No Hard Feelings

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August 1st, 2007

No Hard Feelings

TimLet’s be perfectly clear: no hard feelings, Roger. We certainly aren’t making fun of the man because he has cancer. We just have to believe there’s another reason behind his ranting against videogames. That whole “high art as I understand it” stuff just sounds so pompous. The man has suffered a lot over the last few years and we really do wish him well, but aside from that, I think anyone who has written books called “Your Movie Sucks” and “I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie” is fair game. Critics are just begging to be criticized, so I think Roger can take it.

[Update] I thought you guys might find this interesting. It seems everyone is weighing in on the ‘games as art’ debate. At least we can thank Roger for giving us something to talk about!

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24 Comments

  1. Fletch says:

    video games can be and are art, art is an expression of many various things, when someone wants their “artwork” to express fear then they make it dark, eerie etc. video games do this as well, they induce emotions and express moods, they do this just as much as what i see as “high art” as he likes to call it, but i think they do it on more levels, they dont just use visual art, they use music and even the dramatic preformance of the games characters

    in other words i think the guy is a pompous old git, also im loving the comic, keep up the good work

  2. Kvb says:

    I don’t get the joke in this comic. Could someone explain it to me?

  3. Ajvizz says:

    That was hilarious, took me like 10 sec after reading the comic to actually get it.

  4. Kip says:

    I have to say the last panel is in really bad taste, even with the “no hard feelings” comment below it.

  5. jOe says:

    I don’t think any of it is in bad taste. Having met the man in person, he really is just a pompous ass. He may be having a tough time of it, but I don’t think that spares him from the ridicule he earned with a life time of ridiculing others.

  6. JJ says:

    That game requires you to “speak” the answer. He can’t because of whatever kind of cancer he has.

  7. Tim says:

    Kip, I understand what you’re saying and we honestly didn’t know how people would take it. Ray took quite a bit of time changing things to make them as mild as possible. You’re probably not the only one who will react to the comic like that, but like I said, we’re not trying to say “Haha, this guy’s got cancer so he can’t play Brain Age!” It’s more like, “Ah, so that’s why he keeps saying videogames are inferior!”

  8. Kvb says:

    I just reread the comic, and now I get. Heh. I feel pretty stupid for taking so long.

    I have to agree the comic’s a little on the edge, but I still like it.

    Only flaw is that the game never forces you to talk, you can always choose to take non-vocal tests.

  9. Myxo says:

    Call me an idiot or whatever, but I never made the connection to his case of Thyroid cancer (even after reading the blog and all). I just thought it was another case of “Oh hey, so that’s why he’s pissed. Brain Age kicked his ass.” D:

  10. Half Empty says:

    Funny comic. I don’t know who the guy is but he sounds like a jackass. I can understand that you have to be sensitive and all, but this is just a web comic poking fun.

  11. Rae says:

    Video games will never be art in the sense of great sculptors or painters. There’s less talent and creativity with inputting a code to create a really nice looking tree in Oblivion than, say, something of Monet’s or even artistic music like Mozart.

    Video games are artistic as far as dialogs, storyline, etc.etc, with creativity in that way. But as far as art-art it’ll never be the same thing as a person holding a brush or playing the piano.

    They really can’t be compared with each other… It’s two totally different worlds.

    Oblivion is awesome looking though!

  12. Kvb says:

    Funny you should bring up Mozart, Rea. Piano isn’t more than a sequence of key presses, if you think about it. And neither is programming.
    I’d say creating an -artistic- looking world is about as hard as composing a sequence of key presses on the piano to create an artistic song. You might be able to do both easily, but can be “art” if you can find the harmony between everything.
    There’s a world of difference between stale surroundings and an artistic one. Take Twilight Princess, for example. I would say the Hyrule Fields would fall under the “stale” catagory, but Hyrule Castle, especially its Twilight version.. That’s art.

    Long story short:
    I think graphical programming can make art, as long as you do it the right way. It takes more than just skill. Much like how anyone can cram out notes on a piano, but few can compose a new song.

  13. Rae says:

    I would say the Hyrule Fields would fall under the “stale” catagory, but Hyrule Castle, especially its Twilight version.. That’s art.

    Good point! I meant more that thinking up the composed song is part of the art, but I understand what you mean by comparing composing music to “composing” the castle in TP.

    I guess a lot of it comes down to persistence and patience. I have a hard time arguing the the beauty of Oblivion’s or Twilight Princess’ game world isn’t a rival for what some call “high art”. I think there is a vast difference between the world of oil painting and designing a castle in a game–which is why I say it’s impossible to really compare the two…–but I do still consider it art in its own sense. Counter-Strike is not art. Twilight Princess is (in some areas, not all, I think) arguably great art as is Oblivion and any other game graphically on par with the two. I think the reason someone would say games aren’t art, period, is because there is no brush or pastel involved. It’s not classical, typical art, so it “doesn’t count”. But what about graphic art? Doesn’t that count? I think it should! It’s art for a new age and there are some people who refuse to give it any room in the museums.

  14. Dawnveil says:

    Well, in reference to the previous post, art is defined as:

    1. the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.

    As beauty is subjective, and not objective, almost anything can be considered ‘art’. Some things in video games are absolutely beautiful, I do agree, and technically that qualifies as art. The problem in the whole ‘video games is art’ thing, is that certain games are trying to force their releases through under that heading that it should be released just because it is ‘art’.

    I mean, some games are good, but there are others that most people can agree are absolutely horrid not just in playability, but content and intended as so. In most cases, art (that I’ve come across) was intended to either make one feel something is beautiful, make one stand in awe, make one think, or admire; art isn’t meant to make one look and feel sick or try to desensitize one to things that damage a psyche.

    In conclusion, I believe that games themselves aren’t art, but the content of them (engineering, architecture, music, sound, graphic design, modelling) very well can be considered art.

    -Dawnveil

  15. Flac says:

    in response to dawnveil, i think it is really the opposite that is true. The components of a video game, music, graphics, story, may be in and of themselves beautiful, but art is also about presentation, its not until they are all blended together that they truly become something wonderful that evokes feeling from you.

    In a game about fear, its not just the music, and it is not just the dank graveyard you are walking through ,it is the combination of the two, in addition to the story that has been unfolding before you, that make it an experience that touches you.

    In order to truly tackle the question, it’s necessary to look backwards. They say that true art is timeless, which certain games are proving to be. I don’t feel that all games can be considered truly artistic, but some of them can be considered nothing else.

    Certainly if film making can be considered an art, so can video games. the two mediums are so similar that it is downright ignorant to separate them. the difference between the two being viewer interaction, but really doesn’t viewer interaction simply immerse you further into the medium? IF anything is not a well designed video game more artistic than a film of any sort?

  16. Dawnveil says:

    You’re correct that a multitude of things can touch someone, but does that reduce the amount of usefulness of each element? Does strapping starry sky onto the thinker while playing mozart make each element of that any less art?

    The only problem I forsee player interaction making something art (though I will agree it does immerse more) is that IF one follows the general intended matter of the game, then sure, you might consider the blend an art, BUT when you have people doing nothing but (and I know this is an open target here) killing hookers in grand theft auto and then they call that the game, it’s not art. (Though I do think the general storyline was well written, some of the elements do allow for perversion). It’s when the human element of ANY human can be added in that disallows for the medium to be an art.

    Then it technically becomes a tool. Is Mario Paint art? or does it allow you to create it?

    Basically it will all come down to a person’s definition of art in the end, and how vehemently someone needs to believe that video games ARE art. I honestly believe some video games contain some of the best architecture, some of the best music, and some of the best scenery I have seen. However, I do not thing that being able to face hump in counterstrike is able to classify it as art.

  17. Ramon says:

    this might be late but I think it’d be some use to post this.

    basically all thats been talked about is that some games cant really be classified as art and others can. but you cant say video games aren’t art because some of them aren’t masterfully designed composed expressed whatever. but again I can see the same thing with drawings and animations and stuff… a random low frame rate un-proportionate stick figure killing a bunch of other poorly made sticks for like 2 minutes where you cant really see why the person made it at all because they could’ve sneezed it out can also be considered not art.

    so in closing. no form of creation IS art but the things created with it can be art, in any level, high art, low art or anything inbetween.

  18. Metal Geario360 says:

    I look at it as dark humor, good stuff!

    *LoL’s

  19. Hannz says:

    I don’t get the joke in this comic. Could someone explain it to me?

    Basically he was playing brain training and that game in braintraining requires a person to speak the answer
    And he can’t speak
    So
    Yeah

  20. duduman56 says:

    Personally, I think Stephen Hawking would have been funnier. And there wasn’t even a mic on the DS. That game would have been impossible anyway.

  21. Cody says:

    Dude, look at bioware and tell me games aren’t art. Nuff said

  22. JohnnyBlazE says:

    Well well, only stumbling across this comic series recently I find this a fair comment; critics open themselves up to critique as mentioned, regardless of the tragic circumstances of his health. He is still alive and kicking and hopefully he continues to enjoy life.

    In any case, System Shock 2 has to be mentioned as an example of Games as Art as it still scares the nipples off me.

    Indeed Dawnveil may rightly mention that some games have content which is art, and it may be rare to find games which are art as a whole, but there are a few out there. SS2 is one of them, Grim Fandango another.

  23. Mirby says:

    What’s even funnier is Brain Age lets you choose non-vocal games if you’re in an area that you can’t or won’t yell out random things!

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