Nintendo

Nintendo President: Nintendo Is Making Games, Not Art

zelda_wind_waker_hd

Nintendo’s president Satoru Iwata was asked recently whether he believed that Nintendo was making ‘pieces of art’. Surprisingly, his response was as follows:

“It’s not like we are making pieces of art, the point is to make a product that resonates with and is accepted by customers.”

Now it makes perfect sense that his answer would highlight Nintendo’s concentration on the consumer as its main goal, but interestingly, Iwata appears to disagree that Nintendo’s games should be considered art. Whether or not  games are art may be an abstract question, but it’s a question that won’t stop being asked anytime soon.

What do you all think? Do titles like Zelda The Windwaker and Skyward Sword deserve to be called art? If so, what makes a game qualify as art and another not? Sound off in the comments!

56 comments

    1. “I think it’s important to consider the context of Mr. Iwata’s statements as well as the question of what is being referred to as “art” here. If by “art” you’re meaning “making games that are mostly on-rails with hours of non-interactive, high-definition cutscenes”, then you’re saying games should aspire to be more like films (which are more readily accepted as art by the mainstream public). And there are indeed plenty of those to go around anymore; nowhere is that as evident and emphasized as it is at E3.

      Nintendo makes games. They don’t make high-def televisions, computers, operating systems, or other mass electronic devices as their competitors do, so their philosophy doesn’t require compatibility and cross-marketability with them. Though we’re only just now seeing what a Nintendo game looks like in HD (awesome in the case of Pikmin 3, Zelda: Wind Waker HD, Mario Kart 8, etc.), visuals and the non-interactive aspects of their products have never been as important as the core game design, mechanics, and innovation itself to Nintendo. Sadly, that often goes overlooked by gamers who look only at technical specs and whether something is 1080p or not.

      I love all my systems I’ve had over the years and have no bias against Sony or Microsoft, but I would argue that the real “art” in Nintendo’s games is the sheer craftsmanship and genuine love that goes into them, regardless of the visual elements.”

      -by AtlantisAuthor (IGN Article Commentor)

      1. i wouldnt go around advertising myself as an ign commentor. IGN blows. Nothing but Sony fanfuckwads on there.

        1. I wasn’t the person who wrote this actually. That’s why I quoted it. I thought that what he/she said was very agreeable and spread it around for people to understand what Mr. Iwata ment. I give all credits to AtlantisAuthor. Obiuosly not everyone in IGN are complete Sony/Microsoft fans. There also people sensible people there just not as many as fanboys.

    1. i think that, he means that, artists do whatever the fuck they want, you don’t like it? fuck you then, and Nintendo is making games, that everybody loves and play so is not “art” is a Game

      1. I understand what he’s saying. They’re not making them with the idea that it’s art first. They want to put out a good game, a good product, not “art”.

        But at the same time, games can still be considered art; so the way he worded it (or it was translated) is a little contrary to that thought.

    1. Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Ride to Hell: Retribution, Big Rigs, Superman 64.

      Still think ALL games are art?

        1. In his 1957 paper “The Creative Act,” Marcel Duchamp famously argued that all objects that we bestow with the title of art (via a performative act) belongs to art, whether it is “good” art, “bad” art, or “indifferent” art. The artist actually has little control over this process. Instead, we the spectators determine which of these categories (or “art coefficient,” as Duchamp calls it) each art object (or game) belongs to.

          Whether Iwata considers a game like Wind Waker art should be irrelevant to us, the consumer base, whose opinions on this matter are likely more important than those of the game designers. In my opinion Wind Waker and Shaq Fu are art objects only if we want them to be considered art — if they are art, of course Wind Waker and Shaq Fu would be examples of “good” art and “bad” art, respectively.

          Search online for the full text of “The Creative Act” — it’s a very short and essential read for those of us who want to be informed spectators in the art world.

      1. I definitely think Superman 64 is a good work of art. It is really hard to replicate how bad it is.

  1. They can be both you know… I haven’t met that many people that couldn’t consider at least one of the 3D Zelda games a piece of art.

  2. >Making a product that resonates with customers

    how it resonates with customers is subjective to their life and their experience. It’s different for everyone, so by definition it is art haha. I feel like there was a mistranslation or something from Iwata.

  3. If literature, dance, movies, paintings, buildings, music, etc. & even professional skills and industries can be considered art, so can games. *nods*

    1. But they don’t have to be art in order to be good games.

      That qualification is not a requirement, is what he is saying.

  4. i feel like Nintendo are pulling excuses out of the air to stop customers having buyers remorse…

  5. It is not in the artist eyes to call what he does “art” that privilege is reserved to the observant.

  6. Oh lord. I did a college paper on this, so I could go on for hours on how Games can still be considered an art.

    No, it is NOT because it contains several arts in it. it all boils down to what people consider to be “art.” an article by Rodger Edbert talks about how they can “never be art” but on the contrary, he ignores a few things. (in my opinion at least.)

    One argument is the fact games have to abide by rules. Yes, this is true. But doesn’t EVERYTHING abide by rules? There are laws on what we can and cannot do, there are space limitations on movies/canvases, there are only so many dimensions we can experience.. etc. I don’t see how being abided by rules limits games any more than any other piece of art.

    Another argument is that you can correct your mistakes and re-experience something again and again knowing perfectly well what will happen. This still doesn’t hold up because every piece of art can be re-experienced again and again. I can watch A movie again. I can view an image again. I can touch and feel a sculpture. All of these things can be consistently re-experienced.

    To further build on the prior paragraph, The dictionary definition of art is “something that deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions.” Why is this important to mention? Because you can experience an art and have a completely different feeling about it. Perhaps you’ll read a book again and spot something that changes everything you thought about the story. Maybe you found deeper meaning in some song lyrics. Games can do the same thing.

    At first I thought Majora’s Mask was a game where you had to save the world and find your lost friend. This is still true. HOWEVER, there are so many undertones with deeper meaning that add a unique experience every time you play. After a while, I started questioning link as a character. And even myself. In Majora’s Mask, you are given the power to decide who gets to be happy. It is literally impossible to help everyone. In your first play, you probably never thought of this though. You’re literally helping them once, reaping the rewards, and going back in time where they’re troubled again. Most likely, you aren’t going to help them either. Isn’t that selfish when you think about it?

    So yeah, Videogames have all the qualities that compose art for the most part. But what makes it stand out? It stimulates several senses at once AND lets you interact with a world that you otherwise couldn’t experience. You can’t go into a movie, it’s always the same. You can’t become the sculpture, you can’t explore the world of a painting. It can’t be done in any way except through simulated worlds. Videogames add a depth of interaction that nothing else is capable of doing. That’s pretty bad ass.

    Granted not every game gives artistic qualities, but the same can be said for all forms of media. Videogames. However, because of how unique the experience of videogames are, I honestly think it shouldn’t just be considered a device that merges art together, but its own art form as a whole.

    1. I’ve thought of this myself. Videogames are a unique form of art in that they RELY on someone to interact with them. It’s precisely that interaction that makes them art. Not the “art style” or the graphics or the visuals, necessarily, but that interaction between game and player. I’ve never understood those that have said games are not art.

      Now this doesn’t mean that NHL 2k13 is a great piece of art. Hell I don’t even know if it is art. But there have certainly been and there will be more games that should be viewed as art.

      1. You’re right on there.

        And for the record, NHL 2K13 is art. Not likely the kind we’d expect, but the criteria it follows is not much different from games we consider to be art.

    2. That is a very good read. Do you really hand that in at your college? What kind of class do you have? You brought up a very good point about experiencing different thing every time in the video game world. (I like your Majora’s Mask example.)

      1. Thanks <3 that wasn't my original paper though. I did a 7 page paper on this for my Composition 2 class. The focus was to research on a topic and make one huge report.

  7. Look up the definition of art. Videgames are not art. People saying this are trying to make themselves look more sophisticated for playing games.
    Games are meant to be experiences or just there to be fun. Sure they are artistic but they are not “Art” per say.

    1. The definition of art is “the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.”

      …Are you saying this applies to no video games just because they’re games? You must not have played many good video games then.

    2. Not to sound like a banter, but don’t you experience art, too?
      You can view a painting, hear music, touch a sculpture, watch a movie, read a book.. these are all considered arts and you experience them.

      Now, i’m not trying to start anything especially after the (rather long) post I made. Some people such as myself just don’t see why games cannot be an art. I think it’s going through the same thing some other arts have. Film wasn’t always a respected art either. Soon enough, I think videogames, or at least a selection of them, will be included as well.

  8. No one has a right to tell what art isn’t. I believe video games is art, and I find it very offensive (I think) to claim they are not (Or claim at least all are not art I think). Art isn’t just a design creation that looks like “Rainbows and Flowers”, it’s pretty much every work and creation that other people can enjoy. And video games, are a mixture of multiple arts and a full creation of hard work.

    Videos games are fun, but they can be art too and have a lot more meaning.

    Honestly Nintendo is making “both”

  9. I think this is just a poor choice of words. What Iwata is saying is that their main focus is to please consumers, not to just make art. If they focus too much on art, their games won’t be any good.

  10. “I think it’s important to consider the context of Mr. Iwata’s statements as well as the question of what is being referred to as “art” here. If by “art” you’re meaning “making games that are mostly on-rails with hours of non-interactive, high-definition cutscenes”, then you’re saying games should aspire to be more like films (which are more readily accepted as art by the mainstream public). And there are indeed plenty of those to go around anymore; nowhere is that as evident and emphasized as it is at E3.

    Nintendo makes games. They don’t make high-def televisions, computers, operating systems, or other mass electronic devices as their competitors do, so their philosophy doesn’t require compatibility and cross-marketability with them. Though we’re only just now seeing what a Nintendo game looks like in HD (awesome in the case of Pikmin 3, Zelda: Wind Waker HD, Mario Kart 8, etc.), visuals and the non-interactive aspects of their products have never been as important as the core game design, mechanics, and innovation itself to Nintendo. Sadly, that often goes overlooked by gamers who look only at technical specs and whether something is 1080p or not.

    I love all my systems I’ve had over the years and have no bias against Sony or Microsoft, but I would argue that the real “art” in Nintendo’s games is the sheer craftsmanship and genuine love that goes into them, regardless of the visual elements.”

    -by AtlantisAuthor (IGN Article Commentor)

  11. I think it is more like this.

    Companies say it is not a art and it is a product! We need to make MONEY!
    Customers say it is a art and it is very beautiful world that we can integrate with! It is LIMITLESS!

    :P

  12. I think people want to view their games as art in order to enjoy them better. To give such a distinction is to create some sort of validation for a hobby that is often viewed by others as a waste of time. As far as I’m concerned, I haven’t wasted any time playing video games, except for when I was wasting time in the middle of playing a game, and I don’t really need to see my games as art in order to enjoy it. Enjoying something for what it really is can be the greatest compliment to give to something. Why do you have to pretend it’s something “higher class” in order to enjoy it? Joy has nothing to do with class.

  13. Wind Waker and Skyward Sword are surely art pieces. Visually Skyward Sword is the most beautiful game I’ve ever played.

  14. I Do Say That Skyword Sword And Wind Waker HD Is Art…
    And…Twilight Princess…. Yup..I SAID IT !

  15. want nintendo club points and animal crossing new leaf and other games thn sub my channel to be in with a chance. i do regular monthly give aways mainly games.

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