Videogames "As" Art, Or "Is" Art?
There's a strange dichotomy between art and videogames. You can have art about videogames, but videogames can't be art; the rectangle and a the square debate. I never quite understood why there is such a distinction. Shouldn't we see an art show in the same way that we see a bank of demo kiosks at a game expo? I mean, the interaction between the viewer and the piece are identical, so there should be no differences between the two.
Game Over was intended to bridge a gap, but, in a way, it feels a little heavy-handed. It's as if the videogame was injecting itself into art as a means to become art. Is that really necessary? If you've seen a complete library of games for any one platform, you can see that videogames are indeed an artform in itself. Like a movie adaptation of a book or comic or game, something gets lost in the translation, and it always has to do with distorting the original piece.
A Little Backtracking
Sometimes, that distortion of an original piece becomes something new and unique. It's an artform that draws upon standard aesthetic sensibilities, then adds a set of gaming language into the mix. The viewer who does not understand the videogame reference will see the piece for what it is, as art. The viewer who does understand the reference gains that extra level of understanding which may enhance their experience.
Game Over in San Francisco (in the Haight). Go see it.