Games as Art Discussion Tonight

update: If you would like to read the transcript of the event, Jesper Juuls runs it on his blog, The Ludologist, I am not sure if we broke much new ground but it was a spirited discussion. Join Manifesto Games on Wednesday, November 1st for a chat with on the subject of games and art with Henry Jenkins, Jesper Juul, Marc LeBlanc, and Eric Zimmerman.


Channel: #gamesandart

Time: 6PM PST, 9PM EST, 2 AM GMT

See Manifesto's page on how to get on IRC.

More About the Topic:

Hideo Kojima says "If 100 people walk by and a single person is captivated by whatever that piece radiates, it's art. But videogames aren't trying to capture one person. A videogame should make sure that all 100 people that play that game should enjoy the service provided by that videogame. It's something of a service. It's not art."

And Roger Ebert says "To my knowledge, no one in or out of the field has ever been able to cite a game worthy of comparison with the great dramatists, poets, filmmakers, novelists and composers... for most gamers, video games represent a loss of those precious hours we have available to make ourselves more cultured, civilized and empathetic."

Contrariwise, Henry Jenkins says "Computer games are art--a popular art, an emerging art, a largely unrecognized art, but art nevertheless... The time has come to take games seriously as an important new popular art shaping the aesthetic sensibility of the 21st century."

Are games art? If not, why not? And if so, why? Is thinking of games as art useful or actually a hindrance for game developers? If games are art, what should our aspirations for the form be?


Henry Jenkins is the Director of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program and the Peter de Florez Professor of Humanities. He is the author and/or editor of nine books on various aspects of media and popular culture, including the recently published Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide.

Jesper Juul is a video game theorist and an Assistant Professor in video game theory and design at the Center for Computer Game Research Copenhagen. He is author of Half-Real: Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds and numerous articles about games, and his prestigious and influential blog is The Ludologist.

Marc LeBlanc is a twelve-year veteran of the game industry. At Looking Glass Studios, he was a core contributor to several award-winning games, including the Thief and System Shock series. In collaboration with Andrew Leker, he developed Oasis, the 2004 Independent Games Festival Game of the Year in the web/downloadable category.

Santiago Siri is an Argentinean game designer whose work includes Football Deluxe and Utopia (forthcoming). He works for Three Melons, an advergaming firm that offers innovative branding through games. He is also a writer and theoretician, and his blog, Games as Art, is a resource for all members of the game community.

Eric Zimmerman is a game designer and academic exploring the theory and practice of game design. He is the is the co-founder and CEO of gameLab, a game development company based in New York City. He is the co-editor of several works in the field, including Rules of Play, a seminal study of game design technique.

Anyone who would like a preview of my perspective on this question should check out "Games, the New Lively Art" which will be reprinted in my forthcoming anthology, The Wow Climax.