Is the video game art?
This is the new question that the scholarly men have been trying to answer for nigh on centuries now, their heads wobbly, glasses comically oversized. The patches on their sweaters: overbearing.
Today, once and for all, I will definitively answer this question.
Hello, my name is Jon ‘Jonno’ Johnson and video games have come a long way since the bleep-blop-bleeps of those dying embers, that flaxseed — binomial name Linum usitatissimum – it reminds me of that obnoxious scent, of the Pac-Man and his mission: consume. Consume the seeds, consume those pellets and overcome the oppressor. Eventually, upon death, you will consume yourself, such is the way of things in this cold, hard universe of things and objects that oscillate, vibrate and then quiver before the inevitability of death and oblivion.
What would Shakespeare say, if he were alive today? How would that perilously balanced titan of culture respond to these visual feasts we call 'video game'? Would he consume, like the Pac-Men, and become engorged on the fats of this millennial big mac of cultural betrayal? Would he become PAC-Speare, an engorged, yellow two-dimensional circle with a clumsily manicured beard? Would he rewrite his Sonnets with a WAKKA-WAKKA-WAKKA?
It’s impossible to say, but I’m willing to wager the answer is yes. If Shakespeare was alive today he would actually be a Pac-Man. A digital being, devoid of flesh and organs, lost in a maze of his own making, haunted as it were by the ghosts of his past.
Because the video games. The lure of the video games is strong. Like the chains that bind Poseidon himself, you will be dragged screaming into that whirling surf, dragged beneath the currents. You will worship at the feet of that new being, that source of infinite light: the pixel.
Those pixels, they dance. Watch as they dance and hypnotise the children in that tango of the damned.
Is this art? How can this possible be art. This Nintendo Box that would enslave us, that sub-conscious 12-headed harpie that would turn our children’s brains to mush and – worse – exhume Shakespeare's decaying skeleton and transform him into the Pac-Man.
These are the stakes. This is what we’re toying with: this is the Armageddon we beckon.
Is the video game the art?
I say nay. Verily I say nay. Can thou compare thee to the aural remedies of Bach that soothe and render us childlike before the music that titillates our earbuds like a celestial tickle-me-elmo?
Pray tell, dost that hell-fiend video game have a ditty that compares to those Sultans of Swing?
Tell me sweet reader, when will video games have its Citizen Brain? When will video games cut their collective ears off to create art that lives and breathes, art that inspires revolutionary orgasms in the loins of our youth?
I say never. But Uncharted 4’s alright.
My oldest son had a play of that earlier and my god the graphics are really good, isn’t it?
Video games have come a long way since Pac-Man. A long, long way.