A Game of Toners

During the centuries and millenniums the people’s tastes changed along with their needs and possibilities.

With them, art evolved too.

First came music, than song (and poetry). Carving and painting followed as soon as men and women had time and food enough to be have some spare time. As time passed, artists became more and more famous and developed new form of arts and entertainment such as drama and theatre.

Many century later, from painting a new branch was born, photography, while from theatre sprouted movies.

At first, they put people at loss for a moment… someone thought that cameras stole souls… (well, actually nobody is able to demonstrate the opposite) but after this dismay, those new arts were successful, especially thanks to their easy approachability.

More than a century passed and a new media was created: video games.

Now, after decades from the first video game ever realized, some people is starting to argue regarding the appropriateness of  adding a new Muse to the original nine.

During the years, the game look is quite changed, from 

to 

The most controversial point of the discussion is the innate interactive property of video games; well, actually the very name represents a problem: some says “how can art be a game?”

As you could easily read on Wikipedia (but you probably won’t), a famous film critic, Roger Ebert, tried several times to explain why, in his opinion, a video game can not be considered art. I copy paste from our sweet Wiki:

To my knowledge, no one in or out of the field has ever been able to cite a game worthy of comparison with the great dramatists, poets, filmmakers, novelists and composers. That a game can aspire to artistic importance as a visual experience, I accept. But for most gamers, video games represent a loss of those precious hours we have available to make ourselves more cultured, civilized and empathetic.

Of course this kind of assertion caused a strong turmoil in the gaming community and industry.

Even thought my point of view on the matter is not really that important, I think that the ever-increasing number of artists working in the game industry testify the growing recognition given to this media. Many professionals create games since…. since… lots of years! A proud Italian example is Fabio Corica, a game artist since the ’80.  Fabio is probably one of the most prolific Italian game professional.  In the picture you can see him while sculpting some sort of insectoid-alien head during a demonstration. held at latest Games Week, Milan, Italy.

During this event, mainly addressed to buyers and fans, I managed to meet some guy belonging to a group called Neoludica.

Neoludica is an association aiming at emphasizing the value of art within games. I’d like to quote their motto (which, I only read now, is really similar to what I already wrote):

Arte e gioco: in quante forme si può declinare questa relazione? L’arte è un gioco, diceva Duchamp, e i giochi sono arte. Videogames entry into Muses’ dance has further enriched this connection: videogames are art, and have made a significant influence on other arts: from cinema to literature, from music to visual arts. Neoludica ®Game Art Gallery vuole esplorare a fondo queste relazioni.

Translating the Italian: Art and game: how many shapes can this relation take? Art is a game, Duchamp used to say. […] Neoludica Game Art Gallery wants to fully explore these relationships.

Neoludica pursue the ambition of promoting and diffusing the value of art within games. Thanks to many seminars, meetings, conferences and publications it spreads its ideals.

During the already mentioned Games Week, the association organized an impressive art exhibition on Assassin’s Creed and games in general. 

For example, one of its latest works is “Art and Videogames”.

This book, containing wonderful pictures, features many artists and experts and offer the reader many points of view to let them form their own, very personal, ideas.

I suggest to give it a read! It’s worthwhile!

Well, regarding my point of view… As a designer I can’t agree more on the fact that games are art, even the oldest ones can be considered masterpieces!

See you soon! Next post will be on a classic of tabletop gaming world and my very first game design trial.

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