A friend of mine asked me this interesting question when he came to visit the studio just the other day. I vaguely remember telling him 2 years ago that I thought that swimming could be a form of art because of the kind of grace and finesse most swimmers strike me with. The thing about my friend is he runs a business that deals with video games. Which is funny because I never remembered him to be a “gaming” sort of person. Anyway, he’s in town for a couple of weeks and dropped by to catch up and also support us by renting out one of our studio spaces. Well, he’s not an artist but he was using the space as a temporary office for work related matters.
There he was typing away on his laptop when he quite suddenly popped me the question. It was an interesting question, I admit, but I certainly did not think that video gaming was a form of art. We got into a relatively short but engaged discussion and here are a couple of significant parts of our talk that I’ve picked out to share on this blog. It might not be the most relevant content for everyone who reads our blog, but it’s an interesting topic.
The year old argument
As I mentioned above, I did say that I consider certain sport activities to be “art-like”, and the argument was that if we can determine any activity to be a form of art, why not video gaming? If you keep up with social media or you don’t live in a cave, you’d know that computer gaming or “eSports” as the industry professionals like to call it, is a growing sensation. Millions of people are playing computer games on a daily basis. The thing is, the form of which they take while engaged in this activity does not strike me as very graceful or artsy in any way. Watching videos online of gamers going at it really makes it seem like more of an intense activity.
My friend, let’s call him John, had the opinion that gaming at the highest level can be a very intense but at the same time focused and intricate “expression of emotion”. Quoting the dictionary’s definition of “art” –
“The quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance”
He argues that gamers have some of the highest levels of focus and concentration when it comes to taking part in the sport. Most gamers are also apparently very honest with their emotions, as you can see from the video that I linked. John further went on to say that such an honest expression of emotion is hard to come by these days, and he thought it was beautiful in a certain sense.
I can’t say that I fully agree with this, but I do see his point.
These tiny and well crafted objects are apparently works of art, according to John. I’d have to say, though. I have to agree with him as some of these models are very well made and it’s hard to imagine how unique of a design one can make for mice or keyboards, but here are a couple of examples. I was rather impressed when I Googled up some of these images.
There are many many more designs but these are a few that I personally thought were rather creative. Compared to the usual mice and keyboards that I see. These flashy and modern pieces of “art” definitely are an eye opener.
The Gaming Industry
As a whole, it’s really impressive as to how fast the online gaming industry has grown. As someone who has never played an online game in my life (I did play Super Mario back in the SNES days), it certainly is a wonder as to how many big companies are paying attention to the online gaming world. Some games have even been televised on mainstream TV channels like ESPN. According to John, the game that he currently runs a business on regularly appears on ESPN during their yearly world championship competitions.
The number of people who attend these events really does amaze me. Some even fly from halfway across the world just to watch their favourite team play in the tournament. John remarked that such a mentality is rather “backward”, and if people can travel great distances to watch football, they can definitely do it for eSports. I’d have to say that he has definitely convinced me. The level of production and effort that goes into managing these huge events is nothing short of astounding. A quick search on Google will show you just how popular and prestigious these tournaments are.
Is video gaming a form of art? I don’t think so, but certain aspects of it does require quite a bit of creativity and gaming peripheral designs are an eye-opener for me. A big shout out to “John” for coming over to visit the studio and do check out his website here, which is about a certain game called League of Legends and elo boosting services.