There’s a rumor – thanks 1UP – that a PS3-based, high-def collection of famed games Ico and Shadow of the Colossus will appear sometime in 2011, like the recent God of War HD collection. No official announcement has been made, but as 1UP points out, it would make fiscal sense for Team Ico to release an HD bundle of its games just before launching its still-mostly-under-wraps new title, The Last Guardian. Rant follows.
A fellow named Fumito Ueda leads Team Ico – a small, internal-to-Sony development crew that is pretty explicitly left to its own devices. They’ve only produced two games in… I think about ten years, but those two games are both considered among the most important and beautiful yet seen in the medium. Ironically, Ueda himself is quite adamant that games are not art. In fact, he’s described them quite forcefully as “a consumer product.”
What makes this interesting is that it sort of demonstrates the core issue of the definition of art. For most of history, people have assumed that creators define what is art – for example, if Picasso creates a painting, and calls himself an artist, then it’s art. But what would happen if Picasso insisted that what he created wasn’t art? That it was just a colorful product he’d made, to sell, thinking that someone might want to hang it on a wall to brighten up a room?
Is industrial design art? The slick lines of the iPhone, the odd individual inventions from Art.Lebedev studio, the by-vote consumer items of Quirky.com? Is there a difference between something being stylish and being art? This I do not know. But I can respond to the first question – what if Picasso insisted that his painting wasn’t art.
The answer is that Picasso can insist until the heat death of the universe, if someone else thinks it’s art, then it’s art. And this is the response to Fumito Ueda’s argument as well. He’s certainly entitled to his opinion, but if I look at Shadow of the Colossus and see art, then it’s art to me. Art is in the eyes of the consumer, not the creator. If Fumito Ueda sees what he’s doing as product development, hey, more power to him. As long as he continues doing it.
So if this rumor is true, you can bet that I at least will be grabbing a copy. It would be awesome to play those games in 1080p. I mean, damn.
Email the author of this post at firstname.lastname@example.org.