Doorknobs and Butterflies: Games After Art
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Videogames have shown us that games are works of culture and should be considered as such. They are an artform or something very much like it. On the one hand this is good news, it represents a bold evolution in our estimation of what games are and an ambitious upswing in our expectations for what they can accomplish. But this move can also be seen as a kind of domestication of games. An attempt to fit their sprawling and unruly wildness into a framework with which we are more familiar in order to make them easier to discuss, compare, and analyze. In this talk I will attempt to make a case that the serious thinker who is committed to understanding games as an aesthetic form must recognize that they represent a major challenge to our existing aesthetic assumptions. This responsibility is also an opportunity, an invitation. Instead of adding games as one more tidy rectangle next to novels and films and poems and paintings we can, and must, radically re-think our basic ideas about how art works in order to accommodate games. This is the demanding and exciting challenge presented by the present moment and its historic collision of games and art.