Rhetorical Analysis of Are Video Games Art? By Aron Smurt

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Sewanee University of the South
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Often, categorization of video games as art is one of the most controversial topics in the current times. It is due to this controversy that Aron Smurt set out to prove his view on this subject. Drawing a number of examples and justifying them, the author manages to make his rhetoric to become relevant to an ultimate degree. After one is through with reading the work of Aron Smurt, they would believe that video games are parts and parcels of art. Definitely, this work by Aron Smurt is an eye opener, and its primary purpose is to convince individuals to take a closer look at art and consider the different aspects making them just like any form of art. Aron Smurt is just trying to reach any individual seeking a more profound understanding of the genre of art and video games. Generally, the author argues that while many video games are not be accorded the recognition as art, many video games are worth being put in the same classification as art. With some insight from sports such as chess inherent in their artistic statuses, some light is shed on the status of video games as art.

Video games are some of the most prominent activities indulge in by many individuals globally. They are currently considered as one of the technology-based art, perhaps, video games are going to be the definition of art in future because its prominence is growing daily. However, even if it has profound effects on the lives of different individuals, the author argues that The fact that philosophers have not raised the question of whether video games can be art lends credence to the assumption that they are not, (Smurt 2005). This means that video games are often not referred to as art not because it does not qualify to be but because no one has ever raised a question pertaining the topic in the past. Within the essay, Smurt argues that even if art is defined, still there would still be proof that video games are parts and parcels of art. However, video games are not just like any other forms of art; they are the newer fashions of the artworks (Jenkins). But, that does not make video games cease to be art, and according to definition of art, video games meet all the conditions.

Citing three games; Max Payne (Remedy Entertainment, 2001), Halo (Bungie, 2001), and Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell (Ubisoft, 2002), the authors use their different plots and thrill therein to prove that indeed video games qualify as art. When describing these video games, Smurt argues that: The elaborate plot, complete with double-crossings and evidence of conspiracies spiraling out to the highest levels, helps to evoke classic noir-inspired dread. It is blatant from such a statement that the author posits that this game has profound effects on ensuring that the player gets enthusiastic about completing the mission. Such an impact on ones emotion is one of the critical aspects of art (Knochel and Aaron 12).

The author uses another form of rhetorical analysis to prove that indeed video games form part and parcel of art. Just like art, Video games combine elements from narrative fiction film, music, and sports. They are arguably an art or sister art of the moving image, specifically, a form of digital animation. The code is like musical notation that is performed by the computer, and the games are played like sports, (Smurt 2005).

Even though art is one of the oldest aspects of the society, Smurt argues that over the years, significant forms of art have not had ways of involving the audience in their performances. However, the current improved forms of art that are performed inside the computers and other devices offer much more indulgence and connection with the performer. When it comes to video games, the author argues they are candid since the audience have a way in which they get to indulge in the performance of the artwork. Video games allowed artists to tackle a more difficult sub-problem facing non-performed arts, the problem of how to involve the audience in mechanically reproduced art, (Smurt 2005). Such a statement from the author indicates that if well handled, art could serve an essential function of defining the future forms of art.

Definitely, the work of Aron Smurt resounds with both the past and future aspects of art. In many ways, it is more evident than ever that art video games are some of the most sophisticated forms of artworks. The authors rhetoric is valid since it manages to convince the audience by drawing both the definitional aspects of art as well as the effects video games have on the emotions of the player. At its core, art serves the critical function of trying to solve a given problem. Just like art, video games seek to inspire the player to prevail against all the odds in their adventure.


Works Cited

Aaron Smuts Are Video Games Art? Contemporary Aesthetics volume 3 (2005)

Henry Jenkins, "Art Form for the Digital Age" (Technology Review, September/October 2000); see also Henry Jenkins, "Games, the New Lively Art," forthcoming in Jeffrey Goldstein (ed.), Handbook for Video Game Studies (Cambridge: MIT Press)

Knochel, Aaron D. "DIY Prosthetics: Digital Fabrication and Participatory Culture." Art Education 69.5 (2016): 7-13.


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