Are videogames recognised as an art form?

This is a piece I have written for my Gold arts award, exploring the question are videogames recognised as an artform?  

Are videogames recognised as an art form?

For my chosen arts issue I have asked are videogames recognised as an art form. I chose this issue as a female gamer I have been told to stop playing videogames because they will rot my brain and aren’t creative. From my own experience I have found that there is a stigma around videogames. I have been told by friends and family how they are either only for children or violent and that they can’t be creative or artistic. Videogames can be very creative and can stimulate artistic ability’s through playing them or the design of them. In my opinion they should be considered an art form. To find this information I will conduct a survey and I will look at interviews with the public and game creators. 

In this paragraph I would like to discuss how videogames are art. I would like to start with this statement “The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.” This is the definition of art and from this I must say videogames do fall under this definition. It takes a lot of “creative skill and imagination” to create the story and use a specific artistic style. Within most games there are moments of strong emotional power, for example the Last Of Us (a game by the company naughty dog) is notorious for this as within the first 20 minute you find yourself in tears as the reality of this world hits you.  

Image result for telltale walking deadIn this paragraph I would like to discuss the how artistic and different games can be and the uses of this. One of the main reasons that people play videogames is as an escape like watching a movie or a piece of theatre. But In a videogame you are in charge you can drive the story in games made company’s like telltale games and Quantic Dream  that have their own artistic style and make the player pick what a character does and see how that changes the story as you go on. It’s a more creative and stimulating way to experience media. These games can also be used to educate an audience on a relevant topic. For example Flower a game that you can explore and is visually beautiful, really makes you think about the footprint that we leave on our landscapes. Within the game it shows you how man-made structure are overpowering our natural landscapes. It explores the balance between these opposing forces within the game.

Image result for flower the gameWhen researching about how videogames are not an art form I found an article from Roger Eberts a journalist’s opinion who spoke about this particular game. Within his argument he spoke about other games as to not give a bias opinion but the comment about this game in particular stood out to me. “The game is "about trying to find a balance between elements of urban and the natural." Nothing she shows from this game seemed of more than decorative interest on the level of a greeting card. Is the game scored? She doesn't say.  Do you win if you're the first to find the balance between the urban and the natural? Can you control the flower? Does the game know what the ideal balance is?” ( ) I can understand his pint of view within this yes it is not an action packed game but as a review on the game rightly said the game “challenges traditional gaming conventions.” ( and so the point of this game is not to win or to get the highest score its intention is to make you think about the world in the same way a painting or a drawing might. The creator used this platform as though it was a painting to visually show the deconstruction of our landscape. They could have very easily mad an art installation or a painting but they chose to create their art on a digital canvas witch shows how videogame scan be used as an art form. 

Image result for are videogames artWithin my research I also found an article titled ‘are videogames art’ which is a documentation of a debate about this question. One of the students says “For me, art is presentation of an idea. I once read a book written by Paul Graham [called Hackers and Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age]. He is a big hacker and also learned painting at RISD. He feels like programming is also art, and for him it's the same as painting because you have an idea of what you want to do: you write some code, you add some code, you debug—and for painting, you have a sketch, you add more lines, you erase, and you add more lines, and you edit it. With games … you can choose the different design, story lines, different graphic designs, and also different music. For me, I think games are art.”( I have to agree with this statement as it is the same principal’s just different tools that are being used within the piece and after reading an interview with some creators of games coding is a piece of art one creator described it as being like poetry in the way it is written and designed. 

Image result for inventive minecraft creationsImage result for minecraft creationsWithin this paragraph I will discuss my views on the creative tools that videogames can give us and how this helps to stimulate artists and creators. When people think of videogame they think of main stream titles like Minecraft Overwatch or Fifa to their own you may think aren’t creative. However you can be quite creative within these games. If you take Overwatch for example a game that is all about switching characters and communicating with your team to complete a task. As a part of the game you can customise your own game modes and publish them for other players to experience. Minecraft is also a creative game with in it. As one of these creators I get very frustrated when people look at the game and say it isn’t creative. Minecraft is all about creating (well it’s even in the name.) There are different game modes survival or creative. Within survival you have to battle through enemy’s in order to build and survive. Within creative however people have put in thousands of hours into the game to create some amazing things and building whatever their imagination can think of with no limitations. People have made amazing things happen like a working phone and marriage proposals within the game. I looked at an interview with the creator of the game Minecraft Markus Persson or notch as he is better known and he had this to say “I think it's both the freedom the player gets, making it fun to both build and to watch what other people have built, and the random level generator that generates somewhat interesting levels to explore. I frequently get surprised and see something I'd never imagined. Recently, there was a video of a Minecart-based pig killing machine that automatically fetches a new pig when you kill the previous one. Very clever, and extremely funny.” ( This shows how yes pig killing machines can be made but also an exploration of artistic ability. This shows how sometimes not just the developing of the games is an art form but how within the player can be the creators and the player can build and be artistic themselves. 

From conducting my research I found a survey that said that 88% of people that took the survey said that they agreed that videogames should be considered an art form and i found this as odd because when talking to people I found many disagreed with my statement that they should. This struck me as odd and then I thought about it. The survey was done online and when looing into the age groups of people that did the survey I found that younger people and adults that grew up with videogames were disagreeing that videogames should be considered as an art form. So to look into this further I did a survey to ask people of different ages and genders what their opinion was on the issue. I had a very interesting response. I found that 100% of the people that took the survey had played some form of game. I then found what their opinions of videogames were visually? 73.33% of people gave a positive response with words like “unique” and “creative" being used to describe them. It was the final answered I found gave an interesting result that 53.3% of people thought that videogame designing programing creating etc is an art form. I looked at the comments and found a lot of people that thought it was understood that you need to be creative and need to have an imagination one person commented “sketching character design layout etc. all of this would be considered art but for some reason when the word “game” is involved, people lose that idea of art.” and I think that this is what has happened with the people that disagreed as some comments said things like “never considered it as one, just only ever played them.” this tells me that when people come across games like flower they just immerse themselves and don’t even consider the possibility that there could be an artistic intention. 

Image result for journey gameImage result for okamiWhen starting this is research I wanted to see whether people saw videogames as an art form. I found within my personal experience that there is a stigma around videogames that they are either for children or are violent. However I have found that many games are abstract and creative and can spark your imagination within that world. Many aspects of videogames are considered within the art community as an art form from designing the characters and the levels to playing the game and actively creating things within the world. I want to see if people see things the way that I do and ask are videogames recognised as an art form. In terms of secondary research I looked at articles, poles and discussions. I expected to find a lot of people arguing that they shouldn’t be an art form. I was surprised to find people arguing for both for and against. For my primary research I created a physical survey and handed it out to people of different age groups to hopefully understand what the public’s opinion of videogames is. As part of this I asked first if they had played videogames witch I was suppressed to see that 100% of participants had played a videogame. This made my research a lot more useful as they all had experience with videogames of a sort. I found after my research I changed my mind on a few things. When listening to PlayStation access a section of PlayStation lovers who talk about videogames show off new games and are about everything PlayStation. I found his on YouTube I found an interesting comment that really changed my mind on this issue. “Lots of people throw okami about as proof that videogames are art simply because it has paint brushes I it this jar has paint brushes in it is this jar art. Maybe it is. The point I’m clumsily trying to make is that videogames don’t have to be art to be taken seriously as a creative medium. And similarly videogames don’t have to be a bafta winning commentary on the nature of the human condition to be art if the last of us is art then pez 2018 is it’s a team’s creative interpretation of something in this case football.” ( I feel like this really changes my mind in particular when rob says “videogames don’t have to be art to be taken seriously as a creative medium.” I believe it doesn’t. I think that it is just a team’s interpretation of something and yes it should be art. A lot of game creators that put their lives into their work and want to create a piece of art or a place to create art like Markus Persson’s Minecraft. By definition these games are art and stimulate creativity and push for powerful emotional responses like Markus Persson’s Minecraft or nought dogs The Last Of Us. My question to you is do you recognise videogames as art? 

This is a user generated post from our Arts Award on Voice community and was not edited by the Voice team. We would love to hear your views too! Sign up for an account and make your Voice heard!


Abi Wyles

Abi Wyles

This author has no bio :(


  • Emily Marsh

    On 8 November 2018, 11:52 Emily Marsh commented:

    Before reading this article I had a strong opinion that videogames are not an art from however, after reading this I have gained more knowledge of videogames and so I am more open to the idea that they do use some forms of art.

  • Emma Del'Nero Williams

    On 8 November 2018, 12:21 Emma Del'Nero Williams commented:

    A great article on an interesting topic. I definitely agree that videogames are an art form. This is a well researched piece and I really enjoyed reading it. I think that videogames are often seen in a negative light due to their addictive qualities and therefor the positive aspects such as their creativity become overshadowed. I am not a big fan of gaming as I feel they are having a negative impact on young peoples ability to social interact and communicate effectively but I do believe in moderation they are very entertaining, creatively stimulating and often educational. Thank you for highlighting this issue.

  • Kelly Stockley

    On 8 November 2018, 12:28 Kelly Stockley commented:

    I would say they are an art form but more so in the film industry as from what I have heard games are very realistic now. The realistic aspect is probably why they get bad press and maybe not then seen as an art form. Or does it come back from the fact that gaming is quite a new thing in the last 20 years whereas most other arts forms have been around for longer? To be honest, I never thought about gaming being classed as an art form, I would have just said its called gaming which would go into the form of computing and technology but this isn't me disagreeing I think maybe it's just use of my categorising it. Computing and technology do often fit in to the bracket of art as you have digital art and textiles for example, so what I am trying to say is, I think it's just a case of labelling things.

  • Alex Sheppard

    On 8 November 2018, 12:29 Alex Sheppard commented:

    After reading your article I can say that I thoroughly agree that videogames should be considered as an artform. As someone who plays games on a frequent basis I can relate to the negative aspects that are received when you tell people how much you play video games, to which I believe to be an unfair attitude.
    Your points were very clearly mentioned throughout your article and therefore it was overall an easy read (despite some grammatical errors) I particularly enjoyed the way you compared coding for a game to sketching for physical art pieces, and I would have liked to see more in depth analysis for this ideology as it's something I hadn't heard before.
    Overall, from reading this my opinion that games are an art form has only further increased my positive attitude towards gaming

  • Bee Snellen

    On 8 November 2018, 16:37 Bee Snellen Voice Team commented:

    Hi Abi! I have used one of the images from your article as the header image, as we recommend using a header image so your article has a thumbnail in the list of articles.

    I definitely think videogames are art. I play many different types of games: from Overwatch to little indie games such as Hue and Bound. Visually, videogames can be as diverse as you want: from pixelated minecraft, to beautifully crafted visuals. So to judge them all the same is, in my opinion, wrong. Perhaps some games, like candycrush, shouldn't be considered art.

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