allegation a potential death sentence for the victim. In Yemen Sharia law required compensation to be paid to the husband in the case of a 10 year old child bride who requested a divorce after rape and abuse (the age of sexual consent under Sharia law is 9)"

Re:You can make whatever statements you want. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24745981)

in america judges require all offenders to be sexually abused with anal rape while in prison.
oh wait, it just happens as a matter of course... they dont explicitly state it.
blame the system not the law. sharia can be a perfectly valid system (and has been for far longer than BCL) or a perfectly broken one. it depends on the implementation. some would argue american justice/BCL is broken too if they saw the way america implemented it.

Here's my statement (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24744877)

The game is called "I HATE YOU" and the objective of the game is to kiss my ass so hard it starts to turn colors.

up up a down will enable the tickle me pink mode so that you may lick my sweet, sweet scrotum.

Play online, multiplayer, with up to 50 asses for your soft subtle lips.

All OSes supported (even OS/2!). No DRM, no internet service required, no hassles... ... just you kissing my ass.

Free country (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24744903)

PRETTY SIMPLE...

If you don't like it, don't play it.

Otherwise STFU or move to somewhere you can use the gov't or others to control people you don't like.

Re:Free country (1)

ksd1337 (1029386) | about 6 years ago | (#24745455)

I don't see why this is modded Flamebait. The poster brings up a valuable point.

I think he's fibbing... (2, Insightful)

RevVoice (1350871) | about 6 years ago | (#24744909)

>>"it was never created to merely provoke controversy for controversy's sake." Then what message was it intended to provoke? Did the creator actually suspect people would look and go, "Oh! How artistic?" and not lash out against it? He has every right to create, but I can't imagine what kind of dipstick wouldn't realize that it was going to piss people off.

Re:I think he's fibbing... (1)

ral8158 (947954) | about 6 years ago | (#24745219)

I considered it artistic. It's viscious commentary, but it still has all the traits of postmodern art (it is indistinguishable from parody of itself)

A simple, two second interpretation: The World Trade Center represents capitalism, and the invaders, by slowly destroying the world trade center, are slowly stripping away our accomplishments and even some of our failures to produce a fair society. These invaders are both setting us back and giving us a chance to start over. In multiple ways, they are charicatures of our actual enemies; they're slow moving, giving us the opportunity to stop them if we deem our successes worth protecting, and they're part of a video game. In a twist that even the most hardened postmodern critic would have to love, he is actually commenting on how people won't take the video game as a serious work of art.

There. I could probably whip up a few more paragraphs, pages, or books if I had the time or motivation. But a reasonably intelligent person would realize that if he wanted to be offensive about 9/11, he could do it in way better ways than this.

Re:I think he's fibbing... (1)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | about 6 years ago | (#24745429)

Maybe he just didn't care that a few assholes would limit his freedom of expression, he doesn't have to explain why he did it to you or anyone else, he is allowed by law.

Re:I think he's fibbing... (1)

timmarhy (659436) | about 6 years ago | (#24746061)

wait he made a game depecting an event in which lots of peoples family memebers were murdered, and THEY are the assholes?

while i agree freedom of expression is important, it doesn't make it ok for this prick to exploit a tragic event for his own gain (which is clearly all this is).

Re:I think he's fibbing... (1)

Maestro485 (1166937) | about 6 years ago | (#24745493)

Maybe he didn't intend to have a message. Maybe he made a game that was somewhat tasteless for the hell of it. Maybe he wasn't analyzing it like some holier-than-thou English lit major.

What about the JFK game where you are Oswald? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 6 years ago | (#24744915)

What about the JFK game where you are Oswald? That was big when it came out.

Video lames (1)

binaryseraph (955557) | about 6 years ago | (#24744945)

Yes, videogames can be deemed art. But not all of them are. Madden '08 is hardly experession, but just the NFL marketing tool of choice to subvert our young into becoming whores to the industry.

What a load of bullshit.. these guys are asses (-1, Troll)

religious freak (1005821) | about 6 years ago | (#24744949)

Nothing to add to title...

You can troll with them = you can make statements (5, Interesting)

philspear (1142299) | about 6 years ago | (#24744971)

It's unfortunate that the examples were all statements of "Lookit me! I'm an insensitive asshole!" But the answer is yes, they can express that.

The real question is if games can make statements that aren't

-I want money
-I want attention
-I hate (insert group of people here)
-I'm a jerk

The answer is yes, but we haven't been able to do it very sophisticated like yet.

One GOOD exmaple I'm thinking of is the guy who made "the emo game" You can find his works here
http://www.emogame.com/ [emogame.com]

Emo game 1 basically is making fun of emo music. A worthy goal. One of the sequels is an extremely not-subtle condemnation of conservatives, republicans, Bush, Paris hilton, the anti-stem cell movement, and shooting various other fishes in barrels. They're free and sometimes funny. Again, not subtle. Try them. A lot of the message relies on you playing through not very good gaming portions and then coming to a word document with the message inserted. It doesn't flow seamlessly with the game.

There are also games that are clearly environmental, and they range from bludgeoning you over the head with it to so subtle that you could miss it.

Bioshock I'm told has some moral questions for you to ponder. As I haven't played it yet I can't comment on that. I suspect though it's largely using movie techniques between game sequences.

Videogames as statements are clearly in their infancy, so it's to be expected that the examples we have are fairly crude. Props to the emogame guy for being a pioneer of sorts though, and of course for making a statement with his soapbox. But it definitely is possible and with time they'll develop mechanisms to make it actually part of the game as opposed to gaming between statements.

Re:You can troll with them = you can make statemen (0)

jps25 (1286898) | about 6 years ago | (#24745171)

Pray tell, why is it a worthy goal to belittle emo music?
Aren't you just an insensitive asshole?
Why do you even praise this game after claiming that the answer is yes to the real question if games can make statements that aren't: -I want attention -I hate (insert group of people here) -I'm a jerk ?

"Hypocrisy in anything whatever may deceive the cleverest and most penetrating man, but the least wide-awake of children recognizes it, and is revolted by it, however ingeniously it may be disguised" - Tolstoy

Re:You can troll with them = you can make statemen (3, Insightful)

philspear (1142299) | about 6 years ago | (#24745417)

It never fails to suprise me that emo fans actually get upset and defensive when you insult emo. Or, if you don't claim to be an emo fan, it never fails to suprise me when people object to mocking of emo. This time I was expecting more whining over the republican bashing.

It's a worthy goal to make fun of emo music because 1. its funny 2. Emo, like many other things worthy of parody, is a little ridiculous when you get down to it 3. Emo fans need to grow a thicker skin. I'm praising the game because making fun of emo is not an asshole thing to do, in other words. And if you had read the author's website, you'll note that he is actually a fan of emo music.

Anyway, chill out. Why get your undies in a knot over it?

Re:You can troll with them = you can make statemen (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 6 years ago | (#24745269)

I am a jerk, you insensitive clod!

Re:You can troll with them = you can make statemen (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 6 years ago | (#24745333)

Mass Effect has some really great moral choices.

Re:You can troll with them = you can make statemen (1)

ksd1337 (1029386) | about 6 years ago | (#24745485)

Doom doesn't have any objectionable content, except for a few hidden swastikas scattered about. Well, there was Imp Encounter, so...

Re:You can troll with them = you can make statemen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24745953)

"Videogames as statements are clearly in their infancy"

Having just started playing Dues Ex, released in 2001, I disagree. It's on Steam if you want to try it.

Define "art" (1)

ZosX (517789) | about 6 years ago | (#24745025)

I believe you are asking a rhetorical question.

Statement? (1)

Xevantus (1226160) | about 6 years ago | (#24745035)

I don't see how either of the examples sited can be said to be a "statement." People are just used to games being unrealistic. In 2000, no one made a fuss about the fact that the creators of "Deus Ex" decided to destroy both the WTC and the Statue of Liberty in terrorist attacks for their storyline. Why? Because it was unrealistic. Every gamer has done quite a few things in games that are just "unacceptable." You know, killing civilians in every FPS ever made, sniping the Sarge at Boot Camp in HL: OF, killing marines in Halo. You know, the stuff out mothers warned us not to do...So what's wrong with DEFENDING the twin towers? Sure, if you fail, they're destroyed...Until you start a new game. I see no statement being made. I only see the reality we embrace in out television and movies bleeding over into video games. What's wrong with that?

Anything Can Be Art (1)

gacl (1078259) | about 6 years ago | (#24745093)

If urinals [wikipedia.org] , piss [wikipedia.org] , and elephant shit [guardian.co.uk] can be art, then, why not a video game?

Previous to the 20th century defining art [wikipedia.org] was easy. Nowdays, not so much.

Why are movies ok? (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | about 6 years ago | (#24745095)

I have said this elsewhere but I might as well post it here too. At lest this guy didn't make a movie dramatizing events from 9/11 and charge people $8+ to see it.

two comments. (4, Interesting)

Toonol (1057698) | about 6 years ago | (#24745109)

The quick answer is, of course. Like any other form of creative endeavor, videogames can and should be used to explore themes and illustrate principles, artistically.

The second point, though, is that I don't like these two games being held up as examples of video-game art. Both the mentioned games seem to me a bit like the crucifix dipped in urine; it's making a crass, simplistic, unsubtle, and probably unintended statement. Artists seem to feel that they are free to make ridiculous and shoddily-executed statements, purely for shock, and that nobody should criticise them for it. It's 'art'.

Play Planescape:Torment to find a game rich with true art, that says something about humanity. The aforementioned two games are art, in the same sense hanging condoms from a Christmas tree painted red is.

Planescape: Torment (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 6 years ago | (#24745949)

undiscovered genius

barely made a blip on the horizon when it was released, yet now, many years later, i keep encountering people who refer to it. i myself think about it now and then and think "what exactly made me think of that game right now, i haven't played it in years"

because, exactly as you said, that was one hell of a gorgeous, unique, creatively engrossing game. nothing like it's story arc or it's character. it makes an impression

like rocky horror picture show [wikipedia.org] , you will hear more and more of Planescape: Torment over time. i think this game will actually grow in popularity in coming years

the definition of a cult classic videogame

There's a difference between a statement... (2)

Legion_SB (1300215) | about 6 years ago | (#24745117)

... and merely doing something that you know people will find offensive.

Let's see someone actually do something thought-provoking with games, not simply "hey, what's the most offensive thing we can do, let's do that and call it 'artistic'!"

If you turned your "artistic statement" into a Slashdot comment and it would get modded down as "Troll", it's not a particularly good statement. Keep thinking.

Re:There's a difference between a statement... (0, Offtopic)

Awptimus Prime (695459) | about 6 years ago | (#24745249)

If you turned your "artistic statement" into a Slashdot comment and it would get modded down as "Troll", it's not a particularly good statement. Keep thinking.

I would not consider things which are mod-worthy on slasdot being of much value anywhere except slashdot. Most of the +5 Insightful writings on here would get you laughed out of any sort of face to face debate in the majority of settings.

Not a good place for artistic expression (1)

Kenoli (934612) | about 6 years ago | (#24745145)

Whatever "message" the game may have had was completely lost, and for an obvious reason.
Not because it was in a video game, but simply because it involved the WTC towers. Their destruction is one of the most controversial topics I can think of.
What sort of reaction was the artist honestly expecting to get?

Video games are not art (4, Interesting)

incognito84 (903401) | about 6 years ago | (#24745147)

I remember reading an article written by Hideo Kojima (of MGS fame) about whether he thought video games were art, and he said no.

He essentially said that he didn't believe video games were art as they offered an open ended experience where players can immerse themselves in order to form unique experiences.

As a whole, that's just what they are: packaged, bought and sold "worlds" or "realities" for us to play in, which can contain all sorts and varieties of artistic elements, but yet as a whole can not be considered art. A player's experience rewound and played forward as a non-interactive product of the player's volition (like a film) can be art, but the act of playing a video game is not by itself art.

This is not to subtract from the idea of video games as I'm an avid video gamer myself. Video games provide us with experiences we could not or would not replicate in real life, and our interaction with these games creates an individually tailored experience which can be chalked full of artistic things, yet not artistic as a whole because it is what you make of it.

Is riding the subway to work art? No. Is seeing a painting on the wall art? The painting itself is, yes, but not the act of seeing it or your choice to go and see it. Is listening to music art? Not the act of listening, but the music itself is art... and you see my point.

Video games offer us a passage to artistic things, but are wholly not art in themselves.

Hope that made sense.

Re:Video games are not art (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24745711)

I cannot see how the crafting of an ersatz environment and its physics can be considered less of an art than merely reproducing an image of such a place. Certainly, such artifacts should not be disqualified simply because video games involve an art form that can be experienced in a variety of different ways.

By your example:

Is listening to music art? Not the act of listening, but the music itself is art.

Is operating a video game on a computer art? Not the act of pressing buttons, but the game which responds to your interaction.

Re:Video games are not art (2)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | about 6 years ago | (#24745813)

Video games are not art

Ceci n'est pas une pipe

Re:Video games are not art (1)

Haoie (1277294) | about 6 years ago | (#24745923)

The game is the art.

But the gamer isn't the artist.

Re:Video games are not art (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24745991)

Ironic that Kojima would say that. Not because I think his games are artistic, but because they have so many cutscenes it is hard to consider them interactive.

On a more serious note, it doesn't make any sense whatsoever. Your analogies are absurdly flawed: seeing a painting or listening to music is equivalent to playing a game, not to the game itself. No one here (or at least very few) are claiming that playing a game is art. The game itself is art.

Re:Video games are not art (1)

Hatta (162192) | about 6 years ago | (#24746049)

He essentially said that he didn't believe video games were art as they offered an open ended experience where players can immerse themselves in order to form unique experiences.

Hasn't the experience one takes from a work of art always been open ended? Every person is unique, and so is their experience. Nothing changes when its a game.

art is crap (0, Troll)

geekd (14774) | about 6 years ago | (#24745187)

Art is crap and art that makes a statement is double crap.

Are the games fun? Then I will play them. Not fun? Then I won't.

Recently, literal art crap got loose and took down some power lines. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1047578/Giant-inflatable-dog-mess-breaks-free-moorings-brings-power-line.html [dailymail.co.uk]

Re:art is crap (1)

Bragador (1036480) | about 6 years ago | (#24745423)

Yes but some people like to be challenged. It's like for tv shows really. Some people will watch America's funniest home videos because it's fun and they say the rest is crap. Others will watch philosophical scifi movies and, even though they will not have "fun" as much as you, they will think about what could happen and about where the human race could end up.

Gutless wonder this guy (1)

iminplaya (723125) | about 6 years ago | (#24745227)

So afraid to offend. You make me want to puke. Games are games. Who cares if they leave exploding dog doo on your front porch?

Just like a book (3, Insightful)

atmtarzy (1267802) | about 6 years ago | (#24745283)

I don't really see much of an argument against considering video games as art. The longer ones, with stories and what-not are very similar to written books. Both have different methods of engaging the player or reader, but both do provide a fully-fledged story, complete with morals, themes, and a message that can change a player's or reader's opinion on a matter. The shorter games, like in the mentioned Space Invaders controversy, are very similar to paintings. There isn't much of a story to them, but they still are fully capable of affecting a player or viewer.

In general, I'd say that something is art if it's capable of affecting its 'experiencer' in some sort of opinion- or emotially-related way. The fact that 2+2 is 4 isn't art (written on paper, it might be, but not the simple fact itself), while little aliens blowing up the WTC is.

Games are for kids. (1)

Bragador (1036480) | about 6 years ago | (#24745365)

See, as long as most people think video games are solely for kids then it will shock. Not because these games make a statement, but because people think they were meant for kids.

Also, remember that for now, games rated "A" can't be sold in retail stores so for now the idea that games are for kids is going nowhere. It's the same thing with cartoons outside of Japan.

Why are we talking about a stupid "controversy"? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 years ago | (#24745399)

This seems to be less about whether video games can be art, and more about the dimwitted reactionary troglodytes who seem to think that their emotional reactions, so long as they are strong enough, should dictate what other people get to see, say, and do.

This vice is not a new one(The Romans were bitching about the decadence of Greek art not long after they became familiar with it), nor is it confined to whining about games(as the previous anecdote suggests), nor is it confined to any particular political persuasion(Fascists attacked "decadent" art, Communists attacked "bourgeois" art, religious fundamentalists attack pretty much anything that doesn't bow and scrape to their wretched little gods, hardline bleeding-hearts attack art that threatens "the children" which is one of their few areas of agreement with the fundies.) Video games are the target of choice because, unlike other media which have a long and respectable history to (partially) shield them from attack, it is still common "knowledge" that video games are just homicide simulators for pimply geeks.

The only "controversy" here consists of people who think that their right to never have their feelings hurt is more important than anybody else's right to speak whining, as they always do. Pathetic.

you would be right (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 6 years ago | (#24745873)

were the artist/ designer not purposely picking something designed to bait the troglodyte you are talking about

in other words, troglodytes attacking something of their own initiative (which happens all the time, which should be condemned), is one thing

but publicity seekers purposely designing "art" or videogames that are designed to piss off troglodytes is another thing entirely

notice i'm not realy attacking the publicity seekers. i'm simply completely unimpressed with them. i'm simply saying they get what they deserve, because what they get is what they were seeking in the first place

i mean a lot of what is called "art" like this is such vapid shallow purposely political bullshit nowadays

i mean this guy said he didn't want controversy for controversy's sake

oh really?

space invaders with the world trade centers tower? really? it's as if someone asked you to design something controversial, this is what you would come up with. and the guy is shocked its controversial. RIIIGHT

i, as you, despise the troglodytes. but i'm not very impressed with "artists" who exist it seems to do little more than bait the troglodytes

i know such "artists", as many do, by a more descriptive moniker: attention whores. it's all about me, me, me. the spotlight must tweak my ego, by any means possible. and the means they come up with, to seek attention, is often this purposefully politically charged nonsense. it serves no real artist function. the only function it serves is to attract the negative attention of troglodytes. they are the pheklps

so the attention whores and the troglodytes deserve each other as far as i am concerned

both are drama queens, inflating each other's pathetic need for drama and attention

to hell with the troglodytes and the attention whore "artists"

Replace "Video game" with.... (2, Interesting)

solune (803114) | about 6 years ago | (#24745453)

Movies...or books...or...well, you get the idea.

And, like all previous mediums, is bound to be fertile ground for all kinds statements, from serious to the ridiculous.

My question is, when will we see the Jack Thompson Lawsuit Shootout Jamboree?

Meaning is subjective. (3, Insightful)

grahamd0 (1129971) | about 6 years ago | (#24745499)

Like Stanley's Invaders!, Ledonne and his title stopped short of providing a direct interpretation - neither artist has been especially specific about 'what it means,' or in instructing players on how they should interpret their work or what 'message' should be taken away.

Nor should they. The meaning of art is subjective.

Any good artist is far too emotionally connected to their work to objectively critique it. Explaining the meaning of their work is simply being pretentious. Who are they to tell us how to feel?

Re:Meaning is subjective. (1)

KingKiki217 (979050) | about 6 years ago | (#24746071)

This idea has always bothered me: "Who is the person trying to talk to me to tell me what they're trying to say? I should be able to put the words that I want to hear into their mouth."
It seems to me that no one is better qualified to interpret a work of art than the artist himself. Maybe the art evokes some childhood memory for the artist, or one of a million other things that could muddle the meaning by externalizing it.
To think that all meaning is in the person observing the art is just as pretentious as thinking that all the meaning is in the artist, but the artist is the creator of the piece; it's a reflection of the artist, at the very least. There would be no meaning there to discuss if the artist hadn't created it.

Art (3, Insightful)

BeardedClone (1351227) | about 6 years ago | (#24745513)

Art refers a range of human creations, and expressions that are appealing to other people. I believe when we include music and literature, we should automatically include games because they include both elements. Games also include visual arts and sculptures (3D). We can sit here and discuss aesthetics all day, or agree that it's something better left to the philosophers. Ars est celare artem.

That's just wrong (5, Funny)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 6 years ago | (#24745573)

a modification of Space Invaders in which the invaders are slowly demolishing the World Trade Center

I can see why people were upset. That's not how it happened!!! A mod of MS Flight Simulator, now that would be more realistic.

Oh no! (1)

robo_mojo (997193) | about 6 years ago | (#24745629)

Look out, there's controversy! RUN!!

A Good Analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24745741)

A producer I once worked with said it best:
"Video games are art like movies and comic books are art!"

no thanks (1, Offtopic)

schnikies79 (788746) | about 6 years ago | (#24745783)

Sometimes I just want to be entertained without having to hear/see "your statement." I don't always care about what you think, nor do I always want to know.

Movies can, why not games (1)

margretli (851537) | about 6 years ago | (#24745823)

Movies, books, oral narrative, it's all about story telling. Most games these days have a brilliant story line behind it. If the more "traditional" ways of story telling are being considered art, I don't see why a video game would not be considered art. Video games are a distinct medium, and if somebody makes art with it, then by definition it's art.

Histrionic Americans, or humans? (3, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | about 6 years ago | (#24745921)

Are all you humans this histrionic and emotionally narcissistic, or is it only the subclass of the species that lives in the United States? If it's the latter, what is it about your food supply or environment that makes you deserving of one of Bill Engvall's signs? Perhaps you should stop fluoridating your water?

"Emotionally narcissistic" is the best term I can conceive to describe the irrational stupidity of people who would overreact to iconoclastic art... or games.

Also in the news! (4, Insightful)

Drakonik (1193977) | about 6 years ago | (#24746149)

Our expert analysts determine whether paintings, novels, or sculptures can be used to make political or social commentary. Details at 11.

Seriously though. What the FUCK? Yes, some video games are simply money-makers (Madden 1998-2XXX, anyone?), but others are used to really say something. There's one game called "Harpooned" that is a satire protesting Japanese "research" on whales. A video game is simply a digital canvas. Instead of crushed rocks and plants, we paint with pixels and code. If a video game isn't a piece of art in its own right, then nothing created by anyone is.

Anyone who thinks that ANY medium is not proper for expressing ideas and beliefs is simply trying to restrict your ability to express YOUR ideas.

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