Gaming better than Art?

I read an interesting article that proposed that Video Games were superior to Art in that they require a social aspect to conquer/appreciate while being consumed.  The gist is that movies and books are isolated experiences, where you could just as easily do they in a black box and get the same value where a video game usually requires thoughtful approach, group strategy and provides a longer term return on investment.

While I agree with the statement I think that both have diverging interests.  I read a LOT and I talk about it a lot.  It’s also socially acceptable to read and often a measure of intelligence (though reading Cosmo would be the opposite I think).  Regardless, books and art are about interpretation and self-reflection.  You can share ideas with the author and other readers, help frame your own ideas and questions and usually by the end of a good book, your perception of your reality has changed.  Maybe you appreciate music more, maybe you think government is inherently evil.  Whatever it is, you change.  Art is meant to change people and that change typically permeates the rest of your life.  Art is also different for different people.  For example, read Orwell’s 1984 and then see how that changes your impression of the outside world.

Games are primarily meant to provide puzzles and then appropriate rewards for solving them in the way the programmers intended.  A bug in a game is when you try a different way to solve something than was intended.  You don’t share a new idea about how terrorists are very good at blowing up buildings or how that giant horse is blocking your path.  You are presented with a problem, a visible goal and the tools to get there.  At the end of the game, you’re better at those puzzles, you’re not necessarily able to map those skills to the outside world.  Though games provide a social outlet, it also removes the non-verbal social aspects and the subtleties that make for great interactions.  People who excel at World of Warcraft gain organizational skills and twitch skills but translating that into real-world equivalents is quite difficult.

If I were to compare Video Games, I would do so versus mental sports such as Chess or Go and a little bit towards physical sports for the adrenal rush you get.  The goal is to repeat an activity until you excel at that activity and some tangential benefit comes from it.

I read/watch movies to enrich myself and explore other ideas.  I play games to perfect minute analytic skills and keep mentally sharp.  With separate goals, it becomes easier to enjoy both while not competing between them.

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