So my Twitter feed is all abuzz because a game developer has dropped his defense of Video Games As Art (it gets capitalized because it’s an old chestnut of a theme) for something bolder. His new kick is that video games “transcend” Art to some higher form. I’m actually guessing about that higher form statement because he doesn’t quite come out and say it, but my Twitter peeps do.
In his treatise he defends this transcendence by noting that in his personal experience, no book or play or piece of music has ever given him the raw experience he’s had while playing video games. He cites the recent Doom remake, which is kind of pathetic given that it’s not even a new IP but just a really, really good remake (which I haven’t played yet but will someday and for now will take the Internet’s word for it). He cites a very real, physically-drained feeling he experiences after playing the game. I too have spoken of this very real sensation while playing but I’m also very pleased to say that it’s not in any way exclusive to video games. I have had this real sense of dissipation with video games, movies, books and especially sweet beloved music.
So I’d like to point out that this is really just a matter of comprehension, to put it in Friday night at the bar terms I’m afraid our venerable game developer just doesn’t “get” these other mediums the way he “gets” games. This I totally understand, I myself have never “gotten into” poetry. Even though I love music and I love the written word, I just can’t get that “feeling” when experiencing poetry. Bear in mind my father is a poet so it’s even in the genes! I also so don’t “get” Jazz that I actually openly dislike most of the stuff even though just about every other form of music does something for me (believe me, I am a devoted music slut).
Then there’s the performance side of Art that our developer completely and utterly ignores. I know the physical feeling of playing a video game and I know it as a completely pale and lifeless imitation of the physical rush and draining out that comes from performance. In my own experience it has been acting on the stage (which I am most terrible at and it STILL rocks my world) and I’ve known a hell of a lot musicians who have achieved such high states as would make my own experience seem tiny and irrelevant in comparison.
I’m just shooting from the hip here so forgive me if I seem too blunt, but if you think the emotional rush of sitting alone in a room simply consuming the efforts of artists in any way “transcends” performing for just dozens, let alone hundreds and then thousands of your fellow humans, you have a very narrow vision my friend. Fortunately, this is an easy, easy state to break free of. Go find a place where people you are sexually attracted to are dancing, have a few drinks and when that just right song comes on – GO FOR IT. Let loose, start dancing and forget about everything else in the world. Get this right, meaning be sincere with yourself, and you’ll know the sensation I’m talking about.
And you’ll thank me for it.