If you were listening to BBC Radio 4 earlier this morning, you’d have heard the presenters of the Today programme poking that most ancient, tedious and meaningless of chestnuts – are games art? While it was grand indeed to hear Auntie’s invaluable but oft-haughty talk station taking games this seriously, everyone involved loses points for not saying “it just doesn’t matter, and why does no-one bother to have this argument about JLS records?” And for repeatedly using the term “computer games”. That said, GameCity judge Charlie Higson did attempt to educate listeners on the matter of gaming being impossibly broad and changeable rather than neatly fitting one category or description, so there was talk of worth in there.
The spur for the discussion was the weekend just gone’s GameCity festival in Nottingham, and its attempt to bring about a videogames equivalent of the Man Booker prize for literature.
First recipient of this videogames arts award (called simply the GameCity Prize) was Mojang’s Minecraft, fending off competition from Portal 2 and Ilomilo. So, well done Minecraft – a game getting the attention of Radio 4, and without involving any virtual prostitute-killing whatsoever, is no mean feat.
BBC News has quotes and explanations from all involved parties here, as well as the scandalous news that one of the judges daftly argued that Minecraft shouldn’t win because of its soundtrack. Splendid Minecraft composer C418 should be righteously offended by this ignorance.