Games As Art, But At What Cost?

We'd like to see games as art. Even those of us who'd personally rather just shoot stuff, thank you very much, realise in general that "games as art" might be a simple way to vault them into the sphere of mainstream relevance, earn them appreciation and understanding from an audience that currently, unjustly, looks down on them.

We love, of course, when games have themes and messages, when they offer the player a choice - this equates to more complexity, we feel, this places a game on level with other media that aim to make us feel. There's an entire segment of the audience that devotes itself to finding the emotional moments in games; we write essays, post blogs and have forum discussions about Little Sisters, about holding hands with Yorda or getting rid of GLaDOS.

And many of us have even accepted, to some extent, that games are currently a little bit self-referential and insular. They often tread dangerously in the direction of comic books, which by giving comic book fans only and exactly what they wanted, ended up being of interest only to comic book fans and no one else. We see that games, as an interactive medium, have much greater potential than this.

But what happens when a game doesn't create the message from inside its fictional world, but uses a message that already exists?

What if "games as art" in the real world actually looks like something we really, really don't like?

Let's talk about Invaders!.


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