Can video games be considered as art? Debate on the artistic value of games

Since their creation, video games have evolved well beyond simple interactive entertainment. As technology has improved and the narrative and graphical capabilities of games have reached new heights, a persistent question emerges: can video games be considered art? This debate, often between traditional critics and gaming enthusiasts, warrants a thorough exploration of the nature of art and how video games can fit within it.

The evolution of video games

The earliest video games, such as “Pong” and “Space Invaders,” were primarily simple entertainment experiences. However, starting in the 90s, with the advent of more powerful consoles and advanced graphical technologies, video games began to incorporate more complex narrative elements, sophisticated graphics, and immersive soundtracks. Today, games like “The Last of Us”, “Journey”, and “Red Dead Redemption 2” are lauded not only for their gameplay but also for their ability to tell moving stories and provide breathtaking visual experiences.

The definition of art

To determine if video games can be considered art, it’s essential to define what art is. Traditionally, art encompasses creative forms of expression such as painting, sculpture, music, literature, and cinema. These forms of art are often appreciated for their ability to convey emotions, ideas, and unique perspectives. If one considers art to be a creative expression that moves and provokes thought in its audience, then video games certainly have the potential to be recognized as such.

Video games as a form of art

  1. Narrative and Emotion: Many modern games integrate complex and moving narratives. For example, “The Last of Us” is often compared to a film or a novel due to the depth of its story and character development. Players are not just spectators but actively partake in the narrative, which can enhance the emotional impact.
  2. Visual Aesthetics: The graphics of video games have reached a level where they compete with other forms of visual art. Games like “Journey” utilise breathtaking landscapes and unique artistic designs to create a visual experience comparable to a traditional artwork.
  3. Music and Sound: The soundtrack of a video game plays a crucial role in immersion and emotion. Renowned composers, such as Nobuo Uematsu for the “Final Fantasy” series, have created music that is acclaimed well beyond the game context.
  4. Interactivity and Innovation: Unlike traditional art forms, video games are interactive, offering a new dimension of engagement. This interactivity allows for total immersion, making video games a unique form of art where the viewer becomes an actor.

Criticism and Resistance

Despite these arguments, some critics remain sceptical about classifying video games as art. They argue that many games are primarily commercial products designed for entertainment, without real artistic depth. Moreover, the notion that interactivity could diminish artistic value is often put forward, as it changes the traditional relationship between the work and its audience.


The debate over the artistic value of video games is far from over. However, as technology continues to advance and game creators push the boundaries of this medium, it becomes increasingly difficult to deny that video games possess immense artistic potential. Like any emerging form of art, they require gradual recognition and appreciation. Can video games be considered art? The answer seems to be increasingly affirmative, as traditional barriers of art continue to expand to accommodate new forms of creative expression.