Why Gamers Care

In his recent article, Ebert asked why gamers are so concerned with declaring games to be “art.” The answer to this is easy: games no longer want to be considered trivial.

For centuries, we have used games as a means of play. We use them to escape from work, to have fun. But something about “play” and “fun” implies that they can’t also be serious and raise serious questions about the human condition.

Video games started as a distraction, but the medium has grown into something else . These days, the level of involvement ranges from casual to hardcore, and games range from fun to work. If you don’t believe me, see any discussion on World of Warcraft as an economic machine, both through the in-game economy —and it’s application to the real-world economy —and in the players’ approach to ‘play’. Video games are starting to look like something more than jan unproductive distraction.

Games haven’t fully grown up, and like an independent teen, their insistence that they should be taken seriously just shows how much farther they have to go. However, many game producers are seeing this enormous potential and are starting to really understand what the medium can do. These games want to evoke real and complicated emotion, tell deeply human stories, and connect with the player in ways that other media can’t.

Sounds like art to me.