Misc > Debate

Are Video Games Art, or Entertainment?

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How much control should a game's creator have over their game, and does the opinion of the masses really matter? This only came to mind due to the recent activity in the "What is art" thread, but I think this is its own entire debate. Once a game enters the public domain and starts getting modded and updated and gains a community (such as this one), does that game still belong to its original creator? Are they right to add or remove or change whatever they see fit from future incarnations, to change the established universe? Or do gamers deserve some say in this, because of the interactive medium? Or should they be handled like books or TV shows, where the fans can not like it as much as they want, the creative direction is what it is?

I can think of one big example, the ending of Mass Effect 3 - which was total crap and felt extremely anticlimactic (given the game's supposed 'choices'). Games evoke emotional responses in people like fine art, perhaps moreso. We become attached to a plot or to characters. If we didn't, none of us would be on this forum, would we?

To what extent should 'fans' - or perhaps better, critics - opinions be regarded in the gaming industry? Do they really deserve the say they believe they do, or should we all just take it for what it is, even if we did pour 300 hours into a franchise only to have it end horribly in a way that could never be satisfactory?

I believe that it is an art form, for sure, but that doesn't mean that entertainment should be sacrificed. Changing the ending of Mass Effect was mostly a good business decision, because I'm sure a lot of people wouldn't care to play the game if the ending would be so unsatisfying.

I fully believe that game creators should be able to put out whatever they want, although the ratings system should still stay in place. For example, even though I think it's the stupidest game of the year thus far, I don't believe Hatred should be banned, but probably labeled as Adult Only and not be available in any brick and mortar stores.

I suppose I'm having a difficult time making a good point because art and entertainment aren't mutually exclusive. I think gamers creating add on content is awesome (even if it's weird and in some cases inappropriate), and the creators opinion doesn't matter so much once it's on the market. Keep in mind that even in literature and movies, fanfiction still very much exists.

So, yeah, I believe that once you share your product with the world, it's going to get ripped off, stolen, or adapted in different ways. That's the reality of both art and entertainment. Game devs can choose to not listen to their fans, but shouldn't be asking people to cease and desist when they mod the game to their own liking.

They're both, but whichever one they are is entirely down to the creator. Video Games can be created purely for entertainment and don't have to have any artistic value, but in the same way video games can also be art and have no social or entertaining responsibility at all.

Creators should have absolute control over their content and for the larger part, they do. It's down to publishers to dictate whether or not they want to publish a game and that should equally be their freedom of choice. As far as fan opinions go, once again, complete freedom there too I believe. I think video games are generally free and open to criticism, I don't see a Yelp-like scenario whereby player criticism is branded as slander and legal action taken against them.

Whether or not it 'should' or 'does' matter is fairly irrelevant and pretty much down to whoever reads them. I value the opinions of certain websites, magazines, reviewers, online communities etc. over others and I don't think that's a bad thing. The more reviews you read, the better understanding of them you build up and you begin to realize that a critic or website shares values you do and enjoys similar things about games, so you're more inclined to listen to them in future.

Stuff like Paid DLC and add-on content is an industry problem rather than a creative one. It's really a result of developers and publishers working so closely together that they become inseparable. Can you really imagine Game Freak not using Nintendo to publish the next Pokemon game? It seems unthinkable. But if Nintendo realize they are losing money and GameFreak don't wish to find another publisher, Nintendo may have certain requirements that need to be fulfilled.

I think the fact that publishers and developers work in such a close-knit way results in the development mentality subconsciously shifting to a publishers mentality, whereby the developers are instinctively thinking about DLC and monetizing their game before it's even being developed. Lots of people complain about video games not being the same as they used to be and they blame it on DLC, Consoles, Piracy, Difficulty levels...you name it. What they're really complaining about is that relationship between developer and publisher, as this is what manifests into the problems they experience. Games get easier because the market changes, DLC becomes apparent when the standard formula stops being profitable...so on and so forth.

This really depends on the view of the creator. Do they want to focus on combat systems or storyline? Do they really care about the glitch in the fourth dungeon? Are they sure they want to put enough effort on this cutscene, even if it may cost more?

Some creators try to blend the two. Good examples can be found in several Final Fantasy and Fire Emblem games, with fairly in-depth stories as well as in-depth combat systems and dungeons(FF)/battles(FE). A good more recent example that also has good art is the Kingdom Hearts series.

This topic is actually fairly important to me because I'm going to be a game designer/developer. I have several storylines planned, as well as items, combat systems, a map or two, ideas on some art pieces, character details, and various other aspects.

Lord Raven:

--- Quote ---battles(FE)
--- End quote ---
FE hasn't had an in-depth story since 2007.  FE13 was purely pandering, and developers trying to cater to an audience instead of create a game.  Most developers balance the two.  It's rare to find someone who liked FF13 as well, but that was the fault of the producers trying to do too much with it, many regime changes and many vision changes, and i think they took to heart the criticisms of FE12 too much.  FF fans are nuts.

A creator should not betray his vision of gameplay for plot or vice-versa, and the best games are the ones that make the two symbiotic.  They have to create things for entertainment but the most vocal fans are crazy and don't really care for games beyond the shallow details of the plot and aren't fond of differences.

Still gotta find a right balance but my favorite games were the ones created with no real audience in mind, or the ones that like to screw with their intended audience.


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