The question of are “video games art” (one, two, three) just feels wrong. It seems like there’s something wrong with the question itself. Video games are a medium. Art has long been an act done across medium and continues to search for new media and new methods of expression.
One of my favorite video game creators is Tim Schafer. He’s been instrumental, if not lead, in creating classics such as Psychonauts, Grim Fandango, Full Throttle, The Secret of Monkey Island, among others. These are solid works of adventure point-and-click that are every bit a part of the genre as Doom, Half-Life or otherwise.
What makes the Schafer games special is not just the game play though that’s fun, too. It is development of characters throughout the story. These characters have depth despite, or perhaps through, their caricaturization.
Someone has been awesome enough to compile the individual clips of the entire Full Throttle game into a single movie. Playing the game brings one closer to the characters as there is much more dialogue and interaction that goes on in the “wrong” choices one inevitably makes in trying to advance the story line. But the movie embedded above can give a good sense of the display of characters.
If story telling and the development of characters isn’t art, even when fun and campy like in Full Throttle, then I’m not sure what is.
I really enjoyed this game 🙂