Can games be art? I’d like to say that it’s an age old question, but to say that would make me a complete liar as games are not an ‘age old’ medium. I guess computers, which is essentially what games consoles are at their core, could be described as ‘age old,’ but as usual I’m side tracking myself in a quagmire of completely irrelevant horse crap before I’ve even started to get to the point.
Can games be art? Well, I suppose they can. How is an amazing and emotionally-charged still image rendered on canvas with oil paints any different to a similarly powerful image created on a screen with polygons and pixels? Without getting too bogged down in my own half-cooked philosophizing, there are many, many examples of games and art in a traditional sense crossing over – just take a look at pixel art or bead art in the physical sense, and games like Okami in the gaming sense. But what about gaming hardware? What about the physical machines that we as gamers, all employ as tools to enjoy our favourite pastime? Can consoles themselves be considered as pieces of industrial design art? I’d like to say that yes they can. There are some really good-looking games machines, controllers and removable media out there and they have all undergone a complex system of internal design before being finalised and released to the public. Some games machines do look better than others and their physical forms have cemented themselves in the minds of many gamers, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse.
Everyone knows what a Sony PlayStation looks like for example (if you don't, then apologies - there's one just up there). Likewise with a Sega Mega Drive. The designs of those systems have embedded themselves in popular culture. On the flip side, the Atari Jaguar with a CD unit on top is often referred to as looking like a toilet, regardless of the fact that the Jaguar base system (minus the CD drive) is one of the better-looking games consoles from the past. Why am I rambling about all this though? Well, I’ve created a nice piece of art myself. Dreamcast art, in fact. Dream art. Hmm. Not sure if that works…but look here, me laddo:
These are images of my tiny Dreamcast in an egg that I got off eBay a few years ago. I did a post about it here. It’s been sat in a box in a cupboard for a while and only the other day did I think to myself – why don’t I do something with it?! So I did. I went down to Wilkinson and bought a deep picture frame – this one, in fact:
And then I pillaged a bit of promotional guff from one of my NTSC-J DC games; in this case it was a square flyer out of the Virtua Fighter 3tb box. I then combined the items together as if I was a regular Jill Valentine and came up with this rather lovely piece of post-modern, neo-classical, baroque, brutalist awesomeness:
|Same size as the Mona Lisa. True story.|
I was toying with the idea of putting a little light in the top of the frame and having it lit up, but for now it looks just great on the mantelpiece. And there it shall stay until I can afford to have a full-size bronze statue of myself constructed and erected instead.