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The debate over what counts as art has raged for centuries. Famous artists we know today were once under scrutiny for their art. Today the debate now includes a new art form: video games. So are critics right to say that video games are not art, or is there more to them than meets the eye?

Video games are art, but not fine art Show more Show less

No one can deny the artistic beauty which goes into the development of a video game. But no video game has ever mastered its art in the way that fine art has been mastered by the greatest artists. Culture has not been impacted by video games like it has been impacted by other, more established art forms.
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Video games have artistic elements, but are not fine art

A video game on the whole cannot be considered a work of fine art because it is just a toy meant for the purpose of entertainment. However, the art which goes into the creation of said video game cannot be denied as an art form.
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The Argument

Just like a child's toy which has been lovingly crafted to look like a boat, horse, or car, video games can be lovingly crafted to represent whatever the creator's artistic vision entails. But, also like a child's toy, in the end a video game is something which is only meant to be played with. The person receiving the toy may not ever see or appreciate the artistic value in it, but they will likely experience joy from playing with it; which is, also, a part of the artist's intent. The craft of making video games, like the craft of making toys, is most definitely an art. There are artistic elements which go into its creation; storyboard drawings, the story itself, the 3D models which make up the game characters and assets, etc. In this way, video games are art, but they are not fine art. Fine art is art which goes into a museum to be viewed and appreciated, but never touched or played with. Careful preservation efforts keep the art safe for people to appreciate centuries after its creation. Toys are played with and eventually discarded. A video game, once beaten, is similarly cast aside so that the player can experience a new one. Fine art is never discarded.

Counter arguments

The Strong Museum of Play[1], and many other toy museums just like it, invalidate this entire argument. There are many people who appreciate toys and video games enough to display them as works of fine art. Children may not appreciate their toys or video games as fine art, but oftentimes when they grow up they look back on them fondly. Many people keep their old toys displayed on shelves, replay their old video games, or even scour the internet to find the same toys and games they once had which became lost or broken. Further, not all works of fine art are meant to only be viewed under lock and key; there are also many examples of art which are meant to be played with, called "interactive art."[2] There are interactive art museums which allow visitors to do things such as create their own music, work their way through mazes, or even put on live performances.[3] Video games are interactive art which can be taken home and enjoyed; players can explore new worlds, create anything imaginable, and even make their own games within video games. The world of art is no longer limited to simply being viewed.


[P1] Video games are toys which are meant to be played with. Fine art is meant to be viewed but never touched. [P2] Artistic effort goes into creating video games, which makes them art, but not fine art.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Fine art can be played with just like any toy if it is interactive art. [Rejecting P2] Video games are interactive art, which is a fine art.




This page was last edited on Monday, 1 Jun 2020 at 22:39 UTC


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