“Can games be art?” It’s a question I spent part of yesterday complaining about while brandishing a forkful of jacket potato. I used to engage with the debate on those terms but it’s so unhelpful – a strange grab for cultural legitimacy by association. When it comes up in such an explicit way it tends to feel like the games industry has smeared itself with makeup, stolen its mother’s heels and is trying to get into a club it’s heard is super important using a fake ID.
That’s why I was curious to read The Great Art Upgrade by Paolo Pedercini. It’s an infodump/transcript from the Art History of Games keynote he delivered back in 2013. It covers off the main points of the conversations which were taking place (and still are) in mainstream and games media but then it flips over, focusing on what art has been doing with games over the most recent decades.