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US Government Recognizes, Funds Video Games As Art

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the sorry-roger dept.

Government 58

Kilrah_il writes "The National Endowment for the Arts recently published their criteria for next year's Arts in Media grants. One of the key changes is the inclusion of video games as works of art. 'Projects may include high profile multi-part or single television and radio programs (documentaries and dramatic narratives); media created for theatrical release; performance programs; artistic segments for use within an existing series; multi-part webisodes; installations; and interactive games. Short films, five minutes and under, will be considered in packages of three or more.' For those who worry that game companies will try to get a grant for a commercial game, notice that the grant is only for non-profit organizations."

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hooray! (0)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169078)

I would never have supposed the arts agency had it in them!

I approve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36169094)

I think the vast majority of art that is produced using grant money is stuff that only a very small percentage of the population enjoys or appreciates.

With this, I think that might change.

Re:I approve (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169934)

I think the vast majority of art that is produced using grant money is stuff that only a very small percentage of the population enjoys or appreciates.

Typically, if a large percentage of the population enjoys or appreciates it then it doesn't need arts grants: it can be commercially viable. Arts grants are for the stuff that hardly anybody would pay the going rate for, but that the budget holders think is important for some reason.

Re:I approve (1)

tmosley (996283) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170638)

Yeah, video games will be reduced to the level of modern "art".

Expect to see a million "Moon Master" remakes by people who use these grants to draw a salary for doing basically nothing. The equivalent of putting Ketchup on a pile of dog shit and call it art.

Re:I approve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36170660)

The equivalent of putting Ketchup on a pile of dog shit and call it art.

I need to get back to the studio, quick!

I'll take one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36169118)

I should get me one of them arty grants. I play video games all the time.

The year of Linux games (4, Interesting)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169192)

Is this the year of linux games? With finding from "The National Endowment for the Arts" ;)

Re:The year of Linux games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36169450)

This will be a great way for our elected officials to return favors to their campaign contributors with grants for their new "Video Game Project".

Re:The year of Linux games (1)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169684)

NEA is way too small for that type of thing to work. Think big: road construction, weapons, and finance.

Shut up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36169216)

Fat gay nerds

Typical Macfag answer. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36169220)

As an experienced art critic, games aren't art because *insert pretentious bullshit here*.

More Indie Games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36169312)

So does this mean that the market will be flooded with angsty platformers written in XNA in hopes of a cashout?

Most beautiful games (visuals) (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169334)

Atlantis, Cosmic Ark, and a few other iMagic games
Chopper Command, Pitfall 2, and a few other Activision VCS games
Zaxxon (arcade)
Crystal Castles (arcade)
Marble Madness (16/32 bit versions)
Space Ace (the Atari ST/Commodore Amiga version)
Zelda: Link to the Past
Yoshi's Island
Final Fantasy 5 and 6
Zelda: Mask of Majora
Final Fantasy 9
Banjo Kazooie 1 and 2
Final Fantasy 12

and so on. I'm at work and don't have time to type a complete list but these are the games that stick in my mind as "most beautiful" of their respective generations.

"Government". (0)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169338)

I think you mean "US Government Foundation Recognizes Games as Art; Tax Payers Fund Videogames as Art".

Re:"Government". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36169392)

Yes, yes, and "government uses money for something other than subsidies for eighteen-hojillion-dollar industries or war" means "government IS WASTING ALL YOUR PRECIOUS, PRECIOUS MONEY AND DONATING YOUR CHILDREN'S BLOOD TO SATAN!!!!!1!!!fnordfnordfnordfnord". Fine, fine. You hate the government. We get it already.

Re:"Government". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36169848)

Cute. But it is still government waste and nothing the government should be involved in. BTW, the armed forces are completely voluntary. If you join and don't expect there is a chance you will be killed you are a fool.

Re:"Government". (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 3 years ago | (#36174982)

Funding and supporting the arts is the mark of an advanced society. In your opinion it is government waste. I'm sure there is a ton of pork in these programs, but the government does have an interest in expanding our culture through art. The idea of supporting the arts through tax coffers is not new or unusual. Its not just 'wasted' money.

Re:"Government". (1)

drb226 (1938360) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169872)

I'm not against forcing all Americans to pay a little to fund nonprofit videogames. (After all, they get to force me to pay for other stuff I don't necessarily appreciate.)

Re:"Government". (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#36171036)

Here is a clue dumb ass:

People fucking KNOW it's their taxes.
However it's the government the recognizes Games as Art.

So the title is correct, and you are a knee jerk dumbass, who pays shit for taxes.

Remake Leisure Suit Larry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36169340)

Perhaps now I can finally get funding to remake Leisure Suit Larry.

Nonprofit? (3)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169366)

notice that the grant is only for non-profit organizations."

You mean like the National Football league which makes billions of dollars a year and is a 501(c)6 designated nonprofit organization?

Re:Nonprofit? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169860)

notice that the grant is only for non-profit organizations."

You mean like the National Football league which makes billions of dollars a year and is a 501(c)6 designated nonprofit organization?

I envision a national StarCraft league...

not with MY money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36169492)

Art does not need taxpayer subsidy. It needs talent.

American Art Museum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36169552)

http://www.americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/archive/2012/games/

..in your face, Ebert! (0)

Destoo (530123) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169588)

The same country that recognizes ketchup and potato chips as vegetables now recognizes game as High Art.
This will suuuuuurely end the debate once and for all!

Re:..in your face, Ebert! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36169652)

The same country that recognizes ketchup and potato chips as vegetables now recognizes game as High Art.
This will suuuuuurely end the debate once and for all!

Yeah, and it's the same country that recognizes Shakespeare and Van Gogh as High Art, too! Which clearly means they're both hacks who are an embarrassment to the concept of putting marks on some manner of canvas or paper, thanks to shallow association!

Re:..in your face, Ebert! (1)

koreaman (835838) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169762)

Va plus sur ce site si tu toleres pas les Américains. Franchement j'en ai marre de ces francophone qui croient que c'est eux le seul peuple civilisé du monde, ou que les Etats-Unis sont un pays de sauvages. Oui il y a des sauvages ici, mais pas plus qu'en France (ou en Belgique, Québec, etc... je sais pas exactement d'oà tu viens)

Re:..in your face, Ebert! (1)

Destoo (530123) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169820)

Je crois que tu as manque le *sarcasme* de mon commentaire, unfortunately. And it's probably because english is not your first language, which is all right with me. There's no sarcasm emoticon.
I'm very far from not tolerating Americans. I consider myself as one, and having worked at IBM for more than 8 years, most of my customers were from the US. (same thing with the next company I worked at, with 80% of the business being with ISPs in the US)

Re:..in your face, Ebert! (1)

koreaman (835838) | more than 3 years ago | (#36188408)

I'll respond in English because you did in the majority of your post is in that language, leading me to believe that you are more comfortable in it than in French.

I'm sorry for missing the sarcasm in your post; your typically French half-joking anti-Americanism and your French signature made me think that you identified ethnically as a member of some Francophone culture. Since you identify as American, the situation is completely different -- I believe in Jesus's teaching to "take the plank out of your own eye before taking the speck from your brother's" (even though I am not a Christian), which means I find Americans criticizing American culture to be much more acceptable than French people doing so.

I am 100% American, born to and raised by 100% American parents, and I vote for leftists, don't think potato chips are a staple of good eating, care about the environment, and value intellect and learning: all contrary to common French stereotypes about my people. That's why even though I'm the biggest Francophile I know, the derisive attitude of many (but not all) French people, which stems from ignorance about the good parts of American culture, irks me greatly.

So I apologize for flying off the handle at you, but I hope that after reading this post you'll understand why I did so.

Re:..in your face, Ebert! (1)

drb226 (1938360) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169902)

That's like the opposite of correlation != causation.

Re:..in your face, Ebert! (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169974)

The same country that recognizes ketchup and potato chips as vegetables now recognizes game as High Art.

Who said anything about high art?

Re:..in your face, Ebert! (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170990)

Dear God, I sure hope so.

Ebert is an idiot who doesn't recognize that while a picture or song that could stand on its own is considered "art" but yet if the same thing is included inside a computer game, somehow it is no longer art. He is archaic relic from the past who doesn't grok "The _medium_ does not matter."

Re:..in your face, Ebert! (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#36171062)

Ebert is not an idiot, by any stretch. He's WRONG, and has even kind of hedged that way.

Thinking people are idiots because they disagree only means you aren't actually thinking about their arguments, and you are underestimating them.

And the medium Does matter in art. It's a factor.

Re:..in your face, Ebert! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36171530)

I think he means "The medium does not matter for the purposes of determining whether the work qualifies as Art(TM)", which would be correct. You, in turn, are correct about Ebert not being an idiot despite being wholly wrong on this particular matter.

Re:..in your face, Ebert! (1)

man_the_king (1139561) | more than 3 years ago | (#36182756)

Ebert is not an idiot, granted, in general.

Concerning this specific topic, he certainly acted like an idiotic illiterate know-it-all, specifically because he pontificated on the issue of games being ineligible to be considered as art while not having played a single one.

Re:..in your face, Ebert! (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 3 years ago | (#36171092)

You know what? This is the best comment. All of the other comments should go away. This one. This one right here is the best. It is.

Misleading title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36169598)

The changes allows them to give grants to those developing games. They haven't actually issued any yet as far as I can tell.

Why? (1)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169614)

There's hardly a shortage of video games out there. Given the deficit problem we already have, why should we be spending money to produce a good that is already being produced in massive quantities, particularly a good that only the well off (who can afford high end PC's or expensive gaming equipment and subscription) will be able to take advantage of?

Isn't this essentially just forcing people to purchase games that aren't selling on their own merits?

Re:Why? (2)

TheSambassador (1134253) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169754)

It seems like you didn't even read the SUMMARY. Impressive.

We have a National Endowment for the Arts program. It funds artists via grants because we've decided, as a country, that the arts are important. Now the types of art that are allowed to be funded includes video games.

"Isn't this essentially just forcing people to purchase games that aren't selling on their own merits?" No more than it's "forcing people to purchase paintings that aren't selling on their own merits" or "forcing people to pay for fruit cups that their kids don't even eat because they make them bring their own food." The government has a LOT of programs, and you have every right to be upset about the .0001 cents of your money that probably goes to such programs. Literally NOTHING the government does is supported by 100% of the population. It is literally impossible to please everybody who lives in the US. This is just one program that some people believe is valuable, and now, for the first time, it's also being allowed to fund games as works of art. I think that that's pretty cool.

Re:Why? (1)

Stormy Dragon (800799) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170182)

Yes, but the difference is that those paintings and those fruit cups are actually available to everyone. We have public museums where people can go to see the paintings or public schools where kids can go to eat the fruitcups.

Video games are only accessible to the more affluent sections of society. It seems backward to tax everyone to subsidize the past times of the upper quintiles.

Re:Why? (1)

TheSambassador (1134253) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170266)

How are video games only accessible to "the more affluent sections of society?" What stops a museum from having computers set up for people to experience the games, the same way that people experience paintings? Your logic is flawed.

http://games.slashdot.org/story/11/05/06/2124229/Smithsonian-Unveils-Art-of-Games-Voting-Results [slashdot.org]

Re:Why? (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170742)

What stops a museum from having computers set up for people to experience the games

10$ on 'Museum Curators'.

Re:Why? (1)

JustSomeProgrammer (1881750) | more than 3 years ago | (#36171754)

You know there's alot of museums that have movie theaters and tvs and vcrs to display motion art that has been done in the past. I see no reason a museum that has that would not have something to have a game in it. I think this is awesome since it will give encouragement and funding to people who want to explore the medium as an art form and not necessarily as just an entertainment platform. I'd love to experience some games that are designed just to cause a flow of emotions even if they aren't incredibly fun.

Re:Why? (1)

Crash Culligan (227354) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169822)

Stormy Dragon: Given the deficit problem we already have, why should we be spending money to produce a good that is already being produced in massive quantities, particularly a good that only the well off (who can afford high end PC's or expensive gaming equipment and subscription) will be able to take advantage of?

There's a little more to it than just shoveling money at video game companies. Down below I posted a one-sentence paragraph from the article. Here are the ones from right before and right after that one:

TFA: There is a new emphasis on innovation, as well as strengthening creativity through access to the arts.

We’re encouraging media projects that enhance public knowledge and understanding of the arts through multi-platform or transmedia means.

This is, I gather, supposed to be art with a purpose, and that purpose is to raise awareness in some capacity, be it appreciation of other artistic media or social issues. For that reason, I consider this a good thing, even though I can't take advantage of it myself.

Beside the issue I raised below, they're looking for "innovation" in whatever game comes out, and I find it hard to believe they're experienced enough or equipped to judge games in that capacity. If Zynga gets into this grant business, I could advocate nuking the plan from orbit, just to be on the safe side.

Re:Why? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169896)

So just summarize this for me, is nethack eligible for a grant or not? I was always more of a TOME and Angband player but I recognize the great ancestors...

It's the Message, Not the Medium (1)

Crash Culligan (227354) | more than 3 years ago | (#36174436)

Oh, you joke.

Nethack, as itself? Almost certainly not. Nethack, reskinned to immerse the player in an artistic or cultural situation? With a sufficient advertising budget to convince people to actually play it? That might pass and, depending on the situation or scenario you present, it might even be worthwhile.

As a further example, remember that any game which would be suitable for this grant doesn't even necessarily have to be playable, just evocative. Consider the innocuous-seeming board game Train [escapistmagazine.com] , which was pretty much designed to make you want to stop playing most of the way through the first time and never to try it again. That one didn't just hit its mark, it kicked it in the kielbasa. To its detriment, some people failed to realize that the board game was villifying the original event, and instead chose to hate on the board game for celebrating it.

Pretty Narrow Target (1)

Crash Culligan (227354) | more than 3 years ago | (#36169756)

Given the terms of the grant, I see them having trouble finding appropriate projects to fund. For that reason, I can't help worrying that this all could go down poorly.

On the one hand, sure, they're going to give these grants to smaller, actual "indie" development groups. But on the other hand...

TFA: In order to reach the widest possible audience, priority will be given to projects that include substantive public engagement strategies, including well articulated social media strategies.

If I'm reading this right, they're looking for indie developers that are set up with good PR and exposure. There aren't that many of those, are there?

Re:Pretty Narrow Target (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#36171108)

You're not reading that right.

An inde developer who has a game the uses social media would qualify.

The ability to use social media in an articulate manner doesn't equal PR division.

No wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36169806)

Is it any surprise we have a staggering budget shortfall?

I'm sure my tax dollars will pay the principal and interest on the loan to China that funded the "turd in a glass" art too.

I give up.

Games already made with grants? (1)

Calmiche (531074) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170106)

Okay, I know that there are some video games that have originated in other nations that were made partially with government grants. The problem is that I can't find any citations! Anyone remember some of these?

My mind is saying Syberia and The Longest Journey were partially funded by grants from Norway and Canada but I can't find citations. I'm pretty sure that France also has a grant for video game development.

Who asked you? (0)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170126)

I really like what the guy who wrote this article had to say: "Government Says Video Games are Art....Yeah, Thanks" [world-gaming.com] In short, that's great and all, but we already knew games were art. We never needed your approval in the first place, and anyone who still doesn't agree (*cough* Ebert,) well that's your loss. (Except he said it a lot better in the long version.)

Ebert must be pissed (1)

macmacaman (779878) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170414)

Well I guess now that the NEA has slapped down Ebert's pronouncement that video games are not art he'll have to reverse his opinion. http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2010/04/video_games_can_never_be_art.html [suntimes.com]

Re:Ebert must be pissed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36172248)

Well I guess now that the NEA has slapped down Ebert's pronouncement that video games are not art he'll have to reverse his opinion.

He already had.

He hasn't admitted that they're art, but he did say he was wrong in claiming they weren't. He decided that he wasn't qualified to decide.

aren't most video games (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170666)

not-for-profit endeavors?

This is the NEA were talking about here... (1)

landofcleve (1959610) | more than 3 years ago | (#36170832)

They aren't exactly known for their discerning nature. Maybe wait for some organization with some respect to memorialize video games before declaring vindication.

NEA is Unconstitutional (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 3 years ago | (#36173714)

Section 8 of the constitution states:
  • The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
  • A bunch of stuff... taxes, military, post office..
  • To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;
  • To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

Art for art sake is not covered. It has to be for carrying into execution the foregoing powers. So the Army making a shooter to promote enlistment is covered. A non profit making a game where you cure aids isn't.

Re:NEA is Unconstitutional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36174314)

If you actually read the constitution, you might realise two things. First is the elastic clause. Look it up. Next would be that alot of the crap our gocernmwnt does is not specifically in the constitution. We realise, however, that it might bein our best interest to have, say, an EPA.

Re:NEA is Unconstitutional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36177912)

To me those read as separate thoughts. It says that Congress shall have the power to "promote the progress" of science and art by creating patents and copyrights (and we all know how well THAT turned out... maybe we can get the DMCA declared unconstitutional because it largely does the opposite of promoting progress?)
and that Congress additionally has the power to make all laws etc. Yeah, the second line is right after the first, but if you ask me, saying they're directly related is kind of like saying the Bill of Rights grants us free speech, but only if we use it to bare arms to prevent the troops trying to quarter in our houses during peacetime from unlawful search and seizure because we don't have to incriminate ourselves.

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