The Art of Video Games: Interview with Henry Jenkins

Uploaded by americanartmuseum on 09.03.2012

My son was about six. He wanted a Nintendo
system for Christmas. We plugged it in and up
came Super Mario Brothers for the very first time.
And I was blown away by the phenomenal growth and
development that games had undergone. And,
I thought, if those ten years wrought that much change
in the capacity of this medium, this was going to be a medium
social capacity. That it was going to be the art form
of the 21st century.
I think what we've seen from games so far is just
the beginning of what this medium is capable of doing.
There's already artistic achievement there.
I don't think there's a question that games
have become an art, but I think they can become
a richer and deeper art.
It takes a while for artists to really get inside a medium
deep enough to understand what it can do.
I think most visitors to a museum like the
Smithsonian have probably never looked at games
through anything other than a superficial lens.
To just look at what's going on there, to see the
intricate detail, the richness of accomplishment in just
executing the game. Then, recognize the layer beyond
that ━ the design of our interactions, the design of
the play mechanics which is not just the eye candy that's
immediately present, but the deeper form of the art that
shapes people's perception of the world.
And them, imagine beyond that the layer of grassroots
creativity where people use games a starting point for
their own artistic expression, and the social interactions,
and the personal memories, sense of reading and asking
deeper questions that the game inspires.
I think there's a lot to see here that we don't see
when we see a few minutes of game footage on the
evening news along with a story blaming games
for some act of violence, what we don't see when we
see the games on the shelf at Wal-Mart. It is to see
games as an artistic system at the center
of a creative culture.