Video Game Makers Favor Diversion over Depth


Ian Bogost is featured in this NPR story on video games — entertaining diversions or substantial implication-rich forms of creativity? There’s no one answer, only conversations around this topic. With the video game industry proclaiming that it is all grown up (110%+ growth in the last year, etc), the “industry” will decide for itself what video games become, what their role will be as cultural artifacts, and what the larger public considers them to be.

Cobbling together a few choice bites from Bogost, I get this:

Artists have a long tradition of pushing the status quo, but not game designers, despite being important culture makers of the 21st century…I’m not sure the game industry wants to see games as an art form. I think they want to see games as a primary form of entertainment..Art is about changing the world. Entertainment is about leisure.

About sums it up. Reflecting on this, it helps me understand my confusion over teaching in an MFA program for video games. The fine print clarifies things — it’s actually an interactive entertainment program that happens to give out an Master of Fine Arts. I think the entertainment meme wins out, swaying the “changing the world” aspect of art and swapping in the creation of fine leisure products.