Arey’s piece is a response to what he perceives as a sort of self-satisfaction in Preston’s article. He feels that Preston’s attitude reflects a willingness to let games stand still, as it were, with respect to their artistic form. Arey, on the other hand, thinks that developers and publishers should be actively pushing the artistic boundaries of the medium. I’m in agreement on this point as well. While Arey believes there should be some push on the supply side, I’ve already argued that there should be pull on the demand side as well. Arey believes that, regardless of context, the idea of art still matters, and that people in the bright centers of publishing should do all they can to encourage innovation and growth in the artform.
As Preston notes in his comment, these views aren’t really at odds with each other. Gamers ought to treat the debate as won, but both developers and gamers should want to win more, and win better. Talking past the essentialist debate is all well and good, but we shouldn’t be content with that. Even if we’ve won or avoided the fight over whether games are art, we should still strive to bring to market something that can show up an Ebert and expose the argument that games “can never be art” for the vacuous nonsense that it is.
In keeping with my own prescriptions (and Preston’s) I am going to try to finish some in-depth studies of games I’ve been meaning to post (similar to my post on Silent Hill 2). I hope I’ll be able to have the first of these up by Sunday evening. Others will have to wait for refresher play and by the same token, for loaned-out games to return to me.