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Games - culture or not?

That gaming plays an important role in contemporary, Dutch youth culture is obvious. Yet during exhibitions and in museums, attention to this extremely popular phenomenon is usually lacking. Why does gaming remain so underexposed here?

Art is such a broad concept that we can include just about anything between rock drawings and graffiti. That breadth then also matches the official description of making art: consciously creating something meaningful.

Grey area

Looking at it this way, games should indeed be part of it. Developers usually put their complete heart and soul into developing a progressive, groundbreaking game that can indeed be very meaningful to players. And yet gaming is considered a rather grey area in that respect. Perhaps that has to do with a conservative call from the art and culture world. People are reluctant to give games the predicate art, perhaps also because of the connection with gaming addiction, and so no such unofficial stamp remains.

Blurring boundaries

Games are progressive and, like visual art, for example, tell the psychological story of the creator. This blurs the line between traditional art form and games more and more: actually, there are not so many differences between the developer and the painter at all. BUT, critics argue, this is different with games. This is because the player has complete control over the game and decides what to do. Therefore, the game is different for everyone, whereas visual art is more about the recipient's interpretation.


Yet even that statement is not entirely accurate. Even in the era when online multiplayers are the most played games, most games are still linear, meaning that the player plays it exactly as the developer intended. And then there are games that hang a bit in between, such as Grand Theft Auto. In these, while the player has some freedom, it takes place within the frameworks set by the developers.

For now, there seems to be no clear verdict on games and whether or not they are art. One thing is certain though: the discussion is stirring up controversy. Just like art.

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