This topic has been debated many times in many other forums all over the internet. Usually, I argue in favor of games being considered an art form. Lately though, I’ve been starting to think otherwise (I said STARTING… don’t light your torches just yet).
Now, I realize that obviously there are many artists involved with making the games we all enjoy. The designers who draw all the fantastic graphics. The composers who provide the musical scores that wind up stuck in our heads. The writers who add the dialogue that helps bring us the whole sense of immersion (I knew I could work that word in here somewhere). So, all these folks are artists, I don’t dispute that.
Here’s my point: Video Games seem to be the only form of art that are never finished. I’m talking about patches.
Imagine the reaction that would have occured if, a week after DaVinci’s Mona Lisa was unveiled, Leo walks into the museum with his paintbox and says “Y’know, I didn’t notice before, but the smile is a bit crooked, let me just fix that real quick.”
It’s the day before before Warcraft 3 is released, and Blizzard already has a patch out for it. It’s been what? Three years in the making? How many times have they pushed the date back? Beta testing for six months now?
“Oops, we didn’t make the Demon Lords pissed off enough.”
So the day before the game comes out, it already gets it’s first patch. The first of many, mind you. It will be a long time before the game is actually “finished”.
I guess when you think about it, the movie industry has the same ability. Look at Lucas. Except, of course, the last changes he made to Star Wars pretty much sucked. Why’d he do that anyway? The THX widescreen version was fine. Now put it on DVD, and leave it the fuck alone.
“No, no. Greedo has to shoot first, that was how I REALLY intended it.”
Thank you, Mr. Lucas, for laming up one of my favorite flicks. I guess since it’s your movie, you have every right to make it “nicer”. I’m just glad more movies don’t have patches.
Now, I’m not against patches (although, as I read over what I’ve written, it sure seems like I am). Most of the time, they do make the game better.
So they are a neccesary evil, like the McDonalds just down the street.
All of the statements I’ve made don’t really change the fact video games should be considered an art form (Oh, and a hearty fuck you to the judge who doesn’t even consider them protected under the First Amendment). Game developers just enjoy a luxury that your average painter or sculptor doesn’t have, they can fix the things that don’t work as far as the public is concerned.