Procrastination or art appreciation

Video games, despite the artistic skill that is required for their design, are not typically thought of as art. “For the most part, video games have been seen only as entertainment,” Champlain College Dean of the Division of Communication and Creative Media Jeff Rutenbeck said.The “Game (Life)” exhibit at the Firehouse Gallery questions this perception, showcasing video games in a space that often holds sculptures and paintings. “I don’t believe that all video games have an artistic purpose, but the medium is certainly capable of art,” featured game designer Jason Rohrer said.     “Game (Life)” explores this possible purpose as it examines the role of video games in culture. “There is no doubt that serious art is being done with video games,” Rutenbeck said. “This important work is growing in sophistication and in impact.”The exhibit invites visitors to play, explore and confront questions of political activism, pacifism, violence and beauty in gaming environments, according to the Burlington City Arts website.Set up like an arcade, the exhibit features many video games that anyone can come in and play, ranging from a simple ball and star game to a McDonald’s version of the “Lemonade Stand” game.The colors and shapes of designs on the walls of the gallery create a digital aesthetic, adding to the mood of the exhibit.In addition to featuring the video games of 11 game designers, “Game (Life)” brought a number of the designers to give artist talks, which serve as  teaching tool for students in the Game Design program at Champlain. “Game (Life)” also brought a number of the designers to give artist talks for students in the Game Design program at Champlain.”Few [of the students] have been exposed to conversations that seriously examine the role of video games in contemporary culture,” Rutenbeck said, “so this series has been designed to fill that role. Addressing video games in an artistic way and presenting this idea to Game Design, students may be considered unconventional now, but this could change.”Video games are clearly a cultural form, though they are one of the youngest prominent forms,” Rohrer said.As a medium that is still young, there is a certain malleability to the role video games play.”I think it has a lot to do with the purpose and goals of a work’s creator,” Rohrer said.