GamerSushi Asks: Can You Attach a Number to Art?


Ouch. Someone might be sore from a few reviews.

While this post is not going to be another in the inexorably long discussion of whether or not games are art, it does apply to the discussion about how we view art in general. You see, THQ EVP Danny Bilson recently shared some thoughts with IGN about Homefront’s review scores. When asked what he thought of them, Bilson had this to say:

If we were universally panned, I would say “Yeah I guess it didn’t work.” I think the idea of 50 reviews that are so radically spread says that we made a game that has a point of view and that you might even argue is controversial…

Do I prefer that it’s controversial? No, I’d prefer if everybody in the world loved it. But there are 20+ reviews that are over 80, there are some haters, and there are some mid-range ones. Do I read them all to see what we can do better next time and have every review be 100? Of course, our goal is always that. What I will say pretty clearly is the game is not a “71.” You can’t apply math to art.

I haven’t played Homefront, so I’m not going to comment on whether or not Homefront is in fact art, or not. However, this does bring an issue up about how video games are reviewed and scored. Do you guys think that in an artistic medium, it’s alright to attach hard numbers to these games? I mean, Shadow of the Colossus has a 91 attached to it on Metacritic, which to me just seems silly for something that I actually do consider art.

So what do you guys think? Go!

Source – IGN

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I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

5 thoughts on “GamerSushi Asks: Can You Attach a Number to Art?”

  1. I would say its fair in most cases. A game that is average is like a mediocre painting; you might really like what the painting is trying to ‘say’ but if the painting isn’t very good than it isn’t a very good piece of art altogether. In my opinion, a game with an artistic flair in the storyline that has uninteresting or broken gameplay is an unfinished piece.

  2. I think you can attach a number to only to certain aspects of a game. Audio, sure, comment on the performance of the voice actors and what not. Visually, talk about shading, color, etc….but never put a number on art style.

    I think the best way to rank art is with stuff like awards. Unfortunately I dont think winning at the VGAs means quite as much as bringing home an oscar.

  3. Rotten Tomatoes connects a solid number to nearly all films with a public release.

    Does that nullify a movie’s status as a work of visual art?

  4. No. Numbers don’t make a game great.
    MAG had 256 players online. It turned out mediocre.
    MW2 had 100 people working on it, Amnesia had 3 or 5.

    Of course, maybe a number can make a game suck, if we are talking about variety. If you get too little or too much, you can be pissed. But then it’s because the numbers weren’t executed good enough. Like you can make a game great with only one weapon. And you can make a game suck even if it has 1000 weapons.

  5. You can’t attach a number to art. Even the most crappy “pieces” have at least one person who likes them enough to call them art.

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