Grand Theft Auto. Well, 5 to be exact. A game to which bring a pang a nostalgia to most men my age, as they reflect on the several preceding games that spanned our youth. As I sat down to begin playing this game, to which I had previously lost interest due to constraints on time, I remembered all the times I had aimlessly created 50 car pile ups on the freeway or went on mass killing sprees. Ahh, my innocent youth. Well, now that we recognize the crude violence and the extremely misogynistic development, production and market, we can get down to what everyone wants to know is this game considered at any point and to what degree, art?
Can we all agree that the shear density of the map is a thing of wonder? I mean seriously, if you look at how at every point on the map you can at some level interact with your surroundings and they are new and changing every time you change vantage points. So, if we look at this from a social perspective and it in its perspective art world (that is that it is question), as Howard Becker describes in his book “Art Worlds, which can be found here,(Art Worlds PDF Link), and how many different people it must have taken to draw every single random person who walks past you on the street or the intricate detail of every part of the map. From the buildings that seem to tower from the ground with a sense of surreal realism to the shimmer of the early sun off the ocean as you ski shooting . I think that Winklemann would approve of the buildings and the men at muscle beach, although he would be in such utter discontent with the other crude absurdities that lurk in plain sight of this game.
Such as the obvious entropy that seems to be constantly crowding the mind of the player and has no unity or center it simply would not do for him. Although these are the opinions of an eccentric and overtly old man, so might take them with a grain of salt.
In my opinion, while taking into account all of information I have read to date on this subject, I think that this game could be considered art, but with boundary conditions. I grant that the mere undertaking of creating a game with this much detail in a randomizing environment took a exuberant amount of
time and man power, and to that is due much respect and admiration. So was the Mona Lisa not painted with great time and a great man? If you look cross culturally and overtime many things change in their understanding and appreciation. Let us look at war. War in todays time and over most modern cultures is deemed something of a last resort, and is looked upon with distaste as we begin to designate the importance of every human life.So is it not analogous to art. Did not art in a way gulp in the film or the photography industry as an art form when these technologies came to be known. This idea is captured in part by Walter Benjamin, but in my opinion is tainted by a rational yet overbearing fear of fascism and Nazi Germany.
Now we get down to the whole argument of art in its essence and if it applies to this game at all. I think looking at Grand Theft Auto I would say that if you simply objectively look at the scenery, buildings detail of people and game world, yes it could be art. But as soon as you try to play and start to engage in the behavior intended to keep you playing by a developer who wants you to buy the next one, you ar
e not participating in art but parallel a game with an intended purpose and end. Which is to get you to have the nostalgia feeling after exhausting days, which brings you right back to letting them rob our pockets. As Howard Becker would say “The idea of an art world forms the backbone of my analysis. “Art world” is commonly used by writers on the arts in a loose and metaphoric way, mostly to refer to the most fashionable people associated with those newsworthy objects and events that command astronomical prices.” (Art World, x).
Becker, Howard Saul. Art worlds. Berkeley, Calif: U of California Press, 2012. PDF.
Winckelmann, Johann Joachim. The history of ancient art. Boston: J.R. Osgood, 1980. PDF.