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Illinois Legislator Claims Video Games Are Not Art

Press The Buttons: Illinois Legislator Claims Video Games Are Not Art

When I read the link above something went off in my head.

This is the result:

Senator Demuzio –

When I read your recent statement that “Video games are not art or media.” I was appalled, but not surprised given the overall awareness level of video games demonstrated so far by politicians. I understand that in the world we live in there is an increasing need for the government to act (because the majority feels it must act) when matters of violence or, more importantly, strong influences over children arise.

However… I take great offense at your statement.

A couple pieces of advice:

1) It’s always a bad, bad idea for politicians to issue their opinions on art to the press, especially when it involves a piece of legislature that you sponsored and got passed. Your business is people. Please stick to that.

2) A lot of people rely on video games for the stimulation they
cannot otherwise find in life. I myself have CMT, a progressive degenerative neuro-muscular condition that affects my entire nervous system. As a result I cannot participate in a great many physical activities that I once did as a child. As I grew up and came to terms with this I turned to video games more and more because I can only read so many books and watch so many movies before I crave something more active and stimulating. I still enjoy getting outside and I try to push myself physically, but video games have their place. They are a form of artistic media that I seldom see movies or television match in quality or originality.

Another one of your comments: “They are simulations, not all that different from the simulations used by the U.S. military in preparation for war.”

Your statement is true in a very limited set of examples. Sports games, first-person view shooting games, and driving games are all excellent examples of real-world simulations. But like any computer system video game consoles offer a blank page for talented artists and programmers to express themselves. My sister attends a highly
respected and well known private art school and they recently offered classes not only in computer animation but also video game production.

If video games cannot be art, then is a film also not art? Back in 2001 Sony Pictures released “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within” (link:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0173840/ ), a completely computer generated animation in the form of a movie. Considering these characters and themes came from a company (Square) who spent the last twenty years making video games I think they also might take offense to your statements.

I’d highly suggest you at least look at the following two links for my
personal favorite examples of “Video Games As Art”:

Rez
http://www.gamespot.com/ps2/action/rez/screenindex.html

Electroplankton
http://www.gamespot.com/ds/puzzle/electroplankton/screenindex.html

If you know how to use Google you can search for actual videos of both games in action (they aren’t hard to find). Pictures alone don’t do them justice.

In closing I want you to know that this is not a shot at you or your
bill. This is a shot at the political forces which probably forced you
to issue such an uninformed, naive opinion.

Sincerely,

– Jason R. Allen
– A former Illinois resident who still likes to visit occasionally.

If you feel like emailing Sen. Demuzio check out her web page.

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  1. May 25th, 2005 at 16:08 | #1

    I used to think video games were not art either until I started working with photoshop and computer animation.

    Now I think it is not only art, but the art of the future just as when oil pants or canvases were first invented.

    Maybe some of our politicians should try creating an image in photoshop.

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