Somewhere in midtown Atlanta last week, The Art History of Games three-day symposium left behind a trail of internet philosophizing on the on-and-off fling between said art and said games that even video game teetotalers and voyeur-onlys can find interesting. 

First, as I learned, Counter-Strike isn’t just for arthritis-inducing zombie apocalypse/dystopic draft training, pew pew.

Enough Googling yields open source tweaking into “Velvet Strike” where players can shoot graffiti on the walls or the full-on Van Gogh level, which would probably make Vincent gouge his paranoid peepers right out.

 

And now for some fine art excuses to start living on your couch. A typically academic analysis of game-on-art rendezvous had professor Celia Pearce citing chess-loving Duchamp’s object play, John Cage “playing art” with invented instruments, and Pac Manhattan as a performance art piece. She’d probably flip her shit for Marina Abramovic and Ulay’s 1977 Imponderabilia on Second Life.

Meanwhile, the indie studio Tale of Tales, makers of supposed “art game” The Path (that with all the tediously-produced visual wizardry), declared that unlike the higher pursuits of art, games satisfy biological needs and are not art, and by the way, art is dead anyway via capitalistic co-opting and government restriction, exiling artists to the far ends of the Internet. That rant carves out a nifty niche for the studio and their “anti-games,” which is not unlike capitalism mechanics, rant regardless.

 

So, from the digital borderlands where the meekest of perverts and geekiest of trolls roam, come tiny miracles like the intricate comic panels of ogle-worthy Machinarium‘s aw-for-robots point-and-click and the like, and that’s pretty nifty too. Those flirting with the idea of being a big deal artist some day may want to put those plans of scotch-tape raver-pants fashion line and public building dry-hump performance art on hold. Getting in on the video game hustle now might give your skills a better future outlet than fetching coffee for the Law & Order raped corpse extra or polishing Jeff Koons’ balloons.