Why “art game”?

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by joulimousis, Nov 8, 2010.

  1. joulimousis

    joulimousis New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2008
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    Game devs, please stop using the “art game” claim, it makes no sense. What does it mean? What are you trying to say with it? That the game may bore me but I must not pay attention to it because it’s art? That I must get involved with it in a deeper way than other games?

    Does people refer to some painting as “art paintings” instead of “painting”? Or “art music”? No? Why is that? Maybe because it’s useless. A game is a game, and as any other form of art, it has infinite variations to it. Let me be the one that finds meaning or a message in your work and see if it represent something to me or not. Devs are using the term “art games” as an excuse for something, and no game needs it, because all games are art. And art, for me, resides more in the observer than the maker.

    Telling me that something is art is like explaining a joke. If I’m not laughing, it’s because it’s not funny to me, and that’s it. If your work doesn’t speak to me, leave it at that, and don’t embarrass yourself by using the “be aware it’s an art game” claim.

    --------
    This is a post from our blog (heavyboat.com/devblog). I'm posting it here because i think it can be the kick start for a good discussion.
     
  2. jpoag

    jpoag New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    Messages:
    806
    Likes Received:
    0
    Okay.

    At first, I thought you were referring to another forum thread (that I won't link to) but I instead see you are simply trying to capture traffic for your blog.

    I only know of one game that refers to itself as art, and that's by a nut-job.
     
  3. joulimousis

    joulimousis New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2008
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sorry you think that way, I'm not trying to capture traffic. The link to my blog it's because there's a discussion in the comments and it has value by itself, besides the blog.
     
  4. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    Messages:
    3,859
    Likes Received:
    2
    I usually appreciate it when someone tries to pass their game off as art. It means I can bypass it without wasting any bandwidth!
     
  5. andrew

    andrew New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    Messages:
    487
    Likes Received:
    0
  6. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    Messages:
    3,859
    Likes Received:
    2
    I believe you, I just don't give a monkeys :)
     
  7. meds

    meds New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    Messages:
    344
    Likes Received:
    0
    Games should be fun, or at least try to be fun, to qualify as games.

    So 'art games' are art, not games, and they tend to be pretty crappy art anyway.

    Gamers are too obsessed with being taken seriously by 'the establishment' which is why they become so hysterical on the subject. Really though no one cares, or at least no one should care.
     
  8. lennard

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2006
    Messages:
    2,390
    Likes Received:
    12
    Shameless trolling. At least wait until there is a thread about art games before coming in with a rant.
     
  9. Grey Alien

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Messages:
    2,797
    Likes Received:
    0
    Actually I thought Braid had good gameplay that wasn't secondary to the message. In fact the waffley text was boring to me so I bypassed it all and thought the ending was weird. Yes my middle name is Philistine.
     
  10. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Messages:
    5,130
    Likes Received:
    0
    I will soon start a new thread telling devs to stop making HOGs, because they're not real games! Of course with a link to my blog because it's relevant :p
     
  11. jpoag

    jpoag New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    Messages:
    806
    Likes Received:
    0
    Lol, you shouldn't be sorry. Capturing traffic is what blogging is about. Your blog doesn't have ads or links to current games, so I assume you are trying to build an audience for an upcoming game (like WolfFire).

    Reposting the entire blog entry on the forums is pretty strange. Most people (like Cliffski) simply link to the post. Also, (as lennard pointed out) Cliffski's posts are relevant to a recent discussion or hot topic.

    Maybe it's a cart-before-the-horse situation.
     
  12. Sillysoft

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    831
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bad art games are bad.

    Good art games are good! It's true that these don't often call themselves "art games" so I guess I hear your point.

    Bad art games shouldn't get a free pass just because they art "art games." Maybe when we have more good art games this won't be a problem any more.
     
  13. JeBuS

    JeBuS New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is exactly how I feel. If I see something labeled an "art game", I don't ever look at it again.
     
  14. vjvj

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2004
    Messages:
    1,732
    Likes Received:
    0
    The trick to finding good art games is to not look for "art games" at all. Good art games, by my definition, are an elegant synthesis of clean game design and expressive artistry. Ico is a good modern example, but there are plenty of games throughout history that have achieved the same.

    If people are talking about things like foreign worlds that feel real, or the fostering of meaningful relationships between game characters, chances are good that the game has some artistic quality behind it.

    This is in stark contrast to the colloquial "indie art game", which has essentially been co-opted by a particular development community to represent under-designed/non-existent game mechanics packaged into some form of social rebellion. I could probably list hundreds of games that fall under this category.
     
  15. Spore Man

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Messages:
    843
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'd take Braid off that list. Lots of games have stories to them, and that one just does it in an almost pathetic poetic way. Why does that make it an "art game" as opposed to a platformer with time-control and an emo storyline?
     
  16. KNau

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    Messages:
    1,165
    Likes Received:
    2
    Yeah, the only thing that makes Braid an "art game" is that the developer himself is kinda pretentious about it.

    If the developer has glasses, a neckbeard and an ironic t-shirt, it's an art game.

    If he wears a scarf all year round then it's an art game but you're just not smart enough to "get it".
     
  17. Jim Buck

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    1,158
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'd also take Every Day the Same Dream off that list. It's not a game. You Have to Burn the Rope is more of a game. It's art, yes, in a making-a-statement way, but it's not a game.
     
  18. HMAudio

    HMAudio New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2010
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    Art game: Clicking around on a nice piece of art. (find the yarn! good job! find the beetle! you did it!) Nothing wrong with that.

    Artistic game: Potentially has a bit more attention to background visuals, character detail, settings, etc., potentially a bit unique, original.

    Art in game: Not Zork. Oh bah, there was art on the cover...
     
  19. papillon

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2004
    Messages:
    2,193
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, since all games are art, what makes it an "art game" is that the artist says it is. :p

    Same with art movies, no?

    And while the OP may never have heard of "art music", there DEFINITELY is such a thing. There's a lot of music that is weird and experimental and of limited interest to people who aren't involved in music theory. Many of you may have at least vaguely heard of John Cage, but he's hardly alone. Get involved with music as a field instead of just listening to stuff you encounter absent-mindedly and you'll find a lot more.

    And then of course we get into "modern art" which wanders drunkenly along a fine line between brilliance and absolute crap.

    Trying to make a STATEMENT instead of just being ENJOYABLE is always risky business, and is sometimes just ass-covering for having made nonsense to start with.

    (Some of my games have messages. Some players completely fail to grasp them. Le sigh.)
     
  20. richtaur

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2009
    Messages:
    262
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think the core problem is that people who don't know how to make games are making games. These artists who are making art games are really great at art, but have little to no experience making games, so of course their games are going to be kind of crap. They are very pretty though.

    I just think the artists more often need to team up with programmers and game designers to see their visions through …
     

Share This Page

  • About Indie Gamer

    When the original Dexterity Forums closed in 2004, Indie Gamer was born and a diverse community has grown out of a passion for creating great games. Here you will find over 10 years of in-depth discussion on game design, the business of game development, and marketing/sales. Indie Gamer also provides a friendly place to meet up with other Developers, Artists, Composers and Writers.
  • Buy us a beer!

    Indie Gamer is delicately held together by a single poor bastard who thankfully gets help from various community volunteers. If you frequent this site or have found value in something you've learned here, help keep the site running by donating a few dollars (for beer of course)!

    Sure, I'll Buy You a Beer