David Gallant made the game I Get This Call Every Day. It was a fun way to blow off a little work-related steam, but due to a slow news cycle the game was picked up by his local paper, The Toronto Star, and things quickly spiraled out of control. A few days later he was jobless, fired for making a game. While this sucks in a whole lot of ways that have already received plenty of well-earned vitriol, there’s another aspect of this that hasn’t gotten any attention.
Finally, once and for all, the debate of “Are Games Art?” has a definitive answer of Yes.
Proof– David Gallant made a video game that, yes, is amateurish in a lot of ways, not the least of which is that it was made by a video game amateur. That’s not really relevant. The bit that matters is that an individual used the medium of gaming to make a statement about a situation that reflected the honest emotions deriving from a real-world situation in a way that effectively communicated this feeling to the player. The statement, made by an individual using tools unique to the medium of gaming, was strong enough that it could be interpreted in a way that resulted in job loss. Or at least interpreted by a bored media looking to stir up trouble in such a way as to make the company he worked for look bad, which is guaranteed to get the same result.
The “Games as Art” discussion has been kicking around for far too long, and honestly this article is probably just preaching to the choir. Still, whenever the debate rears its tired, ugly head in the future, you can point at the chain of events that happened after the publication of I Get This Call Every Day as proof that games can carry their artistic weight. Or you can not argue on the internet. Either is good.
Editor’s Note- I won’t be playing I Get This Call Every Day due to my real-life experience of working in a call center. It’s nice to see something like this exist, though. Also, due to there not being a lot of images to communicate the idea of games as art, the top and bottom picture were grabbed from Into the Pixel. Paintings that are unquestionably art, when used in games, don’t make games art, but they are awfully pretty.