Video game art

This article is about creating art from existing video games, and does not deal with game art development or art games.
For other uses, see Art game (disambiguation).

Video game art is a specialized form of computer art employing video games as the artistic medium. Video game art often involves the use of patched or modified video games or the repurposing of existing games or game structures, however it relies on a broader range of artistic techniques and outcomes than artistic modification and it may also include painting, sculpture, appropriation, in-game intervention and performance, sampling, etc. It may also include the creation of art games either from scratch or by modifying existing games. Notable examples of video game art include Cory Arcangel's "Super Mario Clouds" and "I Shot Andy Warhol,"[1] Joseph Delappe's projects including "Dead in Iraq" and the "Salt Satyagraha Online: Gandhi's March to Dandi in Second Life,"[2][3] the 2004-2005 Rhizome Commissions "relating to the theme of games,"[4] Paolo Pedercini's Molleindustria games such as "Unmanned" and "Every Day the Same Dream", and Ian Bogost's "Cowclicker."

Artistic modifications are frequently made possible through the use of level editors, though other techniques exist. Some artists make use of machinima applications to produce non-interactive animated artworks, however artistic modification is not synonymous with machinima as these form only a small proportion of artistic modifications. Machinima is distinct from art mods as it relies on different tools, though there are many similarities with some art mods.

Like video games, artistic game modifications are often interactive and may allow for single-player or multiplayer experience. Multiplayer works make use of networked environments to develop new kinds of interaction and collaborative art production.



Main article: Machinima

Machinima is the use of real-time three-dimensional (3-D) graphics rendering engines to generate computer animation. The term also refers to works that incorporate this animation technique.

In-game intervention and performance

Artists may intervene in online games in a non-play manner, often disrupting games in progress in order to challenge or expose underlying conventions and functions of game play. Examples of this include Velvet-Strike (a project designed to allow players of realistic first person shooter games to use anti-war graffiti within the game to make an artistic statement[5]) and Dead in Iraq (an art project created by Joseph DeLappe in which the player character purposely allows himself to be shot and then recites the names of US soldiers who have died in the Iraq War[6]).

Site-specific installations and site-relative mods

Site-specific installations and site-relative gaming modifications ("mods"), replicate real-world places (often the art gallery in which they are displayed) to explore similarities and differences between real and virtual worlds. An example is What It Is Without the Hand That Wields It, where blood from kills in Counterstrike manifests and spills into a real life gallery.[7]

Real-time performance instruments

Video games can be incorporated into live audio and visual performance using a variety of instruments and computers such as keyboards embedded with music chips. See also chiptune and the Fijuu project.[8]

Generative art mods

Generative art mods exploit the real-time capabilities of game technologies to produce ever-renewing autonomous artworks. Examples include Julian Oliver's ioq3apaint, a generative painting system that uses the actions of software agents in combat to drive the painting process,[9][10] Alison Mealy's UnrealArt which takes the movements of game entities and uses them to control a drawing process in an external program,[11][12] Kent Sheely's "Cities in Flux," a Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas mod that glitches and distorts the game's world in real-time,[13] and RetroYou's R/C Racer a modification of the graphic elements of a racing game which results in rich fields of colour and shape.[14][15]

See also


  1. Andy Clarke and Grethe Mitchell (eds.),Videogames and Art (Intellect Books, 2006).
  2. Mail Away: War Correspondence at Home and Away, by Lindsay Kelley, in the Media-N Journal of the New Media Caucus "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 18, 2013. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
  3. The Salt Satyahgraha by Joseph Delappe - review by Natasha Chuk, in Furtherfield
  4. Rhizome Commissions
  5. "Velvet-Strike". Retrieved 2014-03-07.
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 6, 2006. Retrieved December 5, 2006.
  7. 8/23/06 4:15pm 8/23/06 4:15pm. "People Actually Lamer Than Stuart Scott Rip On Stuart Scott". Retrieved 2014-03-07.
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 17, 2007. Retrieved December 5, 2007.
  9. Oliver, Julian. "Julian Oliver". Julian Oliver. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
  10. Archived May 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  11. 風紀委員 posted by on 2014年2月20日. "色々な風俗がありますが全部が魅力的すぎます". Retrieved 2014-03-07.
  12. "will be back online soon". Unreal Art. 2014-01-16. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
  13. "Viewer-generated screenshots: "Cities in Flux" – D-Pad Toronto 2012 // kent sheely". Retrieved 2014-03-07.
  14. "full void". Retrieved 2014-03-07.
  15. Archived June 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.


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