If you have to use semantics to argue why games can’t be art, you’ve probably lost the spirit of the argument


So, the good news is that the MOMA is exhibiting games as pieces of art.
Which is sensible and cool and something that makes everyone happy.

Except Jonathan Jones at the Guardian who’s arguing that exhibiting games at the MOMA actually diminishes art itself.

It’s 2012 FFS. Are we still having this argument.

The key quote is this:

“Walk around the Museum of Modern Art, look at those masterpieces it holds by Picasso and Jackson Pollock, and what you are seeing is a series of personal visions. A work of art is one person’s reaction to life. Any definition of art that robs it of this inner response by a human creator is a worthless definition. Art may be made with a paintbrush or selected as a ready-made, but it has to be an act of personal imagination.”

Just stop, please.

Games can be as much an act of personal imagination as anything exhibited in there. Some personal, some group.

“The worlds created by electronic games are more like playgrounds where experience is created by the interaction between a player and a programme. The player cannot claim to impose a personal vision of life on the game, while the creator of the game has ceded that responsibility. No one “owns” the game, so there is no artist, and therefore no work of art.”


Just because the player has agency, doesn’t mean he has free reign. Games aren’t limitless. In fact, defining the limits of that agency is one of the new forms of art electronic games have created.

The games in the MOMA aren’t chess. They are distinct, beautiful,
amazing creations of light, sound, architecture and interaction. They
are art. The MOMA’s decision to exhibit them is an underlining of that.