It’s not every day that a new medium (visual or otherwise) comes along that one can actually call art. Sure the word has been bastardized by relativism and much like I can say “I love Sour Cream and Onion Pringles” someone can say that anything is art.
But for those of us stick to a slightly more restricted definition of what art is, it’s not very often that something new comes along a way that you have to start a new classification. The film medium was probably the last major one before this, but I would have to say that despite what people think of videogames they’re art.
One of the most impressive, awe inspiring things about Diablo III when I first started to play was the fact that it was beautiful to look at. Not in the way that the graphics were crisp, but just in the style of the settings. The huge crumbling temples with water cascading down through them, the glowing radiant blue scars of a fallen star marring a cathedral. There’s something ethereal and arcane and very gothic about it all. Even when there is bloody body parts arcing across the screen there’s some beauty to be found in the visual aspect of the game.
Sound wise, the game is just as stunning. But before I ramble on about all of this, the story is pretty damn crisp too. Videogames had a meager beginning and they’ve come close to being film like in the last five or so years, but when you think about it they borrow some of the aspects of so many different areas, some games taking more than others, to compile it all and make something completely different for the player. Games have to have writers, programmers (which some also see as art), graphic designers and people to draw the characters and someone else to sculpt them in 3-D. Long before games had merit or stories, they were seen a toys and pass times. Now they tell stories, scare people, make them laugh or cry and hold a huge audience world wide.
I’m sure no one had this vision for them going into it, but I can be sure that video games are solidifying themselves as an artistic medium right now.