But Is It Art?
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    But Is It Art?

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_e_vibklDI]20 Special: But Is It Art? - YouTube[/ame]

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    Interesting video. Interesting question.

    My answer would be:

    "I could not name a single TT RPG product to be a piece of art"

    My longer explanation:

    I would not consider roleplaying games as art per se. But some of the things that make out RPGs can be considered art to some extent. Though one has to make a distinction between "Design" and "Art" which usually are considered two different things, at least in the classical sense and definition. Also in that regard an illustration is not considered art in a classical sense.

    Some side products like novels can be considered as art. The same goes for for certain paintings and artistic illustrations that often come with an RPG product. Good examples would be the covers of RPG rules/setting books. Though it is debatable if depictions of monsters in a monster manual are are art or just illustrations/design. I think there is a grey zone there.

    Perhaps when you actually play a roleplaying game at the table all those things mingle and mix together and would produce some kind of artistic product in your head. Let us call it "Brain Art" because only you can "see" and feel it. Well perhaps it is not art but it can feel like it for you personally.

    I am a bit torn here while trying to find an answer to the question asked. On one side you have the classic definitions of what is considered art and on the other hand you have the libertarian mindset of our modern times that everything can be considered art if one wants it to be so. I prefer the classical definition, thus my answer as it is stated above.

  3. #3
    Reminds me of a thread I started about a year ago. There was a lot of back and forth; the majority unsurprisingly did not look at D&D as art but a pretty substantial moniority did.

    Personally, I look at D&D as a creative medium. I see it as having a lot in common with film and television, and as directing is very much my lost passion, art is absolutely what I intend when I run a D&D session. D&D is an interactive improvisational form of dramatic art (with some game-y rules attached).

    I do not, however, look at the rulebooks as being art themselves any more than I would look at a textbook on music theory to be art; the art is the gameplay itself. I suppose content books (published adventures and the like) could be more likely to merit that designation, but I still think they are only preparation for the final product at the table.

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    I believe I stated in the other thread that I don't believe RPGs to be art, much as I disagree with him that any video game is art - it's an experience. I think he's trying to stretch a point, a "The sky's not really blue" sort of analogy. A roleplaying game can contain artistic depictions and story text, but it's not art. It's a game, nothing more.

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    I can consider it art. And by that I mean the game play involved not the role play itself. It evokes an artistic emotion for me I guess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnehnois View Post
    D&D is an interactive improvisational form of dramatic art (with some game-y rules attached).
    Yes. This.

    Although, I have to wonder; why does it matter? I mean, the stuff on regretsy is often art too... and yet the whole reason it's on regretsy is because people are making fun of how terrible it is. Being "art" isn't something that's really cool in and of itself.

    And that's where I think a lot of the discussion on this issue goes wrong; a lot of the "RPGs are Art!" crowd are trying to elevate their hobby somehow; to give it more prestige, or possibly just give themselves an excuse to be smug about their hobby. Personally, I just don't see the point in that. I call it art--or potentially so, at least--but I don't think that means anything particularly significant.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Hobo View Post
    Although, I have to wonder; why does it matter? I mean, the stuff on regretsy is often art too... and yet the whole reason it's on regretsy is because people are making fun of how terrible it is. Being "art" isn't something that's really cool in and of itself.

    And that's where I think a lot of the discussion on this issue goes wrong; a lot of the "RPGs are Art!" crowd are trying to elevate their hobby somehow; to give it more prestige, or possibly just give themselves an excuse to be smug about their hobby. Personally, I just don't see the point in that. I call it art--or potentially so, at least--but I don't think that means anything particularly significant.
    I don't think it's necessarily about getting people outside the hobby to recognize it as such. I think it's more about getting other people inside the hobby to recognize what the rest of the community is doing. Online message boards have far too much discussion of game balance minutiae and far too little that reflects the roleplaying part of the hobby. I just think it's good to reinforce the artistic people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ahnehnois View Post
    I don't think it's necessarily about getting people outside the hobby to recognize it as such. I think it's more about getting other people inside the hobby to recognize what the rest of the community is doing.
    Oh, I agree. But like I said, I wonder about the motivation behind getting that kind of recognition.

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