The conclusion seems to be no, games don’t yet manage to attain the status of being art, but this isn’t the firmly slammed door that it might first appear.
Ignoring the voice which always accompanies the debate from the gamer side – ‘I don’t care if games are art or not‘ – it appears that Eshun believes that a great percentage of books, movies and music don’t qualify as art either, and that being entertaining isn’t exactly a crime. A refreshingly level-headed assessment, I think you’ll agree.
For my own part, I know that I’ve switched my affiliation almost exclusively from films to games when it comes to action and adventure: would you rather see “The Expendables” or play “Battlefield Bad Company 2”? Have you seen a Hollywood sci-fi movie which had a tenth of the atmosphere woven into every corner and scene of “Metro 2033”, a game which approaches the hallucinatory brilliance of the original novel?
There’s definitely a cross-pollination between the two forms – as Brooker states, Hollywood routinely apes the aesthetics and conventions of games and what is the “Modern Warfare” franchise if not the greatest action adventure film that Michael Bay never made?
Imagine how good games are going to be when they’re not beholden to Hollywood for stuff to rip off – when the medium has the confidence to go beyond it’s influences and use interactive storytelling to provide entertainment experiences which are not simply ‘shoot this, dodge that’ but something more meaningful – a fusion of novelistic storytelling, cinematic spectacle and gaming immersion in a convincing virtual world.
God, imagine what Stanley Kubrick could have done with that tool-set?