GDC 2011: Can Games Be Art?

What are games?  Are they art or merely entertainment?  Could they be both art and entertainment?  If we want games to be art, how should we make them?  Are there already artistic games, and if so, what are their successes–and perhaps more importantly, where do they fall short?  Why are games still considered a “niche” medium, despite their recent (and continuing) explosion in popularity?

For the next five days, I will attempt to answer some of these questions at the 25th annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California.  The GDC is an international expo of some of the leading designers, developers, and programmers in the business, all talking about how they make games, and how they think games should be made.  In recent years, the conference has introduced a number of “summits” focusing on a particular aspect of the game design industry.  The summit I will be focusing on is the Independent Games summit, and the topic I will be addressing is the simple question “Can games be art?”  By attending talks, roundtables, and exhibitions that address this question, I hope to learn something about the current industry attitudes and approaches towards the “games as art” idea.

At the end of each day, I’ll speak here about what I saw and what I think of it.  Hopefully you’ll find my notes helpful, enlightening, and perhaps even inspiring.

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