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

Vote for the Art of Video Games Exhibit at the Smithsonian

Mario Art

If you haven’t heard, the Smithsonian American Art Museum is running a special exhibition next year, one that is relevant to our interests here at GamerSushi. The exhibition is called The Art of Video Games, and it will run March 16, 2012 through September 30, 2012. The idea behind the exhibit is that it will take people through 40 years of gaming and all of its wonderful evolutions throughout.

In order to narrow down the pool of the many games that the exhibition could showcase, the museum’s web site has a place for you to vote on the Art of Video Games. It’s divided into 5 separate eras that span the Atari up until the current generation. If you want to be a part of this awesome exhibition, head on over and vote. While the site is slow at the moment, if you’re patient you’ll eventually be able to do your thing.

As much as the “are games art” discussion is tired, I think this is incredible. Obviously, I don’t need something like this to validate a hobby of mine, I’m just excited to see a feature on video games at the Smithsonian of all places. Part of me wants to organize a vacation to Washington, D.C. just to see this next year.

Who else is excited about this? What games are you voting for? Go!

Source – Smithsonian American Art Museum

Games as Art: Looking Back at MGS 2

Metal Gear Solid 2Metal Gear Solid 2 is a game that gets quite a bit of flack from some of the gaming community. The MGS fan kingdom seems to be split down two camps of people that have opposing feelings for the sequel to the hit PS1 game. Personally, I fall into the group of people that generally dislikes MGS2. I remember being so excited for its release, especially after playing the demo that came packaged with Zone of the Enders. I loved the first game’s comic book Die Hard feel, but the sequel just got much too campy, and Raiden was nowhere near as good of a hero as the beloved Solid Snake, in my opinion.

Some years ago, the Delta Head Translation Group published a formal analysis of Metal Gear Solid 2, which is one of the most fascinating pieces of writing I’ve ever read on a video game. It breaks down some of the meta-narrative of MGS2, and what the game might have actually been designed for: to leave the player feeling frustrated. Agree with it or not, it actually gives a really enlightening look at the game, and might even give you pause about your assumptions.

I was reminded of this article because I got into a discussion with JJ about Roger Ebert recently backtracking on his “games can never be art” infamy; he now says that some day they might be. JJ and I got on a tangent about it being hard for something to be fun, artistic, emotional and medium-transcending all at once. I was arguing that fun might not necessarily be a requirement for video games to be art- after all, is watching Schlinder’s List “fun”? In the MGS2 article, the author argues that perhaps the game was designed to make you feel the way it did, and not designed with a fun-factor in mind. If this is truly the case, then perhaps MGS2, as flawed as it is, might be a video game that approaches that territory, where games are turned on their head and go beyond the medium? Portal is probably one of the best examples of a game that deconstructs gaming yet manages to be entertaining and well made.

Anyway, all that mumbo-jumbo aside, you should definitely check out the article, it’s long, but worth the thoughts it gives on what games are supposed to make you feel. And while you’re at it, feel free to weight in on the “games as art” discussion.

Source- Delta Head Translation Group and Roger Ebert