Every now and then this question arises. Chances are the discussion turns into an endless debate mostly because the topic of art is very subjective and everybody is entitled to their opinion. Therefore, we cannot conclude with a straight "yes" or "no." However, right now we'll try searching for an answer that resonates the most with us.
Britannica Online defines art as "the use of skill and imagination in the creation of aesthetic objects, environments, or experiences that can be shared with others." Out of the dozens of definitions from Dictionary.com here are two: "the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance;" "any field using the skills or techniques of art."
First, let's enumerate the most common and required creative components of a great video game: story line (narration), soundtrack (in game music tracks), scenes (landscapes, buildings, the virtual world per se), and then undoubtedly comes the activity; the sequence of activities where we are somewhat free to choose what to do.
(Screen shot from the game called Crysis.)
Thus, we can clearly see that a video game has all of the components that are present in movies, novels, dramas, paintings, sculptures, music, poetry, and so forth. A video game includes and combines elements of all of the aforementioned art forms. Additionally, it brings interactivity. This is the most critical part. This is what distinguishes it from other types of art.
Ideally we have no limitations; we're experiencing a heightened level of freedom in the virtual gaming world. We can think rationally or not, but the bottom line is that we can do whatever we want as long as the engine of the game is able to mimic it. Ultimately this is why some complain that games shouldn't be considered an art form. However, what about dramas and movies? Isn't there action? Yes, there is.
Nevertheless, the actors are trained professionals that won't "under-perform," ruining the artistic elements. On the other hand, game players more often than not are careless about playing "artistically," and thus make the game nothing but an "immature" art form. This is understandable; it's exactly what happened back in the days of mute gray scale movies. The genre was immature. Filmography now is 100 years old while gaming is around 30 years old
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