Friday, December 7, 2007

What is Art?

Many on the web feel gaming is not an art, though mostly they're talking about videogames. Not all of the same logic or arguments can be applied to table-top / pen-and-paper gaming.

My friend Brad posted this as a comment over at repeated expletives:
"Art is a process not a product. Once the art process is complete all that remains is a byproduct of this process. These leftovers are merely a document recording the event. They can be enjoyed and valued but only the artist can experience the real art. Watching the creation or art process can get you closer to the art but still only the artist is experiencing the real art."
That's an interesting thought. How does it apply to gaming? I think gaming is an art, whether you're talking about Process or Product, and that both P-words are nigh-on-inseparable within this medium.

The artistic process is employed to create a set of rules that are not only playable, but also readable. That product is then taken by the GM, who uses it as a springboard to their own artistic process - the framing and prepping of a campaign. The notes and prepared concept of each session becomes the product that springboards a third artistic process, this the joint collaborative effort that is widely recognized as gaming.

Even a totally improvised game without prepwork leaves a product - as gamers are so strongly motivated to tell tales of their characters and exploits.

I say all four are art - the writing of the rules, the prepping of the campaign, the actual gaming, and the skillful telling of a tale after-the-fact. I get immense joy from all four, though less so from that last category when I was working game-store retail.

No comments: