True, this definition leaves art up for individual interpretation, what one person finds “beautiful, appealing or of more than ordinary significance,” another person may not. Is it safe to say, then, that art is subjective – relative to how each individual experiences it? Of course. Then it is natural to assume that anything that has an emotional impact on a person could be defined as art.
Ultimately, then, trying to define video games as either art or not art is a bit of a pointless task. I personally have been emotionally impacted by video games, and as such I believe that they are capable of being art. Does Heavy Rain have this artistic quality to it? Again, I can only answer for myself, but that answer for me is yes. For someone to deny the emotional experiences that I’ve had with video games, though, by saying that the entire medium is incapable of being art seems downright absurd.
As for the the finer details within the category of art, such as
- Can a piece of art have a cohesive narrative with satisfying closure, and still involve participation on the part of the person viewing it?
- Can a game that requires re-playing, or “re-reading,” in order to experience every aspect of it, still deliver a complete and whole experience to the player?
- Can a game with no “lose” scenario still make players abide by rules
Well, these are things that I find a bit more worthy of discussion, and frankly more interesting. I’ve looked at these scenarios in relation to Heavy Rain, but of course there are more games, novels, interactive dramas, etc. that they can be applied to. I hope that I’ve managed to open these ideas up a bit and that others will continue these discussions further.