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Electronic Arts' Preston: Forget Art, Let's Game!

Electronic Arts' Preston: Forget Art, Let's Game!

February 11, 2008 | By Staff

February 11, 2008 | By Staff
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More: Console/PC

As part of a new essay published on Gamasutra, former game journalist and current Electronic Arts producer Jim Preston (EA Game Show) argues that cultural diversity has nullified any concept that the 'games as art' debate is even relevant.

Preston, who worked for magazines such as PC Gamer before moving into the industry, and also holds a Ph.D. in philosophy, ruminates on the worry that many gamers feel as follows:

"Most gamers think of their plight this way: theres this really great club downtown called the Arty Party and all the cool people are in it. George Clooney is getting drunk with Oscar Wilde; Chopin is playing foosball with Allen Ginsberg; and Picasso is hitting on Emily Dickinson -- its the best.

Meanwhile, we gamers are out here on the sidewalk in the rain with the comic book guys and the graffiti sprayers and we cant get in because that cranky bastard Ebert wont let us through the door. Ebert, and others like him, man the door and glower at us, not letting us in to this one big party.

The problem with this picture is that it isnt even remotely close to reflecting the state of art in 21st century America. To think that there is a single, generally agreed upon concept of art is to get it precisely backwards. Americans' attitude towards art is profoundly divided, disjointed and confused; and my message to gamers is to simply ignore the "is-it-art?" debate altogether.

Note, however, that I am not saying anything about art per se, or anything about art in any other culture. Rather, I would like to suggest that the U.S.s constant influx of immigrants, exiles, and refugees has led to a current artistic landscape that is so widely varied that the "is-it-art?" debate is almost meaningless."

The full Gamasutra essay on the subject includes plenty more rhetoric from Preston, including this strong suggestion:

"What are video gamers to make of this? If there really is an art party, and we need to get someones approval to get inside, who is it? Roger Ebert? Harold Bloom? Johnny Rotten? Michael Kimmelman? Tom Wolfe? Does it really matter?"

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