Thomas Merton once defined art by saying “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” This is a very powerful definition that can apply to all forms of art. However there is one underappreciated form of art that fits this definition better than any other, video games. Video games are undeniably popular in today’s culture. Almost anywhere you go you can see advertisements for newer, bigger, longer games. You can see people catching Pokemon on their phones like some sort of ten year old’s dream come true. We live in a society in which video games are everywhere, and yet surprisingly few people acknowledge them as art. It is understandable why some people would be skeptical about the artistic value of video games. The games that are seen in the mainstream are games like Call of Duty, Halo, and Mortal Kombat large titles that contain beautiful high definition artwork. However, having beautiful artwork is far from enough to make a game art. People take one look at the violent nature of these games and the generic storylines and they discount all claims that video games are art, but they are wrong to do so. Video games are an art, while maybe different from most other art forms that is not necessarily a bad thing.
(An example of an artistic game.)
All art forms allow people to form an attachment, but video games allow this attachment to become interactive. They allow gamers to get a hands on experience that you just cannot get with other forms of art. Recently I played through a game called The Beginner’s Guide that is actually such an intense artistic experience I found myself having somewhat of an existential crisis. The game starts off under such a harmless pretense of playing through the games of the narrator's friend Coda. But as you play it becomes so much more. The game turns into a beautiful look at anxiety and depression. It puts you through such an experience that the word “game” becomes too small. The only proper word for it is art because gamers really “find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” Games such as The Beginner’s guide create an experience that can affect people unlike any other art form. You find yourself walking through the experience. You are no longer watching as an outsider, or looking at some still photo or painting, but living the experience.
(Seriously pick up this game or watch someone play it, it is beautiful.)
Video games also let us get emotionally attached to characters and walk in someone else's shoes. They can shape they way we see the world. Games like Undertale allow us to see that violence is not always the answer. That no matter how impossible it may seem you can always talk something out. Other games such as That Dragon, Cancer show someone’s personal experience and let us see the struggles they go through. While very few people can every really understand, everyone can dive into that experience and lose themselves They can get lost in the depth, become heartbroken, enlightened, and inspired to make a change. If that is not art in its purest form, than nothing is. To anyone that tries to state video games are not art you are by extension stating that nothing is, or that art is not a thing of beauty that evokes emotion or a response; but some paint thrown upon a canvas with no feeling whatsoever. And if art loses all feeling is it truly art?
(Art creates a feeling, something this game does beautifully.)
Please note that as an editorial this is an OPINION if you have a different opinion that is perfectly fine, in fact I encourage you to share it with us. It is always important to hear every side of an argument to understand each other, so make sure your side is heard!