Can Tabletop Gaming Be Art?

Jonathon Blow is a critically acclaimed and commercially successful video game designer. According to this in

the May 2012 Issue of The Atlantic Magazine, Blow is also a fierce critic of the video game industry. Regardless of the fact that video games are in the process of eclipsing films in terms of size and sales, Blow sees the video game industry as a haven of mediocrity, producing carbon copy after carbon copy of the same juvenile game experiences: first person shooters featuring women with big breasts and heroes with bigger guns or casual games like Farmville whose addictive repetitiveness and in-game purchasable premiums he compares to chemical co-dependency and Ponzi schemes. Blow, by contrast, is on a quest to prove that the video game deserves full recognition as

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art. Article author Taylor Clark writes:

Blow envisions future games that deliver

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experiences as poignant and sublime as those found through literature and film, but expressed in ways distinctive to games. “If the video game is going to be used for art purposes, then it has to take advantage of its form in some way particular to that medium, right?” he told me. “A film and a novel can both do linear storytelling, but novels are very strong at internal mental machinations—which movies suck at—and movies are great at doing certain visual things. So

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the question is: Where are games on that same map?”

Jonathon Blow is talking about video games but here at Steve Bean Games we”re far more interested in tabletop games. Obviously, video games and tabletop games are very different media* but Blow”s challenge to the video game industry begs the same question of tabletop games: can they be art? Continue reading