The Incompatibility of Games and Artworks
AbstractRecent debate has focused on whether videogames are art. Whatever the answer, the debate has largely taken it for granted that videogames are games, and that this is unproblematic for the art status of videogames. This paper argues that something being a game is incompatible with it also being an artwork, and thus insofar as videogames are games, they cannot be artworks. This incompatibility arises out of the different attitudes that are prescribed for engaging with games versus those for engaging with artworks. Citing a modified definition of games from Bernard Suits and commonly held conditions of artworks, I show that for an artist to intend something as a game or an artwork is to intend essential constitutive conditions of the object that preclude the object from being both a game and an artwork. This requires a reconsideration of several contemporary theories about games and art while also providing an analysis of games that calls for them to be appreciated as what they are without distracting miscategorization.
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