English 15

Mindless Entertainment or Art?

(1) In recent years, many gamers have pushed to include video games in the pantheon of serious art. (2) Of course, “serious” will always be a debatable buzzword. (3) Allie Therwood, one of the leaders in this movement, wrote an article about when they1 can make the leap from trivial entertainment to something on a par with other types of great works, novels, poems, and paintings2 (although some more modern ones may be just as debatable). (4) In terms of cultural importance, few can deny that certain video games are “greater” than many works of art, particularly those by artists not associated with the genius level ascribed to Mozart or da Vinci. (5) It’s not as if3 these games are hastily created by commercial enterprises; teams of exceptionally talented designers and animators work for years to make these games as amazing as they possibly can be. [4]

Since5 there’s not much of a chance of the artistic elite accepting this relatively new medium as a worthy achievement, Therwood and other lobbyists continue to extol the virtues of the shifting artistic landscape. Video game companies – and there are many respected ones – are in a continuous arms race to release the most exciting new game, preventing6 the field of video games from becoming stagnant. [7] Therwood notes that many of the most accomplished painters and composers faced such a level of competition. In fact, she notes, the overall quality of work worldwide winds up8 creating a faster growing industry than almost any other.

Just think about how far the industry has come in the last few decades. One-button joysticks have been replaced by motion-sensitive Wii wands. Similarly9, one-player modules have been left behind in favor of internet-based competition with millions of other players10. Games such as “Halo” and “Call of Duty” are set up so that gamers put on their two-way headsets and then, play their games11 while talking directly to one another. What it’s12 a feature available even for participants from different countries. In these game-player’s13 opinions, video games constitute something that all great art does: brings people together. They play for fun, of course, but if they were not to be14 aware of the cultural importance of the games, the players are missing a major piece of the puzzle. [15]