[-empyre-] games as art or art as game

Jim Andrews jim at vispo.com
Wed Mar 19 00:02:26 EST 2008

Here's a book of essays edited by Andy Clarke and Grethe Mitchell called
Videogames and Art:

Among other essays, this includes "Videogames as Literary Devices" by me.
Which looks at

The Intruder, Natalie Bookchin
Viewing Axolotls, Regina Celia Pinto
Pac Mondrian, Neil Hennessey & friends
Arteroids, Jim Andrews

The essay looks at the various degrees of subordination of game to art in
these four pieces.

Here are links to these online games:

Arteroids: http://vispo.com/arteroids
Pac Mondrian: http://pbfb.ca/pac-mondrian
Viewing Axolotls: http://arteonline.arq.br/viewing_axolotls
The Intruder: http://bookchin.net/intruder

Jason Nelson raises the issue of "games as art or art as game". The Intruder
and Viewing Axolotls strongly subordinate game to art, whereas Pac Mondrian
and Arteroids don't subordinate game to art that way. Yet all four pieces
are most interesting not as computer games but in their artistic dimensions.

A 'literary device' is a little engine of literary perception. Metaphors,
figure of speech, similes, plot reversals, and so on, are what are
traditionally associated with the term 'literary device'. In digital
literary art, games also can be 'literary devices'.

William Carlos Williams, in the late fifties or early sixties, said "A poem
is a machine made out of words." The energy and meaning goes around and
around through literary devices of one sort or another. Poems are playful,
at least in that sense.


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