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At What Point Do Online Games and Video Games Become Art?

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few years you will know that video games have made a meteoric rise in the world of entertainment.

The newest and biggest releases now regularly out-sell and out-gross movies and books, and the industry is on its way to being worth more than $300 billion by the year 2025.

Part of the reason for the incredible surge in popularity and profits has been the fact that games development studios have worked tirelessly to create graphics and gameplay so detailed and meticulous that they verge on being fine art. They also have a highly boosted persona that creates simulated reality. For instance, the work of overwatch boost / overwatch boosting.

This article is about times, that in our opinion, video games went from purely being a mode of entertainment to become works of art or began to shape the art world itself, in new and innovative ways.

Munch probably would have loved online video games

Gaming and Art Have a Long-Shared History
In order to set the scene for this article, it is important to at least lay down some of the history that links gaming to the art world and how that synergy has altered over time.

Many masters of the art world have depicted gamers, with Caravaggio’s painting called The Cardsharps showing three men playing cards in 1595; the cardsharp himself hiding forbidden cards behind his back, a move that today certainly wouldn't respect the rules of modern blackjack.

The Italian master was far from the only maestro painting popular games, with Edvard Munch – most remembered for his painting The Scream – also having labored away on another work of art entitled At the Roulette Table.

Mario and Luigi are now considered to be works of art

Super Mario Bros is Officially Recognized as Art
As a general rule of thumb, it tends to take years for people to wake up to the merits of a particular work of art, especially if it is so ahead of its time.

In the 90s it would have been unthinkable to have video games and their accompanying memorabilia displayed in museums or art showrooms, but that is the reality today.

One example of this can be found in the prestigious Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, which displays video games such as Super Mario Bros in a special exhibition dedicated solely to celebrating video game art.

Sci-Fi, Art and Video Games All Go Hand in Hand
Sci-Fi and video games have always been inextricably linked, with movies such as Star Wars making an easy transition into gaming as well as TV shows like Star Trek.

However, there are some signs that their influence has begun to leach into the psyches of prominent artists as well. A perfect example of this are the beautifully artistic works of Simon Stålenhag, who undoubtedly harnesses imagery found in such games as Fallout and Halo.

Neo-Noir is no Longer a Realm Exclusive to Art and Film
Part of the remit of being an artist is to take a pre-existing genre of art and to push it forward or in a new direction. In the case of neo-noir artwork, video game developers are at the forefront of such a push.

Games such as Max Payne and Grim Fandango started the trend, and many more continue to be released, all with wonderful new spins on this definitive art-house style.

VR Installations in Museums Are Already Afforded the Moniker of “Art”
For decades VR was seen as a technology doomed to fail; too interested in attempting to re-create a sci-fi fan’s idea of a wet dream.

However, things suddenly began to get interesting when tech giants started buying up VR companies and now the technology has advanced to the point where its applications have grown in scope.

This technology, once unique to the video game industry and training simulators, is now to be found in many of the world’s top art museums, both as art in its own right or to bring classic art pieces to life.

If you don’t believe us just take a look at how the Tate Modern gave their visitors the inside track on the artistic processes used by Modigliani.

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