Video Games as Artworks : Arguments Opposing the Notion

Video games first earned recognition as an art form in 1989, when early generations of video games were included among the exhibits of the Museum of Moving Image (MMI). Actually, the MMI was the first institution in the U.S. that was established to showcase the techniques, history, technology and the art behind television and motion pictures.

Back then, no one challenged the MMI curator’s perception of video games as works of art. In fact, other exhibitors like Walker Art Center, the UCI Beall Centre and several other expositions followed suit by showcasing video games as a type of preformed works of art.

It was only in 2005, when debates transpired online, on whether video games should be considered as an art form or not. The debate was initiated by renowned film critic and screenwriter, the late Robert Eber. This film critic came up with an essay contradicting the notion of recognizing video games as works of art. Ebert had declared

Video games can never be art, because not a single game can be cited as worthy of comparison with the works of great poets, novelists, composers and filmmakers.”

What was interesting is that Hideo Kojima, who gained fame as game designer of the “Metal Gear” game series agreed with Eber. Kojima gave a more elaborate explanation about the factors that disqualify video games from being classified as belonging in the art category.

Notable Arguments Why Video Games are Not Artworks

“Metal Gear” game designer Hideo Kojima expounded on his opposition to recognizing video games as works of art. He said that first and foremost, creating video games is a task carried out as a service, and not one that was borne by artistic processes.

Although Kojima agreed that games carried elements of artistic media, he pointed out that the primary purpose for their creation was to give various consumers, users or players a hundred percent gaming satisfaction. Whereas creating works of art is a form of expression that can satisfy and draw appreciation from a specific type of audience belonging to a particular niche.


Several year later, Tell Tale developers who created “The Path,” which many touted as an art game, also agreed with Eber and Kojima. They opined that video games evolved from play and out of a fundamental need to focus on play mechanics. As opposed to artworks that were created as artistic narratives, which is a higher purpose than developing digital play or sport.

Moreover, “The Path” developers also cited that the processes of creating video games involved dividing work among members of a development team who may have different artistic visions.

DARETOBEDIGITAL, a website by gamers who compile and provide useful information to help fellow gamers choose the best gaming hardware and accessories, point out that unlike traditional works of art, appreciation of video games can be affected by external factors and gaming environment.

As an example, there are situations in which players need to block out noise in order to keep their focus on the gameplay. In other cases, players may be constrained to maintain silence in the environment. Such situations give rise to the necessity of using a gaming headset as a means to keep the gaming experience and appreciation at a 100% level of satisfaction.

On that note, DARETOBEDIGITAL recommends that when looking for information about the gaming headphones, it would be best to state [phrase incl. wireless headphones for gaming] as search words.